Red Sox Lineup: Rafael Devers Back at Third Base Against Rays After Missing Last Two Games Due to Sore Left Ankle

After being held to just two runs in another disappointing loss to the Rays at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, the Red Sox will look to bounce back on Wednesday by sending right-hander Zack Godley to the mound for his third start and fourth overall appearance of the season.

Since joining the Sox late lost month, the 30-year-old has posted a 3.97 ERA and 4.44 FIP through his first 11 1/3 innings pitched this year. In his last time out at Fenway on August 8, Godley kept the Blue Jays off the scoreboard over four solid frames of work in a contest Boston dropped by a final score of 2-1.

Godley has yet to face Tampa Bay this season, and he’s only faced them twice before in his six-year major-league career. Both of those appearances came last May at Tropicana Field, when as a member of the Diamondbacks bullpen, the South Carolina native allowed three runs over four total innings and even picked up his second career save.

Opposite Godley on Wednesday will be no easy opponent for the Red Sox, as 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell will get the ball for the Rays.

Coming into the week with a 3.38 ERA and 4.28 FIP through his first three starts and eight innings pitched of the 2020 campaign as he works his way back from a left elbow injury, Snell could be able to ramp up his workload to five innings against Boston.

In his career at Fenway Park, the 27-year-old hurler owns a lifetime 3.75 ERA and .683 OPS against over four starts and 24 total innings pitched.

Here’s how the Red Sox will be lining up against Snell and behind Godley on Wednesday. Note that with a southpaw on the mound for Tampa Bay, Mitch Moreland is the only left-handed bat starting this one on the bench for Boston, as Andrew Benintendi was just placed on the injured list due to a right rib cage strain.

Among these nine hitters, Kevin Pillar has seen Snell the best. He has five hits and one RBI in 14 career at-bats against the Rays starter.

Also worth noting here, Rafael Devers is back after missing the last two games on account of a sore left ankle. Encouraging to see.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox going for win No. 7 in game No. 18.

Red Sox Place Andrew Benintendi on Injured List Due to Rib Cage Strain, Recall Ryan Weber From Pawtucket

Prior to taking on the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, the Red Sox have placed outfielder Andrew Benintendi on the 10-day injured list due to a right rib cage strain and in a corresponding move recalled right-hander Ryan Weber from the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket.

Per Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke, Benintendi suffered the strain when he tripped and fell down after rounding second base in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s loss to Tampa Bay.

The hope is that the 26-year-old will only miss the minimum 10 days on the shelf while J.D. Martinez and Jose Peraza will play more outfield in his place. In the meantime, Alex Verdugo will see the majority of his playing time come in left field and Kevin Pillar will see the majority of his come in right.

Prior to straining the right side of his rib cage on Tuesday night, Benintendi had put together his first two-hit game of the 2020 season, so this news comes at a less than ideal time for the struggling outfielder.

“I think it’s a tough break,” Roenicke said of Benintendi being placed on the injured list. “Hopefully he’s not out too long where he loses that feeling of his swing that he’s been working on.”

As for the guy who will be called up in Benintendi’s place, Ryan Weber is back with the big-league club just four days after he was optioned to the alternate training site.

The 30-year-old hurler struggled as the Sox’ No. 3 starter to begin the season, posting a 9.90 ERA over his first three starts. He will be available to pitch in relief of Zack Godley on Wednesday and would otherwise be a “full go” to pitch in relief of Kyle Hart in Thursday’s series finale against Tampa Bay.

With this transaction made, the Red Sox now have 15 pitchers and 13 position players on their active roster. Expect another move to be made on Thursday in lieu of Hart needing to be added before making his first career major-league start.

Red Sox’ Kyle Hart to Make First Career Major-League Start Against Rays on Thursday

Left-hander Kyle Hart will make his first career major-league start for the Red Sox on Thursday against the Rays, manager Ron Roenicke announced following Tuesday’s 8-7 loss to Tampa Bay.

Hart, 27, is regarded by SoxProspects as the No. 42 prospect in the Sox’ farm system.

Drafted by Boston in the 19th round of the 2016 amateur draft out of the University of Indiana as a fifth-year senior, Hart was added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November and was subsequently assigned to the club’s alternate training site last month where he has gotten some work in during simulated games and live batting practice sessions.

With the PawSox in 2019, the former Hoosier posted a 3.86 ERA and 4.32 FIP over 18 appearances (15 starts) and 100 1/3 innings pitched. He also made nine starts for Double-A Portland before getting promoted to Triple-A last May.

