Xander Bogaerts shouts out Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela for being named organization’s Defensive Player of the Year

Earlier this week, the Red Sox recognized several of their minor-leaguers for the seasons they had this year by handing out eight different organizational awards.

Highlighted by Nick Yorke being named Boston’s Offensive Player of the Year and Brayan Bello being named Boston’s Starting Pitcher of the Year, infielder/outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela was also recognized as the organization’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Before their series finale against the Mets at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, the Red Sox honored each of these recipients during a pre-game ceremony. Rafaela was among those who was in attendance, and he was able to grab a picture with fellow Dutch national Xander Bogaerts before the festivities concluded.

Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, took to Instagram to congratulate Rafaela, a native of nearby Curacao, for his accomplishment, writing, ‘Congrats Minor League Defensive Player of the Year Kid! Curacao Kid ­čçĘ­čç╝ Ban Pa Bai ­čöą­čĺ».’ ┬á

(From Xander Bogaerts’ Instagram story on Thursday)

Rafaela, who turned 21 last week, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 25 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He was originally signed out of Curacao for just $10,000 as a 16-year-old international free agent back in 2017.

With Low-A Salem this season, Rafaela played in a total of 102 games while making 52 appearances (51 starts) in center field, 20 appearances (17 starts) at third base, 16 appearances (15 starts) at shortstop, nine appearances (nine starts) in left field, eight appearances (six starts) at second base, and one appearance (one start) in right field.

Over 516 defensive innings between all three outfield positions this year, Rafaela racked up nine outfield assists and started five double plays — all while committing just one error.

On the offensive side of things, Rafaela had himself a decent season at the plate for Salem. The right-handed hitter slashed .251/.305/.424 (95 wRC+) with 20 doubles, a team-leading nine triples, 10 home runs, 53 RBI, a team-leading 73 runs scored and 23 stolen bases (in 26 attempts), 25 walks, and 79 strikeouts over 432 plate appearances.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, the versatile, 5-foot-8, 145 pounder is “hard to miss” since “his high-energy style of play is evident in every aspect of the game and he turns heads with his unexpected bat speed and ability to put a charge in pitches in the zone, particularly against left-handers.”

As someone who hits from the right side of the plate, it’s not too surprising to see that Rafaela had far more success against left-handed pitching (.930 OPS in 79 PAs) as opposed to right-handed pitching (.681 OPS in 353 PAs) this season.

That being said, Baseball America does note that Rafaela — who represented Curacao in the 2012 Little League World Series — has a tendency to be a free-swinger, which can work against him at times, particularly on pitches outside of the strike zone that induce weak contact off his bat.

Even while taking those points into consideration, it goes without saying that Rafaela still has plenty of room — and time — to grow and develop, both as a hitter and fielder.

The Curacaoan-born infielder/outfielder can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his professional career this winter if he is not added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline, though it seems likely he will remain with the organization heading into the 2022 season.

On that note, it should be interesting to see if Rafaela participates in the Sox’ fall instructional league that begins in Fort Myers next month, as he has each of the last three years, or if he has other plans for the offseason.

(Picture of Ceddanne Rafaela and Xander Bogaerts via Instagram)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Red Sox outfield prospect Tyler Dearden joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Red Sox outfield prospect Tyler Dearden.

Dearden, 23, was originally selected by Boston in the 29th round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Rancocas Valley Regional High School (N.J.).

He just put together a 2021 season in which he slashed .261/.368/.523 with a record-setting 24 home runs and 80 RBI over 97 games (418 plate appearances) at High-A Greenville.

