The tough loss in Toronto on Saturday afternoon may have dampened some spirits around Red Sox Nation, though at 4-2, the homestand week was overall a good one for our favorite ball club.
- Jackie Bradley‘s exciting hitting streak ended this week at 29 games, the longest hitting streak in baseball since 2011 when Dan Uggla hit in 33 straight. Bradley’s streak winds up tied with Johnny Damon‘s for the 4th longest in Red Sox history. According to Elias, Bradley was the first player with a hitting streak of at least 29 games while batting from the sixth or lower position in each game since the Yankees’ Joe Gordon in 1942 (also 29 games). During the streak, Bradley led all of baseball for AVG (.415), SLG (.783), OPS (1.271), and RBI (30).
Now it’s Xander Bogaerts turn. On Saturday he extended his hitting streak to 21 games, the 2nd longest hit streak in the Majors this season after Bradley’s. With Bogaerts and Bradley the Red Sox are the first team in American League history to have two different players record a hitting streak of 20 or more games before June 1st. It’s happened five times before in the National League, most recently when Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval (remember him?) did it with the Giants in 2012.
- What seemed a very promising game on Saturday turned into arguably the worst Red Sox loss of the year. Sure, the umpiring was bad, again, but realistically, that cuts against both sides over the course of a season. No, this loss was best hung around the necks of Boston relievers who squandered a 7-3, an 8-4, and a 9-8 lead. Once again, the Red Sox offense was on full display with nine runs scored on 15 hits. No team should lose when hitting and scoring like that. In fact, the Sox hadn’t lost a game after that kind of production since a 16-9 pounding by the Cubs on July 2, 2014.
- It has been over eight years since the Red Sox have been swept in a three game set in Toronto. An ace stops a slide, so Sunday’s performance by David Price after three Sox losses will be telling. Price’s numbers against the Blue Jays are certainly favorable. His 17-2 career record facing Toronto is his second best mark against any American League team but the Royals (against whom he’s 3-0). At Rogers Center, Price is an impressive 11-1 with a 3.34 ERA in 15 career starts. Should Price fail, the Red Sox will be swept for the first time there since April 4-6, 2008.
- The Marlins Ichiro Suzuki is certainly proving himself good in a pinch. This season he’s amassed a .357 AVG over 19 pinch-hit plate appearances. Among those with at least 60 pinch-hit PA in a single season, the very best was the Rockies John Vander Wal, who went 28-for-72 (.389) in 1995. At this pace, Suzuki could wind up with the 5th best mark for a pinch-hitter in a single season ever. For the Red Sox the top pinch-hitter was Phil Gagliano, who went 22-for-68 (.324) in 1971. Since 1960, Gagliano is the only Boston pinch hitter to bat over .300 in 60 or more pinch hit appearances of one season.
- It was superb to see Blake Swihart hit two triples in the same game this week. That makes the Red Sox the first team with three players (also Bradley and Mookie Betts) to pull off this feat since the 1992 editions of the White Sox and Phillies. These’s a lot more about this rare accomplishment worth reviewing.
- Major League Baseball dates back to a game played between the Boston Red Stockings and the Philadelphia Athletics on April 22, 1876 according to baseball’s official historian, John Thorn. Newspaper accounts agreed that defense and baserunning were the keys to Boston’s 6-5 victory on that day. The game is one of those profiled in the fun book, Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century.
- Homegrown pitchers, those drafted by their current club or originally signed as free agents by their current club, have started in 29 of 47 games (61.7%) for the Rangers this season, the highest such rate in baseball. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the bought-and-paid-for-Cubs, for whom no such talent has started in any of their games thus far. The Cubs are, in fact, the only team in baseball for which farm raised talent hasn’t appeared yet this season. Boston has had 12 games of 2016 started by homegrown pitchers: nine by Clay Buchholz and three by Henry Owens. Collectively, the two have gone 2-4 with a 5.77 ERA in those games.
- Clutch hitting is so much fun to witness. With Saturday’s game, the Red Sox lead all of baseball with 105 two-out RBI this season. The Cardinals are next with 99 such RBI. No other American League team has more than 89. Boston also continues to lead baseball with 51 first-inning runs and have a remarkable 125 runs scored in the first three innings of the game. No other baseball team has more than 92. Clearly, if the Sox can stay healthy, offense isn’t the problem but it’s undeniable that pitching could undermine how far this team can go this season.