Red Sox defeat Braves, snap 10-game losing streak

21 Comments

It didn’t look very promising early on, but the Red Sox snapped their 10-game losing streak with an 8-6 victory over the Braves this afternoon at Turner Field in Atlanta.

Clay Buchholz put the Red Sox in an early hole by allowing six runs on four hits and a career-high eight walks over three innings before being pulled. With a 7.02 ERA through 10 starts, he continues to be a complete mess. While Ervin Santana was handed an early 6-1 advantage by Buchholz and the Braves’ offense, the Red Sox came storming back in the fifth inning with a two-run double from Dustin Pedroia and a game-tying three-run home run from David Ortiz.

After a rain delay of one hour and 26 minutes, Ortiz delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and A.J. Pierzynski followed with an RBI single to provide some insurance. The bullpen was huge for Boston today, as Burke Badenhop, Chris Capuano, Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller, and Koji Uehara combined for six scoreless innings to lock down the victory.

The win was Boston’s first since way back on May 14. The defending World Series champions now stand at 21-29 on the year, 7 1/2 games back of the first-place Blue Jays in the American League East.

HBT Daily: What’s wrong with the Red Sox?

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

Getty Images
Leave a comment

To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.