With a ten game road trip coming to a close for the Red Sox today, a victory today would ensure both a series win in Toronto and a winning road trip as well.
Drew Pomeranz got the start for the Red Sox in this one, and he was matched up against Blue Jays righty Joe Biagini. It’s safe to say this matchup was not exactly a pitcher’s duel, because neither starter could make it through the fifth inning. Despite what the numbers may say, Pomeranz struggled in his fifth start of the season today. Right from the get go, the lefty looked a bit out of sorts. That being said, the Blue Jays did not score their first run of the game until the fifth inning. Up until that point, despite not surrendering any runs, Pomeranz had just one clean inning over the first four. Walks were also an issue for the Tennessee native, as he allowed a season-high five free passes on Sunday.
Like I said though, despite all the baserunners Pomeranz had to deal with early on, he somehow did not give up any runs until his fifth and final frame of work. With some help from Mookie Betts, Pomeranz got out of a fourth inning jam in style. If that ball off the bat of Richard Urena dropped in front of Betts, it more than likely would have plated a run.
The Blue Jays rally was started by the top of their lineup, as three straight hits plated their first two runs of the game. With his pitch count up at 103 already, Pomeranz’s day would come to an end before he could even record an out in the fifth. Since he could not make it through five innings, Pomeranz did not factor into the decision later on. The final line for Pomeranz looks like this: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, and 6 K’s. After the performance he put on in the Bronx last week, the 29-year-old hurler did not have the same type of stuff going for him this time out. He’ll look to rebound in his next start against the Baltimore Orioles next weekend.
Anyway, with no outs in the bottom of the fifth and runners on first and second, Hector Velazquez would get the call first out of the Red Sox bullpen. Inheriting somewhat of a mess, Velazquez did a solid job holding the Blue Jays to just one run while also getting Kendrys Morales to ground into an inning ending double play. The righty also came back out for the sixth inning, and he tossed another scoreless frame to lower his ERA all the way down to 2.10.
After that, the Red Sox bullpen continued to hold the Blue Jays scoreless for the rest of the game. Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, and Joe Kelly combined for three scoreless frames to go along with three strikeouts to wrap this one up. For Hembree, a reassuring performance given the road trip he has had up to this point. And for Kelly, with Craig Kimbrel not available, a shut down ninth inning helped the Red Sox flamethrower notch his second save of the season today.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup had plenty of scoring opportunities against Joe Biagini and the Blue Jays bullpen today. JD Martinez got things started right away in the first, as he launched his 10th home run of the season 386 feet to right field.
Another vintage opposite field home run for Martinez. According to FanGraphs, 60% of the homers the Miami native has hit this year have gone over the wall in right field. That put the Red Sox up by two runs early, and they would have a golden opportunity to tack on some more two innings later.
With Joe Biagini on the mound, Jackie Bradley Jr. led the third off by drawing an eight pitch walk. A single from Mookie Betts moved Bradley up to third. After Andrew Benintendi flew out and JD Martinez reached first on a walk, the bases were loaded for Mitch Moreland. Despite not getting a hit, Moreland had himself a great at bat against Biagini, as he drew an RBI walk on the tenth pitch of the AB. On the broadcast, they said that Moreland was at the plate for approximately six minutes, so it was a hard-earned RBI to say the least. Unfortunately, that’s all the scoring the Red Sox would do in the third since Xander Bogaerts grounded into a double play in the next at bat.
Fast forward to the fifth, and JD Martinez added on to his great day at the plate with an RBI single to right field. His second hit of the game scored Mookie Betts from third and put the Red Sox up by four runs at the time.
Three innings later, Xander Bogaerts drove in his only run of the game on an RBI groundout. That scored Andrew Benintendi from third after he led the inning off with a walk. For the Red Sox, that run marked their fifth and final run of the day, which was nice, since it provided the bullpen with some insurance late in the game.
Some notes from this one:
After going hitless last night, JD Martinez got back on the board with two hits today. With another three RBI performance, Martinez now has 33 of them on the season, good for fifth in the American League.
Entering today 2 for his last 27 in May, Jackie Bradley Jr. got a hit in his fourth and final at bat today. Maybe now he will have the confidence to heat up for a bit, we’ll see.
With the 5-3 win on Sunday, the Red Sox are now 12-1 in series finales this season. As they head back to Boston, the Oakland Athletics will be first up on a seven game home stand. The two sides kick off a three game set tomorrow night, and it will be Sean Manaea on the mound for the A’s, who, in case you forgot, tossed a no-hitter the last time he saw the Red Sox in Oakland. Looking to keep his perfect season going, Rick Porcello will be taking the mound for the Red Sox. The Athletics are definitely one of the more interesting teams in the American League, so this week should be…interesting. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Monday.