RECAP: Chris Sale Struggles Continue Against Astros as #RedSox Drop Second Game in Houston.

For the second night in a row, a Red Sox starting pitcher gave up four runs in his start against the Houston Astros. Yup, Drew Pomeranz gave up four in five innings on Thursday, and Chris Sale just so happened to do so in six innings pitched on Friday.

In his 13th start of the season, Sale had a bit of a tough time in the first. Similar to what they did to Pomeranz on Thursday, the Astros put two runs on the board early. It started with a leadoff walk to George Springer, who eventually scored when Carlos Correa reached first on a strikeout. That was followed by a Yuli Gurriel single, which scored Alex Bregman from third, and just like that, the Red Sox found themselves down early.

The lefty would settle down a bit after that, as he scattered two more runs on four hits and no walks over the next five innings. By the time he departed, the Red Sox were only trailing by one.

Certainly not the best out of Sale against a team he has owned in the past, and that now marks two straight starts where he has not looked like his dominant self. In those two starts against the Braves and Astros, the Florida native has surrendered 10 earned runs on 11 hits in just 10.1 innings pitched. He’ll look to rebound next time out against the Detroit Tigers.

With his pitch count at exactly 100 (67 strikes) heading into the bottom half of the seventh, Sale was replaced in favor of Matt Barnes.

The UCONN alum worked his way around back to back singles to lead off the inning while holding the Astros scoreless in his only frame of work. That made way for Joe Kelly in the eighth, who has arguably been one of the better relievers in baseball up to this point in the season.

In fact, over his last 10 appearances, Kelly has held opponents to a .091 BAA in 10.1 innings pitched. That was not the case last night though, as the Astros got to the righty for three runs on two home runs to pretty much put this ting out of the reach. For Kelly, it was the first time he had surrendered a run since May 10th against the Yankees.

Needing two outs to get to the top of the ninth, Brian Johnson got the final call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he too worked his away around back to back singles AND a bases loaded jam to get out of the inning.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup could only muster three runs against Astros starter Gerrit Cole last night. Cole, who entered last night with the American League lead in strikeouts, managed to fan seven in seven innings pitched. Over that span, Brock Holt, Mitch Moreland, and JD Martinez were the only ones to drive in a run on Friday.

Holt put the Red Sox on the board in the second with an RBI double, and Moreland and Martinez went back to back with solo shots in the fourth.

That was that, and the Astros pitching staff held them scoreless over the last five innings to pick up the 2-0 series lead.

Next up for the Red Sox is the third game of this series later tonight. In a matchup of premier pitchers, Cy Young Award winners, and former teammates, it will be David Price vs. Justin Verlander.

Over their past three starts respectively, both starters have been phenomenal. Price owns a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings pitched, and Verlander owns a 0.83 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched.

Also, Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia have both hit the 10-day disabled list in the last 24 hours. Betts won’t be able to return until next Friday at the earliest, and in their place, first baseman Sam Travis and reliever Bobby Poyner have been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket. It will certainly be interesting to see how they manage without two very important players.

Anyway, first pitch of tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET tonight on FOX. Should be a decent pitchers duel.

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RECAP: Drew Pomeranz Gives up Two-Run Homer in First Inning as #RedSox Fall to Astros in Series Opener.

Coming off a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays in Boston, the Red Sox headed down to Houston to kick off a four-game series last night. Although it is still decently early in the season, I had this series circled in my calendar. The Astros are coming off their first World Series championship in franchise history last fall, and they just so happened to beat the Red Sox in the ALDS to get there. With both teams improving over the offseason, I was excited for this matchup.

In his eighth start of the season on Thursday, Drew Pomeranz did not have the best of first innings. After walking Alex Bregman on five pitches in between getting the first two outs, the lefty got taken deep to left by Astros shortstop Carlos Correa.

That 389 foot shot put the Astros up by two runs early and, despite some close moments, they would not have to look back.

After the Red Sox got those two runs back in their half of the third, the Astros struck for another two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Thanks in part to giving up two hits to the first three batters he faced to leadoff the inning, Tony Kemp drove in JD Davis from third to make it a one run game. That was followed by a bunt off the bat of outfielder Jake Marisnick which allowed Davis to score from third.

After Sandy Leon caught Marisnick trying to steal second to end the fourth, Pomeranz would go on to pitch one more inning, a 1-2-3 fifth to end his night.

