After taking the first of their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox in walk-off fashion Monday, the Red Sox wrapped up the official first half of the 2019 season with a rain-filled 6-3 win over the South Siders on Tuesday to improve to 44-37 on the year.
Making his 14th start of the season for Boston in the middle game was David Price, fresh off a five-inning, 73-pitch performance in his last time out against the Minnesota Twins.
This time around, taking on another American League Central foe, the left-hander put together a solid outing, yielding three runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits and zero walks to go along with nine strikeouts over six quality innings of work.
The first of those three Chicago runs came around to score off of Price in the second, and it was the result of a throwing error from Xander Bogaerts at that, with James McCann leading off the frame by reaching second on said error, and advancing to third on a wild pitch with Jon Jay at the plate.
Jay would make the Red Sox pay for those mistakes by driving in McCann on a one-out, broken-bat RBI single to center, his first hit of the year.
In the third, it was more of the same, with a pair of doubles from Tim Anderson and James McCann plating another White Sox run, while an Eloy Jiminez single that snuck under Bogaerts’ glove made it a 3-1 game.
Other than that particular rough stretch though, Price rallied by retiring 10 of the last 12 Chicago hitters he faced going into the middle of the sixth, where his outing came to an end, but not before punching out the side in the fourth and receiving some assistance from Jackie Bradley Jr. and his arm in the fifth.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 97 (72 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his changeup more than 34% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing eight swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 94.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 24 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.
Improving to 5-2 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.36, Price will look to carry over his success from the first half of the year into the second half in his next time out, which will come against the Toronto Blue Jays sometime next week after the team returns from London.
In relief of Price, Matt Barnes entered the seventh with a three-run lead to protect, and he worked his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise clean frame of work.
Ryan Brasier gave up a two-out double in the eighth, but did not allow that runner to score.
And in the ninth, Brandon Workman stranded another runner at second en route to picking up his third save of the season and securing the 6-3 win for his team.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against an opener for the White Sox in right-hander Carson Fulmer, who, like David Price, is an alumnus of Vanderbilt University.
Rafael Devers, batting out of the two-hole for the third time this season, got Boston on the board almost immediately in the first inning, driving in Mookie Betts from second on a pop fly opposite field RBI double that probably should have been caught.
Fast forward to the third, with reliever Juan Minaya in for Chicago, the bases loaded, and two outs in the inning with the Sox down by two, and Christian Vazquez came through in an early, but still important spot, as he drilled a 2-2 slider through the left side of the infield to plate both Devers and Xander Bogaerts to tie this contest back up at three runs a piece.
In the fifth, Devers struck again against new Chicago hurler Jose Ruiz by setting up Bogaerts with no outs and a runner in scoring position on a leadoff double.
Bogaerts capitalized on the run-scoring chance to the fullest, absolutely crushing an 0-1 97 MPH fastball right down the heart of the plate and depositing it 429 feet over the Green Monster. The eventual 2019 All-Star’s 15th big fly of the year put the Red Sox up 5-3.
Finally, an inning later, back-to-back base hits from Michael Chavis and Marco Hernandez led to Boston scoring their sixth run of the night, with Eduardo Nunez bringing in Chavis from third on a sacrifice fly to center field.
That gave Boston the 6-3 advantage, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.
Some notes from this win:
Rafael Devers on Tuesday: 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs scored, and one RBI. His first four-hit game of the season and first three-double game of his career. All while playing on a sore right hamstring.
David Price’s 2019 strikeout-to-walk-ratio: 82/15 or 5.47/1.
From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:
So, exactly half of the 2019 season is complete. It’s been unusual at times to say the least, but the Red Sox have been playing at a .608 clip since the start of May and are 10-3 in their last 10 games. At 44-37, nothing is out of reach yet despite all the negativity that has surrounded this team to this point in the year.
The Red Sox will go for the three-game sweep over the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon, with left-hander Chris Sale getting the start for Boston and right-hander Reynaldo Lopez doing the same for Chicago.
Yet to win a decision at Fenway Park in 2019, Sale owns an ERA of 1.67 over his last four starts, including an outing in which he gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in his last time out.
In his career against the club he began his professional career with, the 30-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA over three starts and 19 total innings of work.
Lopez, meanwhile is averaging more than 10 hits allowed per nine innings through 16 starts with the White Sox this season. He currently leads the American League in earned runs allowed as well with 60.
In two prior starts against Boston, the 25-year-old has surrendered eight runs (seven earned), on 14 hits, 12 strikeouts, and six walks. That’s good for an ERA of 5.56.
First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Last game the Red Sox play stateside until July 5th.