Everybody, take a deep breath and relax, the three-game losing streak the Red Sox had is over. Let’s get into how they got it done.
Looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak since last season, the Red Sox turned to Brian Johnson against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.
Making his 10th start of the season and first ever against the Indians in his three-year career, Johnson had himself a so-so evening on the mound.
Pitching into the fifth inning of this one, the left-hander surrendered three earned runs on five hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with three punch outs.
In those near five-frames of work, Johnson was greeted right away by the top of the Indians lineup in a not so pleasant manner, as Francisco Lindor ripped a leadoff double in the top half of the first, which was followed up by a two-run home run off the bat of the just-activated Edwin Encarnacion, who has a history of dominating at Fenway Park, to make it a 2-0 game early.
Fortunately, the Florida native settled down a bit and held the Tribe scoreless up until the fifth inning, when six of the first eight pitches he threw went for balls against Lindor and Michael Brantley.
With one out and Lindor at first, Johnson’s night would come to a rather short conclusion just 82 pitches into his outing.
Out of those 82 pitches (51 strikes), the 27-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball, a pitch he topped out at 92.7 MPH with, 37 times on the night. And that resulted in five total swinging strikes.
Unable to pick up the winning decision because of the length of his start, Johnson will look build on this outing in his next time out, which should come against the Miami Marlins sometime next week.
In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had another decently long night ahead, and Heath Hembree was the one to get the first call.
Able to get out of the fifth, but not before serving up another two-run dinger to Edwin Encarnacion to both close the book on Johnson’s night and cut his team’s lead down to two runs, Hembree struck out the final batter he faced in Yandy Diaz to retire the side.
From that point forward, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, who picked up the win, Joe Kelly, and Ryan Brasier held down the fort while the Red Sox extended their lead in a combined effort that consisted of four scoreless frames to wrap up the team’s 89th win of the year.
Shoutout to Jackie Bradley Jr. for this fine outfield assist in the sixth that nabbed Yan Gomes trying to turn a single into a double as well.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who entered Wednesday with a 7.07 ERA in four career appearances at Fenway Park. Those struggles continued once again last night.
Starting right away in the first, minutes after the Tribe had jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, JD Martinez cut that in half by driving in his 107th run of the season on a two out RBI single that plated Andrew Benintendi from third.
Fast forward to the fourth, and in what turned out to be a five-run inning, it was a Xander Bogaerts one out solo home run that got the rally started.
Eventually chasing Carrasco out of this game in the same inning, additional RBI knocks from the likes of Blake Swihart and Andrew Benintendi, who cleared the bases on a two out three RBI double, mixed in with three more hits and two walks, saw Boston go from trailing to jumping out to a 6-2 advantage in a matter of minutes.
Two innings later, after the Indians had made things interesting again thanks to Encarnacion’s second home run, Mitch Moreland essentially put this game to bed by mashing a two-run homer off of Dan Otero in the sixth.
A two-run shot that scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from third along with Moreland, was good for the first baseman’s 15th big fly of the season.
In the seventh, Bogaerts struck again by blasting his second homer of the evening to leadoff the inning against Otero.
That home run, Bogaerts’ 19th of the year, upped the Aruba native’s RBI total to 80.
Finally, after failing to get to Indians closer Cody Allen on Monday, JD Martinez put the final nail in the coffin of this one in the eighth with an RBI single, his 108th, to score Jackie Bradley Jr. from second and plate Boston’s 10th and final run of the night.
And there you have it, the three-game losing streak is over. Back to 50 games over .500.
Some notes from this win:
Per @Indians, Edwin Encarnacion’s last three games at Fenway Park: .500 BA (6-12), 5 HR, 10 RBI. Preposterous numbers.
From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox remain the only team without a losing streak of 4+ games this season.
Xander Bogaerts’ last multi-homer game took place on June 18th, 2017 against the Houston Astros.
Going for the series-split later this afternoon, it will be David Price getting the ball for the Red Sox.
Owning a solid 2.24 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians, Price has been on fire since the All-Star break.
Over his last five outings, the left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and .210 BAA in 33.1 innings pitched.
Opposite Price will be another rookie starter for Cleveland in RHP Adam Plutko, who has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park in his young career.
On the season as a whole, Plutko, 26, owns a 4.62 over ten games, seven of which were starts.
First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Thursday.