So far this season, the lefty has only been able to pitch past the fifth inning twice in eight starts, and those came in back to back outings against the Royals and Yankees in early May. All and all, four runs in five innings against a juggernaut like the Houston Astros is not too shabby, so at the very least, he has earned himself another start.

In relief of Pomeranz, Alex Cora only needed to turn to one pitcher, and that pitcher was Steven Wright. The knuckleballer kept the Red Sox in this game while scattering one hit and three walks over three shutout innings pitched thanks to some help from Rafael Devers in the eighth.

With this most recent performance, Wright now owns a 2.25 ERA in 16 innings pitched since being activated from the restricted list on May 14th. Over that stretch, opponents are only hitting .167 off the California native. If Pomeranz’s struggles were to continue, Wright would be my first choise to take over his spot in the rotation.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox were without Mookie Betts for the fifth game in a row due to that left side tightness he has been dealing with. The Red Sox were also without Dustin Pedroia, who was scratched from the original lineup because of soreness in his surgically repaired knee.

So that all happened quickly before the game started. Then in the second inning, it looked like Rafael Devers was going to have to leave the game after colliding with Astros starter Lance McCullers at first base, but he was fine.

An inning later, the Red Sox scored their only two runs of the night off the bat of Xander Bogaerts on an RBI double that scored both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi on a close play at the plate.

Fast forward to the ninth, trailing by two runs, and the Red Sox made things a little interesting. With Astros closer Ken Giles on the mound, a two out single from Sandy Leon and a walk drawn by Jackie Bradley Jr. brought the go-ahead run to the plate in Blake Swihart. Unfortunately, as was the theme for the Red Sox last night, Swihart appeared to make solid contact with a 88 MPH slider from Giles, but it was hit right at Jake Marisnick in center field. That killed any shot at a rally and ended the winning streak at three games.

Some notes from this one:

According to Statcast, the eight hardest hit balls last night all belonged to the Red Sox. Four of them went for hits, while the other four went for outs.

Andrew Benintendi finished the month with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. In May, he slashed .349/.411/.633 with 6 HR and 23 RBIs.

JD Martinez finished the month with a 0-for-3 day at the plate. In May, he slashed .299/.370/.729 with 13 HR and 25 RBIs. American League Player of the Month right there.


With the series opener out of the way, the Red Sox will look to rebound in the second of four games later tonight. Chris Sale will be getting the start in this one, and he is coming off one of his more disappointing starts of the season last time out against Atlanta. He will be matched up against former Pittsburgh Pirate Gerrit Cole. In his first season in Houston, Cole currently leads the AL in strikeouts with 109 of them on the season. Who is in second you ask? Well, that would be the other starter in tonight’s game, the aforementioned Chris Sale, who has 104 K’s in 2018.

A primetime pitching matchup to kick off the weekend. Couldn’t ask for anything better on a Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET, time to even this series up.

 

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez Takes a Perfect Game into Fifth Inning as #RedSox End Homestand with a Win over Blue Jays.

In his 11th start of the season on Wednesday, Eduardo Rodriguez took a perfect game into the fifth inning against the Blue Jays. It was not until Kendrys Morales reached on a one out single when the no-no came to an end. But still, a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play with Devon Travis at the plate and Morales caught stealing got Rodriguez out of the inning while still facing the minimum 15 batters through five.

With a two run lead heading into the sixth, the lefty retired the first two batters he faced in order before walking Giovanny Ursehela on eight pitches. Things got even worse for Rodriguez in the next at bat, as Blue Jays right fielder Teoscar Hernandez took the native of Venezuela deep down the left field line to knot this thing up at two. In a matter of minutes, it went from cruise control to tie game.

Rodriguez would retire the side by getting Kevin Pillar to strike out swinging. After giving up a single to Justin Smoak in between getting the first two outs of the seventh, the 25-year-old’s day would come to an end with Devon Travis, a righty, coming to the plate. Finishing with exactly 100 pitches (70 strikes), Rodriguez capped off the month of May with one of his better starts of the season. He will look to build on this momentum in his next start, which should come against the Detroit Tigers next week.

In relief of the Red Sox starter, Matt Barnes would come on for his first appearance in five days. Needing just one out to get out the seventh, Devon Travis reached on a fielding error committed by Blake Swihart at first base, but Barnes got Curtis Granderson to fly out to center two pitches later to end the inning.

