Looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak of the entire season on Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox closed out their 2018 campaign on a high note with a blowout win over the New York Yankees.
Making his 33rd and final start of the regular season, Rick Porcello was not on the mound all that long in this one, but he was effective.
Tossing two scoreless innings, the right-hander allowed just one of the seven batters he faced to reach base on a walk to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the afternoon.
Finishing with an official final pitch count of 40 (22 strikes), Porcello also headed to the Red Sox bullpen in the third and put in some additional work out there for a bit.
On the season as a whole, here’s what the New Jersey native’s final numbers look like:
33 GS, 17-7, 4.28 ERA, 191.1 IP, 190 K, 1.18 WHIP
According to Alex Cora, Porcello will “most likely” start game three of the ALDS for Boston on the road a week from Monday.
In relief of Rick Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final seven innings of Sunday’s contest, and the only real blunder committed came in the top half of the fourth inning, when the Yankees tacked on their only two runs of the day on a Luke Voit two-run homer off of left-hander Bobby Poyner.
Other than that, it was a solid combined effort. More notable, Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, and Ryan Brasier allowed just one total hit and one walk over three scoreless frames of work.
To close this thing out, Craig Kimbrel came on in a nonsave opportunity, and he struck out the side to lock up his team’s 108th win of the season.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Luis Cessa on this final day of the regular season, and they got to him for one run on three straight hits before a single out was recorded in the bottom of the first.
After a Mitch Moreland RBI double put Boston up 2-0, Cessa’s day would come to an abrupt end following an awkward collision at first base with Eduardo Nunez, which would result in JD Martinez coming in to score from third.
Veteran reliever David Robertson would come in relief of Cessa, and he allowed an inherited runner to score on an Ian Kinsler RBI groundout from Ian Kinsler, which wrapped up an impressive four-run first inning for the Red Sox.
An inning later, an RBI double from Brock Holt and a two-run home run off the bat of Xander Bogaerts, his 23rd of the season, gave his team an early seven-run advantage.
Fast forward to the fourth, and JD Martinez ended his first regular season in a Red Sox uniform in historic fashion, as he launched a one out, three-run run home run deep to Center field to make it a 10-2 game, all but guaranteeing a win.
The importance of that big fly though, is the fact that it was Martinez’s 43rd of the year, which is the most home runs any player has ever hit in his first season with the Red Sox.
Some other notes from this 10-2 win:
Following a season in which he hit .346, Mookie Betts has won his first league batting title, as he led all hitters, AL and NL, in batting average. JD Martinez finished second with a .330 batting average on the season.
From @SoxNotes: J.D. Martinez will finish his season batting .330 with 43 HR and 130 RBI. The only other Red Sox ever to hit at least .330 with 40+ HR and 130+ RBI are Ted Williams (1949) and Jimmie Foxx (1936, ’38). The last major leaguer to do that was Miguel Cabrera (2013).
In his last 30 games, Jackie Bradley slashed .281/.352/.458 with two home runs and 11 RBI. I think this is the year he finally gets that Gold Glove.
In his sixth season with the Red Sox, Brock Holt posted career highs in RBI (46), OBP (.362), SLG (.411), and OPS (.774). He also tied a career-high in home runs with seven.
Mookie Betts should probably win American League MVP.
So, there you have it on another successful regular season. 108-54 record (.667 WIN%), AL East Champs, and best record in all of baseball. Now comes the fun part. The postseason, which rightfully so, has Red Sox fans a bit concerned based on how the team has performed in the ALDS the last two years.
But, before we got too worked up about that, who the Red Sox play in the ALDS this year is all dependent on who comes out of the American League Wildcard game between the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees this Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
So, until then, I’ll leave you all with this. 11 wins away.