8/5/19 – Weekend in Review: Red Sox are a Dumpster Fire, Position Players Pitching, Backflips, Boomsticks, and Grand Slams

What in the Fresh Hell is Wrong With the Red Sox?

The reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox have dropped 8 in a row. Eight. The last time they won a game was in July, before the trade deadline. Before their chance to get some players that know how to play baseball – specifically pitchers that know how to pitch.

Boston has now been swept in their last two series – first by the Rays, and then by the Yankees – leading them into a free fall out of wild card contention and possibly toward a sub-.500 record. Most will blame their abysmal pitching – with a team ERA of 4.99. David Price was all but laughed off the mound last night after giving up 7 earned runs and unable to get through three innings Ouch.

Their offense has been really good, leading MLB with 652 runs – but it just hasn’t been enough to make up for their lackluster pitching. They’re also leading MLB in payroll, just under $222 million, and around $88 million of that is in starting pitching alone. So, one would think that rotation should be untouchable. David Price is making $31 million a year, so he should probably get this slump of his figured out soon.

The good news for Boston is that they’re gearing up to face the 40 – 73 Kansas City Royals next, fresh off of their own sweep by the Minnesota Twins over the weekend. One of these two teams will finally break their losing streaks tonight. Yay?

Anyone else wondering when heads are going to roll in Boston?

Why it’s not the best idea to have position players pitch to former teammates

If a position player is taking the mound, that means one of two things:

  1. The game is deep into extra innings and you’ve used up all of your relievers and maybe even a starter
  2. The game is a complete pitching shit-show and it really can’t get much worse.

Except it can get worse. And worse it did for the Nationals against the Diamondbacks the other night. In their 18-7 shellacking by Arizona, the Nats figured what the hell and let 2B Brian Dozier take the mound against his ex-teammate and good buddy Eduardo Escobar. Escobar, who had 5 RBI and 2 homeruns in this game took his buddy deep:

Dozier had this to say after he gave up the bomb to his friend:

“Freaking Escobar. If I had to give up one, it would be to Esky … I’m sure he’s not going to let it down.”

The two played together with the Twins from 2012 to part of 2018. The former teammates proceeded to have dinner together after the game. Fun fact: catching for Dozier/the Nationals during Escobar’s shot was another former Twins teammate, Kurt Suzuki. I wonder if he was invited to dinner as well?

Backflips, Boomsticks, and Grand Slams

Rounding out the weekend’s more notable (to me) baseball headlines are Tony Kemp’s new career in gymnastics, Nelson Cruz and his old-man badassery, and Eric Hosmer’s hitting skills.

First, Tony Kemp, fresh to the Cubs infield from Houston, decided to channel his inner Ozzy Smith and show his newest fans some gymnastic prowess by doing a backflip in the outfield before the game. He followed up the flip with a handstand, just to show off.

Behold:

And for those of you whippersnappers too young to remember Ozzie Smith, number one, how dare you? And number two, here’s a reminder of his backflipping and awesomeness:

Second, I present to you the Boomstick himself, Mr. Nelson Cruz. For the second time in just ten days, he hit 3 home runs in one game (he’d never even had one 3 HR game until the one in July, FYI). The 39-year-old DH took the Royals deep 3 times in the Twins 11-3 victory on Saturday, with 5 total RBI.

He’s now hit 30 home runs this season, and is now one of just 4 active players to have 6 straight 30-HR seasons. (The other three? Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Edwin Encarnacion.) He’s the oldest player in MLB history to have multiple 3 shot games in one season, and the first Twins player to have done that at all. Cruz is on pace to reach/go over 400 career home runs by the end of the season – currently sitting at 390.

Cruz has always hit really well at Target Field, which is probably what made Minnesota go after him during the offseason and pay a 39-year-old $12 million for this season with an option for 2020. I think it’s safe to say that this was one of the best signings the Twins have made in a really long time.

Third, congratulations to Eric Hosmer for hitting his first career grand slam to give the Padres a 5-3 lead over the Dodgers on Sunday. It was Hosmer’s 16th homers on the season, but sadly it wasn’t enough, as the Dodgers walked off for the win in the 9th, 11-10.

What say you, readers? Leave a comment below.