After taking two out of three from a very impressive Houston Astros over the weekend, Hector Velazquez and the Red Sox looked to carry that momentum to Kansas City for a three game series against the Royals. No one was expecting the Mexican native to go more than six innings, so it was good to see him make it into the sixth. Velazquez didn’t dominate, allowing five hits and only striking out three in the 5.1 innings pitched, but he did scatter those hits for the most part. The only real mistake he made came in the bottom of the third. With two outs and a runner on, Eric Hosmer took Velazquez yard, giving the Royals a 2-0 lead. Other than that though, not bad stuff from a spot starter at the end of the rotation.
For the second night in a row, the bullpen was rather iffy. Fernando Abad came in to relieve Velazquez, but he gave up a hit and walked a batter before being removed, having failed to record a single out. Blaine Boyer would come after Abad, and he too was rather bad. After finishing off the sixth, Boyer came back out for the seventh, which was a different story. The Royals reached base three times off Boyer in the seventh, scoring twice, the first run being the go-ahead run. Things could have gone differently, as a one out triple from Drew Butera could have been a single if Jackie Bradley Jr. did not dive and miss, but he did. Robby Scott would come in to try and get out of the seventh, and that’s exactly what he did. Austin Maddox made his second career appearance out of the pen, and he pitched a scoreless eighth.
Offensively, the lineup couldn’t do much against the veteran righty Jason Hammel. Like Velazquez, the only real mistake Hammel made was a home run off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr., his ninth of the season. Speaking of JBJ, he recorded his first three hit game of the year, so it’s good to see him come into his own with the bat again. Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez also had multi-hit games, so those four accounted for 90% of Red Sox hits last night. Those two runs that came off the bat of JBJ were the only runs the Red Sox could score though, as the Royals bullpen shut them down over the last two innings.
Today is Sale Day, which is good. First place was fun while it lasted.
39 down, ? to go.