Per his SoxProspects scouting report, Hart’s pitch mix included an 87-90 mph fastball, an 85-86 mph cutter, a 76-79 mph curveball, and a 81-82 mph changeup.

Based off that, it becomes apparent that the southpaw doesn’t necessarily rely on his velocity, but rather his control. Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush said as much when speaking with reporters via Zoom on Tuesday.

“His command is going to be critical,” said Bush. “It always is for him because the stuff is not going to light up a radar gun. But he’s got multiple pitches. He commands both sides of the plate.”

Over those 100 1/3 innings with Pawtucket in 2019, Hart struck out just over 19% of the hitters he faced and walked just under 9%. Put another way, he fanned 2.22 times the number of hitters he walked last season.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 200 lbs., Hart will be opposite Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow on Thursday afternoon. First pitch for that game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI.

 

 

Red Sox Endure More Pitching Struggles Out of Bullpen in 8-2 Loss to Rays

It was a close game until it wasn’t. In other words, the Red Sox trailed the Rays by just one run going into the seventh inning of Tuesday’s contest, and wound up dropping their second straight to Tampa Bay by a final score of 8-2.

Martin Perez made his fourth start of the season for Boston in this one and his second straight against the Rays as he was coming off five strong, scoreless innings in his last time out on August 5 at Tropicana Field.

Working 5 2/3 innings at Fenway Park on Tuesday, the left-hander held the opposition to two runs while scattering three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first of those two Tampa Bay tallies came right off the bat in the first, when on his sixth pitch, Perez served up a leadoff homer to Mike Brosseau on a 3-2, 91 mph fastball on the outer half of the plate.

That certainly was not a promising way to begin a ballgame, but Perez was able to settle down a bit. As a matter of fact, the only other time the Rays got to the Sox starter came in the third inning on a one-out RBI single from Yandy Diaz.

Other than those two slight mishaps, Perez looked relatively solid once more, as he retired 10 of the final 11 hitters he faced before a two-out walk to Jose Martinez in the top of the sixth marked the end of his evening.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (57 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his vaunted changeup 34% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing seven swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 93 mph with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw seven times.

Unfortunately hit with the tough luck loss to fall to 2-2 on the season, Perez did manage to lower his ERA to 3.38. He’ll look to bring that down even more in his next time out, which could come against the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.

In relief of Perez, Austin Brice got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, inherited the man Perez had walked, and ended the top half of the sixth by getting Hunter Renfroe to ground out right back to him.

From there, well, let’s just say things got ugly, as Brice and the recently-recalled right-hander Robert Stock combined to surrender six runs on four hits and two walks in the seventh. Christian Vazquez was also charged with a passed ball in the process that saw the Sox’ deficit grow from one run to seven.

Stock came back out for the eighth, loaded the bases while recording the first two outs of the inning, and was replaced by another relative newcomer in Dylan Covey, who got out of the jam and also worked a scoreless ninth to hold the Rays at eight runs. Not like it mattered much in the end, but still another positive development there.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against Andrew Kittredge, who had closed things out for the Rays on Monday, yet opened for them on Tuesday.

The right-hander only recorded one out in the first inning though, as he had to depart earlier than expected due to an apparent right arm injury.

After the dust had settled from all that and right-hander John Curtiss was dispatched by Tampa Bay, Michael Chavis opened up the scoring for his side in the second.

Celebrating his 25th birthday on Tuesday, the second baseman followed up a Christian Vazquez two-out double with a hard-hit RBI single to drive in the backstop and tie things up at one run apiece.

Despite all that early adversity, Curtiss and the rest of the Rays pitching staff held things down against a rather stagnant Red Sox offense.

The only other run Boston pushed across in this one came in the eighth inning on an Alex Verdugo RBI single, but even then, Andrew Benintendi cost his side an out by tripping and getting caught in between second and third base on the play. Very on brand for this season.

Verdugo’s fifth RBI of the year made it an 8-2 game in favor of Tampa Bay, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

In his second straight start at third base in place of Rafael Devers, Jonathan Arauz went 2-for-3 after going 3-for-4 on Monday.

Michael Chavis, meanwhile, may have made a mental error at second base in that troublesome seventh inning, but he did go 2-for-4 at the plate on Tuesday and is now 6-for-his-last-13.

Andrew Benintendi also had a multi-hit game to raise his batting average on the season to .103.

Martin Perez has allowed four earned runs over his last 19 1/3 innings pitched.

Next up for the Red Sox, it doesn’t get any easier with Blake Snell getting the start for the Rays on Wednesday night. The Red Sox will send out Zack Godley to oppose the 2018 American League Cy Young winner.

Snell has yet to face the Sox this season, but he does own a lifetime 3.75 ERA and .683 OPS against in four career starts and 24 total innings pitched at Fenway Park.

Godley, meanwhile, is coming off four scoreless frames in his second start with the Red Sox against the Blue Jays on August 8. The 30-year-old has only pitched against the Rays twice before in his career and has given up three total runs in those outings.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time.

Red Sox Call up Robert Stock, Option Jeffrey Springs to Pawtucket

Before taking on the Rays in the second of a four-game series at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, the Red Sox have recalled right-hander Robert Stock from the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket and in a corresponding move, optioned left-hander Jeffrey Springs to that same alternate training site.

Stock. 30, was originally claimed by Boston off waivers from the Phillies late last month after he was designated for assignment by Philadelphia on July 23.

Prior to this year, the University of Southern California product appeared in 42 games for the Padres across the 2018 and 2019 seasons, posting an ERA of 4.11 and FIP of 3.27 over 50 1/3 total innings pitched. His rookie campaign was much more effective than his sophomore one, though.

While working out at the Sox’ alternate training site at McCoy Stadium, Stock fanned a pair and reached 100 mph with his four-seam fastball in a sim game appearance over the weekend.

Per Statcast, the former second-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals back in 2009 works with a four-seamer, slider, changeup, and sinker. The average velocity of his heater this past season was 97.9 mph.

If Stock gets into a game during this series against the Rays, I would expect it to come in a low-leverage situation. Of course, he’ll likely be available to work in Thursday’s bullpen game.

As for Springs, the 27-year-old southpaw was sent down to Pawtucket less than 24 hours after surrendering three runs on five hits in just 1 1/3 innings of relief against Tampa Bay on Monday.

Through his first four appearances with the Red Sox after making his first career Opening Day roster, Springs owns an unsightly 15.43 ERA and 1.164 OPS against over 4 2/3 innings of work.

With Springs now in Pawtucket, the Red Sox currently have two left-handed pitchers on their 28-man roster, and one of them is Martin Perez. Perhaps Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor are close to returning.

 

 

Red Sox Lineup: Michael Chavis Making First Start of Season at Second Base, Jonathan Araúz Starting in Place of Rafael Devers Once Again in Second of Four Against Rays

Michael Chavis will be making his first start of the season at second base for the Red Sox against the Rays on Tuesday night.

The just-turned 25-year-old (Happy Birthday) had seen all his playing time come at first base, but with right-hander Andrew Kittredge opening for the Rays in the second of this four-game set, Mitch Moreland will get the start at first, Chavis will get the start at second, and Jose Peraza will start the night on the bench.

Through his first nine games of the 2020 campaign, Chavis has gotten off to a rather slow start, slashing .233/.258/.467 with two home runs and four RBI over his first 31 plate appearances.

That being said, the Georgia native has looked more comfortable at the plate in recent outings, as he is 4-for-his-last-9 going back to August 5.

Chavis has only faced Kittredge one time before in his career, which actually came in Monday’s loss where he struck out for the final out of the contest, but he does own a lifetime .879 OPS in 48 career plate appearances against Rays pitching thus far.

Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up against Kittredge and behind left-hander Martin Perez, who will be working on six days rest after tossing five scoreless frames against this same Rays squad at Tropicana Field last Wednesday. Note that Jonathan Arauz is starting in place of Rafael Devers, who is dealing with a sore left ankle, once again.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN+ and WEEI. Red Sox going for win No. 7 in game No. 17.

Red Sox Manager Ron Roenicke Impressed With What He Has Seen From Rookie Jonathan Araúz Thus Far

Going into Monday night, Red Sox infielder Jonathan Arauz was 0-for-9 at the plate to begin his major-league career and had only made two starts for his new club.

That all changed in the first of four against the Rays at Fenway Park though, as the recently-turned 22-year-old got the start at third base in place of Rafael Devers, collected three hits in four at-bats, and drove in a pair of runs.

The third and final hit of Arauz’s breakout night was without a doubt the biggest, when with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth, the Panama native laced a two-run single to left-center field off Rays reliever Jose Alvarado to cut his side’s deficit to just one run at 8-7.

