MLB Monthly Rankings: June

This is my monthly power rankings for June.  I had much more time so I could put more effort into it than just a list.

1. St. Louis CardinalsSt_Louis_Cardinals

The Cardinals clearly deserve Number 1. they’ve held on to the best record in the MLB for a long time, Michael Wacha is 8-2 with a 2.45 ERA in and he’s pitched in the MLB for under 2 years.  Jhonny Peralta has a .317 batting average, and Matt Holliday’s hitting .303 with a team leading .417 on base percentage.  Impressive stats and ecord have earned the Cardinals the numer 1 spot.  Even if the games they’ve won have been close, it’s not the score that matters, it’s who wins, even if they’ve been outscored in some winning series’.

los-angeles-dodgers2. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are rising again, and Joc Pederson is helping. 17 home runs is great for a rookie.  Zach Greinke also has stayed as a record breaker this season with a 1.95 ERA.  They have a good offense and rotation, and will continue to rise for the rest of the season.  Hopefully Clayton Kershaw can do whatGreinke’s doing too, and some other hitters can get warmer.  I see good things to come.

kansas_city_royals3. Kansas City Royals

Even if the hitting is starting to wear off, the Royals lineup has led the team to victory, and I think later in the season, they’ll get back on track.  Mike Moustakas has put up a .318 average to start the year.   Salvador Perez and several other contributors to the Royals lineup are leading all star candidates.  This really reminds me of a modified version of last year.

Chicago_Cubs4. Chicago Cubs

Joe Maddon has really improved the team this season ever since he took over as manager.  They’ve added OF Dexter Fowler, 2B Tommy La Stella, 3B Kris Bryant, OF Javier Baez and C Miguel Montero to their lineup, and Jon Lester, former Red Sox and A’s starter to their rotation.  How have they performed with the new additions.  Pretty good, especially compared to Cubs squads from recent years.  Cubs veteran Anthony Rizzo has led in most major batting stats.  He has a .307 average, 69 hits, .421 on base percentage, 11 home runs and 37 RBI.  Not too thrilling, but still good.  They’re 34-27 currently in the NL Central’s third place spot.  Also, Jason Hammel has a 2.81 ERA, although Jon Lester has struggled mildly so far. Usually, he tops the rotation.  Otherwise, they’ve been just a little over average.  They could be a wild cardcanditate, but aren’t at the top of the current race.

5. Toronto Blue Jays Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are red hot and had won eleven straight until Monday night, including sweeping my Red Sox for their 4th-6th striaght losses.  They now have a seven game losing streak over in Boston.  Chris Colabello is hitting a whopping .345.  Josh Donaldson has 17 home runs on the season with his new team here in Toronto.  The Blue Jays made some great off season moves that built them into a much better team this season.  Additions like Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson have really helped the 2015 squad.

Houston Astros6. Houston Astros

Surprise, surprise.  The Astros have finally rebuilt enough to be in the playoff race.  Their pitching has shocked all.  Dallas Keuchel is 8-2 with a 2.04 ERA.  Pat Neshek has 17 holds and Luke Gregerson has 16 saves.  They’ve had plenty of new contributors to the lineup this year as well.  Have you heard of Luis Valbuena?  He replaced Matt Dominguez and has smashed 14 homers so far this year.  With a few player outbreaks, the Astros have managed to climb from the bottom to close to the top.

Minnesota_Twins7. Minnesota Twins

Another surprise team that quickly climbed to the top is what I would call this ball club.  Again, they’ve balanced on a few outbreak players.  Do you recall Brian Dozier from the 2014 Home Run Derby?  Well, he’s hit 13 for the Twins this season.  In the pitching staff, Glen Perkins has closed well with 22 saves on the season.  This team is very similar to the Astros in many ways, especially this season so far.

new-york-yankees8. New York Yankees

The Yankees have managed to stay on the top of the weak AL East division balancing on just a couple stars.  Brett Gardner to start the season was just hot overall.  Mark Teixeira has finally overcome his 2011 injury completely after a few very mellow years, hitting 18 home runs so far this season.  Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .324 with fourteen stolen bases already, even being on the 15 day disabled list during part of the start.  Also, pitching is another smaller factor.  Michael Pineda is 8-4, winning two out of every three starts with a win or loss and Andrew Miller has put up 17 saves this season.  Are the Yankees finally Yankees again?  The consistent Yankees they once were?

Pittsburgh_Pirates9. Pittsburgh Pirates

This Pirates team is red hot, especially their pitching, surprising everybody.  Gerrit Cole is 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA.  Mark Melancon has 24 saves.  Francisco Liriano has struck out 105 on the season.  Those are what you call great pitching stats that boost you in the power rankings.  A.J. Burnett also has a whopping 2.05 ERA and isn’t the team leader, trailing behind Cole.  The one thing that makes me think they don’t belong higher is their lack of a good lineup this season.  It looked good, but just like the Red Sox pitching, it’s not executing like it was supposed to.  The only other difference is that Pittsburgh is winning more, lots more.  That’s why the Red Sox are down at the bottom rather than up here.

Washington-Nationals10. Washington Nationals

This was supposed to be an all star team with the best rotation in the MLB.  They’ve been a few games above .500, and no more than that.  But looking at how badly they did to start the season, I would call them hot, and Bryce Harper is finally hitting like the all starhe was meant to be.  He’s hitting .339 with 24 home runs and 57 RBI.  Yunel Escobar was another great addition to the lineup, hitting .325 so far.  Max Scherzer has also had a great year with his new team, putting up 123 strikeouts and a 1.76 ERA.  Closer Drew Storen has put up 21 saves.  So they have put up stats like an all star team would.  They just need to win some more games.  If April never happened, the Nationals would be a whole lot better.

Tampa_Bay_Rays11. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays have somehow, some way, pushed through tons of injuries, losses, and setbacks, but still have stayed near the top of the division all season.  Well, who exactly has put up such uge numbers, without getting hurt?  CHRIS ARCHER.  He’s in his prime years of his career, with a 2.10 ERA, 123 strikeouts and a 9-4 record.  Closer Brad Boxberger has also earned 19 saves this season.  Even if hitting has struggled moderately, Chris Archer has led the Rays to victory after victory.

detroit-tigers12. Detroit Tigers

Their record hasn’t been dependable, but Miguel Cabrera’s having a breakout season, andif he had more home runs, he would be a Triple Crown candidate.  He’s hitting .351/.455/.590 with 52 RBI, 15 home runs and 88 hits on the season.  J. D. Martinez also has 17 home runs while hitting .272/.331/.517, which isn’t quite as impressive has the homers.  He also has 43 RBI and 72 hits.  Pitching is decent as well, David Price with a 2.42 ERA and 95 strikeouts, and Joakim Soria with 16 saves.  If only they could win some games.

new-york-mets13. New York Mets

The Mets have surprised pretty much everybody by starting their season so well.  Pitching is part of the matter.  Jacob DeGrom has a 2.34 ERA and 93 strikeouts.  Jeurys Familia has 19 saves, and Carlos Torres has 11 holds.  However, hitting has seriously been struggling.  Their record isn’t even so great, and that’s exactly why they’re down here and not up in the top 10.  They really need to improve their lineup and the rotation besides DeGrom, including the struggling star Matt Harvey, or they’re going to start to have some serious problems.

san-francisco-giants14. San Francisco Giants

The Giants actually sill have something in them, even after losing the Panda to Boston.  Nori Aoki, acquired from the Royals has 83 hits while batting .317.  In pitching, Madison Bumgarner has a 3.04 ERA with 102 strikeouts.   Santiago Casilla has 19 saves, and Sergio Romo has a whopping 18 holds!!!!   Still, the stats could be better, bumping the Giants down to almost the bottom half of my June Power Rankings.  Besides, they’re only 39-34.  So, there are some consequences for dropping Panda, one of them being that he’s red hot on the Red Sox over these last several games.

Texas-Rangers  15. Texas Rangers

The Rangers have been red hot, of late especially.  Chi-Chi Gonzalez has a 2.27 ERA.  Nick Martinez has a 2.77 ERA.  Yovani Gallardo has a 2.98 ERA.  Colby Lewis is 7-3.  So each starter may not be good in every way, but are contributing in at least on way each.  After an injury, Prince Fielder has been a huge contributor, batting .342/.412/.522 and with 93 hits and 47 RBI.  However, the lineup hasn’t been up to it’s expectations besides Fielder.  Fielder also only has 11 home runs, which is below his average per season.  the Rangers aren’t even that far above .500.  They sit at a mediocre 37-35 record, in 2nd in the AL West.  Just like 2014, they started the season about average?  The question is, will they stay that way for a change, or be early season conquerors again and fall apart late?

los-angeles-angels-of-anaheim16. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Angels aren’t meeting their expectations exactly, but they’ve been okay.  Albert Pujols has been red hot, with 47 RBI, 23 home runs, and joining the 500 home run club (I bet Big Papi is next.)    Mike Trout also has 80 season hits and continues to be like the potential star he is.  Trout also has 18 home runs, and a .296 batting average, that nobody on the team has done better than, except pitchers against interleague teams, going 1 for 3 and batting .333 each in one start with at bats.  In the rotation, Hector Santiago has a 2.68 ERA.  But pitching and somewhat hitting have been struggles.  The team has been far below the high 1st place expectations most people had for them, including me.

cleveland-indians  17. Cleveland Indians

The Indians had an April and early May disaster, but are starting to recover and have been playing like they should be lately.  Corey Kluber has struck out 117 this season, and lineup members like Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley are hot and all star worthy as well.  Kipnis is hitting .354/.431/.521 with 31 RBI and 10 stolen bases.  Kipnis also is one hit shy of 100 hits this season, at 99 hits currently.  One more game and he should have 100+ season hits.  Kipnis has also scored 49 runs, 1 run shy of fifty runs, which it should probably take a couple more games to get.  Michael Brantley also is hitting .293/.370/.435 with 37 RBI, and former Oakland Athletic Brandon Moss has 11 home runs, however he has no other stats that are that impressive.  I think the Indians will continue to improve throughout July and August.

Baltimore-Orioles-Logo  18. Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles have gained, regained and lost many members of their trusty lineup.  Alejandro De Aza was signed by the Red Sox.  Have you heard the name Jimmy Paredes?  Since they found he would be a great starting DH after losing Nelson Cruz at the start of this season, he’s hit .311/.333/.486.  Manny Machado has returned from his injury and impressed all by hitting .303/.357/.516 with 14 home runs and 84 hits.  Chris Davis has returned from a struggling season well with 15 home runs and 41 RBI, hitting the way he should be.  His classic, low average, home run king kind of mindset. Slugging percentage is the new stat in town.  However, his slugging percentage is a lowly .461, as well.  For pitching, each guy has one good stat.  Wei-Yin Chen has a 2.89 ERA.  Ubaldo Jimenez has struck out 82.  Closer Zach Britton has 20 saves.  The team does have some missing pieces to the puzzle though, even if they are doing well, and that’s why they’re down here.

19. Arizona Diamondbacks

How have the D-Backs gotten so high up?  It’s because of a few shining guys in the lineup that are red hot, like Paul Goldschmidt.  Goldschmidt is hitting amazingly, at .351/.468/.645 with 20 home runs, 93 hits and 62 RBI.  He’s just been a gem for them this season.  There aren’t any better hitters, or hitters even close to what Goldschmidt’s done on the Diamondbacks.  For pitching, it’s been off to a hard start, and the pitching has continued to struggle, and losing Wade Miley to the Sox didn’t help much.  So technically, Paul Goldschmidt is leading the entire D-Backs squad to big wins.  Nobody else has shined like him on this team at least.

20. Atlanta Braves
The Braves are just below .500 on the season.  Why is this?  They practically gave up everything.  They didn’t give away any starting pitchers.  Shelby Miller has a 1.94 ERA.  Plus, the bullpen and new closer have really paid off.  Jim Johnson has 18 holds and Jason Grilli has 21 saves.  That makes Miller-Johnson-Grilli the perfect starter-reliever-closer combo.  The one struggle has been the lineup.  But a couple guys have paid off.  Nick Markakis is hitting .300/.387/.355 with 86 hits and Freddie Freeman has 41 RBI.

21. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds have plenty of guys that have the potential to do well.  Only a few have actually shined though, and that’s why they’re here.  Todd Frazier has slugged with 25 homers, 53 RBI and 85 hits while hitting .290/.353/.625.  Joey Votto also has 14 homers while hitting .284/.394/.504.  Johnny Cueto has been the rotation ace with a 2.98 ERA with 92 strikeouts.  Several pitchers like Mat Latos and Homer Bailey have gotten seriously hurt, holding back majority of the rotation while taking the spotlight and number one spot.  The Reds supposed hitters, like second year all star Billy Hamilton, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce haven’t actually hit like they’ve supposed to, while they have made some plays in the field.  Hamilton is also a mighty lead off who can get on base and has stolen 33.

22. Chicago White Sox
Hitting, especially out of Cuban sleeper Jose Abreu has struggled.  Abreu still leads the team, but he’s an underperformer based on his expectations.  He has 13 homers, 41 RBI and 80 hits.  The pitching’s been the same way, except it has done well, all really close to underperforming ace Chris Sale.  He’s 6-4 with a 3.02 ERA.  But, the ERA is decent and he has and MLB leading 129 strikeouts.  I just thought of something.  You know how hitters can win a Triple Crown Award, for leading their league in RBIs, batting average and home runs?   They should have a pitching Triple Crown Award, wins, ERA and strikeouts.  That’s the big three of pitching stats, just like the three chosen for hitting are the big three of batting stats, along with overall hits as a fourth hitting component.

23. Colorado Rockies
The pitching has been disastrous, keeping the team below .500.  But the lineup has shocked everyone.  TROY TULOWITZKI.  This all star shortstop is hitting .313/.347/.480.  J. A. Arenado has 24 homers and 68 RBI. He is also hitting .293/.326/.632.  Troy LeMaieu is also hitting .304/.363/.405 with 83 hits.  The Rockies have struggled overall though, with only one starter getting 16 starts, Kyle Kendrick and he has a very sad 6.07 ERA, one of three pitchers worse than Rick Porcello of the Red Sox, also including Orioles supposed ace Chris Tillman.

