After getting swept in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox were unable to avoid getting swept in four games by the New York Yankees on Sunday, as they fell by a final score of 7-4 to cap off a weekend in the Bronx that saw their losing streak grow to eight consecutive games.
Making his 21st start of the season and second against New York for Boston David Price, who was activated from paternity leave earlier Sunday afternoon.
Working into just the third inning, the left-hander’s post-All-Star break woes continued in this one, as he got lit up for a season-worst seven runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.
The first of those seven Yankees runs crossed the plate right away in the bottom half of the first, with slugger Aaron Judge taking Price deep to right-center off a one-out, 2-2, 92 MPH two-seam fastball on the inner half of the plate for his 12th home run of the year.
In the third, the Tennessee native was one out away from stranding Judge at first following a one-out walk, but Gio Urshela had different plans, as he unloaded on a 1-1, 83 MPH changeup for his 12th homer to make it a 3-0 contest.
Back-to-back doubles from Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin increased that lead to four, and three more consecutive hits from Mike Ford, Kyle Higashioka, and Mike Tauchman increased the Yankees’ lead all the way up to seven.
A nine-pitch walk would ultimately spell the end for Price, as Red Sox manager Alex Cora was forced to turn to his bullpen earlier than he probably would have liked.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (46 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball 36% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 93.3 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 12 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.
Eventually getting hit with his fifth loss of the year while inflating his ERA up to 4.36, Price has not been able to pitch deep into games at an effective rate since about the midpoint of July.
In five starts since the All-Star break, Price is 0-3 with an 8.59 ERA. He is averaging 4.4 innings per start over that span.
Price’s next start should come this Friday, back at Fenway Park against the Los Angeles Angels.
In relief of Price, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered with runners at first and second and one out to get in the third, and he got that out by getting Judge to line out to Jackie Bradley Jr., who covered a great deal of ground in a short amount of time to come up with a spectacular grab.
From there, the recently called up Ryan Weber came on in the middle of the fifth with his team trailing by five runs, and he retired 12 of the 13 hitters he faced with the help of Mookie Betts over four scoreless, one-hit frames of relief to hold the Yankees at seven runs.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander J.A. Happ, who like Price, was also activated off the paternity leave list earlier Sunday.
Getting little help from their starter and falling behind by seven before the start of the fourth inning, Christian Vazquez got things going for Boston with one out in the top half of the fifth by blasting his 17th home run of the year off a 2-2, 94 MPH heater from Happ.
Three pitches later, Michael Chavis followed suit with his 18th big fly of the season, this one coming off a 2-0, 91 MPH four-seamer and being sent 435 feet to left-center field. Per Statcast, it was the hardest hit ball all night in terms of exit velocity (109.9 MPH off the bat).
In the sixth, a two-out single from J.D. Martinez would wind up being the catalyst for a two-run rally, as Sam Travis moved Martinez up to second on a seven-pitch walk before a wild pitch from Happ with Andrew Benintendi at the plate advanced both runners into scoring position.
Taking full advantage of his opponent’s mistake, Benintendi broke out of an 0-for-9 spell by lacing a two-run single back up the middle to score both Martinez and Travis to pick up his 56th and 57th RBI of the year.
That base hit cut New York’s advantage down to three runs at 7-4, and it also knocked Happ out of the game.
The thing is, the reliever who came in for Happ, right-hander Luis Cessa, snuffed out any chance of that deficit shrinking, as he walked Vazquez on five pitches before fanning Chavis on six to escape the inning unscathed.
The trio of Bradley Jr., Betts, and Rafael Devers went down in order against Cessa in the seventh, and the trio of Xander Bogaerts, Martinez, and Travis did the same in the eighth.
Down to their final three outs in the ninth and facing off against Chad Green, who started for the Yankees in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader, Benintendi and Vazquez both grounded out, the pinch-hitting Brock Holt drew an eight-pitch walk, and Bradley Jr. struck out swinging for the third and final out, ending Sunday’s contest with a final score of 7-4.
Some notes from this loss:
The Red Sox went 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position on Sunday to finish the four-game series hitting .158 (3-for-19) in that scenario. They also left men on base in this game alone.
From Red Sox Stats:
From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:
The Red Sox have not won a game since last Saturday, and with a record of 59-55 now, they have already lost more games in the 2019 regular season than they did a year ago.
Sunday’s loss also drops Boston to 6 1/2 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card Spot.
In short, it was a terrible week. They began this now completed stretch of 14 straight games against the Rays and Yankees winners of five of their first six, and then went ahead and dropped eight straight.
Monday is a new day though, and the Red Sox will be opening up a seven-game homestand with the first of three against the Kansas City Royals.
Right-hander Rick Porcello is set to get the Ball for Boston in that one, while left-hander Mike Montgomery will do the same for Kansas City.
Porcello is coming off a July where he posted a dismal 7.94 ERA and .333 batting average against over five starts and 28 1/3 innings pitched. Somehow, the Red Sox went 4-1 in those games.
In 23 career starts against the Royals, the 30-year-old owns a lifetime 4.66 ERA and .292 batting average against over 137 total innings of work.
Montgomery, meanwhile, was acquired by Kansas City in a deal that sent catcher Martin Maldonado to the Chicago Cubs on July 15th.
Since then, Maldonado now plays for the Houston Astros once again, and Montgomery has allowed 10 runs on 18 hits over 11 1/3 innings in his first three starts as a Royal.
Against the Red Sox, Montgomery is 0-1 with an ERA of 12.27 and batting average against of .444 over three career appearances (one start) and 7 1/3 total innings pitched.
First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to finally put an end to this skid back at Fenway Park.