After falling to the Minnesota Twins in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday, the Red Sox bounced back and opened up a four-game weekend series against the New York Yankees with a commanding 6-1 victory on Friday to improve to 76-65 on the season.
Making his first start for Boston and 20th of the season overall was Jhoulys Chacin, less than a week after inking a minor-league deal with the club while they were in Anaheim this past weekend.
Working just the first two innings in his Red Sox debut, the right-hander was perfect as he fanned four of the only six Yankees he faced and was more of an opener than anything.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 35 (23 strikes), Chacin relied on his slider exactly 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing four swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw nine times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.
Not factoring into the decision of this one, I would think Chacin’s status going forward would depend on the health of David Price, as he was originally supposed to start on Friday.
If anything, the 31-year-oldwill likely work in short bunches rather than being stretched out too much.
In relief of Chacin, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the top of the third in a scoreless contest, and he kept it that way by punching out two in a 1-2-3 inning.
From there, Marcus Walden worked his way around a two-out double and walk with a three-pitch strikeout of Edwin Encarnacion, which eventually earned him his ninth winning decision of the year.
Andrew Cashner yielded New York’s only run of the night on a one-out solo blast off the bat of Brett Gardner in the fifth, Ryan Weber tossed a scoreless sixth before stranding a leadoff walk with the help of Jackie Bradley Jr. in the seventh, and Darwinzon Hernandez also walked one in an otherwise clean eighth.
And in the ninth, Bobby Poyner recorded a pair of strikeouts in another shutout inning to secure the 6-1 win.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who picked up the win the last time he made an appearance at Fenway Park back on July 28th.
Kicking off the scoring in the fourth, a leadoff double from Rafael Devers finally got Boston in the hit column, and a J.D. Martinez groundout, as well as an Andrew Benintendi walk, put runners on the corners with two outs for Brock Holt.
It was clear that German was concerned with Benintendi at first, and perhaps taking advantage, Holt took a 1-1, 91 MPH heater at the top of the zone following two straight unsuccessful pickoff attempts and laced an RBI single right past Gleyber Torres in shallow right to drive in Devers for his side’s first run.
Still with two runners on, Mitch Moreland rallied from a second inning groundout by unloading on a 1-1, 81 MPH curveball from German and deposited it 389 feet into the right field seats.
Moreland’s 15th big fly of the year, this one good for three runs, had an exit velocity of 106 MPH, per Statcast, and it gave the Sox a four-run edge. On his birthday no less.
An inning later, a Mookie Betts walk with one out led to a Yankees pitching change, with Nestor Cortes Jr. taking over for German.
That move would prove to be quite costly for New York though, as Devers followed by drawing a six-pitch walk of his own to move Betts up to second, and Xander Bogaerts came through with a scorching, 108.4 MPH two-RBI double to plate both runners.
That run-scoring two-bagger, Bogaerts’ 49th of 2019, gave the Red Sox a 6-1 lead, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.
Some notes from this win:
From Red Sox Notes:
From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:
From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:
Red Sox pitching combined for 13 strikeouts and just three walks on Friday.
Mitch Moreland went 3-for-4 with three RBI on his 34th birthday.
Xander Bogaerts is one hit away from 1,000 for his career.
With the Tampa Bay Rays winning and both the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics still in action Friday, the Red Sox currently sit 6 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second game of this four-game set on Saturday evening, with right-hander Travis Lakins getting the start as the opener for Boston, and left-hander J.A. Happ doing the same for New York.
Lakins allowed two earned runs over two innings of relief in his last time out against the Los Angeles Angels this past Sunday.
The 25-year-old has never started a big league game, but does have 41 under his belt at the minor-league level, with the last coming on July 18th of this year in which he tossed a scoreless first inning for the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Happ, meanwhile, has for the most part struggled since the All-Star break, but is coming off an outing where he held the Athletics scoreless over six strong innings on September 1st.
In three starts against the Red Sox this season, the 36-year-old has posted a 4.24 ERA and .254 batting average against over 17 total innings pitched. The Yankees are unbeaten in those games.
First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their second straight win.