24. San Diego Padres
The Padres new guys aren’t all doing quite as well as I expected, but they’re not doing to bad, and a few guys are shining.  Ace James Shields is 7-2 with 116 strikeouts.  Closer Craig Kimbrel has 19 saves, and Joaquin Benoit has 10 holds.  Yonder Alonso hasn’t played as an everyday starter, but he’s hitting .318/.407/.415.   Justin Upton also leads the team with 14 homers and 46 RBI.  But otherwise, they had some higher expectations from most.  However, I was mostly correct saying the Padres would stink, then modifying to say they’d be unpredictable.  That’s what they’ve been.  An average team that you can never know with.  It’s near impossible to make Padres picks unless you’re a Padres expert.

25.  Seattle Mariners

I’d expect more out of the Mariners if they’re going to go out in the off season and sign Austin Jackson, Nelson Cruz and more new sluggers, although they lost Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders to Toronto.  Cruz has shined, hitting .305/.368/.552 with 19 homers, 46 RBI and 85 hits, but besides Cruz and third baseman Kyle Seager, (12 HR & 38 RBI), the lineup has been pretty disappointing.  King Felix has done as expected though, led the rotation, but only a couple guys are following Hernandez’ great starts.  Hernandez has 100 strikeouts, is 10-4 and has a 3.05 ERA.

26. Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are probably the biggest disappointment in the NL, (It would be by far the Red Sox in the AL).  After the September collapse last season, they haven’t gotten any better.  Adam Lind has the best average on the team.  Does .294 sound like the leading average on a team?  Not to me it doesn’t.  Ryan Braun is the only guy with a good stat.  50 RBI.  Not bad.  But he’s also team leader in home runs, but he only has fifteen!  Well, Hanley Ramirez of Boston is the same way.  And the only impressive pitching stat comes from Mike Fiers, with 93 strikeouts.  But his ERA is over 4.00 and he has a losing record.  So that’s pretty much just considered a fun fact if it’s all alone.  The pitching stinks.  They need to rebuild the rotation for next season.  Practically every starter is underperforming.

27. Miami Marlins

Alright, I will admit that Giancarlo Stanton may be the best hitter in the current MLB.  He has 27 homers, has a .606 slugging percentage, and 67 RBI.  Dee Gordon was also a good acquisition, hitting .353/.373/.423 and having 112 total hits.  But the pitching is a disaster, and if those two hitters can’t win the games alone, they don’t belong very high in my rankings.  And they can’t.  It’s a team effort.  They need at least okay play from all aspects to make a winning team.

28. Boston Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez are the leading hitters right now.  Pedroia is hitting .306 and Hanley has 15 homers.  But those stats aren’t so great, and they’re both injured now, even though the Sox have won 3 of 4 with out them.  That’s good, because Hanley is expected to return, but Pedroia is on the disabled list, and when he’s on the DL, it means a serious injury, because he plays through the worst of them unless it gets really bad.  If the lineup had a better start to the season, the team might be better.  And pitching is an underperforming component of the team.  The best ERA from a starter is Clay Buchholz’s 3.68 ERA, and no other starter has an ERA under 4.00, not even minor league sleeper and now possible Rookie of the Year, Eduardo Rodriguez, also known as Eddie Rodriguez or E-Rod, after the great Alex Rodriguez, (A-Rod).  The bullpen is okay though.  Japanese natives Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have made a great reliever-closer combo, Tazawa with 12 holds and Uehara with 16 saves.  They just need a good starter that can pitch well through the first six or seven innings.  The Red Sox have spent a ton on great stars of the past, but some of them, like Rick Porcello, are having and first years with the team.

29. Oakland Athletics

The pitching here has been great in a couple starters, but a lousy lineup and lack of run support has cost the A’s to lose majority of their games.  Steven Vogt is a sleeper hitter though, hitting .300/.393/.532 with 13 homers and 53 RBI, all team leading.  Josh Reddick also has a close 46 RBI.  Sonny Gray has aced again, with a 2.09 ERA, going 9-3 with 97 strikeouts.  Scott Kazmir has a 2.79 ERA while he’s struck out 85.  Why did the Athletics go signing all these new hitters if they aren’t going to hit?
Really, why?

30. Philadelphia Phillies

ABSOLUTE DISASTER.  Their lineup is getting too old to help much, making them 27-50.  The games they have won have been mostly because of Cole Hamels (106 strikeouts, 3.26 ERA).  But with Hamels and closer Jonathan Paplebon both trade targets, what should they do?  Go completely young and let go of their current generation.  That’s what most disastrous teams do.  But if they’ve been that way for it’s third year now, then why haven’t they yet?  It’s time.