Boston may have gone on to lose to Tampa Bay in disappointing fashion on Monday, but Sox manager Ron Roenicke couldn’t help but be impressed with what he saw from the young infielder.

“With him, I tell you, he continues to not act like he’s out of A-ball,” Roenicke said of Arauz during his postgame media availability. “He’s calm, he’s good from both sides of the plate, does a great job, made a nice play defensively. He’s doing a great job.”

Prior to being selected by Boston in last December’s Rule 5 draft from the Astros’ organization, Arauz had played in 406 minor-league games since originally signing with the Phillies back in August 2014. Only 28 of those games, or 7%, had been above the Single-A level.

Because he was taken in the major-league portion of last year’s Rule 5 draft, Arauz has to stay up with the Red Sox for the remainder of the 2020 season. If that’s not possible, the club would have to offer him back to Houston.

Of course, the roster flexibility the truncated 2020 season has created has certainly be useful to the Red Sox seeing how they can carry 28 players for the rest of the year. But, as The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier notes, Arauz has “certainly shown enough in his all-around abilities to suggest that he might have stayed up regardless of the expanded roster.”

With Devers likely to miss a second straight day due to a sore left ankle, it will be interesting to see if the switch-hitting Arauz is back in the Sox’ lineup on Tuesday.

Even with the performance he put together on Monday though, Arauz would have liked to see things go differently for his side.

“Obviously, my goal today was just to help the team win,” he said through team translator Bryan Almonte. “Three hits is good to have, but I wish we would have gotten the win instead.”

We will see if the Red Sox can bounce back against the Rays on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN+ and WEEI.

Jonathan Arauz’s Three-Hit Night Goes for Naught as Red Sox Come up Short in 8-7 Loss to Rays

In a back-and-forth nine-inning contest that took nearly four-and-a-half hours to complete, the Red Sox came up just short in an 8-7 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

Ryan Brasier served as the opener for Boston in this one, and in doing so made his first career major-league start. The right-hander stranded two base runners and recorded one strikeout in a scoreless first inning. That was it for him.

From there, Colten Brewer was dispatched as the “bulk inning” guy out of the Red Sox bullpen to begin things in the second, and he surrendered three runs, two of which were earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the night.

The first of those three Tampa Bay tallies scored off Brewer came on a Kevin Kiermaier RBI single in the top of the second that could have been a double had it not been for Kevin Pillar gunning the speedster down at second base in the same sequence. The other two runs were pushed across with one out in the fourth, when Brewer served up a two-run single to Michael Perez. Again, the damage could have been even worse since Perez himself nearly scored moments later, but was instead nabbed at the plate off an Austin Meadows double.

Marcus Walden was next up for the start of the fifth, and he managed to only record two outs while walking a pair and yielding one run on a Joey Wendle RBI triple.

Upon giving old friend Manuel Margot a free pass on four straight balls, the righty was given the hook by Sox manager Ron Roenicke in favor of left-hander Jeffrey Springs.

Springs, coming off back-to-back scoreless outings out of the Boston bullpen, regressed a bit on Monday in that he escaped the fifth inning unscathed, yet conceded three runs while only being able to record three more outs on 51 total pitches (34 strikes) before Roenicke had finally seen enough.

With no outs in the seventh, a runner on second, and his side in a 7-5 hole, the Sox skipper turned to Phillips Valdez, who was able to get out of that mess before allowing a run of his own to score on three straight two-out hits and a walk in the eighth.

That all set up the recently-recalled Dylan Covey for the top of the ninth, and in what was now an 8-7 contest, the right-hander faced the minimum three batters to keep the deficit at one run. Not like it mattered much in the end, but still a somewhat positive development.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar face in the form of Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who had just started against Boston back on August 5 at Tropicana Field.

This time around, the Sox bats got to Yarbrough early once more, with Xander Bogaerts, Michael Chavis, and Kevin Plawecki all coming through with back-to-back-to-back run-scoring plays in their half of the first. That early rally resulted in a 3-0 advantage for the home side.

In the third, J.D. Martinez, who had scored one of those runs in the first, followed an Alex Verdugo groundout by taking a 2-2, 84 mph cutter on the inner half of the plate from Yarbrough and crushing it 425 feet over everything in left field for his long-awaited first home run of the 2020 season. The solo shot put the Red Sox up 4-1 headed into the fourth.

Flash forward all the way to the sixth, after the Rays had bounced back to take a 5-4 lead, Chavis led things off against tight-hander Chaz Roe by lacing a double down the left field line and was promptly driven in by Plawecki on an RBI single. 5-5.

