The Quick Recap
Rubby De La Rosa strung together seven effective innings, and the Red Sox stayed in the win column downing the Royals 2-1. Now victors of six of their past seven—a streak dating back to before the All-Star break—Boston fell behind early, but De Le Rosa went four scoreless innings after letting in one earned run, while his teammates picked him up. De La Rosa stranded seven runners in his seven innings of work, pitching around five hits and four walks he allowed. The Sox turned two double plays behind him, and while De La Rossa wasn’t dominant (two strikeouts, and 61 strikes on 103 pitches) he exited the game with the Sox ahead, and left the rest to the bullpen. It took the Red Sox only two hours and 40 minutes from first pitch to the final out to play all nine innings.
Boston will go for the three-game sweep of Kansas City tomorrow afternoon, which would give the Sox their fourth overall series sweep this season, and their first sweep since June 18 when Boston took three straight games from the Twins.
Shane Victorino returned to the Red Sox lineup on Saturday, making his first appearance for the team since May 23. Victorino battled a hamstring injury earlier this season, and then landed on the DL in late May after re-aggravating it. With the Red Sox needing another roster spot, rookie Mookie Betts was sent down to the minors to make room for Victorino.
Coming to the plate in his first at bat, Victorino was greeted by a nice ovation from the Fenway faithful, and obliged with a single up the middle. On the night, Victorino went 1-for-3, while he wasn’t called upon to do anything spectacular in right field. But he looked comfortable on the base paths, a great sign considering just how long his hamstring injury lingered earlier in the year.
While Jackie Bradley Jr. has attempted to turn around his season at the plate, no one has ever questioned his ability in the field. The Sox center fielder turned his sixth double play on Saturday, most among outfielders in the majors. With Jarrod Dyson caught in no-man’s land on the base path, it was one of the easier double plays JBJ will turn all season.
But even if Bradley Jr.’s bat has yet to fully come around, he showed NESN another pretty impressive thing he can accomplish from behind the dish. The 24-year-old made good on a promise he made to Gary Striewski, throwing a ball from home plate clear of the center field fence. That’s 420 for those measuring at home, a distance he’ll never have to throw during a game. Bradley Jr. almost erased the Royals’ first run of the night with a strong throw in the third, but Dyson got the better of the exchange this time, crossing home plate just before the tag of Christian Vazquez.
The end of the All-Star break brought Jerry Remy back into the booth, while Don Orsillo remains on vacation. NESN has been tinkering with some different combinations, and Saturday they went with Remy and Jon Rish in the booth.
Remy is known for his pop-culture faux pas, and had a pretty funny one in the fourth inning. When the conversation turned to player’s favorite musical artists, Remy was quick to tell the viewers David Ortiz is a fan of 2 Chainz. Only Remy wasn’t quite sure if he had the artist formerly known as Tauheed Epps’ stage name correct.
“It’s either Chainz 2 or 2 Chainz,” Remy quipped. Epps once famously rapped “I’m different,” which is clearly applicable when it comes to Remy’s approach on the mic as well. Orsillo will return to the booth on Sunday.
Gomes and Holt look for chemistry
Brock Holt has moved all around the field defensively, which has made it difficult to find some defensive consistency when it comes to lineups. That might have been at play in the third inning when Holt drifted into left field to play a fly ball, only to collide with the oncoming Jonny Gomes as both players called for the ball.
A few frames later, another short fly was lifted into left, only this time, Holt didn’t make a play on the ball, and Gomes was caught like a deer in the headlights as the ball dropped in for a pop fly double. With Victorino back healthy, it squeezes the deck for roster and lineup spots. While Betts was sent down, Holt’s ability to be moved around and very hot bat will keep him in the lineup and the conversation. It gets a bit jumbled when Stephen Drew is added, and will become even more complicated when Will Middlebrooks makes his return to the bigs, which is expected soon. There are plenty of candidates to play shortstop. From Xander Bogaerts, to Drew, to Holt, the Sox aren’t short on options. Holt could move back to the outfield, or just split time down the line.
However John Farrell chooses to field the team, though, it was clear on Saturday Gomes and Holt were not comfortable playing together.
That’s what she said
A Concord, Mass. native, Steve Carell was sitting along the third base line Saturday night, and chatted with Striewski during the top of the fifth inning. Carell offered up some funny answers to Striewski’s questions, telling the sideline reporter that he was not only ready to field a wayward foul ball, “I’m protecting everybody in this area.”
If there was any question to Carell’s true fandom, some of the doubt was alleviated when a Gomes-Holt miscommunication led to a double, which led Carrel to let out, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Only a true fan could have conveyed that kind of emotion and dissatisfaction that quickly, especially when one considers Michael Scott is really bad at imrpov.
The ESPYS were three days ago, but in the spirit of athletic achievement, Mike Napoli walked up the plate in the bottom of the sixth to Drake’s “Trophies.” Drake of course was the host of the 2014 awards show, and Napoli embodied the theme of “excellence in sports” with a towering shot over the Green Monster and toward Lansdowne Street to break a 1-1 tie. The long ball was Napoli’s 11th of the season, and a no-doubter from the moment it left the bat.
“The blimp had to take a quick right,” joked Remy.