Red Sox's 'run prevention' strategy takes another hit with Marco Scutaro out

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Boston’s offseason moves to build the team more around “run prevention” are being mocked because the Red Sox have allowed the most runs in the league, but injuries to Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury certainly have helped and now Marco Scutaro is sidelined with a sore elbow.
Scutaro sat out last night’s game with “tennis elbow” that manager Terry Francona said “has actually been bothering him for a while.” The injury is to Scutaro’s left, non-throwing elbow, but he’s still expected to miss several more games after receiving a cortisone shot to dull the pain.
“We know it’s been bothering him when he’s been swinging the bat,” Francona said. “He really wanted to play through it. He’s done a nice job. We talked about it last week a little bit and the more we talked it made sense to do that. He’s going to be just fine.”
Scutaro has basically matched his career averages by hitting .267 with a .359 on-base percentage and .342 slugging percentage, but is just 12-for-54 (.222) with one extra-base hit over the past two weeks and has also committed multiple errors defensively during that time. General manager Theo Epstein revealed yesterday that Scutaro has had trouble closing his glove around balls because of the elbow injury.
Bill Hall started at shortstop in Scutaro’s place last night, with Darnell McDonald in center field and Jeremy Hermida in left field. That’s quite a different story than trotting out Scutaro, Cameron, and Ellsbury in the same spots, so while Boston’s pitching and defense have been a mess so far it’s tough to really draw conclusions about the offseason strategy until the actual planned defense has played together for a while.

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

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With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.