Red Sox 9, Yankees 7: The Yankees were supposed to have a great bullpen. The Red Sox weren’t supposed to have enough offense because of all that run prevention they had imported. Well, The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men gang aft agley, and all that. The Yankees blew a 5-1 lead. The Red Sox pounded out 12 hits, five of which went for extra bases. One of the Yankees runs — on the double steal — was the result of approximately 14 defensive mistakes on the same play, aptly pointed out by what I’m going to henceforth call ESPN’s “Matrix-vision.”
And I probably owe an apology. Before the game I kept claiming that it would be a turgid, boring and sloppy four-hour affair, and I was wrong about that. It was a turgid, boring and sloppy three hour and forty-six minute affair. But as Sox and Yankees purists have warned me, I shouldn’t complain. The additions of bad live singing by Stephen Tyler (“God Bless America”) and Neil Diamond (“Something that sounded almost but not quite entirely unlike ‘Sweet Caroline'”) only added to the pure, unspoiled majesty that is The Greatest Rivalry in All of Baseball.*
Oh, and the Red Sox’ magic number is 161.
*Why they didn’t have the best musical talent in the house performing last night is beyond me.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.