BOSTON -- First impressions of the Boston Red Sox 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins:
David Price was once again disappointing.
Minnesota is a team opposing pitchers should long to face.
Their No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters all have averages below .250 with average to below average home run totals.
The only hitter who poses and all-around legitimate threat is Eduardo Nunez, who would probably bat seventh in Boston’s lineup.
While there were other factors at play, Price once again left the ball up in the zone too much. That’s a big problem when nature’s playing a factor in the game.
Either way, with the Twins in town, Price has to be better.
Saturday marked the second time of the season where Sandy Leon registered back-to-back hitless performances.
The previous pair came back on June 29th and July 2nd with a layoff between the two contests.
In his last five contests, Leon is 3-for-17. His power numbers are also down in that stretch, with only two extra-base hits that came on the same night.
It could be a small rough patch given Leon was 7-for-19 with a home run and a double (in separate contests) in the five games preceding this dry spell.
Either ay it’s something to watch as Leon plays more and more.
The wind played a factor in the high-run total.
The second hit of the ball game seemed like a medium-depth fly to right, and nearly carried out of the ballpark.
Michael Martinez was twisting and turning on fly balls changing direction all night -- and there’s evidence it wasn’t just him.
David Ortiz reached on a pop up that Nunez went after, which never left the infield.
Trash and dust were flying everywhere in the first inning. While that intensity didn’t maintain all night, it was definitely an issue players had to consider throughout the game.
The bullpen mop-up crew couldn’t get the job done.
While some of the hits in the five-run seventh were luck, Clay Buchholz and Tommy Layne flat out couldn’t get the job done against a rough lineup.
Neither is a terribly great option -- so the Red Sox might want to reconsider using either one in those situations.
Even Heath Hembree couldn’t put together a decent night. Someone has to stop the bleeding when things get out of control.
The Red Sox pitchers can’t keep throwing away nine-run performances.
With Friday night serving as evidence, the offense will not always have great nights.
So when they do, the pitch has to be decent -- but they couldn’t even do that Saturday.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Je-Vaughn Watson scored on a header in the 85th minute and the New England Revolution beat the Chicago Fire 1-0 on Saturday night.
The Revolution (6-7-8) had a flurry of attempts leading up to the goal and Fire (4-10-5) goalkeeper Sean Johnson made three saves in the 2 minutes prior.
But Johnson came off his line to defend Chris Tierney's corner and failed to clear it with his outstretched hand while Watson connected and sent the header into the empty net.
Bobby Shuttleworth earned his fifth shutout of the season for New England.
Chris Sale -- this year’s American league starting pitcher in the All-Star game -- was a late scratch and sent home before his scheduled Saturday start.
This of course comes after the White Sox have begun to listen to offers for their bonafide ace -- including the Red Sox.
Preceding the game, the White Sox released a statement from senior vice president/general manager Rick Hahn explaining that Sale’s removal was “due to a clubhouse incident before the game.”
After ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported the altercation was with staff from the front office and had nothing to do with his teammates, there was another report that the issue pertained to the throwback uniforms the White Sox planned to wear for Saturday’s game.
Not a joke: Source says Sale blowup was because he didn't want to wear throwbacks, so he cut the jerseys up so no one could wear them.— Tommy Stokke (@StokkeTommy) July 23, 2016
Fox’s Ken Rosenthal has additionally been told the issue “was bigger than that.”
Sources say: Sale cut up throwbacks during batting practice. Upset that, in his view, PR and jersey sales were more important than winning.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 24, 2016
Sale is a huge addition to any starting rotation -- never mind the Red Sox staff.
His stats are without a doubt impressive. An All-Star every season since 2012 thanks to his career 2.95 ERA and 10.1 K/9 -- this year posting a 3.18 ERA and 8.7 K/9.
But numbers can be deceiving -- especially with players playing for a small market club. That’s not the case with Sale though. While the White Sox haven’t contended in the postseason with the lefty, there’s no denying that Chicago isn’t a small market by any means.
The jump from Chicago to Boston is nothing compared to players coming from places like Miami or Atlanta -- or San Diego. So Sale presents a good fit in terms of approach -- in addition to having good stuff.
The incident makes Sale come across as a prima donna, the fact that the issue went past the uniforms shows there could be a deeper issue at hand -- and not so much an indictment of his mental make-up.
Additionally, this altercation could open the door to get Sale at a lower value. If it was that bad that he was sent home, it could take a lot more than a stern talk and hand shakes to resolve the issue, giving interested teams a much better chance to obtain the Cy Young candidate.
However, if the Red Sox do manage to strike a deal with the White Sox, they’d be wise to throw someone else on throwback nights.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar