PHI @ BOS, 12th June (5-6, win, 11th inning)

Man, that was something. Rick Porcello’s karmic payback continued with a brutal first inning that left the Sox 4 runs down. Now, somewhere during the 2016, I started to believe the Sox could come back from pretty much anything. Last season, I often expected them to. This season, I’ve known in my heart that they could come back, but I was less and less convinced that they would. But then they chipped away, Hanley tied it all up, and Pedey hit a walk-off single in the 11th. Not bad for a Monday night.

Bright sides:

Rick Porcello puts the innings in regardless. Yes, he gave up all five of the runs, four of them in the first inning, but he stayed in the game for a full six. Considering the rough time he’s had, the fact that’s he’s still trying to do his job is a good thing. Even if I’m throwing beers at the wall and swearing at the tv while the world collapses around him.

Mookie had a helluva night, going 4-for-5, knocking in a run, and hitting pretty much all the doubles. Think he’s out of his slump now, guys.

Pedey also had a helluva night, knocking in the 11th inning walk-off and just being a generally awesome dude. 

Have I mentioned just generally how good Mitch Moreland has been? He’s been good. He went two-for-five last night and scored a run.

Benintendi went 3-for-5, knocked in two and scored. Mini-slump over?

Hanley had only one hit last night, but it was a 452 ft over-the-monster rocket that tied the game up in the 8th. I am rooting for Hanley, man.

The bullpen didn’t give up any runs and Barnes struck out five in two innings of relief, getting the win. 

We won! In extras! With a walk-off!

The stupid Yankees won too but whatever.

PHI @ BOS, 13th June (3-4, win, 12th inning)

Two walk-offs in a row? With this particular Red Sox team? You know what I’m not going to do, what with being an optimist and all? I’m not going to wonder why the team with the second-best record in the AL East is getting played into the 11th and 12th innings by a team with a 21-42 record that has lost 7 in a row. I’m not going to do that because that would be too much of a Boston-sports-talk-radio-misery-guts thing to do. But also, and this is important, baseball doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes it’s a slog and you have to fight through to the end regardless. And the Sox have certainly done that over the last two nights. The fact that they played at all is a minor miracle, what with the weather being awful. When you watch Benintendi’s at-bat that ended it all (that hit though… I could watch that kid’s swing all day), the rain is coming down in sheets.

Bright sides:

I’m going out on a limb here, but David Price didn’t have control and still managed to put in 6 innings, giving up only three runs. I know he’s not terribly popular at the moment, but I don’t really care. I want him to do well. I want him to be an ace. I don’t care if he doesn’t talk to the press on his off days. And if he’s on the mound without his best stuff and still manages to keep the team in the game, he gets on the bright side list. So there.

Andrew Benintendi. Not only did teen wolf hit the game-winning walk off in the bottom of the twelfth, but he robbed Howie Kendrick of a run, gunning him down in the top of the eighth with a perfect throw to Christian Vazquez at the plate. He went 3-for-5 and knocked in two and, let’s be honest, was pretty awesome last night.

Xander went 3-for-5 and scored the winning run. He was going through a little mini-slump, but that seems to be over now. Which is good. Xander hitting is awesome.

Mitch Moreland went very deep in the bottom of the third, with a 449 foot home run that went behind the triangle in centre. 

Mookie didn’t have a great game at the plate, but made a spectacular catch in the stands in the top of the tenth, pretty much saving the game. 

The bullpen sent five pitchers out over six innings and gave up no runs, combining to save the game. Abad got the win. The bullpen has been very good recently. 

We won!

The Yankees lost!

So did the Orioles (who also slipped to below .500)!

BOS @ PHI, 15th June (0-1, loss)

While taking 3 of 4 (I don’t buy the whole two separate series of two games thing) is better than 75% of the possible outcomes of such a challenge, I’m still kind of pissed off. When Sale struggle during the last few games, the bats had his back. Dominant against one of the worst teams in baseball? The bats fall almost totally silent. Not to take anything away from Nick Pivetta, who wound up with the best start from a Phillie since Donald Trump wasn’t president (this is not a political blog, but fuck that guy and set yourself on fire if you support him, don’t @ me).

Why the best start from a Phillie in a year had to come on our watch, I dunno. But this was the sort of stretch we should’ve nailed. No, it wasn’t a drubbing, and yes, it could’ve been worse, and no, I don’t think it a harbinger of doom. But, I’m more irked than I should be. That’ll go away if we win tonight. Particularly as we’re facing up against the (on paper) best team in baseball.

How’re we going to do? Dunno. But if it goes well? I’m going to take it as a sign that the Sox will win the division. Hell with the Astros. We can beat those guys.

Bright sides?

We didn’t get beat by much

I love our chances this season.

The Yankees lost.

The bullpen were saved an appearance.

BOS @ PHI, 14th June (7-3, win)

I, for one, was not too upset to avoid another extra-inning marathon against the Phillies. This was a decisive win, the kind of which good team notch against not-as-good teams, and one that I’d really like the Sox to get a few more of this season. 

However, it certainly wasn’t all smooth sailing, because few things ever are. Young Brian Johnson, not content with scaring fans with popping noises is in his hamstring, left the game in the third with left shoulder tightness. He’d only thrown 44 pitches. Thankfully, the bullpen, in spite of having gone two nights of extra innings in a row, showed up big, putting together 6 and a third shutout innings, giving up only two hits and striking out five. They were helped by a defence that was firing on every cylinder - it was Benintendi’s turn to leap into the crowd to catch a fly ball, while JBJr and Mookie both had their own spectacular catches. Even Panda had a great diving play. 

That’s good, right? I’m pretty sure that’s good. I feel we should all write Brian Johnson get well soon cards and cross fingers for the sweep tonight.

Specific bright sides:

MOOKIE went 4-for-5 with two home runs, three RBIs and four runs scored. He also continued to make ridiculous plays in right field and remained charmingly humble at the end of the game, saying he was just glad it lasted less than four hours. What a guy. 

Xander went 2-for-5 and knocked in three runs. 

Andrew Benintendi made a stupidly awesome catch in left, turning a foul ball into an out in the bottom of the ninth. He also got a hit and knocked in a run. 

JBJr leapt like a gazelle to catch the game-ending out in the bottom of the ninth. He also went 2-for-4, bumping his average to .253. He’s so close to getting so hot, folks, I’m telling you (and will keep doing so until I’m right).

Panda went 1-for-2 and scored a run. Whatever your feelings about him or his contract, him doing well is good for the Sox.

We got to see Daniel Nava. I know we’ve seen him for the last few nights, but man, I love Daniel Nava. Still an amazing story. I called his first-ever-pitch-in-the-majors grand slam against the Rangers, by the way (if you’re new here, I pretty much mention that every single time I mention Daniel Nava).

Rubén Amaro Jr, Red Sox 1st base coach and former GM of the Phillies got a big hug and a toy Phanatic from the Phillies Phanatic on his first visit back to Philadelphia since leaving the team. It’s never not going to be weird that a former GM is now our first base coach. 

Hector Velazquez, called up to help the taxed bullpen, was immediately tested when called in to replace Brian Johnson with two outs in the third. He went three and a third, gave up no runs, just a hit and a walk, and struck out two. Nice work, Hector.

The rest of the bullpen then just nailed it. They are in the zone right now, man. 

The Yankees lost! I hate those guys.

The Rays lost! Meh.

It’s Chris Sale night tonight!