So who’s available at the trade deadline?

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The non-waiver trade deadline is coming. July 31, as usual. After a slow beginning to crazy season due to so many teams being in contention or erroneously believing so, the rumblings are getting louder. It’s great fun, yes?

Over the next couple of weeks, we will obviously be writing individual posts for each of the trades that go down and a lot of the rumors that swirl. We’ll also, once trades start happening, put up a trade tracker so you can keep all the deals straight. But for now, let’s see if we can’t get a list of guys who are or who may be on the market.

This is a pretty expansive list, I think, as it includes guys like Josh Willingham who, just a few minutes ago, we noted probably won’t be traded. And it also includes guys — especially some pitchers — that no one may want. It further includes guys who haven’t had any trade heat around them but, man, they play for a team going nowhere, so maybe they SHOULD be dealt. Ergo, lots of Astros and Padres. It also includes a lot of Athletics because, in contention or not, the A’s like to deal people at the deadline.  This isn’t merely list of names being tossed around actively. It’s more akin to a list of possible dudes your team may reasonably inquire about and/or want.

Point is, never say never. Teams don’t do dumb things at the rate they did ten years ago, but it’s not impossible to think that someone would offer the Twins a ridiculous return for Willingham, making them change their mind. Or that someone may think that a Safeco-fueled half season by Kevin Millwood has rendered him not-Kevin Millwood.

Anyway, below is who we reckon to be on the market at the moment. If we missed some — and I’m assuming we did — let us know. Keeping track of this stuff is like herding cats, so the more herders the better.

Available bats:

Justin Upton
Carlos Quentin
Shane Victorino
Justin Morneau
Josh Willingham
Denard Span
Michael Cuddyer
Alfonso Soriano
Bryan LaHair
Chase Headley
Adam Lind
Mark Kotsay
Marco Scutaro
Chris Johnson
Chris Denorfia
Seth Smith
Jonny Gomes
Coco Crisp

Available arms:

Cole Hamels
Zack Greinke
Wandy Rodriguez
Matt Garza
Ryan Dempster
Francisco Liriano
Edinson Volquez
Brandon McCarthy
Bartolo Colon
Kevin Millwood
Huston Street
Jonathan Broxton
Rafael Betancourt
Francisco Rodriguez
Matt Capps
Grant Balfour
Bret Myers
Brandon Lyon

So, who did we miss? And who shouldn’t be here? Note: If you name someone who wasn’t originally on the list and should be, I will update it here.

Red Sox survive back-and-forth affair with Astros, win 8-6 to take 3-1 lead in ALCS

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Game 4 of the ALCS on Wednesday night between the Red Sox and Astros was a thrilling back-and-forth affair with seven lead changes. Ultimately, the Red Sox emerged victorious with a hard-fought 7-5 victory.

The Red Sox wasted no time getting on the board, plating two runs in the top of the first inning against Charlie Morton thanks to a walk, hit-by-pitch, wild pitch, and a Rafael Devers single. In the bottom half, José Altuve hit what appeared to be a game-tying two-run home run to right field off of Rick Porcello. Mookie Betts leaped and was interfered with by fans in the stands, so Altuve was called out instead. The ruling was upheld after review.

In the bottom of the second, the Astros officially scored their first run when Carlos Correa knocked home a run with a single. The Red Sox immediately got it back when Xander Bogaerts doubled in a run in the top of the third, running the score to 3-1. In what would become a trend, the Astros also responded as George Springer drilled a solo homer and Josh Reddick hit an RBI single of his own to tie the game at 3-3. Tony Kemp added a solo homer down the right field line in the fourth to put the Astros on top for the first time. Bogaerts hit another RBI single in the top of the fifth to re-tie the game at 4-4. Correa followed suit in the bottom half, hitting his second RBI single of the game to give the Astros back the lead.

Jackie Bradley, Jr., who hit a soul-crushing grand slam off of Roberto Osuna in Game 3, hit another homer in Game 4, a two-run shot in the sixth off of Josh James. In the seventh, the Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs and Lance McCullers, Jr. entered to try to put out the fire. He did not, briefly, walking Brock Holt to force in a run and make the score 7-5. McCullers did end up getting out of the inning without any further damage. Just for good measure, though, J.D. Martinez tacked on a run in the eighth with an RBI single to make it 8-5.

Ryan Brasier got five outs and Matt Barnes one in the sixth and seventh. Manager Alex Cora decided to call on Craig Kimbrel for a six-out save when the bottom of the eighth rolled around. The 2018 postseason hasn’t been kind to Kimbrel as he had given up runs in all three of his appearances. Kimbrel gave up hits to the first three batters he faced. Kemp led off with a single but he tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out at second base by Betts. Kimbrel then hit Alex Bregman with a pitch and surrendered a double to George Springer, putting runners at second and third with one out. Altuve knocked in a run with a ground out to make it 8-6, but Kimbrel saw his way out of the inning by striking out Marwin González.

In the ninth, Cora decided to keep Kimbrel in the ballgame despite his continued struggles. Kimbrel got Yuli Gurriel to pop up to start the inning, but then issued back-to-back walks to Reddick and Correa. Kimbrel got out number two by getting Brian McCann to fly out to right field, then walked Tony Kemp to load the bases. Cora decided to stay with Kimbrel as Bregman came to the plate. Kimbrel threw a first-pitch, 97 MPH fastball that Bregman laced into shallow left field. Andrew Benintendi charged in and dived, catching the ball just in time to save the game, ending it for an 8-6 victory. Of the 18 half-innings, the two sides failed to score in only seven of them.

The Red Sox, now up three games to one in the ALCS, will try to close it out on Thursday night in Houston. If the Red Sox win, they will return to the World Series for the first time since 2013.