The UCONN product would come back out for another frame of work in the eighth, and he retired the 8-9-1 hitters for Toronto in order on 10 pitches.

Similar to Tuesday night, the ninth inning did not have to be a stressful one for the Red Sox, given the fact they had a four run lead, but it did. Lefty Brian Johnson got the call for the final frame, but he failed to record an out while surrendering back to back singles to Kevin Pillar and Yangervis Solarte. With the tying run in the on deck circle now, Alex Cora made the switch to his closer, Craig Kimbrel, to get out of another jam.

The Red Sox flamethrower walked the first batter he faced in Justin Smoak to load the bases, then served up a two-run double to Kendrys Morales to cut the Blue Jays deficit in half with still no outs in the inning. Luckily though, Kimbrel settled down and sat down the next three batters he faced in the 7-8-9 hitters for Toronto to pick up his 18th save of the season. “Another happy landing”, as Obi-Wan Kenobi would probably say if he were a Red Sox fan, but at least with the additional work, Kimbrel now only trails Mariners closer Edwin Diaz for the most saves in the American League with 19.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup failed to score eight runs for the third straight game. Instead, they only scored six, wow.

Blake Swihart got the ball rolling in the third when he led things off with a hard hit single off of Blue Jays starter Sam Gaviglio. Two batters later, with Swihart now at second, Jackie Bradley Jr. stayed hot by ripping an RBI double to left field. That allowed Swihart to score from second and the Red Sox were up 1-0.

They easily could have scored more in the third, but Andrew Benintendi was caught stealing second after he singled, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was tagged out by catcher Luke Maile trying to score from third on a wild pitch with Xander Bogaerts at the plate. Talk about squandering some scoring opportunities.

Fast forward to the fifth, with Gaviglio still on the mound for Toronto, and Eduardo Nunez led the inning off by mashing his first home run since the first of May to put the Red Sox up by two.

An inning later, after the Blue Jays had come back to tie it up with a home run of their own, JD Martinez got in on the long ball action as well.

434 feet on that home run. 434! Martinez tied Mike Trout for the league lead in home runs with 18 thanks to that go-ahead rocket over the Green Monster.

In the eighth, Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt tacked on another pair of runs for the Red Sox, which turned out to actually be fairly important since they only won by two runs. Nunez got his on a one out RBI double that scored Xander Bogaerts from second, and Holt got his on an RBI single that probably would have been an out if the Blue Jays infield were positioned normally. That put the Red Sox up 6-2, and despite some worries in the ninth, they would not have to look back.

Some notes from this win:

Over his last 10 games, Eduardo Nunez has quietly raised his batting average from .233 to .249, his OBP from .256 to .265, and his SLG from .353 to .381.

Over his last 10 games, Jackie Bradley Jr. is slashing .345/.406/.552 with 10 hits in 29 at bats.

With one home run and two RBIs today, JD Martinez now leads the league in runs driven in with 47 of them on the season.


All and all, the Red Sox outscored the Blue Jays 22-10 in this three game series. All three starting pitchers, Price, Porcello, and Rodriguez all looked decent on the mound as well.

Headed into a four game series against the Houston Astros in Houston that starts tomorrow, this weekend is going to be big. Drew Pomeranz kicks things off, as he will be matched up against Astros righty Lance McCullers Jr. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET. Mookie Betts should be back in the lineup.

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon Launch Late Inning Home Runs as #RedSox Take Care of Business Against Blue Jays.

Coming off an impressive 8-3 win on Memorial Day, the Red Sox tacked on another eight runs against the Toronto Blue Jays last night. Having now won their past four series, the 38-17 Red Sox will look to sweep the Jays this afternoon before heading off to Houston.

Going into last night with an ERA of 5.40 in May, Rick Porcello made his 12th start of the season in this one, and he closed his month out in style. The righty nearly made it through seven full innings while surrendering three runs (two earned) on five hits, two walks, and two HBPs while fanning five.

Before pitching into the seventh, the only costly mistake Porcello made came in the top of the fourth, when he served up a one out solo shot to Jays first baseman Justin Smoak. As the game progressed, it looked like that was all Toronto would get off the Red Sox starter, but things got a bit interesting in the seventh.

Already up by four runs, Porcello hit the second batter he faced in the inning, Russell Martin, to put a runner on first with one out. Martin did not take too kindly to that, as that was the second time Porcello got a Blue Jay with a pitch, but the confrontation did not elevate past a few words between the two.

