BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox are on somewhat of a roll, winners of eight of their last 12. While they still have a long way to go if they want to climb back into the AL East race, there is — for the first time in a long while — more than a flicker of hope.
WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche and 98.5 The Sports Hub discussed the ups and downs of the past week on Inside Baseball, and it began with discussion about a missed opportunity on Friday night against the Astros. Mookie Betts got caught trying to steal third base in the eighth inning with the Sox down a run, and Boston eventually lost in extra innings.
“Just terrible decision-making,” Mazz said. “And look, most often when you’re stealing third, that’s a player decision. The manager will green up guys and say, ‘If you think you can do it, do it, BUT you better make it. He didn’t.”
Yet as Rochie noted, Betts turned a negative into a positive rather quickly.
“He was distraught, from what I was told, after the game,” Roche said. “Came out on the very first pitch on Saturday, Clay Buchholz throws it, Betts goes and gets it. And then, on a first-and-third, no hesitation whatsoever, goes right to third and stays aggressive. That’s what they like about this kid.”
Roche and Mazz then highlighted an impressive play in the field on Saturday made by Pablo Sandoval, who was over on the right side of the infield due to the shift. Sandoval fielded a sharply hit grounder and pivoted to second base, starting an unorthodox 5-6-3 double play.
“Watch his footwork. That’s why I think he could play first base eventually for this team,” Roche said.
“I do believe he can play over there eventually,” Mazz agreed. “He’s got the hands for it, he plays with enough bounce in his step, he can handle that side of the diamond. The one that I find ironic is I hear people say all the time, what about Hanley Ramirez? Why can’t you put Hanley Ramirez at first? There’s this idea that somehow first basemen don’t require any sort of athletic ability, aptitude or anything. You just take the biggest, slowest guy and you put him at first base. It’s a position that requires a lot of attention. You’re in on most every play. So I don’t think Hanley’s got the focus to play first base.
“I don’t want Hanley anywhere near first.”
The discussion then moved on to the All-Star Game. Utility man Brock Holt was a surprise pick for Ned Yost’s roster, edging out teammate Xander Bogaerts. While the story is no doubt a magnificent one, Mazz said the fact that the Red Sox’ high-paid stars couldn’t make the All-Star Game does not reflect well on the team.
“It’s a great story. You’re talking about a guy who was essentially a throw-in a couple of years ago in a deal, he’s been a utility guy, at best, his entire career. Now all of a sudden he’s getting a spot on the All-Star team. Fabulous,” Mazz said. “However, I’m disappointed because I wanted to see Bogaerts go to this game. That’s number one. Number two: When a utility guy is your representative at the All-Star Game — and I understand that Holt has played regularly for the majority of the first half — but when that kind of guy goes, it’s really an indictment on your team. It means you didn’t have anybody better that you could have sent. And again, it’s a great Brock Holt story, but it’s an indictment on the Red Sox.”
Fans who want to vote Bogaerts into the game can do so at MLB.com, where he’s up against Yoenis Cespedes, Brian Dozier, Brett Gardner and Mike Moustakas.
Watch the full segment above, where Mazz also praises the impact of veteran catcher Ryan Hanigan! Tune in to Inside Baseball every Monday night on the WBZ-TV News at 10 on myTV38!