Buchholz, Red Sox Defeat Blue Jays

Clay Buchholz led the Red Sox to a victory with a gem of a start (8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, 5 H, 0 HR).  It was pretty much a pitcher’s duel.  The Sox had RISP trouble in the 2nd inning, with 2nd and 3rd after a passed ball, with Sandy Leon striking out.  In the 3rd, JBJ walked.  Betts singled him to second.  Then Brock Holt walked to load the bases.  Then Xander Bogaerts hit a 2-run double.  2 RISP.  Three pop outs.  Inning over.  They took a 2-0 lead, but blew two more runs.  Come on.  You only needed a sac fly.  You should score  at least one more if not two.  in the 5th, Betts tripled for the first hit since the 2nd.  Then Brock Holt scored him in with a single.  3-0 Sox.  No more hits until the 6th.  Devon Travis reached on an infield single.  He advanced to second on a ground out.  Then Donaldson doubled Travis in. For the rest of the game, only one hit.  And Koji got the save with a 1-2-3.   The Red Sox easily had a 3-1 lead over the Blue Jays. Look for tonight’s post and a game recap.

Home Runs Boost Red Sox Past Rays

The Red Sox hit 3 homers in their 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.  Justin Masterson made his first start of June, striking out six, and only giving up one run.  Masterson should keep his starting job over Joe Kelly, sent to Pawtucket recently.

In the second inning, the Red Sox had two solo blasts, by Pablo Sandoval and Alejandro De Aza, Panda’s seventh and De Aza’s sixth.  De Aza’s hit 3 for the Red Sox this season, and only the same amount in double that time with the Orioles.  Napoli also got ejected for fighting the call, and Deven Marrero took over second, moving Brock Holt to first base.  In the 4th, David Ortiz hit a 2 run homer to right, scoring along with Xander Bogaerts, coming from first base.  It was 4-0 Red Sox on only four hits!!!!!!  So far, nobody had been left on base.

In the fifth, Justin Masterson began to get tired and gave up his earned run.  Brandon Guyer reached on an infield single, and Asdrubal Cabrera singled Guyer in.  Guyer only had two bases to run, because he advanced to second Blake Swihart’s first of what would be two passed balls.

In the sixth inning, the Sox struck again.   Xander Bogaerts doubled.  He went to third on a passed ball.  It was first and third as Ortiz walked.  It was a fly ball hit by Sandoval, and it was caught, but Bogaerts came around to score on the sacrifice fly.  The Red Sox took a 5-1 lead.

In the seventh, Jonathan Aro, recently recalled from Pawtucket, made his second MLB appearance.  But he didn’t help, in fact he collapsed.  Guyer had doubled, and Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to score him.  On an error by JBJ, Cabrera advanced to third.  Then Sizemore singled him in.  It was 5-3, and technically, it wasn’t all Aro’s fault.  Tazawa came in to face Sizemore on his final pitch, and he was responsible for the third Rays run.

From there, it was quiet, and despite giving up a double to Sizemore with Longoria on deck, Koji Uehara earned the save for the Red Sox.  The Red Sox defeated the Rays 5-3, the home runs being the deciding factor.  Let’s just hope the Sox  keep on winning like they have.

Red Sox Edge Rays In 10

The Boston Red Sox Edged over the Tampa Bay Rays in the 10th inning. Betts just kept up his hitting streak to score the final run with a double, and single by Holt. The Sox had won it 4-3. But how did they get there? Let’s go back all the way to the 2nd inning.

In the 2nd, Napoli led off by walking. On the next at bat, De Aza doubled to score Napoli, and give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. He advanced to third on a ground out by Blake Swihart. Jackie Bradley Jr., who came up after working a lot harder to hit in Pawtucket, hit a sac fly and De Aza came home. 2-0 Red Sox after just two innings. Pretty amazing.

The Rays struck in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Logan Forsythe singled, then Asdrubal Cabrera did the same, and Forsythe was on third base. Marc Krauss, a new first baseman for the injury struck Rays, doubled to score Forsythe and send Cabrera to third. 2nd and 3rd, 2-1 Sox. They blew the inning with two RISP.

The Red Sox scored again in the 4th inning. Napoli walked again, then Blake Swihart singled. 1st and 3rd, 1 down. Then, Napoli and Swihart attempted a double steal. Swihart was out at 2nd, but Napoli, who isn’t a base stealer, made it home and it was 3-1 Red Sox.   It was a pitchers duel for the next couple innings, between Porcello and Alex Colome. Napoli walked a third time solo in the 6th, and stole another base!!! Was he changing his hitting style? Was he becoming a base stealer despite the fact he’s slower than most? So many questions.