Among the topics Tyler and I discussed are what it was like playing against fellow Red Sox prospects Jay Groome and Nick Decker while in high school, what led him to go pro out of high school, how he used the COVID-19 shutdown last year to improve his craft, how not getting invited to fall instructs last year served as motivation for him this season, what he thought about some of his teammates at Greenville (like Nick Yorke), how he plans on spending the offseason, what he has in store for 2022, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

My thanks to Tyler for taking some time out of his schedule to have this conversation with me. You can follow him on Twitter (@tylerdearden) by clicking here and on Instagram (@tylerdearden) by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Tyler Dearden via his Instagram)

Red Sox roster moves: Jarren Duran, Jonathan Ara├║z reinstated from COVID-19 related injured list, optioned to Triple-A Worcester; Geoff Hartlieb, Yacksel Rios designated for assignment

The Red Sox have reinstated outfielder Jarren Duran and infielder Jonathan Arauz from the COVID-19 related injured list and have optioned both of them to Triple-A Worcester.

In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Duran and Arauz, right-handers Geoff Hartlieb and Yacksel Rios were designated for assignment, the club announced on Thursday.

Though the Sox are off on Thursday, they remain active ahead of their pivotal three-game weekend series against the Yankees that begins at Fenway Park on Friday night.

Duran, who turned 25 earlier this month, was originally placed on the COVID-19 related injured list shortly before his birthday after exhibiting symptoms and testing positive for the virus on September 3.

Following a mandatory 10-day quarantine period at a Boston hotel, Duran was sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester last Friday. The speedy outfielder went 4-for-13 (.231) at the plate with one double, one RBI, and three strikeouts over four games for the WooSox before officially being reinstated from the COVID IL.

Now that he is considered fully healthy, Duran represents an intriguing option for the Red Sox moving forward. Given how he has struggled to the tune of a .215/.241/.336 slash line at the major-league level since debuting with Boston in July, it’s unlikely the left-handed hitter could garner legitimate playing time– especially when you consider how crowded the Red Sox outfield is.

Still, one of Duran’s standout tools has always been his speed, and that speed could help the former seventh-round draft pick earn a call back up to the Sox in order to serve as a base-stealing specialist off the bench.

Arauz, meanwhile, was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on September 10 while the Red Sox were in Chicago, though he never tested positive for the virus despite displaying symptoms.

Since he tested negative for the coronavirus on multiple occasions, Arauz’s quarantine period lasted less than 10 days, as he was sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester this past Saturday.

In his last three games with the WooSox, the 23-year-old switch-hitter has gone 3-for-10 (.300) with a double, two runs scored, and a strikeout while primarily playing second base and third base.

With Duran and Arauz both coming off the COVID IL on Thursday, the Red Sox now have just three players sidelined on account of the virus in Phillips Valdez, Yairo Munoz, and Danny Santana.

All three of Valdez, Munoz, and Santana were present for Boston’s team picture day on Wednesday, so it appears as though they could be activated soon as well.

On the other side of this roster move, the Sox designated both Hartlieb and Rios for assignment, thus removing the pair of righties from their 40-man roster.

Hartlieb, 27, was initially claimed off waivers by the Red Sox on September 4, just two days after he had been designated by the Mets.

Promptly optioned and assigned to Worcester, Hartlieb appeared in just two games for the WooSox, allowing a total of one unearned run on two walks and two hit batsmen over two innings of work separated by nine days.

Rios, on the other hand, was originally acquired from the Mariners in exchange for cash considerations back on June 14 and was added to the active roster two days later.

In 20 relief appearances out of the Red Sox bullpen, the 28-year-old out of Puerto Rico posted a 3.70 ERA and 4.89 FIP to go along with 21 strikeouts to 14 walks over 24 1/3 total innings of work.

Boston optioned Rios to Worcester on August 14 in order to accommodate the additions of Chris Sale and Christian Vazquez to the major-league roster. He was later placed on the minor-league injured list on Aug. 22 and was held out of action for three weeks.

While with the WooSox, though, Rios put up a 3.60 ERA, a 1.77 FIP, and 7:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in four outings (five innings pitched) coming into play on Thursday.

The Red Sox will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hartlieb and Rios.

Per MLB Trade Rumors’ Anthony Franco, Hartlieb can still be optioned through the end of the 2022 season, so him getting claimed by another club is not out of the question.

