Jason Varitek, David Ortiz

Red Sox score 16 in Toronto to win eighth straight

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The Red Sox steamroller looked nearly unstoppable Saturday.  In their 16-4 drubbing of the Blue Jays, they…

– Tied the Phillies for the best record in baseball at 38-26.

– Torched Brandon Morrow for a career-high nine runs allowed in 4 1/3 innings.  He had never allowed more than seven runs in an outing.  Morrow also gave up a career-high 10 hits.

– Became the first team this season to score three runs off reliever Jason Frasor.  Frasor, who pitched two-thirds of an inning, saw his ERA jump from 2.10 to 3.08.

– Became the first teamthis year to score three runs off reliever Casey Janssen.  Janssen entered the day with a 2.10 ERA.  After giving up three runs in two-thirds of an inning, he’s at 3.04.

– Forced the Blue Jays to turn to infielder Mike McCoy in the ninth.  McCoy actually pitched a perfect frame, retiring Carl Crawford, Marco Scutaro and J.D. Drew.

– Extended their winning streak to eight games, matching the longest by a major league team this season.  Only the Indians, from April 3-11, had won eight in a row previously.  The Red Sox previously had a seven-game winning streak from May 13-20.

– Expanded their major league lead in runs after taking over the top spot in the sweep against the Yankees.  They’ve scored 336 runs, 15 more than the Bombers. It is worth noting there that the Red Sox have played two more games than the Yankees.

– Had 18 hits to (momentarily) take over the major league lead with 618 hits in 64 games.  The Cardinals should take back over the lead tonight, but they’ve collected their 617 hits in 65 games.

Things went so well in this one that even Jason Varitek drove in four runs.  He had one RBI in all of April.

Scutaro ended up with four hits, even though his hardest hit ball — a comebacker that bounced off Morrow’s thigh — went for an out.

Dustin Pedroia went 3-for-5 with three RBI, leaving him 6-for-9 in two days since he returned from a knee scope.

The Red Sox will go for their third straight sweep Sunday behind Jon Lester. They’ll be facing a rookie in Kyle Drabek who could well find himself demoted to Triple-A if he can’t stop the bleeding and turn in a solid six-inning showing for the Jays.

 

Is Bud Black the favorite to be the next Braves manager?

Bud Black
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We talked last week about how Fredi Gonzalez is likely a dead man walking as the Braves manager. They stink, he’s a lame duck and part of the team’s whole marketing thrust is “2017 will be a new beginning,” what with the new ballpark and all. It stands to reason that Mr. Gonzalez doesn’t have long for this world.

Last week I suspected he’d be fired tomorrow, the Braves off day before a home stand. They’ve won in the past week, but it still wouldn’t shock me. Even if firing Gonzalez would be an act of scapegoating. It’s the roster that’s the problem, not the manager, even though Fredi doesn’t exactly inspire anyone.

Today Bob Nightengale throws this into the mix:

As of yet he hasn’t followed that up with an actual column or more tweets about who, exactly, considers Black to be the heavy favorite, but there’s a definitiveness to that which makes me think he’s heard something solid.

Black, as you know, was the long time Padres manager who had an unsuccessful flirtation with the Nationals before they hired Dusty Baker this past offseason. Black is now cooling his heels with his longtime boss Mike Scioscia in Anaheim, in what is clearly a “wait for his next managing opportunity” posture.

Could it be in Atlanta? At least one national writer and some nebulous group of insiders believe so, it would seem.

The Reds bullpen set a record for futility

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover reacts after giving up a solo home run to Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, left, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2016, in Cincinnati. The Cubs won 8-1. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning but it’s worthy of its own post.

The Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen gave up two runs last night. In so doing it made for the 21st consecutive game in which it has allowed at least one run. That’s a new major league record, having surpassed the 2013 Colorado Rockies’ record of 20, according to Elias.

Last year the Reds set a record — shattered it, really — by going with rookie starting pitchers in 64 straight games to end the season. Those guys aren’t rookies anymore, but they’re still really inexperienced. They could probably use some better bullpen help than they’ve been getting.

Headline of the Day– A-Rod: “Trophy Boyfriend”

Alex Rodriguez
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For as long as there have been couples, the woman in a couple has been publicly defined by the man’s life and accomplishments. It doesn’t matter if the woman cures cancer, walks on the moon or wins the Eurovision Song Contest, when news stories or obituaries are written, she is invariably referred to as “wife of ___” or “girlfriend of ___.” Even if the guy is a grade-A schmuck.

While that pattern still persists, it’s nice to see someone flip the script on it once in a while. Like The Cut did in its story about a new, high-profile couple going public:

 

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The couple: Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki. Who, if you were unaware, is a Silicon Valley biotech CEO and a billionaire. She went to Yale, played varsity hockey in college and is a mother. Alex Rodriguez is accomplished and famous, but outside of the sports bubble he’s a padawan to Wojcicki’s master Jedi. Despite this, in places other than The Cut, it would still not be surprising to see her referred to as “A-Rod’s girlfriend,” because that’s just how people roll. Here’s hoping others take The Cut’s lead when referring to women in the public sphere more often.

A related note: in the rare cases when a famous male personality is identified in reference to his female partner and not the other way around, people like to make jokes and like to question the masculinity of the man. Which is equally stupid. And, to the man in question, should be utterly beside the point.

To that end, I think it’s worth noting that Alex Rodriguez has been involved with several women who, outside of baseball, are far more famous than he is and it’s never seemed to be an issue for him whatsoever. People like to say a lot of things about A-Rod’s ego and personality, but in this respect I bet he’s a hell of a lot better adjusted, grounded and self-assured than the vast majority of men who might find themselves in his place.

Video: Jeff Samardzija breaks a bat over his knee after striking out

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Jeff Samardzija had a great night last night. He allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and picked up the win. In the early going he’s proving wrong those who thought that the Giants overpaid for him and is providing solid performance from the third spot in the Giants rotation. It’s all good.

But good is not always good enough for a professional athlete. Especially one like Samardzija, who excelled in multiple sports and likely can count his lifetime athletic failures on one hand. No, when you’re wired like that you get upset even when you’re excellent because sometimes you want to be perfect.

For example, most pitchers don’t get too worried about striking out. They’re there to pitch, not bat. They turn on their heel and calmly walk back to the dugout. Samardzija, however, got a bit irate when he struck out. Then he did this: