Red Sox pound Royals behind Ortiz's slam, 12-5


Red Sox pound Royals behind Ortiz's slam, 12-5

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON It was another night and another punishment of mediocre pitching by the Red Sox offense.

The Sox bats continued their torrid offensive display in the month of July by pounding lefty Bruce Chen and a host of relievers to the tune of 12 runs and 16 hits in a 12-5 thrashing at Fenway Park.

The victory marked the 11th straight game at Fenway Park with the Sox getting 10 or more hits the longest streak of its kind this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia launched back-to-back solo homers in the first inning to slap Chen around early in the ballgame, and then David Ortiz executed the death blow with his 10th career grand slam in the bottom of the fourth frame.

The big blast gave Ortiz his 10th consecutive season of 20 plus home runs and also represented his 1000th career RBI as a member of the Red Sox a plateau that only five other Sox players have crossed in franchise history.

Chen was rocked for 10 hits and 10 earned runs in four innings of work, and looked every bit the journeyman big leaguer hes become since pitching for Boston way back in the 2003 season.

The slamming Sox needed all the run support with John Lackey not quite at his best on the mound once again. Lackey was, however, gritty enough to get through 5 23 innings and maneuver through 11 hits allowed with only three earned runs when given plenty of run support.

It didnt make anybody believe Lackey can silence a quality lineup once the postseason gets going, but Lackey is still 4-0 with a 2.52 ERA in his last four starts while at least giving his club innings and a chance to win.

The Sox offense was clicking at such high efficiency that spare part players Darnell McDonald and Yamaico Navarro were able to collect two-hit nights along with the usual suspects at the top of the Boston batting attack.

Player of the Game: David Ortiz only went 1-for-4 on the evening, but his one contribution was a moon shot to right field in the fourth inning for his 10th career grand slam. The four RBIs also allowed Big Papi to reach 1,000 in his career with the Red Sox only the sixth player in franchise history to amass 1000 runs batted in while wearing the Red Stockings. Ortiz also now has 20 home runs for the 10th consecutive season in whats become a pretty amazing body of work in Boston considering the production and the clutch work in the postseason.

Honorable Mention: Dustin Pedroia collected three hits and extended his career-best hitting streak to 24 games while also raising his batting average to .308 and he did all of that while also moving back to the No. 2 hole from the clean-up spot that seems to agree with him so much.

The Goat: How is Bruce Chen still in the Major Leagues? He was given a three-run cushion in the top of the first inning and proceeded to choke on it in four innings of batting practice to the Red Sox. Chen gave up 10 hits and 10 runs in the four innings of work and was tagged for three home runs in another piece of evidence that the Red Sox absolutely murder mediocre pitching. Its been a long time since Chens cup of coffee with the Red Sox in 2003, but he certainly hasnt improved with time and age. It boggles the mind that Chen won 12 games for the Royals last season.

Turning Point: A little bad luck and a whole lot of power from Eric Hosmer conspired to put the Sox down by three runs after the top of the first inning, but the Sox answered back immediately in a big statement with their bats. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia went back-to-back in the bottom of the first to lead things off become the first Sox players to do that leading off a game since Troy OLeary and John Valentin during the 1995 baseball season. From there the offense was off and running.

By the Numbers: 11 the number of consecutive home games that the Red Sox offense has reached double-digit hits, the longest streak of its kind in the Major Leagues this season.

Quote of Note: Ellsbury and Pedroia are making it tougher on everyone else. What theyre doing at the top of the lineup is ridiculous. You dont get that on a daily basis from your first and second-hole hitters. Sox designated hitter David Ortiz on what he thinks is making a difference during Bostons offensive surge in July thats seen them go 18-4 this month.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona


Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona

The Red Sox lost another key member of their front office Monday, when vice-president of amateur and international scouting Amiel Sawdaye followed former general manager Mike Hazen to Arizona.

Sawdaye will be the Diamondbacks' assistant GM. As stated by Rotoworld, he had been instrumental in building up the Red Sox' young big league talent and farm system.

The Boston Globe reported today that the Red Sox may not fill the GM vacancy created when Hazen left, instead using "other staffers to take on Hazen’s administrative duties". President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski handles many of the duties traditionally associated with the general manager's position, leaving the actual GM's job in Boston as "essentially an assistant [position] with a lofty title but little power".

The Red Sox have also lost two other front-office members this offseason: Senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett, who had been with the organization for eight years, and director of sports medicine services Dan Dyrek, who had been with the Sox for five years.

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

Sometime over the next 10 or so days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will win the 2016 World Series.

Naturally, that will mean one of baseball's two longest-suffering franchises will end their championship drought. Either the Cubs will win their first title since 1908, or the Indians will win for the first time since 1948.

That alone should make for an epic World Series.

But there's another bit of history at stake, too - one of legacies.

In addition to the great discomfort felt by Red Sox ownership -- which fired the manager of one participating team and was seemingly happy to hold the door open for the exit of an executive now running the other - it will also almost certainly result, eventually, in either Terry Francona or Theo Epstein being enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Epstein would go down as the architect who helped two star-crossed franchises win titles - the Red Sox in 2004, and the Cubs this fall.

The Red Sox went 86 years between championships; the Cubs would be ending a run of futility that stretched across 108 seasons.

That would provide Epstein with an unmatched resume when it comes to degree of difficulty. It's one thing to win it all; it's another altogether to do so with the Sox and Cubs, two clubs, until Epstein's arrival, linked in ignominy.

Epstein could become only the fourth GM in modern history win a World Series in both leagues. Frank Cashen (Orioles and Mets); John Schuerholz (Royals and Braves) and Pat Gillick (Blue Jays and Phillies).

He would also join a short list of executives who have won three rings, a list that includes contemporaries Brian Cashman and Brian Sabean.

Of course, Epstein can't claim to have constructed the entire Cubs roster, no more than he could have done when the Red Sox won in '04.

In Boston, Epstein inherited key players such as Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Similarly, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras pre-date Epstein's arrival on the North Side.

But Epstein is responsible for nearly the remainder of the roster, and hiring manager Joe Maddon, the coaching staff and most of the Baseball Operations staff, including GM Jed Hoyer and scouting director Jason McLeod.

Francona's influence on the Indians is just as obvious.

Hired in late 2012 after spending a year in the ESPN broadcast booth, he inherited a team which had suffered through four straight losing seasons. In the five previous years before Francona's hiring, the Indians averaged just over 72 wins per season.

Since his arrival, the Indians have posted four straight winning seasons, with two playoff appearances, while averaging 88 wins per season.

It hasn't seemed to matter to the Indians that they've been without two of their three best starters (Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco) this postseason or arguably, their best offensive player for all but 11 games this season (Michael Brantley).

The Indians don't make excuses for injuries, or bemoan their modest payroll. Under Francona, they just win.

This postseason, he's made up for the absences in the rotation by masterfully utilizing reliever Andrew Miller anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning.

A third World Series would put Francona in similarly rare company. Only 10 managers have won three or more World Series and just six have done so since World War 2 - Walter Alston, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bruce Bochy Sparky Anderson and Casey Stengel.

The individual accomplishments of Epstein and Francona won't take center stage this week and next -- that attention will, rightly, go to their respective beleaguered franchises.

But the subtext shouldn't be overlooked. Once the partying and the parades come to an end, a path to Cooperstown for either the winning manager or winning president of baseball operations can be cleared.