As for Rios, he has the right to elect free agency if he goes unclaimed on waivers since he has previously been outrighted in his career.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas homers in Triple-A debut

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas wasted no time in introducing himself to a new level of competition in his debut for Triple-A Worcester on Wednesday night.

After earning a promotion from Double-A Portland earlier this week, Casas batted third and started at first base for the WooSox in their series opener against the Rochester Red Wings (Nationals affiliate) on a rainy night at Polar Park.

Matched up against 2020 first-round pick Cade Cavalli to begin things on Wednesday, the 21-year-old struck out in his first at-bat in the first inning and also fell behind 0-2 in his second at-bat following a two-out double from Jonathan Arauz two innings later.

At that time, the WooSox found themselves trailing the Red Wings by a score of 2-0, but Casas changed that rather quickly after he stepped out of the box to recompose himself.

As he stepped back into the box, the left-handed-hitting first baseman proceeded to take three straight balls from Cavalli before crushing a game-tying, two-run shot over the wall in left field for his first Triple-A home run.

“I knew I was one take away from settling in,” Casas told reporters Wednesday night. “I got behind 0-2 pretty quick in that second at-bat and I was like, ‘Man, I don’t want to go down like this again.’ So I had a couple good takes, and I know he’s got put-away stuff on the other side. He’s a really good pitcher, he made a mistake, and I capitalized on it.”

Franchy Cordero followed with a homer of his own to give Worcester their first lead of the night, as they would go on to take Wednesday’s contest by a final score of 4-3.

Casas wound up going 1-for-4 with just that one home run and two punchouts, but he certainly made his presence felt in his first exposure to Triple-A pitching.

“I try to take it as just another game, but I know this means a lot to me and it means a lot for the organization to bring me up here and get me playing time at this level,” he said following the WooSox’ win. “I just wanted to come out and contribute anyway I can, especially in the first game and it definitely settled the nerves, for sure.”

Casas, who was originally selected by the Red Sox with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.), is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system.

The Miami-area native initially opened the 2021 minor-league campaign at Portland after spending some time with the big-league club in spring training and held his own there, slashing .284/.395/.484 (142 wRC+) with 12 doubles, two triples, 13 homers, 52 RBI, 57 runs scored, six stolen bases, 49 walks, and 63 strikeouts over 77 games (329 plate appearances).

He also spent part of his summer in Tokyo, where he helped the United States’ Olympic baseball team win a silver medal at the 2020 Summer Games while being named the top first baseman of the tournament.

Casas’ promotion from Portland to Worcester came shortly after the Sea Dogs’ season ended this past Sunday, so the 6-foot-4, 252 pounder will now have the chance to get into some more games before the WooSox’ season comes to a close next weekend.

Given the progress he has made this year in the wake of the 2020 minor-league season getting cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Casas — who turns 22 in January — knows he is on the cusp of garnering serious consideration for a big-league call-up. Put another way, his time is coming.

“I felt it when they first gave me the call,” he said when asked if he has realized how close he is to the majors. “I was like, ‘Yeah, this is the last step, you know?’ I’m really close and it feels really good to know that my hard work is being appreciated.”

(Picture of Triston Casas: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

Kyle Schwarber goes deep twice as Red Sox rout Mets, 12-5, to finish off sweep and extend winning streak

The magic of the yellow City Connect uniforms continued at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, as the Red Sox absolutely teed off on the Mets yet again.

Boston steamrolled New York, 12-5, to finish off another sweep and extend their winning streak to seven consecutive games.

Matched up against Mets starter Taijuan Walker to begin things on Wednesday, the Sox did not waste any time in getting on the board, as Kyle Schwarber got his productive night at the plate by crushing a 434-foot solo shot over the center field wall with one out in the first inning.

Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers followed by each reaching base to put runners at the corners for J.D. Martinez, who doubled the lead on a line-drive RBI single that plated Bogaers and made it a 2-0 game.

That early production gave Chris Sale a decent cushion to work with right out of the gate essentially, though the veteran left-hander was not particularly at his best on Wednesday.

