It was an eventful weekend at Fenway Park, wasn’t it?
On Friday came the news that Pablo Sandoval was designated for assignment and that his Red Sox career was effectively over. The Panda’s time on the disabled list was nearing its end and so the time had come for Sox management to decide whether to hold ’em or fold ’em. Justifiably, they ended the game.
In all, Sandoval played 161 games with the Sox (2015-17), slashing .237 AVG/.286 OBP/.360 SLG in that time compared to a .294/.346/.465 line over seven seasons (869 games) with the Giants. Red Sox baseball president Dave Dombrowski credited ownership for the willingness to write off the $49 million remaining on Sandoval’s guaranteed contract, which runs through 2019.
Over the weekend CBS Sports reported that Panda could reunite with the Giants, though a reporter closer to the scene throws some cold water on the prospect of that actually happening. If Pablo wants to be reunited with San Francisco, Andrew Baggarly wrote, he’ll follow through with a five-step program that seems somewhat arduous for a man of Sandoval’s significant financial means. Why would he bother?
Sox and Yankees Split Four
The Red Sox had to be satisfied with a weekend split in a four-game set that really, truly should have yielded three wins for Boston. Enough about the games has been credibly documented elsewhere (and here, here, and here), but there a couple points worth special mention.
- Jackie Bradley, Jr. makes it look so easy, doesn’t he? Sunday’s night’s catch, which robbed Yankees phenom Aaron Judge of a two-run home run, was undoubtedly “one of the best catches ever made at Fenway Park.” Statcast reported Judge’s flyout to have left the bat at 107.5 MPH with a hit probability of 91 percent.
- Even those with concerns about David Price had to impressed with his performance Sunday night. Over eight strong innings he allowed no runs, no walks, and struck out eight while allowing seven hits. With Craig Kimbrel‘s close, the Sox handed the Yankees their very first shutout loss of the season.
- So there’s this: Despite losing two of the four games, Red Sox pitchers in those losses held a hard-hitting Yankees team to four and three runs on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. In return Boston’s offense mustered just one total run for both of those games. The Sox pitching staff owns a 3.72 ERA this season, the best in the American League and 3rd-best in the majors. Boston relievers’ ERA is 3.04, also 3rd best in baseball.
- Friday’s Red Sox win with a walk-off walk was historical, so too was the next night’s loss. Besides Saturday, the only Fenway game where the Red Sox were held to one or fewer runs longer was a 17-inning, 0-0 tie on July 14, 1916 agains the St. Louis Browns.
- How good was it to see Brock Holt back in action? Until Sunday afternoon he hadn’t been in a game since April 20, down with the effects of a concussion and vertigo. “Emotionally, physically, it was something that, obviously, I would rather not have to go through. It’s going to make me stronger,” Holt told the Worcester Telegram. “I’m glad to be back.” Can’t imagine a single denizen of Red Sox Nation that doesn’t hope the best for Holt.
- What a sight at Fenway Park on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The Red Sox really know how to orchestrate these kind of meaningful events. The morning’s 8th Annual Run to Home Base was followed by an on-field tribute to over 800 veterans. Proceeds from the run benefits Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital program to help service members when they complete their military service.
- We’ll likely see Tzu-Wei Lin again but the Sox sent him back to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday to make room on the roster for the return of pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. Lin was 14-for-50 (.280) with two triples and eight walks in his first stint with the big club (19 games).
Red Sox now face the moribund Toronto Blue Jays (7-13 for their last 20) for four games at Fenway before heading out for the last west coast trip of the regular season.