So, after getting their hearts ripped out on Friday night, how did this team respond? Well, all they did was score a combined 28 runs over the next two games. They actually gave Chris Sale a lead before he even the took the mound on Sunday. More on the offense later, for now, let’s talk about the pitching. Unfortunately the Chris Sale vs. Ervin Santana matchup did not live up to the hype it was getting. Sale breezed through the first four innings, striking out seven over that span. The fifth inning would not treat Sale like the first four did, as the Twins crossed the plate four times on three hits, two walks, and a HBP. Sale would reach a milestone in the sixth when he recorded his tenth strikeout of the game, joining Pedro Martinez as the only Red Sox pitcher to record 10+ K’s in six consecutive starts. It goes without saying that this was Sale’s worst start in a Red Sox uniform. If you take away that fifth inning, he probably puts on a much better performance. I believe Sunday’s start is the first time this season Chris Sale has failed to pitch in the seventh inning. Perhaps it was the run support Sale got that threw him off. He’ll make his next start against the Rays next weekend.
Like I said yesterday, Ervin Santana has been a surprise for the Twins this season, with an ERA south of one. On Sunday though, he pitched like the Ervin Santana I know, which is what the Red Sox took advantage of. The scoring started early, with Dustin Pedroia belting a solo home run to left with only one out in the first. Andrew Benintendi would blast another home run later in the inning, scoring Xander Bogaerts along with it. After goind dormant for four innings, Mookie Betts would drive in himself by hitting his third home run of the season. Sandy Leon would stay hot in the sixth, hitting another two-run home run, scoring Hanley Ramirez along with himself. Then, we get to the ninth inning, which was really something else. After the Twins made it a one-run game in the bottom half of the eighth, the Red Sox needed some insurance, and they definitely got more than they needed. Red Sox batters would cross the plate ten times in the ninth, highlighted by Sandy Leon’s second two-run home run of the game and Mitch Moreland’s 2 RBI double, which scored Benintendi and Bogaerts.
After Matt Barnes nearly blew it and Craig Kimbrel had to be used in the eighth to get out of the inning, the Red Sox bats buried the Twins. The offensive output the last two games has been fantastic. An off day Monday provides an opportunity for rest. Interleague play kicks off Monday with the Red Sox visiting the Brewers. I’m excited to see Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, while also waiting to see what Hanley looks like playing first this season. Should be a good series, overall.
17 down, 77 to go.