Sale, in what his seventh start of the season and second start back from the COVID-19 related injured list, allowed two runs — both of which were earned — while scattering six hits and two walks to go along with eight strikeouts over five full innings of work.

Despite being given a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Sale gave one of those runs right back to the Mets in the top of the second, as he issued a leadoff walk to Javier Baez, who stole second base with two outs and promptly scored on an RBI double off the bat of Jeff McNeil.

The Red Sox, however, responded immediately — and then some — in their half of the second, with Hunter Renfroe ripping a leadoff double and moving up to third on a Christian Vazquez lineout before Jose Iglesias drew a four-pitch walk to put runners on the corners once more.

As the Boston lineup flipped back over for Enrique Hernandez, the leadoff man stayed hot by lacing an RBI double down the left field line that brought in Renfroe and moved Iglesias up to third while giving the Sox a 3-1 lead.

With two runners still on base, Schwarber came through yet again, this time tattooing a high, 94.4 mph fastball from Walker that he sent flying over the visitor’s bullpen.

Schwarber’s second homer of the evening — and 31st of the year — was a booming three-run shot that left his bat at 105.8 mph. It also put the Sox up 6-1 after just two innings.

In the third, after Iglesias turned a slick, 4-6-3 inning-ending double play to help Sale escape a jam, back-to-back doubles from Martinez and Alex Verdugo pushed across another Boston run off newly-inserted Mets reliever Trevor Williams.

Verdugo advanced up to third on a groundout to the right side of the infield from Vazquez, then scored himself on a hard-hit triple that was stung to right field by Vazquez and deflected off the glove of old friend Kevin Pillar.

Center fielder Brandon Nimmo got the ball back into the infield quickly, but Baez, the second baseman, overthrew Jonathan Villar at third base, thus allowing Iglesias to easily score to cap off the little-league home run and make it a 9-1 contest.

After Schwarber blooped a leadoff double in the fourth and Bogaerts moved him up to third on a single, Devers plated his side’s 10th run of the night on a run-scoring double play.

Sale, meanwhile, ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth following a pair of scoreless frames in the third and fourth, as the lefty issued a leadoff walk to James McCann that was later followed by a scorcher of a run-scoring infield single courtesy of Francisco Lindor.

That cut New York’s deficit down to eight runs at 10-2, but Sale was able to rebound by fanning the final batter he faced in Baez to end his outing on a somewhat more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (56 strikes) the 32-year-old hurler ultimately picked up his fifth win of the year to improve to a perfect 5-0, though he did raise his ERA on the season from 2.40 to 2.57.

Iglesias got the final run Sale gave up back on an RBI groundout that scored Renfroe in the bottom half of the fifth, and the Red Sox bullpen took over from there — with Matt Barnes getting the first call from manager Alex Cora.

Barnes, like Sale, was making just his second appearance since returning from the COVID IL last Friday, and he only managed to get the first out of the sixth before loading the bases on a six-pitch walk of Pillar.

Ryan Brasier was then dispatched to get out of the mess Barnes had created, and he did just that while only allowing one of the runners he inherited to score by getting McCann to fly out to center field.

Villar attempted to advance to third while J.D. Davis tagged up and scored, but was instead thrown out there by Hernandez, who ended the inning by notching his eighth outfield assist of the season and his second in as many games.

From there, the Sox and Mets continued to exchange one-run innings, with Verdugo picking up another RBI on a groundout in the bottom of the sixth and the dangerous Pete Alonso taking Adam Ottavino deep on a solo shot to right field in the top half of the seventh that made it a 12-4 contest entering the late stages.

After the Boston bats failed to score a run in an inning for the first time all night in the bottom of the seventh, left-hander Josh Taylor put up another zero in the eighth, setting the stage for fellow southpaw Martin Perez in the ninth.

Perez, in turn, surrendered a run on two hits, but otherwise slammed the door on New York to secure a commanding 12-5 victory for the Sox to finish off a quick two-game sweep.