The New Jersey native followed that little adventure up by allowing the next two batters he faced in Kendrys Morales and Devon Travis to reach base via a walk and a single. That loaded the bases up for Luke Maile, but he struck out swinging on five pitches. Now with Curtis Granderson at the plate, who has already done a good deal of damage against the Red Sox this season, Porcello could not get a 2-2 92 MPH fastball past the veteran outfielder, and he drove in two runs on a single to right field.

With his pitch count at 96 (66 strikes), Porcello’s night would come to an end. I’m sure it did not end the way he wanted it to, but after the rough month he had, this outing is certainly encouraging headed into June.

Joe Kelly got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he would be tasked with getting the final out of the inning with runners on second and third. Thankfully, Kelly retired the only batter he faced in the seventh, Kevin Pillar, on a three pitch strikeout. The Red Sox flamethrower would come back out for a second frame of work in the eighth, and despite hitting a batter, got out of the inning unscathed.

Entering the ninth with a five run lead to work with, Hector Velazquez was able to get some work in, but he loaded the bases before recording an out. In a bit of a jam, Alex Cora had to turn to Craig Kimbrel when it didn’t look like he was going to be needed a half inning prior.

Facing the top of the Blue Jays order, Kimbrel struck out the first batter he saw in Kevin Pillar on seven pitches. Down to their last out, Kimbrel got Yangervis Solarte to ground out to third, and Rafael Devers made the throw to Dustin Pedroia for the force out at second. Ballgame over.

On the other side of things, Mitch Moreland got the scoring started for the Red Sox right away in the first inning. He drove in Xander Bogaerts on a hard hit double, then JD Martinez drove in Moreland from second on a double of his own.

Speaking of doubles, Sandy Leon had two of them last night. The first one came with one out in the second inning, and he came across to score two batters later when Andrew Benintendi picked up his 38th RBI of the season on another two-bagger off of Jays starter Marco Estrada.

Fast forward to the fourth, and the bottom of the Red Sox lineup came through again. A single and stolen base from Brock Holt put a runner in scoring position with two outs for Jackie Bradley Jr. On the first pitch he saw from Estrada, Bradley ripped a single to left field, and that allowed Holt to easily score from second.

In the sixth, with new pitcher Joe Biagini on the mound for Toronto, back to back singles from Rafael Devers and Dustin Pedroia, his first hit of the season, put runners on first and third with no outs. After Brock Holt struck out looking, Sandy Leon added on to his big day at the plate by grounding a RBI double past both the pitcher and the second baseman.

An inning later, Xander Bogaerts led things off by mashing his eighth home run of the season. He had 10 all of last year.

Finally, in the eighth, Sandy Leon capped off his incredible night with a two-run missile to the Red Sox bullpen to put this game out of reach.

Having won four of their past five games, Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball this afternoon in the series finale against the Blue Jays. He will be matched up against righty Sam Gaviglio. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET. Mookie Betts should be back in the lineup on Thursday.

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi and JD Martinez Combine for Six RBIs as #RedSox Celebrate Memorial Day with a Win over Blue Jays.

For the first time this season, the Red Sox welcomed the 25-28 Toronto Blue Jays into town for a three-game series on Monday. Having already faced them six times and coming away with four wins, the Red Sox looked to continue their success against the Blue Jays with David Price on the hill today.

Making his 11th start of the season, Price’s day certainly could have been much shorter than it turned out to be. After getting the first two outs of the inning, Jays shortstop Yangervis Solarte lined a comebacker right back to Price with an exit velocity of over 101 MPH. The ball appeared to get Price right in the chest/his left arm, but he was able to pick the ball up and throw to first to record the out.

In the second, there was another concerning moment for the Red Sox when it looked like Price was looking at his pitching hand after walking Kevn Pillar to leadoff the inning. After a brief visit from Alex Cora and a trainer, Price remained in the game, worked around another walk to Russell Martin, and escaped the second without giving up a run.

From that point on, the lefty settled down for a bit. Despite consistently dealing with baserunners in the next three innings he pitched, the Blue Jays could only manage to plate one run in the fourth and another in the fifth. Other than that, I would say it was a solid day for David Price, especially when considering how it started.