In the bottom of the 6th, the Rays tied the game. Joey Butler singled, and Longoria then doubled to make it 2nd and 3rd. David DeJesus hit a sac fly to score Butler. 3-2. Then Porcello had blown things for a long while when he threw a wild pitch that Longoria scored on.   He was pulled from the game in the 7th, and Tommy Layne came in on relief. Kevin Jepsen also relieved Colome to begin the 7th. Both pitchers pitched 6 full innings, giving up three runs. Pitcher after pitcher came in for the Sox, from Tazawa to Breslow to Ogando, but it was very quiet, and nobody gave up any more runs.

In the 10th, it was still 3-3, but not for long. Off Steven Geltz, Mookie Betts doubled, and Brock Holt saved the game for the Sox after Porcello’s collapse with an RBI single to score Betts. The Red Sox took a 4-3 lead. Koji Uehara earned the save with a 1-2-3 10th for the Rays lineup, and the Red Sox went on to win. See my post on today’s 4:00 game as Wade Miley faces Rays elite ace Chris Archer.

Also, try out MLB Connect. It’s a fun game where you connect four correctly predicted plays. You get automatic tiles, or you can swap them out for your own predictions chosen from multiple categories, and you play live during any baseball game. It’s a free app and for me, it’s replaced MLB PrePlay. You will see me as Andrew if you play during the Red Sox game today.

Buchholz, Red Sox Blowout Orioles

The Red Sox put together a 5-1 win with just one strong inning.  Through the first five innings, both pitchers had great games, and Bud Norris had a perfect game through the 3rd.  They gave up their hits and walks, but nobody scored. In the 6th, the Orioles struck and scored their only run of the game.  Ramirez went down to an injury, and Holt took over left field, while Napoli took first base for the remainder of the game. Chris Parmeelee doubled and Chris Davis singled him in.  1-0 Orioles.  The Red Sox were losing again.  But not for long.  They had a huge 5-run rally in the bottom of the inning.

De Aza reached on an error by Chris Davis.  De Aza went to second on a passed ball by Caleb Joseph.  Then Sandy Leon sacrificed, De Aza went to third, and Leon reached on another error by Bud Norris.  Betts sinngled to tie the game 1-1 and make it 1st and 2nd with no outs.  Then Dustin Pedroia gota base hit to score both Leon and Betts, but he hurt is right foot by putting too much pressure on it when running the step before touching the bag.  So Travis Shaw stepped in to run for Pedroia.  Then David Ortiz hit a 2 run home run and it was 5-1 Red Sox.  That’s when Norris left the game.  But sadly, Brian Matusz held the Red Sox off to end the inning.

Holt moved to second, and Shaw, like he’s the new Brock Holt, went to LEFT FIELD!!!!  Could SHAW be the next all position utility?  Buchholz came out after 7 well worth innings, having a great 1 earned run game.  It was a pitcher’s duel again to end the game, and Koji closed and got the save in a 1-2-3 ninth, and the Red Sox had won.  Be on the lookout for my post on today’s 1:30 game later today.  Eddie Rodriguez will start for the Sox, and Miguel Gonzalez for the O’s.  I’m sure the Red Sox have their edge secured here, as Gonzalez would stink if you compare him to E-Rod.  Make sure to watch the game today, as it’s sure to be a fun one for the Sox.

Orioles Defeat Red Sox With Early Lead

Are you serious?  This is now my 2nd straight Fenway loss.  The Sox haven’t won when I’ve attended a 2015 game.  Well,it’s the Orioles lineup to blame.  Besides, according to a story I wrote at the start of the school year, my luck ended last year.  I’d made up a myth that somebody else brought the luck (AKA, My Monkey Story).  It’s worked against me since.

In the 2nd inning, it was bases loaded on three singles given up by Joe Kelly to Chris Davis, Travis Snider and J.J. Hardy.  Ryan Flaherty hit a sac fly to score Davis.  Then David Lough hit a bomb into the Red Sox bullpen and all of the sudden it was 4-0 Orioles.  Chris Parmeelee, a fairly new major league player, had also tripled in the first inning.

But for the Red Sox, things didn’t come together until the 3rd inning.  So far, Ubaldo Jimenez had only given up 1 hit and 1 walk.  But that would change.  Sandy Leon singled, and Mookie Betts doubled to make it 2nd and 3rd.  Then Pedroia grounded out, but Leon scored, and Betts went to third!!  Sadly, no more runs occured in that inning.  4-1 Orioles.

The Orioles had their moment again in the 4th inning.  Hardy singled, then David Lough gorunded into fielder’s choice and Hardy was out.  Lough reached first.  Machado singled, and it was 1st and 2nd.  Robbie Ross Jr. came in on long relief for Kelly.  He was responsible for the earned run as Jimmy Paredes singled Lough in.  5-1 Orioles.