With the win, not only do the Red Sox extend their winning streak to seven straight games, but they also improve to 88-65 on the season. With the Yankees winning and the Blue Jays losing on Wednesday, Boston now holds a two-game lead over New York for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Huge weekend against the Yankees at Fenway

After an off-day on Thursday, the Red Sox will welcome the Yankees, who have won three straight, into town for a pivotal three-game weekend series that begins on Friday night.

Friday’s series opener will feature a star-studded pitching matchup, as right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is slated to get the ball for Boston while fellow righty Gerrit Cole is in line to do the same for New York.

With plenty of Wild Card implications on the line, first pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.

(Picture of Kyle Schwarber: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Alex Cora on Nick Yorke being named organization’s Offensive Player of the Year: ‘What he did is what he expects’

Alex Cora has long been impressed with what he has seen from Nick Yorke since Yorke, then 18, was the youngest player at major-league spring training earlier this year.

So, when Yorke, now 19, was named the organization’s minor-league Offensive Player of the Year on Tuesday after completing just his first full professional season, that did not come as much of a surprise to the Red Sox manager.

“The way he hacks, the way he goes about his business, it’s very impressive,” Cora said before Wednesday’s game against the Mets at Fenway Park. “As you guys know, I have a daughter (Camila) who is around the same age, and just to think about the way he carried himself in the clubhouse, with adults — it was eye-opening. “

After being reassigned to minor-league camp in March, Yorke later opened the 2021 campaign with Low-A Salem. The 2020 first-round draft pick out of Archbishop Mitty High School (Calif.) got off to a slow start at the plate before turning a corner beginning in June.

From June 1 on, Yorke slashed a sizzling .373/.467/.608 (185 wRC+) with 12 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 38 RBI, 50 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 33 walks, and 26 strikeouts over his final 55 games (255 plate appearances) with Salem before earning a promotion to High-A Greenville in late August.

Yorke’s production did not drop off following his promotion, though, as the right-handed hitting second baseman continued to light it up at the plate by batting ┬á.333/.406/.571 (158 wRC+) with six doubles, one triple, four homers, 15 RBI, 17 runs scored, two stolen bases, 11 walks, and 22 strikeouts in 21 games (96 plate appearances) with the Drive before their season ended on Sunday.

“What he did is what he expects,” Cora said of Yorke. “I told [MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith] that in spring training, he’d get mad when he made an out. So his expectations are great. He’s in-tune with the game. He understands the offensive part of it. You got to run the bases, you got to play defense — he knows that. He was a sponge the whole time.”

Yorke, who does not turn 20 until next April, was among the youngest position players to appear in a game at the High-A level this season. He is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 8 prospect in the Red Sox farm system and the No. 63 prospect in all of baseball.

The 6-foot, 200 pounder out of California will presumably take part in Boston’s fall instructional league that begins next month and will likely receive another invite to big-league spring training come February 2022.

“We’re very pleased with the way he went about it this year,” said Cora in regards to Yorke’s 2021 season. “And we’re looking forward for him to keep getting better and get him here as soon as possible to contribute.”

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Bobby Dalbec sits, Kyle Schwarber starts at first base as Chris Sale, Red Sox look to complete sweep of Mets

Bobby Dalbec is not in the Red Sox’ starting lineup for their series finale against the Mets at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Despite slashing a scorching .368/.500/.842 with two home runs and five RBI over his last six games, Dalbec will sit in favor of Kyle Schwarber, who will get the start at first base as the Sox go up against Mets starter Taijuan Walker.

Walker, who did not pitch against Boston the last time these two teams matched up in April, was named an All-Star for the first time in his big-league career earlier this summer.

Since the All-Star break, though, the 29-year-old right-hander has struggled to the tune of a 7.04 ERA and 6.87 FIP over his last 11 starts and 55 innings pitched dating back to July 18. He does however own a lifetime 1.69 ERA in two career starts (10 2/3 innings) at Fenway Park.