The four walks may seem like a bit of an issue, but home plate umpire Jordan Baker’s was far from consistent, so I would not be too concerned about that. Now on a run of four straight starts of giving up two or fewer runs, Price will look to carry this momentum in his next start against the Houston Astros on Saturday. Since May 3rd, when he surrendered seven earned runs against the Texas Rangers, the native of Tennessee has lowered his ERA from 5.78 all the way down to 4.04 in those four starts.

With his pitch count at 95 through five innings, Alex Cora would need to turn to his bullpen early for the second game in a row. Heath Hembree got the first call, and he got some defensive help right away in the sixth from Jackie Bradley Jr.

That Kendrys Morales flyout had a hit probability of 91%, according to Statcast. Instead, JBJ made an insane over the shoulder catch in the deepest part of Fenway Park to prove that, once again, he is the best defensive center fielder in baseball.

Hembree would go on to retire the side in order in the sixth and come back out for the seventh. After giving up two straight triples and one run to leadoff the inning and end his scoreless appearances streak at three, the righty got out of the inning by striking out Giovanny Urshela and getting Yangervis Solarte to ground into an inning-ending 3-6-3 double play.

Next out of the Red Sox bullpen was Steven Wright. In two innings pitched, the knuckleballer held the Blue Jays scoreless on one hit to wrap this thing up. Over his last three appearances, Wright has tossed six consecutive shutout innings while holding opponents to just three hits over that span. In either a starting or relief role, a healthy Steven Wright could prove to be very valuable to this Red Sox pitching staff.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was without Mookie Betts for the second day in a row, but they got JD Martinez back.

Martinez got the scoring started in the first after Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland reached base on back to back singles. With runners on first and third, Martinez grounded into what easily could have been an inning ending double play. Instead, Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak was pulled off the first base bag because of a bad throw from second baseman Devon Travis, and they could only get the force out at second while Bogaerts easily scored from third.

Fast forward to the fourth, and the Red Sox did a majority of the damage in this inning, as they plated five of their eight runs on the day. After Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in two runs of their own, Andrew Benintendi capped things off by unloading on a 87 MPH changeup from Jays starter Aaron Sanchez.

That 346 foot shot to left field from Benintendi, his seventh of the season, put the Red Sox up five, and they would not have to look back in this one.

An inning later, JD Martinez got in on the home run hitting action, as he launched his 17th home run of the season 415 feet over the Green Monster.

In the sixth, Benintendi struck once again. With Jackie Bradley Jr. on first following a walk, the Ohio native ripped a triple off the left field wall to score Bradley all the way from first and move one step closer to completing the cycle.

Needing just a double now, Benintendi got one last chance in the eighth. With one out in the inning, Jays reliever Jake Petricka got Benintendi to fly out to left field. With Russell Martin out there, it looked like the ball had a chance to find some grass, but a las, the Blue Jays catcher, making his first career start in left field, came up with the catch and ended any chance of some history.

Some notes from this win:

Over his last seven games with at least one at bat, Jackie Bradley Jr. has raised his batting average from .161 all the way up to .184 with seven hits over that span. Combine that with the great defensive plays, and JBJ may indeed be turning a corner.

For the second time in three games, Andrew Benintendi fell one hit shy of the cycle. On the 26th, he finished a triple shy of accomplishing the feat. Today, he finished a double shy.

Speaking of Benintendi, according to @RedSoxStats on Twitter, he is now on pace for 40 2B, 10 3B, 21 HR, 110 RBI and 25 SB. After a slow start to the season at the plate for the Red Sox outfielder, these projections are certainly encouraging.


With the series opener in the books, Rick Porcello will be on the mound for the Red Sox in the middle game tomorrow night. He’ll be matched up against Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada, who has given up a total of nine runs in two starts against the Red Sox this season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

 

RECAP: Chris Sale Surrenders Six Runs as #RedSox Drop Finale to Braves.

Going into this afternoon’s game with the series against the Atlanta Braves already in hand, the Red Sox were looking for their third straight win and their fifth win in six days. Unfortunately, they ran into a good pitcher in Mike Foltynewicz for the Braves.

Chris Sale’s 12th start of the season was certainly not a memorable one. In his only other start against the Braves in his career. when he was with the White Sox, Sale gave up eight earned runs on 10 hits in five innings. Today’s performance certainly resembled that, as the lefty surrendered six earned runs on five hits and three walks in 4.1 innings pitched. Whatever it is about the Atlanta Braves, for some reason they appear to have an edge on an elite pitcher like Chris Sale.

