Salty gives Sox sweet walk off homer

773684.jpg

Salty gives Sox sweet walk off homer

BOSTON Jarrod Saltalamacchias first career walk-off home run rescued the Red Sox Saturday night, as they took a 3-2 win over the Rays.

Saltalamacchia, pinch-hitting for Marlon Byrd with one out and Daniel Nava on second base, took an 0-1 pitch from Rays closer Fernando and deposited it into the Red Sox bullpen for the win.

Rodney had been a perfect 15-for-15 in save situations this season until Saltalamacchias blast.

Rich Hill, who pitched the ninth for the Sox, got the win and his first decision of the season, 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA.

Josh Beckett started and cruised through the Tampa Bay lineup for six innings. In that span, he held Rays batters to just one hit a Jose Molina third-inning single with no walks and three strikeouts.

The Red Sox offense gave him a one-run lead in the sixth when David Ortiz, who reached on a single and took second on Adrian Gonzalezs single to center, scored on Will Middlebrooks single.

Despite the slim lead, with the way Beckett was setting down the Rays, it appeared that may be enough for the right-hander.

But the seventh inning was his undoing. Beckett gave up a lead-off single to B.J. Upton, who took third on Matt Joyces single to right. Upton scored on Ben Zobrists sacrifice fly with Joyce scoring on Luke Scotts single to right.

Beckett was done after that. His line: Seven innings, four hits, two runs, no walks, five strikeouts. His ERA fell from 4.38 to 4.15.

Rays starter David Price was in line for his seventh win of the season before Saltalamacchias blast.

It was the eighth home run of the season for Saltalamacchia.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

world_series_francona_epstein_102416.png

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”