In his career against Walker, Schwarber has fared quite well, going 3-for-8 (.375) with three home runs and a walk off the righty. Between the Nationals and Red Sox this season, the 28-year-old left-handed hitter has slashed .257/.352/.605 (149 wRC+) against right-handed pitchers.

Schwarber will be batting second in Boston’s lineup behind leadoff man Enrique Hernandez, who has reached base in each of his last four games and will be starting in center field on Wednesday. They will be followed by Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, Rafael Devers at third base, and J.D. Martinez at designated hitter.

Martinez, like Schwarber, has also got the best of Walker, as he is a lifetime .546 (6-for-11) off him.

Rounding out Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s lineup is Alex Verdugo in left field, Hunter Renfroe making his return in right field, Christian Vazquez behind the plate, and Jose Iglesias — who has three hits in eight career plate appearances against Walker — at second base.

Vazquez will be catching ace left-hander Chris Sale, who will be making his seventh start of the season for the Sox. The 32-year-old hurler last pitched on September 17, meaning he will be working on regular rest in just his second start back from the COVID-19 related injured list.

Since making his 2021 debut after returning from Tommy John surgery last month, Sale has put up a 2.40 ERA and 4.26 FIP to go along with 31 strikeouts to six walks in exactly 30 innings of work thus far. He owns a career 2.45 ERA in two prior outings against the Mets.

The Red Sox (87-65) on Wednesday will be going for the quick two-game sweep of the Mets while also extending their winning streak to seven consecutive games. They currently hold a 1 1/2 game lead over the Blue Jays (85-66) for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Boston will also be wearing their City Connect uniforms once again, for what it’s worth.

Taking that point into consideration, first pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Kik├ę Hern├índez, Xander Bogaerts both homer as Red Sox top Mets, 6-3, for sixth straight win

Exactly two weeks out from the American League Wild Card game, the Red Sox continued their winning ways against the Mets to kick off their final homestand of the regular season.

Although they fell behind first, Boston fought their way back for a 6-3 victory over New York at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, marking their sixth straight win.

Eduardo Rodriguez, making his 29th start of the season for the Sox and his very first against the Mets, was sharp early on, but later fell off in what turned out to be another relatively short outing.

Over just 4 1/3 innings of work, Rodriguez allowed two runs — both of which were earned — on five hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The veteran left-hander took a perfect game into the third inning, as he did not give up his first hit until yielding a two-out single to New York’s No. 9 hitter, Tomas Nido, in the top half of the frame.

While it appeared as though Rodriguez was well on his way to putting together a strong performance, things took a turn for the worse in the fourth when he loaded the bases with no outs before issuing a bases-loaded, run-scoring walk to J.D. Davis to give the Mets their first lead of the night at 1-0.

Michael Conforto followed by grounding another RBI single through the left side of the infield that scored Javier Baez and very well could have pushed across another had Enrique Hernandez not gunned down Pete Alonso at home plate from center field.

Hernandez’s seventh outfield assist of the season proved to halt the Mets’ momentum, as Rodriguez escaped the jam by recording the final two outs of the fourth in consecutive order.

At that point, the Red Sox lineup had struggled to get anything going against Rodriguez’s counterpart in Mets starter Marcus Stroman despite having their fair share of opportunities — particularly in the third inning.

There, with no outs and the bases full, Xander Bogaerts grounded into what was at the time a back-breaking 5-2-3 double play, which was followed by an inning-ending flyout off the bat of Rafael Devers.

Compounded with New York jumping out to a 2-0 lead in their half of the fourth, things were looking rather dire for the Boston bats, but they were able to bounce back in a tremendous way beginning in the bottom of that particular frame.

With two outs in the inning, Bobby Dalbec stayed hot by ripping a 104.5 mph line-drive double off the center field wall. Christian Vazquez followed by lacing another liner, though this one flew over the outstretched glove of a back-pedaling Kevin Pillar, took a bounce off the Green Monster, and brought in Dalbec to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.

Rodriguez, meanwhile, came back out for the fifth, though he gave up back-to-back hits to Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor that put runners at second and third with only one out.

