On a cold, dreary Saturday night at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were looking to bounce back from a rough loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. Thanks to a solid outing from Rick Porcello and three home runs from the youngest members of the Red Sox lineup, they got that done in convincing fashion.
Yup, Rick Porcello made his tenth start of his 2018 campaign last night, and he put together a solid performance after two straight clunkers coming against the Yankees and Athletics. In six full innings, the righty scattered three runs on six hits while tying a season-high in walks with three and striking out a season-best nine on the night. For Porcello, I thought that he really only made one mistake last night, and that was the two-run home run he gave up in the sixth inning off the bat of Pedro Alvarez. Despite the fact he never faced the minimum three batters in any of the six innings he pitched in, I thought Porcello was deserving of his sixth winning decision of the season in this one. He’ll look to build on the success he had last night next time out, and I’m assuming that will come against the Atlanta Braves next weekend.
FInishing with a pitch count of 107 (67 strikes), Joe Kelly would take over things for Porcello in the seventh inning. Working with a one run lead, Kelly struck out two in a scoreless frame of work en route to his sixth hold of the season.
Next up out of the Red Sox bullpen, with a three run lead to work with this time, was Matt Barnes. Like Kelly, the UCONN alum also struck out two while tossing a scoreless eighth inning. That made way for Craig Kimbrel in the ninth, and the Red Sox flamethrower retired the side in order to pick up his 13th save of the season. All and all, a great night for the Red Sox bullpen, as they held the Orioles to nothing while tossing four perfect innings.
On the other side of things, Rafael Devers got the scoring for the Red Sox started in the fourth inning, as he took O’s starter Dylan Bundy deep for his eighth home run of the season.
That solo shot tied the game at one, but that tie would not hold for very long. An inning later, The Betts-Benintendi connection struck once again. With one out in the bottom half of the fifth and Sandy Leon at second, Mookie Betts came through with a 406 foot shot to left field for his second home run in as many night.
With 15 homers on the season now, no one in baseball has more than Mookie Betts. That coming from the best leadoff hitter in baseball. I can’t quite say Betts is the best player in baseball yet (Mike Trout), but he is certainly the best leadoff hitter this game has.
One batter later, Andrew Benintendi got in on the action with his fourth long ball of the season, this one sent 386 feet into the Orioles bullpen.
That put the Red Sox up 4-1 at the time it was hit, but the Orioles would trim that deficit back to one just an inning later on that Pedro Alvarez home run I mentioned earlier.
Fast forward to the seventh, Andrew Benintendi came up in a big spot once again and he pretty much put this game out of reach. After Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the inning off with back-to-back walks and Mookie Betts moved them up to second and third on a fly out to right field to set up an ideal RBI spot for the Red Sox left fielder.
On the eighth pitch of the at bat against Orioles righty Tanner Scott, Benintendi took a 89 MPH slider from Scott and ripped it up the middle for a 2 RBI single. That put the Red Sox up by three and wrapped this one up with two innings to spare.
Some notes from this one:
With two hits last night, Andrew Benintendi has raised his batting average from .239 to .275 over his last 15 games.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is 1 for his last 20 at the plate with three walks and four runs scored. He’s slashing .081/.190/.081 this month, and with one minor league option left on his contract, it may be time to use it on the struggling outfielder.
On a more positive note, the Red Sox will look to take this series from the Baltimore Orioles later this afternoon. Eduardo Rodriguez will be on the mound for Boston, while David Hess will be getting the start for Baltimore. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET, should be a good one.