In the 4th, the Sox also struck.  Ramirez singled.  He advanced to second on a wild pitch.  Then when Panda came up, he singled Ramirez in and it was 5-2.  The Red Sox were starting to come back.  In the 5th, it was first and second with walks by Pedroia and Ortiz. Ramirez singled Pedroia in.  5-3.  Were the Red Sox really coming back?    Nope.  Bogaerts ended it all with a strikeout, preventing any more runs from scoring.

In the 6th, Flaherty walked.  Lough sacrificed him to second, and when Alexi Ogando came in, Manny Machado doubled Flaherty home.  6-3 Orioles.  From there, it was pretty quiet.  Little to no hits every inning, up until the bottom of the 9th.  Betts walked, and Dustin Pedroia doubled as Betts crossed the plate.  6-4 Orioles.  But Big Papi ended it all with a line out to the shortstop and the Orioles won 6-4.  Joe Kelly just isn’t good enough for the Red Sox.  When Justin Masterson returns, hopefully in time for Kelly’s start, they should send Kelly to the bullpen and let Masterson take his place n the starting rotation.

Private tour from Boston Herald Editor in Chief

Yesterday I had the very special opportunity to get a private tour of  the Boston Herald by their editor in chief, Joe Sciacca.  He was a very kind and generous man who took a lot time of his busy day to show me and my family how a modern news organization works.  Joe had invited us to come visit him after I was introduced to him by news reporter, Matt Fitzgerald when we were all at a Red Sox game a couple of weeks ago. I arrived at the Herald around 1:30pm and Joe met us in the lobby.

Boston Herald 001
This is me in the lobby in front of the reception desk.

He gave us a tour of the studio.   Our first stop was the archive room.  “This is what they had before the internet”, Joe Sciacca said.  It was organized like a library card catalog, except filled  with newspaper clippings from over the years.  We found old files on John F. Kennedy and former NESN announcer Jerry Remy.

Boston Herald 002
This is me visiting the archive room.

Our next stop was the Boston Herald radio studio.  We met Tyler Sullivan and Chris Villani as they took a break from a show on Tom Brady’s DeflateGate appeal.

Me in front of Chris Villani and Tyler Sullivan's live radio show.
Me in front of Chris Villani and Tyler Sullivan’s live radio show.

They let me in, and I sat in the same chair that Patriots Jonas Gray and Dominique Easley sat in last week.

This is the radio room.  The show is video taped online using the green screen.
This is me talking to radio hosts Chris Villani and Tyler Sullivan.

They let us in to the production room as well.  I saw the Boston skyline background shown behind the radio hosts on a computer in place of the green screen.  They were very generous and gave my brother and me Boston Herald Radio T-Shirts.

The computer that changes the green screen's projected background.
The computer that changes background of the green screen.

Joe stressed that all learning about all multimedia platforms is very important to be a successful news organization today.  That was good news because I am starting a multimedia camp next week at Worcester Academy ( for the next two weeks.

Our next stop was a studio for video reporters.  One of the things filmed here are the movie reviews. Joe also showed us a back area where they kept backpacks filled with video equipment like cameras and tripods so that reporters could cover a story all on their own.  We also paused for a photo opportunity.

My brother Ryan, Joe Sciacca and I in a workspace for news reporters.
My brother Ryan, Joe Sciacca and I in a workspace for news reporters.

After that, we visited a photography room.  He mentioned that there used to be a dark room, where photos were developed but now that everything is digital it is a bit different.

Me in the photography room.
Me in the photography room.

Then we visited the main news room.  I met the sports editors, Rachel Fox, Sean Leahy and Mark Murphy, and the main Red Sox writer Scott Lauder.  Lauder is one of three Herald staff members that attended last night’s Red Sox-Orioles game.

Me talking to sports editors  ____________ and __________.
Me talking to sports editors Sean Leahy and Mark J. Murphy.

After that we visited a conference room where the staff meets to plan out the newspaper each day.  They lay it out on formatting sheets to use as a model for the printed paper.

Me looking at the newspaper format for June 23 in the conference room.
Me looking at the newspaper format for June 23 in the conference room.

The last stop was Joe Sciacca’s office.  There were some cool things to see in there, like an old fashioned typewriter with a carrying case that reporters used before computers.  He gave me the Fenway 100 year anniversary issue of the paper and a packet of articles that had tips on how to be a good journalist.

This is me and Joe flipping through the packet.
This is me and Joe flipping through the packet.

He mentioned that he was a journalist for over 30 years before becoming editor in chief.  Lastly, I got to sit in in Sciacca’s chair.  I felt special in that chair.

Me sitting in the editor's chair.
Me sitting in the editor’s chair.

This day was an unforgettable experience, and I was very inspired by this visit.

