Nation STATion: No comeback . . . as usual

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Nation STATion: No comeback . . . as usual

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

Wednesdays game was unusual for the Red Sox, but not because they lost to the White Sox. Actually, that is more the usual. The Chicagoans have won their last 13-of-15 against the locals, and 9 of 10 since the start of last season.

To make it even uglier, the White Sox have had their way at Fenway seven straight times now, their longest winning streak in Boston since they also won seven in the 1958-1959 seasons. Those were the days when the White Sox had players like Jim Landis, Sherm Lollar, Early Wynn and a double-play combo of Luis Aparicio and Nellie Fox as they headed to the 1959 World Series. The Bostons, under Pinky Higgins, countered with Frank Malzone, Jackie Jensen, Sammy White, Bill Monbouquette, and a guy named Williams in his waning days (1959 was the only season in which he hit under .300).

But that trip down memory lane doesn't address what was unusual about Wednesday's loss. You might recall that the Red Sox held a 3-0 lead through three innings. And there you have it. Hard to believe, but that ties the largest lead lost by the Red Sox this season. In this return to small-ball era, three- and four-run leads mean something. They are not that quickly eviscerated by one or two swings of performance-enhanced bats.

Here is something else unusual about Wednesdays game: the Red Sox held a 3-0 lead after three innings. That in and of itself is not that out of the ordinary, but the fact that they lost the game is odd. When the Red Sox are ahead at the start of the fourth inning, their record this season is 18-7. Thats a .720 winning percentage (overall Boston is 30-26, .536).

The White Sox scored once in the fourth, which meant Boston held a 3-1 lead heading into the fifth inning. Heres one for you: when Boston is leading at the start of the fifth, its record is 22-5 (.815). Thats a pretty powerful number.

Chicago tied the game in the fifth and the two teams were tied entering the sixth inning. That has been a bad inning for the Red Sox to have a tie game. In fact, thats the worst inning for this team to be tied.

Tied at the Start of InningWinsLossesPct.Pitcher Role13026.536Starters21715.531Starters31210.545Starters4104.714Starters564.600Starters635.375Starters754.556Set-ups841.800Set-ups9501.000Closer1022.500Bullpen1121.667Bullpen1201.000Bullpen1301.000Bullpen
The two teams exchanged runs in the sixth and were tied entering the seventh inning. You can see from the chart above, the Red Sox are now just over .500 when tied entering the stretch inning.

The Chisox scored in the seventh to take their second lead. Now a one-run deficit heading to eighth inning shouldnt be a big deal. But this is where Wednesdays unusual game became the usual.

The Red Sox have come from behind to win six games this season. The White Sox can now say they have come from behind in 8 of their 27 wins. The Yanks have overcome deficits 12 times in their 31 wins. Its 8-of-29 for the Rays.

Comebacks are exciting for fans and players alike, but they have been far and few between for the Red Sox this season. When the Red Sox fell behind, 5-4, in a game they ended up losing 7-4, it pushed their record when trailing entering the eighth to a horrifying 1-23. Just so you realize, while the Sox do have four walkoff wins this year, only one has occurred when they entered the ninth behind, where their trailing record is 1-26 (.037).

In fact, Sox fans, you better hope your team gets off to a good start in every game. Because when they are behind at the start of the fifth inning their record is a measly 2-17 (.105), and by the start of the seventh its 1-19 (.050).

In 2007, you know, the last World Championship season for Boston? That year the Red Sox had 42 comeback wins. In the miraculous year of 2004, Boston celebrated 47 comeback wins.

Were early in the season, but its never too early to have some magic. Just ask the fans in Cleveland. The Indians, playing over their heads with enthusiastic baseball, have won 33 games this season and they trailed in 15 of them.

You want something to root for? Root for a comeback to the comeback.

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

BOSTON -- Chris Sale was perfectly happy to sit back and watch the Red Sox hitters do the work this time.

Sale cruised into the fifth inning, then was rewarded in the seventh when the Boston batters erupted for seven runs on their way to a 9-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Sale (5-2) struck out six, falling short in his attempt to become the first pitcher in baseball's modern era to strike out at least 10 batters in nine straight games in one season.

But he didn't seem to mind.