That led to Red Sox manager Alex Cora giving Rodriguez the hook at that moment, as the 28-year-old ended his day having thrown 92 pitches (55 strikes).

In relief of Rodriguez, Cora first turned to the recently-recalled Ryan Brasier, who inherited a bit of a mess but got out of it by fanning Baez on three straight strikes before getting the dangerous Alonso to ground out to short.

With their lineup flipping over for a third time beginning in the middle of the fifth, the Sox continued to pound Stroman, as Hernandez clubbed a game-tying, 379-foot solo shot over the Green Monster (his 18th home run of the season, Kyle Schwarber drilled a hard-hit double to the left-center field gap, and Bogaerts capped it off with an act of redemption — mashing a 426-foot, two-run moonshot to left field.

Bogaerts’ 23rd homer of the year put the Sox up 4-2, but the star shortstop was not done there, as he — with the bases full and two outs in the sixth — plated two more on a 107 mph two-run double off Brad Hand to make it a 6-2 game in favor of Boston.

From there, after Brasier and left-hander Austin Davis combined to work a scoreless sixth inning, fellow trade deadline acquisition Hansel Robles took over and did the very same in the seventh.

Garrett Richards, on the other hand, served up a towering solo homer to Alonso in an otherwise clean eighth inning. He also got the first out of the ninth before Darwinzon Hernandez slammed the door on the Mets to preserve the 6-3 victory for the Sox, though the lefty did not pick up the save.

With the win, not only do the Red Sox extend their winning streak to six consecutive games, but they also improve to 87-65 on the season by doing so. The Blue Jays and Yankees also won on Tuesday, so the Sox maintain their 1 1/2 game lead over Toronto for the top Wild Card spot in the American League.

Next up: Sale vs. Walker

The Red Sox will hand the ball to ace left-hander Chris Sale as they go for the quick two-game sweep over the Mets on Wednesday night. Sale will be working on regular rest in just his second start back from the COVID-19 related injured list.

The Mets, in turn, will counter with right-hander and 2021 All-Star Taijuan Walker as they look to prevent the sweep from happening.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox top prospects Nick Yorke, Brayan Bello named organization’s Offensive Player, Starting Pitcher of the Year

Two of the top prospects in the Red Sox farm system were recognized for the seasons they respectively put together this year.

Infielder Nick Yorke was named Boston’s Offensive Player of the Year, while right-hander Brayan Bello was named Boston’s Starting Pitcher of the Year, the club announced on Tuesday.

Yorke, 19, enjoyed a great deal of success in his first professional season with the Sox after being selected with the 17th overall pick in last summer’s amateur draft.

The right-handed hitting second baseman received an invite to major-league spring training earlier this year and broke minor-league camp with Low-A Salem.

After getting off to a slow start with Salem, Yorke turned a corner at the plate beginning in June, as he was slashing a scorching .323/.413/.500 (146 wRC+) with 14 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 47 RBI, 59 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 41 walks, and 47 strikeouts over 76 games (346 plate appearances) before earning a promotion to High-A Greenville late last month.

Upon getting promoted to a more advanced level on the minor-league ladder, Yorke did not slow down, as evidenced by him collecting two hits in his Greenville debut on August 24.

From there, the California native went on to hit .333/.406/.571 (158 wRC+) with six doubles, one triple, four homers, 15 RBI, 17 runs scored, two stolen bases, 11 walks, and 22 strikeouts across 21 games (96 plate appearances) with the Drive, whose season ended on Sunday.

All in all, Yorke this season ranked first among all qualified Red Sox minor-league hitters in batting average (.325), fourth in on-base percentage (.412), third in slugging percentage (.516), first in OPS (.928), second in wRC+ (158), per FanGraphs.

Yorke, who does not turn 20 until next April, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 8 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking fifth among position players in the organization.

As for Bello, the 22-year-old right-hander also earned a midseason promotion over the summer after originally beginning the year — and dominating — with Greenville.