Home Runs Help Red Sox Cream Royals

The Red Sox defeated the Royals 13-2 yesterday afternoon.  Wade Miley got into many jams, but always got out of them, and the Sox lineup led them to another victory.   In the second, Ramirez homered solo for his second in two games and 15th of the season to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.  They had the lead because Wade Miley got himself out of a bases loaded situation.  Ortiz homered to right in the 4th inning for his career 472nd homer, as he seeks to join the 500 HR club before his career comes to an end.

In the 5th, the Sox struck again with a rally to raise a 2-0 lead to a 7-0 lead.  Leon walked, and Betts hit a 2-run homer to follow it.  It was bases loaded.  Pedroia had doubled, and Ortiz and Ramirez walked to get him to third.  Then Xander Bogaerts doubled, and all three of them crossed home plate.

They put on another rally in the 6th.  Betts walked, and Holt doubled to score him.  Holt scored on Pedroia’s double, and Pedroia scored on a Big Papi single.  10-0 Red Sox.  In the 8th, Betts tripled, nearly hitting for the cycle at this point.  Holt tripled to score Betts.  And with Travis Shaw running for him, Pedroia singled and Holt scored.  12-0 Red Sox.  In the 9th, Bogaerts doubled to lead off.  With two outs, yes, Sandy Leon singled to score Holt, going 1-5 on the day.

Well, how did the Royals score?  On Koji, in the bottom of the 9th inning.  It was first and second, with singles by Omar Infante and Butera, the backup catcher.  A triple by Lorenzo Cain scored both, making the Red Sox get the 13-2 win.  Even with minor injuries to Pablo Sandoval and Blake Swihart, without them, the Brock Star and Mookie were at their hottest, leading the Red Sox to the win.

E-Rod Shines Again, Sox Smash Royals

Eddie Rodriguez’s unbelievable pitching was able to work with the Red Sox lineup for a 7-3 blowout.  The Red Sox had a huge 5 run rally, scoring first in the second inning.  The Sox are great when they score first, they just don’t do it too much.  Bogaerts singled, and Sandoval hit a monster double to center, stopping Bogaerts at third.  One more hit was enough to score.  The thing is, Mike Napoli was up next.  Guess who hit an RBI single right then?  That’s right, Napoli did.  Bogaerts and Sandoval scored, giving the Red Sox a secure 2-0 lead.  But they weren’t done.  De Aza walked.  1st and 2nd.  Swihart then hit an RBI double, and Napoli and De Aza scored to give the Sox a 4-0 lead.  With two outs, Betts knocked in one more run with his RBI single.  5-0 Red Sox after only two innings.

It was a quiet game, and Rodriguez had only given up two hits.  In the 5th inning, Ramirez’s solo shot added a run to the Sox’s lead.  In the 5th, Rodriguez gave up his first earned run, also his first on the road of his major league career.  Yup, that’s how good he can be in 4 starts.  Infante got safely to second on his hit, and Escobar knocked in a run by doing the same.  6-1 Red Sox.

In the 7th, the Sox struck again with their hottest hitters.  Holt walked, and Betts singled to make it 1st and 2nd, no outs.  Then they pulled off a double steal.  Holt stole third and Betts stole second on the same pitch.  Ramirez singled to drive Holt, but sadly not Betts, in.  7-1.

Aftergiving up his 6th hit, Ogando came in.  The relievers didn’t have as good of momentum.  Ogando was fine, finishing the inning, but Robbie Ross gave up a home run to Eric Hosmer in the 8th to make it 7-2.  In the 9th, Steven Wright gave up another run.  Colon, who had replaced Alcides Escobar, doubled and Mike Moustakas drove him in with a second double and it was 7-3.  But Wright finished the inning cleanly, and the Red Sox won 7-3.

If the lineup can stay hot, and pitching is at least okay, then I think the Sox have the power to at least partially turn it around.  Their lineup leads the MLB this month in hits, and they can score big bundles of runs at a time.  All year, they also have stayed at a good pace with home runs.  The Red Sox aren’t quite as bad as some people may think, but I wouldn’t call them a team in the wild card race either.  They still are at the bottom this month in my monthly power rankings, coming soon.

3 in 1 Mini Posts: Igoudala Leads Warriors to First Title in 40 Years, Cardinals Investigated by FBI, Blackhawks Win Championship

Three big sports events occurred over the past couple days.  First, Patrick Kane led his Blackhawks to an NBA Championship Monday night. Second, Andre Igousala led the Warriors to their first title in 40 years, keeping up the streak of California and Texas teams winning championships.  The Cavaliers were leading 2-1, James the most aggresive, but in their last 3, Igouala has started for Golden State and they’ve won three straight, Igousala being  factor just as much as Steph Curry.  Finally, the Cardinals are being investigated by the FBI. They were suspected hacking into the Houston Astros ground control, attracting the Federal Government to St. Louis.  Definitely a busy week as the NHL and NBA wrap things up and the MLB continues its season.