"It was fun," said the left-hander, who received more runs of support in the seventh inning alone than while he was in any other game this season. "You get run after run, hit after hit. When we score like that, it's fun."

Dustin Pedroia waved home the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch, then singled in two more as the Red Sox turned a 3-1 deficit into a five-run lead and earned their third straight victory. Sam Travis had two singles for the Red Sox in his major league debut.

"I was a little nervous in the first inning," he said. "I'd be lying to you guys if I said I wasn't."

Mike Napoli homered for Texas, which has lost three of four to follow a 10-game winning streak.

FOR SALE

Sale, who also struck out 10 or more batters in eight straight games in 2015 with the White Sox, remains tied for the season record with Pedro Martinez. (Martinez had 10 straight in a span from 1999-2000.)

After scoring four runs in support of Sale in his first six starts, the Red Sox have scored 27 while he was in the game in his last five. He took a no-hitter into the fifth, but finished with three earned runs, six hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings.

"Guys pulled through for me when I was probably pretty mediocre," he said.

NO RELIEF

Sam Dyson (1-5) faced seven batters in relief of Martin Perez and gave up four hits, three walks - two intentional - and a wild pitch without retiring a batter.

"Martin threw the ball really well and I came in with two guys on and couldn't get an out," Dyson said. "Sometimes they hit them where they are, and sometimes they hit them where they aren't."

Asked if he felt any different, he said: "Everything's the same.

"If I get my (expletive) handed to me, it's not like anything's wrong," he said. "Any more amazing questions from you all?"

SEVEN IN THE SEVENTH

It was 3-1 until the seventh, when Andrew Benintendi and Travis singled with one out to chase Perez. Mitch Moreland singled to make it 3-2, pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge singled to tie it and, after Mookie Betts was intentionally walked to load the bases, Moreland scored on a wild pitch to give Boston the lead.

Pedroia singled in two more runs, Xander Bogaerts doubled and Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dyson was pulled after walking Chris Young to force in another run.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx got Benintendi to pop up foul of first base, but Napoli let it fall safely - his second such error in the game. Benintendi followed with a sacrifice fly that made it 8-3 before Travis was called out on strikes to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor was shaken up when he dived for Betts' grounder up the middle in the third inning. He was slow getting up. After being looked at by the trainer, he remained in the game.

Red Sox: LHP David Price made his second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing six runs - three earned - seven hits and a walk. He struck out four in 3 2/3 innings, throwing 89 pitches, 61 for strikes, and left without addressing reporters. 3B Pablo Sandoval also played in the game, going 2 for 4 with two runs.

"He felt fine physically," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who added he would talk to Price on Thursday morning to determine how to proceed. "We had a scout there who liked what he saw."

UP NEXT:

Rangers: Will send RHP Nick Martinez (1-2) to the mound in the finale of the three-game series.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (3-3) looks to snap a personal two-game losing streak.

David Price dodges media after second rough rehab start

David Price dodges media after second rough rehab start

If only David Price could pitch as well as he dodges the media.

The Red Sox lefty bailed on a typical post-start media session with reporters in Pawtucket on Wednesday, after his second minor league rehab outing in Triple-A was another dud.

As Price comes back from a nondescript elbow injury, difficulty retiring minor league hitters doesn't combine well with difficulty facing questions. He sat in the mid-90s in his second rehab start with Pawtucket, but allowed six runs, three earned, in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.

The PawSox were at home at McCoy Stadium against Triple-A Louisville, a Reds affiliate, and Price heard some heckling. Postgame, he wanted to hear nothing, apparently.

Per CSNNE’s Bill Messina, who was on site in Pawtucket, the media was waiting outside the clubhouse for Price, as is standard. 

PawSox media relations told the media to go to the weight room, where Price would meet them. As media headed that way, PR alerted reporters that Price was leaving and did not want to talk. Media saw a car leaving, but there was no interview.

On the mound, Price’s velocity is there, but the command is not. The Red Sox would be unwise to bring back Price before really two more minor league starts — one to show he can do well, another to show he can repeat it.

Price’s ERA in two starts for Pawtucket is 9.53. He’s gone 5 2/3 innings and allowed six earned runs, while striking out eight and walking two overall.