In a game that took over four hours to complete and saw 31 total runs cross the plate, it was the Red Sox, with no help from their pitching staff, who came away with a series opening win against a last place Baltimore Orioles team in wild fashion.
Making his third start with Boston since being traded from Tampa Bay on July 25th, Nathan Eovaldi actually struggled. Wow.
He entered Friday having not given up a single run in 15 innings pitched with his new club, but also a career 6.10 ERA in two prior starts at Camden Yards, and the latter prevailed last night.
Pitching into just the third inning of this one, the right-hander got hit hard by the lowly O’s for EIGHT runs, four of which were earned, on 10 hits and two walks.
Most surprisingly, Eovaldi failed to strike out a single one of the 20 batters he faced on the night.
Control was also an issue for the Houston native in his 12th outing of the year, as he only threw strikes 59% of the time on Friday. Compare that to a 73% strike rate in his previous two starts, both of which were starts that allowed Eovaldi to work at a decently quick pace, something he really could not accomplish yesterday.
I don’t think it is that big of a deal, but it is worth mentioning that Dan Butler, not Sandy Leon, who was behind the plate in his previous two appearances, caught Eovaldi. There were times when pitcher and catcher were not on the same page in terms of what to throw, and perhaps that’s what led to a rough evening for Eovaldi.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (42 strikes), the 28 year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball 35 times and topped out at 99 MPH with his four-seamer in the first inning. Eovaldi will look to rebound from this disastrous start and maintain his previous stellar form in his next time out against his former club in the Tampa Bay Rays next weekend.
In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen too had themselves a rough night.
- Brandon Workman cleaned up the mess left behind by Eovaldi in the third thanks to a pick off from Dan Butler to catch Tim Beckham stealing second and also tossed a scoreless fourth.
- Drew Pomeranz, yes that Drew Pomeranz, made his first appearance out of the Red Sox bullpen since being demoted on Thursday afternoon and actually looked okay in a clean fifth. He would eventually pick up his second winning decision of the season later on.
- Heath Hembree got knocked around for two runs on three hits and a walk in an abysmal sixth inning of work that saw the Red Sox lead shrink from three runs to one run.
- Shoutout to Ryan Brasier, because he was the only reliever out of Boston’s ‘pen who managed to retire all three batters he faced in a shutdown seventh inning.
- Matt Barnes gave up a solo homer to Mark Trumbo to cut his team’s lead to eight runs, but otherwise sat down three of the four batters he faced in the eighth.
- And finally, despite giving up a run on two base knocks, Joe Kelly closed things down in the ninth to secure win number 82 for the Red Sox.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup certainly had themselves a night to remember, as they set a new season-high in runs scored with 19 of them on the evening.
Matched up against Baltimore’s ace in right-hander Dylan Bundy, who got hit hard by Boston in a game that ended up not counting because of weather late last month, the top and middle parts of the lineup got the scoring started right away to kick off the weekend.
Beginning the first by drawing a leadoff walk on four straight balls, Mookie Betts, along with JD Martinez, would come around to score two of the first three Red Sox runs on a two out three-run blast off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. His 17th of the season.
Fast forward to the fourth and trailing 8-3 all of a sudden, Brock Holt got things back on track by drawing a one out walk and would come around to score two batters later on a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI triple. A passed ball with Mookie Betts at the plate allowed Bradley to score from third, and just like that, it was a three-run game.
Two innings later, a leadoff home run from a surging Holt cut the Orioles lead to two, and that was just the tip of the iceberg in what turned out to be a six run sixth for Boston.
Highlighted by a sac fly from Mitch Moreland that made it a one-run game, two bases loaded walks that saw the tying and go-ahead runs cross the plate, and a two RBI knock from Holt, the Red Sox found themselves with a brand new three run lead they would not have to look back from. All while the Orioles ran through three different pitchers in the inning.
In the seventh, with Donnie Hart still on the mound for Baltimore, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Mitch Moreland all reached base safely before a single out was recorded.
Benintendi, with runners on first and third, essentially put this game on ice by mashing his 15th big fly of the season, another three-run shot that gave his team a commanding 14-10 lead.
To wrap up the wild night filled with plenty of scoring, a pair of multi-RBI base hits from Mookie Betts and JD Martinez gave the Red Sox their 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th and final run of the contest.
For Betts, a bases-clearing double, his 32nd, saw Holt, Steve Pearce, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all score to up his RBI total to 62 on the season.
And for JD, a two RBI single that scored both Betts and Andrew Benintendi put his season RBI total over 100 at 101 to be exact. The first player to accomplish the feat this season.
Some notes from this win:
From @SoxNotes: Tonight’s 19-12 win marks the most runs the Red Sox have scored against the Orioles since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954. It had been 24 years since the Sox scored 19+ runs in any road game (4/12/94 at KC, W 22-11).
Mookie Betts has reached base 10 times in his last 11 plate appearances.
One day after Betts hit for the cycle in Toronto, Jackie Bradley Jr. finished a home run shy in four at bats last night.
JD Martinez has driven in 101 runs in 109 games played.
Entering Friday in a 2/24 slump at the plate, Brock Holt went 3/4 last night with his first home run since April 17th. He also got a hug from JD Martinez.
Faced with a double-header that starts this afternoon, it will be David Price getting the start for the Red Sox in the first of two games on what looks to be a rainy day in Baltimore.
Opposite Price will be rookie right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis for the Orioles, who has both started and pitched out of the bullpen in four games with Baltimore this season.
First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Saturday.
As for the second game, another rookie in Yefry Ramirez will get the start for the Orioles.
Alex Cora has yet to make a decision on who will start for Boston. RHP William Cuevas has been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket and will represent the 26th man on the Red Sox roster for this today’s twin bill at Camden Yards. He, or Hector Velazquez, are realistic options to get the nod in the night-cap.