Things got awry for Sale beginning in the second inning. Having pitched a clean first, Braves outfielder Nick Markakis got the ball rolling by drawing a leadoff walk. After Kurt Suzuki singled and Ender Inciarte popped out to third, Sale’s former teammate and catcher in Chicago, Tyler Flowers, launched a three-run shot into the Green Monster seats. That put the Braves up by three early, and they would not have to look back.

Fast forward to the top of the fifth, and another leadoff walk ended up biting Sale. Shortstop Dansby Swanson is the one who drew it this time, and he was able to score a few minutes later when Charlie Culberson ripped a single past Jackie Bradley Jr. in right field. After giving up his third walk of the day to Ronald Acuna Jr, Freddie Freeman, one of the better all around hitters in the National League, drove in both Culberson and Acuna by blasting a two-run double over everyone’s heads in left center field. Another three runs on the board for Atlanta in the inning, and that would be the end of things for Chris Sale on Sunday.

Since he finished with a pitch count of only 91 (59 strikes), perhaps this could be used to the Red Sox advantage when they head to Houston later next week for a four-game weekend series against the Astros. The team has yet to announce the starting pitcher for the Friday game, but if I had to guess, I would say it will be Sale. With the low pitch count from today in mind, I think it would make sense if Alex Cora let Sale go a little deeper into his next start, if he is pitching effectively, of course. When you consider that Drew Pomeranz is pitching on Thursday, and how much the bullpen has had to been used in his starts, the Red Sox could need Sale to get into the seventh or eighth inning before turning to the bullpen in a close game. I know I’m looking to far ahead, but I just thought I would throw it out there.

Anyway, with Sale departing earlier than usual, Brian Johnson received the first call put of the Red Sox bullpen in the fifth. Another lefty, Johnson had himself a decent day in an extended relief role. The Florida native strung together 2.2 scoreless innings while allowing one hit and one walk from the fifth until the end of the top half of the seventh. After a shaky start to his season, Johnson has now gone eight innings in five innings without giving up a single run.

Speaking of extended relief, once Johnson retired the side in the seventh, Hector Velazquez came on in a bit of a mop-up role with the Red Sox trailing by five runs at the point. The native of Mexico was not as effective as he has been of late, as he surrendered one run in the ninth while allowing a total of four Braves to reach base. Not that it mattered, since the Red Sox lineup could barely do anything today.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox were without Mookie Betts and JD Martinez in this one. Martinez because of a scheduled day off, but Betts, who was originally in today’s lineup, was scratched due to “left side tightness.”

Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz, who had pitched against the Red Sox before this season, but not started, came out dealing today. For the first five innings, the best the Red Sox could do is draw three walks against the righty from Illinois. It was not until the sixth when Andrew Benintendi lined a one out double off the wall in left field for his teams first hit of the contest.

One batter later, with Xander Bogaerts at the dish, Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies made a dazzling play with his glove to rob Bogaerts of a hit for the second out of the inning.

Luckily though, Benintendi was not stranded at second base, as Mitch Moreland drove him in by ripping a triple down the first base line, his second three bagger of the season.

That RBI triple prevented the shutout, and it was the only run of the day for the Red Sox. With the two biggest threats out of the lineup, offensive performances like today can be frustrating.

Some notes from this one:

Since Hanley Ramirez was DFA’d this past Friday, Mitch Moreland has hit one home run, two triples, one double, and driven in four in three games.

Ronald Acuna Jr. had to leave today’s game with knee and lower back pain in the seventh inning after an awkward occurrence as he was running out an infield single. I won’t post the video, but I sincerely hope he is okay and has a speedy recovery. Never want to see anything like that happen to an athlete, never mind a 20-year-old rookie.


On a more uplifting note, the Red Sox will welcome the Toronto Blue Jays into town for a three game series that begins tomorrow. The Blue Jays had a decent start to their season, but are just 3-7 in their last 10 games. David Price will get the ball for Boston, while it will be righty Aaron Sanchez going for Toronto. Another 1:05 start time, should be a good way to spend some of Memorial Day.

 

RECAP: Four Home Runs Power #RedSox to 6-2 Win over Braves.

After dropping the series finale to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night, the Red Sox looked to rebound against one of the more surprising teams in the National League, the Atlanta Braves, last night back at Fenway Park. With Hanley Ramirez no longer a member of this ball club, it was going to be interesting to see how the rest of the lineup would respond, and they put together a fairly decent all-around performance against Julio Teheran and the Braves bullpen.