Across six starts with the Drive, Bello posted a dazzling 2.27 ERA and 2.82 FIP to go along with 45 strikeouts to seven walks over 31 2/3 innings of work before moving up to Double-A Portland in early June.

While the transition from High-A to Double-A did not go entirely smoothly for Bello, he was one of two prospects to represent the Red Sox in July’s All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field.

From the time he was promoted to Portland through the end of the minor-league season, the Dominican-born righty put up a 4.66 ERA, but much more respectable 3.12 FIP, while striking out 31.1% of the batters he faced and walking just 8.6% of them over 15 starts spanning 63 2/3 innings of work with the Sea Dogs.

Among the eight Red Sox minor-league pitchers who accrued at least 90 innings this season, Bello ranked first in strikeouts per nine innings (12.46), first in strikeout rate (32.8%), first in FIP (3.02), and first in xFIP (3.16), per FanGraphs.

Bello, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, is the No. 6 prospect in Boston’s farm system, according to Baseball America.

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Bello throws from a mid-three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a fastball, a changeup, and a slider.

Despite the fact he does not turn 23 until next May, Bello will more than likely be added to the Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline since he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this winter.

In addition to Yorke being named the Red Sox’ Offensive Player of the Year and Bello being named the Starting Pitcher of the Year, infielder/outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela was named the Defensive Player of the Year, right-hander Durbin Feltman was named the Relief Pitcher of the Year, infielder Christian Koss was named the Baserunner of the Year, outfielder Allan Castro was named the Latin Program Position Player of the Year, and right-hander Jedixson Paez was named the Latin Program Pitcher of the Year.

On top of that, right-hander Kutter Crawford — who made his major-league debut earlier this month — was named the recipient of the Lou Gorman Award, which goes to a player “who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the major-league team.”

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Christian Arroyo from COVID-19 related injured list, return Jack L├│pez to Triple-A Worcester

In addition to placing Garrett Whitlock on the 10-day injured list due to a right pectoral strain and recalling Ryan Brasier from Triple-A Worcester, the Red Sox also activated infielder Christian Arroyo from the COVID-19 related injured list.

In a corresponding move, fellow infielder Jack Lopez was returned to Worcester, the club announced shortly before Tuesday’s series opener against the Mets at Fenway Park.

Arroyo returns from the COVID-19 related injured list after spending nearly a month there following a lengthy bout with the virus.

The 26-year-old was originally identified as a close contact of Enrique Hernandez when the Sox’ outbreak began in Cleveland on August 27. He tested positive for COVID just two days later and was forced to quarantine at the team’s hotel.

After getting hit hard by virus-related symptoms, Arroyo was cleared to return to action last week, as he was sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester this past Thursday.

Appearing in three games with the WooSox during their series in Syracuse over the weekend, the right-handed hitting second baseman went 1-for-11 with a single, a run scored, and four strikeouts while playing a total of 21 defensive innings at second base.

It’s been a tough go-around for Arroyo in his first full season in Boston, with the 6-foot-1, 210 pound hitter being limited to just 53 games so far this year on account of three separate stints on the injured list (due to a left hand contusion, right knee contusion, and left hamstring strain) and one stint on the COVID-related IL.

Still, Arroyo has been productive when healthy, as he comes into play Tuesday sporting a .264/.324/.453 slash line to go along with six home runs, 25 RBI, and 22 runs scored over 175 trips to the plate.

While Arroyo will start Tuesday’s contest against the Mets on the bench, the Red Sox will need the Florida native to contribute to their Wild Card push since Jose Iglesias — who has mainly been playing second base in Arroyo’s place — is ineligible for the postseason since he was signed after September 1.

Lopez, meanwhile, returns to Worcester for a second time after he most-recently had his contract selected when Danny Santana was placed on the COVID IL on September 11.

Across two separate stints with the Sox in the month of September, the 28-year-old journeyman has slashed just .154/.214/.308 with a pair of doubles, a run, and one walk over seven games (16 plate appearances), though he has provided sound defense in limited action at second base.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)