Red Sox Keep Fans Up Past Midnight; Yanks, D-Backs Trade like it was July 31

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Wednesday, July 19.

Following an agonizing 16-inning loss to the Yankees Saturday, the Red Sox again saw their bull pen tested to the limit as they took a 5-4 win over the Blue Jays in 15 innings.

The Blue Jays got off to a terrible start back in April and have struggled to reach .500 ever since.  Neantime the home team which has a 53-42 season record remains in first place with the Yankees right on their heels.  The Yankees took a 6-3 win over the Twins in Minnesota to stay right behind their biggest rival. The game was a dead heat at 3-3 after 9.  Each team put a run on the board in the 11th to level the game at 4 before Hanley Ramirez of the Red Sox launched the shot to end the game. Nobody knows how many of the 36,000+ who attended the game were still there almost five hours after first pitch.  However, nobody at any water cooler today will admit they didn’t see Ramirez’ blast clear the Green Monster.  The Red Sox have played 58 innings in the last 4 calendar days, starting with the 16-inning loss to the Yankees, then 2 games Sunday, a game on Monday and last night’s marathon. Just to make it worse, this game began an hour late owing to rain in the Boston area. When the action got going, the Jays took a 3-1 lead into the 6th. J.A. Happ left after 5 with his team ahead.  At that point Dustin Pedroia  homered in the sixth and doubled home the tying run an inning later.  With the Red Sox’ bull pen issues  being taken into consideration, the team brought up pitcher Hector Velasquez as an extra arm.  That extra arm proved to be necessary as he worked the last 4 innings.  The Jays’ Mike Bolsinger came in during the 11th inning once it was clear Roberto Osuna had blown the save.  Bolsinger went the rest of the way. The Jays’ closer had saved the last 22 save chances he had been given.  That was just short of the Toronto mark which is 25 set by Tom Henke back in 1991.  Osuna can thank Boston’s Mookie Betts for the blown save.  Betts lined an RBI hit to tie the game at 4, setting up Hanley Ramirez’ bomb 4 innings later.

The Sox hadn’t ended a game in so many innings with a walk-off home run since 2001 when Shea Hillenbrand broke up an 18-inning affair with a circuit clout. Going back to 1930 the Red Sox have only won 6 games of 15 innings or more via walk-off home run. It was one of 3 home runs hit by the Sox on the night.

While the Red Sox were struggling for a win, their rivals the Yankees made a potentially huge deal with the White Sox.  To start with the Yankees got New Jersey native Todd Frazier.  He’s a third baseman and that’s been a need since A.Rod played the hot corner.  To go with Frazier the Yankees brought back former Yankee David Robertson and reliever Tommy Kahnle. He will turn 28 next month and is the least well-known of the trio. He’s a righthander from Latham, New York. His ERA is just under 4, which seems like about the best any team will trade without a name player on the other end. Kahnle had also been Yankee property once, being drafted in round 5 in 2010 after playing college ball in Boca Raton, Florida. In the deal the White Sox got pitcher Tyler Clippard and 3 prospects.  One of these was former 2016 first-round pick Blake Rutherford. Another man traded was Tito Pollo who the Yankees got in one of last summer’s furious flurry of trades. The last name was one Ian Clarkin about whom nothing is known.

Todd Frazier is 31 now, but the man called “The Toddfather” was seen on TV as a boy in the Little League World Series. The Toms River team was in the Series at least twice and won it once. He was their shortstop and pitcher in 1998, the year they won the title.  In the game for all the marbles, against Kashima, Ibaraki (Japan) he went 4 for 4 with his bat and was the winning pitcher as his team won 12-9, the first American Little League World Series winner in 5 years. His team went to the  House that Ruth Built on Sept. 1, 1998 where each player was introduced and stood next to the Yankee that played his position.  That put Frazier next to Derek Jeter, a New Jersey native now bound for Cooperstown. As fate would have it, Frazier-then with the Reds-played against Jeter in the 2014 All-Star game-the last for Jeter and the first of 2 up to now for Frazier. The Reds had taken him in round 1, 34th in the country in 2007 after a stellar career at Rutgers. Frazier was a competitor in 3 Home Run derbies, winning the one in 2015 at Cincinnati.

Robertson, now age 32 has been in the bigs since June of 2008 when he broke in with the Yankees. He was with them a year later when they won their most recent World Series. Though he was the Yankees’ closer in 2014 (after the retirement of Mariano Rivera) he chose free agency and the White Sox over being the heir to Mariano. That move baffled me from that day to this.  All the millions in Fort Knox wouldn’t lure me to a city with Chicago’s climate.  I tried that once in St. Paul and it wasn’t my cup of tea (which becomes iced tea the minute it is exposed to the air.) Now his young son and infant daughter won’t have to endure the high winds in Chicago.

Meantime, the Tigers dealt J.D. Martinez to the D-Backs for prospects.  Those in the know figure J.D. won’t put down roots in Arizona’s blazing sun and sand. Knowing this the D-Backs didn’t give away much: AA third baseman Dawel Lugo, (bound for Erie, PA)  class A shortstop Sergeo Alcantara (heading to Lakeland, FL) and rookie level shortstop Jose King. Rental though he is, Martinez seemed to be the best available hitter in a thin market.  He was hitting .305 with 16 home runs and 39 RBIs in a year when his contract is up. Martinez had been released by the Astros in spring training of 2014 when the Astros were at their worst and anybody with a pulse should have been welcome.  That might have finished Martinez who was then 26. Because his luck was in his unemployment lasted 2 days.  He was able to sign on with the Tigers and has produced well there in spite of Comerica Park’s cavernous dimensions. Julio Daniel Martinez, who will be 30 in late August is a Miami native and with the Marlins for once not dumping salaries he may receive a call from their front office once free agency begins. He grew up a Marlins’ fan and played for Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida.  In 1991 when my broadcast partner and I were getting ready for our rookie season we recorded a handful of Nova University games as the school was then called. He was Nova’s first alum to reach the bigs.

Owing to technical difficulties early today I couldn’t get this edition out as early as I had hoped.  There are 7 afternoon games.  Check your local listings for time and channel.

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