Red Sox ratings are way down this year

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The Red Sox bandwagon has a few empty seats in it this year according to Sports Business Journal:

The Boston Red
Sox’s six-year reign atop MLB’s local television ratings is about to
end, as the team’s local numbers have plummeted from first to fifth this
season.

Entering the All-Star break, ratings for Red Sox games on
NESN have dropped nearly 36 percent from last year, for a 6.25 average
rating.

The last time the Red Sox finished out of the top spot was
in 2003, when the Mariners posted an 11.53 rating on FSN Northwest. The
Sox averaged a 7.86 rating that year on NESN. This year, Red Sox
ratings trail the Cardinals (9.70 on FS Midwest), Twins (7.85 on FS
North), Phillies (7.20 on CSN Philadelphia) and Reds (6.52 on FS Ohio).

Obviously they still reach a ton more households than just about any team, and some of this drop also probably reflects the Celtics and Bruins’ long postseason runs, though at least the Celtics’ success is not new.

It would seem that the most likely explanation here is just a general decline in enthusiasm about the Bosox. Check out this fan quote from the article:

“People expected a
bigger splash in the offseason. There’s a general
feeling that the ownership took a pass on this season, and I think
you’re seeing fans question why they should invest in it.”

If that’s true it speaks of a pretty damn big sense of entitlement on the part of Sox fans, doesn’t it?  They brought in two of the most sought-after free agents in all of baseball in John Lackey and Adrian Beltre and returned the rest of a team that just won 95 games last year.  Has it really gotten to the point that unless a $100 million free agent comes in that fans consider ownership “taking a pass?”

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.