Red Sox Recap: Ryan Hanigan Helps Take Down Royals, 4-1


Sometimes the smaller signings or trades that a general manager makes can impact a team in a big way. The Boston Red Sox benefited from one of those moves last night, as catcher Ryan Hanigan came up big with his bat. He was never meant to be a starter. The Red Sox had young stud Christian Vazquez behind the plate and prospect Blake Swihart was also waiting in the wings for his shot. Hanigan was brought in as a solid backup until Swihart’s development was up to par. Cue Vazquez’s season-ending surgery and Hanigan was thrown into the spotlight for much of the year.

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In front of over 35 000 people in Fenway Park, Hanigan caught starting pitcher Wade Miley, who had to battle one of the best teams in baseball, the Kansas City Royals. At least the cellar-dwelling Red Sox didn’t have to worry too much about Miley’s counterpart on the mound, as Danny Duffy had the start for the Royals. Duffy’s left arm earned him a 6-5 record and a 4.03 ERA in 19 starts. Not exactly domination, but still a threat. To be fair, Miley’s stuff hasn’t always had opposing teams quivering in their cleats, either. His inconsistency made the lefty earn a 9-9 record and a 4.58 ERA going into last night’s game.

Aug 20, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley (20) at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The poor pitching started early, as the Red Sox didn’t draw first blood as much as Duffy hurt himself. After the first two batters singled, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz walked to load the bases. Two batters later, with two men out, first baseman Travis Shaw earned a walk on five pitches, which allowed Mookie Betts to score from third base. An ugly way for the Royals to start the game, but the Red Sox took it in stride.

In the bottom of the third inning, Hanigan brought his bat to the plate and smacked a single to left field, scoring both Hanley Ramirez and Shaw. Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. followed that up with a triple to right field that scored Hanigan. The lead was 4-0.

The most trouble that Miley had was in the top of the fifth inning, as Royals’ star third baseman Mike Moustakas launched a solo home run on an 89-mph fastball over the fence in right field. However, the score held up for the rest of the game, with the Red Sox defeating the Royals 4-1.

Game Notes:

  • Bradley started in the outfield over Rusney Castillo. However, Ian Browne of reported that “[Torey] Lovullo said that Bradley Jr. starting on Thursday against the Royals instead of Castillo had nothing to do with the mistake” he made by throwing a ball into the stands with only two outs in Wednesday’s game. Lovullo is the Red Sox interim manager while John Farrell left the team, recently, to start his battle against lymphoma.
  • The Red Sox were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base. The Royals were 0-for-6 while leaving six on base.
  • Shaw had a good night at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. The rookie is looking like a perfect replacement for Mike Napoli at first base and is hitting .382 in 68 at-bats.
  • Alejandro De Aza replaced Ramirez in left field to start the ninth inning. It looked to simply be a defensive move, being so late in the game, which suggests how much the Red Sox believe in Ramirez’s glove at this point.
  • Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who was hitting in the two-spot of the lineup, made a throwing error in the top of the eighth inning. It was his 13th mistake of the season and brought his fielding percentage to .946, ranking him 20th out of 22 starting third basemen in the majors. Only Chase Headley and Brett Lawrie have been worse. By the way, Sandoval also went 1-for-4 at the plate, posting a .258 batting average for the season.
  • Both Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-4 at the dish, keeping their averages to .272 and .313, respectively.


A-. . Game Ball. <strong>Wade Miley</strong>. STARTING PITCHING

With a new, slick haircut, Miley threw 114 pitches, 80 for strikes, in 7.1 innings. After the Sandoval throwing error, Miley looked a bit rattled and threw a wild pitch, but quickly recovered to strike out the last batter he faced. He earned the win because he stuck to what works for him: groundball outs. The Royals hit 10 groundouts for Miley, while hitting only three flyouts. Other than the home run, Miley never sweated the six hits off of him, making it a much easier night for the Red Sox than usual. Especially against, normally, a great hitting team like the Royals.


Other than a walk given up by

Alexi Ogando

, the relievers had an easy night. Ogando and

Robbie Ross

Jr. finished off the other two thirds of Miley’s eighth inning, and Tazawa had a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his second save of the season. If the bullpen could hold like this every night, nobody would get nervous as much when the starter begins to look tired on the mound.

B+. . Game Ball. <strong>Ryan Hanigan</strong>. OFFENCE

Hanigan only went 1-for-4, but the lone hit earned him two RBIs. He also crossed the plate once to finish off the Royals. His at-bat proved to be the difference in the game. Not bad for a backup catcher, never expecting to get a ton of playing time.

More and more, it’s looking like the backups and young prospects are becoming the fundamental components to this team. Some of the veterans like Sandoval and Ramirez continue to slide both at the plate and on defense, to the point where they’re substituted out of the game in key situations. That’s not what you normally do to players making huge sums of money from your team. You want them filling those pockets more than they take away. Out of the 10 hits that the Red Sox had last night, only one of them was by a man making more than $3.5 million this season. Eight of those hits were from players making entry-level money in the thousands. It’s time to stop thinking that money will fix everything at start playing or signing men who can actually play major-league level baseball properly.

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