Connect with us


Boston Red Sox offense ‘the best we’ve been the whole season’ in taking 2-1 ALCS lead, Alex Cora says



BOSTON — Red Sox manager Alex Cora called it “close to a perfect game” played by his team in defeating the Houston Astros 12-3 in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Monday night.

Once again, their offense was the story. They were dominant.

“Offensively, this is the best we’ve been the whole season, and they’re locked in right now,” Cora said after the Red Sox took a 2-1 series lead. “The preparation, it’s a lot better right now. The communication is a lot better.”

Cora is referring to pregame work his hitters are putting in, not only in the batting cage but in the clubhouse during meetings.

Everyone is contributing, and it’s translating on the field, where first baseman Kyle Schwarber‘s second-inning grand slam, on a 3-0 pitch from Jose Urquidy, broke the game open on Monday.

It was one of 11 hits, giving the Red Sox six straight playoff games of 10 or more hits. That had never been done in a single postseason.

Boston also got home runs from Christian Arroyo, J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers to go along with Schwarber’s blast. It was his first career hit on a 3-0 pitch and first time in 17 plate appearances this season where he didn’t walk after starting 3-0.

“I definitely wasn’t thinking home run, but I definitely was thinking, don’t be late and get it in the air,” Schwarber said. “I’m a really bad 3-0 hitter.”

His home run made it 6-0 after two innings. The Red Sox added three more in the third before Houston got on the board on a Kyle Tucker three run homer in the fourth. But that’s all they would score on the night as Boston added on three more to seal the game.

“We’ve got a collective group game plan, and we want to execute it with every at-bat, every pitch as much as we can,” Arroyo said.

The six straight games of 10 or more hits is just the start of the Red Sox’s offensive prowess.

• Boston has scored 50 runs in its past six games. That’s the most by any team in a six-game span in the playoffs since Boston scored 52 runs over its final six games in 2007 to win the World Series.

• The Red Sox have17 home runs in their past six games. That’s the most ever over any six-game span in a postseason.

• They joined the 1998 Braves as the only team with three grand slams in a single postseason. They’re the first to do it in a single series.

• They have scored 57 runs this postseason, more than the two NLCS participants, the Dodgers and Braves, combined (47).

Meanwhile, the Astros are searching for answers on the mound while pitching coach Brent Strom is concerned about his pitchers tipping their pitches.

“We just have to do a better job of watching what our pitchers do and getting ahead in the count,” Strom said.

Cora believes it’s the change in their hitting culture that has made the difference for the Red Sox. He credited Schwarber for bringing a new approach after his July trade to the team. Free-swinging hitters began to approach their at-bats with some patience.

“We were expanding,” Cora said. “We didn’t walk too much, and when he got here and when he started playing, it was different. It’s a different at-bat, and other guys have followed his lead, and right now, like I said, this is the best I’ve seen this team this season offensively.”

Source link


Buck O’Neil joins Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso, others in being elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame



Buck O’Neil, a champion of Black ballplayers during a monumental, eight-decade career on and off the field, joined Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso and three others in being elected to the baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Former Minnesota Twins teammates Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat, a longtime television analyst after his playing days, also were chosen along with Bud Fowler by a pair of veterans committees.

Oliva and Kaat are the only living new members. Dick Allen, who died last December, fell one vote shy of election.

Kaat pitched 25 seasons with a host of teams, including the Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals, winning 283 games. He served as an analyst for the Yankees before moving on to the MLB Network.

The 16-member Early Days and Golden Days committees met separately in Orlando, Florida. The election announcement was originally scheduled to coincide with the big league winter meetings, which were nixed because of the MLB lockout.

The six newcomers will be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 2022, along with any new members elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. First-time candidates David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez join Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling on the ballot, with voting results on Jan. 25.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source link

Continue Reading


Daisuke Matsuzaka ends 23-year career, surprised by Ichiro Suzuki in ceremony



Daisuke Matsuzaka brought his 23-year professional baseball career to a close Saturday in a ceremony that included a surprise appearance by Ichiro Suzuki.

Matsuzaka, who faced only one batter this season for the Saitama Seibu Lions — issuing a walk in an October appearance — told fans at Seibu’s MetLife Dome that he was happy to leave the sport on his terms.

“I’m content that I was able to keep playing baseball until I could no longer throw normally in the end,” Matsuzaka said, according to Kyodo News.

A video from Suzuki was played, ending with the longtime Seattle Mariners outfielder surprising Matsuzaka on the field and giving him a flower bouquet.

“I hadn’t imagined this. It was crazy,” Matsuzaka said, according to Kyodo News. “At first I was able to hold up, and then the tears came and I was done for.

“I was surprised and just overjoyed that, at the end, Ichiro-san came to see me. I’m happy I was able to come so far.”

Suzuki and Matsuzaka faced each other both in Japan and Major League Baseball over their careers. They were also teammates for Japan’s World Baseball Classic titles in 2006 and 2009.

Matsuzaka, 41, was 56-43 with a 4.45 ERA in 132 career MLB starts with the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets from 2007 to 2014. He won a World Series title in his rookie season with the Red Sox in 2017.

He started and ended his career with the Lions, pitching for them from 1999 to 2006 and the past two seasons. He also played for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and Chunichi Dragons after returning to Japan in 2015.

Source link

Continue Reading


Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and USWNT soccer player Mallory Pugh announce their engagement



Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson earned a ring last month. U.S. women’s national team forward Mallory Pugh got one this month.

The World Series champion and the World Cup winner announced their engagement on Instagram Thursday night. The two have dated since 2017.

The couple met through Swanson’s former teammate Jace Peterson, now with the Milwaukee Brewers, who is married to Pugh’s sister.

Pugh plays with the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL and has been with the U.S. national team since 2016. She played in the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2019 World Cup, scoring a goal against Thailand.

Swanson made his major league debut with the Braves in 2016. This season, he hit .248 with 27 home runs and 88 RBIs.

The couple is just the latest power couple with connections to the U.S. team. They join Megan Rapinoe and her partner, WNBA star Sue Bird, and Julie Ertz, who is married to Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz.

Source link

Continue Reading