That stalemate did not last long though, as Tampa Bay jumped out to an 8-5 lead in their half of the eighth, which meant the Sox had more work to do on the offensive side of the ball. And that they did.

Down to their final two outs in the bottom half of the eighth inning, Jonathan Arauz came to the plate, already with the first and second hits of his major-league career under his belt, with the bases loaded and Jose Alvarado on the mound for the Rays.

After watching the first two pitches go by, the 22-year-old took a 97 mph slider on the outer half of the plate and ripped what would turn out to be a two-run single to an empty patch of grass in left-center field.

Arauz’s third hit of the night brought his team within one run of the Rays at 8-7. Alas, any shot at another rally fell short in the ninth, and 8-7 would go on to be Monday’s final score. What a doozy.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

J.D. Martinez went 3-for-4 with that home run and one RBI on Monday. Kevin Plawecki also went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second game of this four-game set against the Rays on Tuesday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston, while Andrew Kittredge, who picked up the save for the Rays on Monday, will open for Tampa Bay.

Perez put together five solid shutout innings in his last time out against the Rays at Tropicana Field on August 5. He’ll be going for his first home win of the season.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN+ and WEEI.

Red Sox Grant Left-Hander Brian Johnson His Release

Following up on this story from earlier Monday, the Red Sox have granted left-hander Brian Johnson his unconditional release, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo and Christopher Smith.

As previously mentioned, Johnson had departed from the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket to return to his home in Florida.

Although it appeared as though he could have been opting out of the 2020 season at the time that news was originally reported, it now looks like Johnson is unhappy with his role within the Red Sox organization more than anything.

That being the case because, despite having one of the more unstable starting rotations in the American League, the Sox have yet to give Johnson another shot at the major-league level this season.

The 29-year-old southpaw was outrighted off the 40-man roster and demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket last November following a shaky 2019 campaign, but after putting together a decent spring training and Summer Camp as a non-roster invitee, it seemed like Johnson had a legitimate shot to make Boston’s Opening Day roster last month.

Instead, the Florida native was assigned to the alternate training site at McCoy Stadium, was limited to simulated games and live BPs, and must have had enough of that once he realized he was listed relatively low on the Sox’ internal starting pitching depth chart.

Now, with his release being made official, Johnson will be free to pursue a new opportunity with another club if he so chooses.

Originally drafted by Boston in the first round of the 2012 amateur draft out of the University of Florida, Johnson had spent the previous eight-plus years in the Red Sox organization. He will be missed.

Red Sox Lineup: Ryan Brasier Set to Serve as Opener for Boston in First of Four Against Rays

As the Red Sox open up a four-game series against the Rays at Fenway Park to begin the week, Ryan Brasier will be making the first career start of his major-league career on Monday night, the club announced.

Brasier, who turns 33 later this month, will serve as the opener for the Sox against the Rays to kick off the new week before making way for Colten Brewer, who will serve as the “bulk inning guy.”

The right-hander out of Wichita Falls, Texas owns an ERA of 9.00 and an xFIP of 3.84 through his first five appearances and four innings pitched of the 2020 campaign.

As previously mentioned, Brasier has never made a start at the major-league level before, but he does have 38 career minor-league starts under his belt. Although, his most recent start came all the way back in 2015.

In his career against Tampa Bay, the former sixth-round pick of the Angels has yet to surrender a run over 12 outings and 12 1/3 innings of work, all while holding opponents to a .481 OPS against.

By rolling with Brasier here, the Red Sox will have already used eight different starting pitchers just 16 games into the season.

Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox will line up behind Brasier and against Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who got shelled for five runs over five innings pitched in his last time out against Boston on August 5:

Note how the left-handed bats of Andrew Benintendi, Mitch Moreland, and Rafael Devers are all absent here in favor of Kevin Pillar, who will be starting in right, Michael Chavis, and Jonathan Arauz, who is a switch-hitter.

Also worth mentioning, Kevin Plawecki is making his fourth start of the season behind the plate in favor of Christian Vazquez.

Among these nine hitters, J.D. Martinez has seen Yarbrough the best, as the Sox DH is a lifetime .636 (7-for-11) hitter off the Rays southpaw to go along with one home run and two RBI.

On top of that, both Chavis and Alex Verdugo took Yarbrough deep at Tropicana Field last Wednesday.

First pitch against Tampa Bay Monday night is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox going for their second straight win.