Eduardo Rodriguuez made his first career start against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, and he had himself a pretty nice night. The lefty surrendered two runs on six hits and three walks while striking out seven in 5.2 innings pitched. Despite only throwing one 1-2-3 inning in this one, the only costly mistakes made by Rodriguez came in the third. That occurred when Nick Markakis plated the Braves only two runs on a double after Ronald Acuna and Freddie Freeman each singled. After that, the native of Venezuela settled down and pitched until there were two outs in the top half of the sixth.

With his pitch count north of 100 after walking Braves third baseman Johan Camargo, Rodriguez’s night would come to an end. I thought it was a bit of a quick hook from Alex Cora, but understandable nonetheless, especially given the fact he needed 110 pitches in his last start against the Orioles.

With one out still to get in the sixth, Heath Hembree got the call first out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he retired the only batter he faced in Dansby Swanson on a six pitch strikeout.

Next up out of the bullpen was Joe Kelly for the seventh inning and Matt Barnes for the eighth. They both tossed scoreless frames, and that set up the opportunity for Craig Kimbrel to close this game out in a non-save situation. The Red Sox flamethrower gave up a one out single, but bounced back by retiring the next two Braves he faced on seven pitches to wrap up his teams 35th win of the season.

So, overall, once ERod left this game in the sixth, the Red Sox bullpen combined to toss 3.1 scoreless innings on Friday night. And that now marks six straight contests in which the ‘pen has not surrendered a single run. They entered last night with the sixth best bullpen ERA in baseball, and I’m sure that’s going to go down some more after that stellar performance against one of the best lineups in the National League.

Speaking of lethal lineups, the Red Sox lineup put on a bit of a home run derby against Julio Teheran and the rest of the Braves bullpen on Friday night.

Trailing by two going into their half of the fourth inning, JD Martinez put the Red Sox on the board with his 16th long ball of the season that just cleared the Green Monster.

Two batters later, Xander Bogaerts knotted this thing up at two runs a piece, as he launched his seventh big fly of the season over the Monster as well.

An inning later, Andrew Benintendi drove in the only run for the Red Sox that did not come on a home run, and that came on a sac fly to center field to score Jackie Bradley Jr. from third. Bradley nearly scored on an inside the park homer himself two at bats prior, but he settled for a one out triple on the hardest hit ball of the night (109 MPH off the bat).

Fast forward to the seventh, with two outs in the inning and a brand new pitcher on the mound for the braves in Matt Wisler, Mookie Betts continued his crazy season by retaking the league lead in home runs.

With both Mike Trout and JD Martinez homering last night, it only made sense for Betts to hit one of his own. That one was sent 387 feet to left field, and it left the Red Sox outfielder alone atop the Major League home run leaderboard.

Another inning later, Mitch Moreland got in on the action by mashing his eighth home run of the season off of Wisler, and that pretty much put this game out of reach if it was not already.

443 feet to dead center on that one, which was definitely a reassuring thing to see given the news from earlier Friday morning.

Some notes from this win:

According to @RedSoxStats on Twitter, Craig Kimbrel threw his five fastest pitches of the season last night, as he topped out at 99.1 MPH.

The 3-4-5 hitters in last night’s lineup combined for four hits and three home runs.

With that triple I mentioned earlier, Jackie Bradley Jr. now has hits in four of his past five games.

In his first game as the everyday first baseman, Mitch Moreland went 2-for-4 with a single and a home run. He now owns a 1.029 OPS in 35 games this season.

It was certainly an unusual day for the Red Sox with Hanley Ramirez being designated for assignment, but they responded in a great way with a win last night.

Next up is the middle game of this series later this afternoon, and it will be local boy Sean Newcomb getting the start for the Atlanta Braves. The Massachusetts native has seemingly emerged as the best pitcher in the Braves rotation in just his first full season in the major leagues. For the Red Sox, it will be lefty Drew Pomeranz on the mound it what should be a very critical start. I mean, there was a point last season where it looked as if Pomeranz was going to be moved to the bullpen, but he turned his year around and become the best starting pitcher on that staff not named Chris Sale.

This time around, history is hopefully repeating itself because Pomeranz has not been close to great in the six starts he has made this season. If the struggles continue this afternoon, I can’t imagine he would make his next start. With guys capable of starting like Steven Wright and Hector Velazquez available in the bullpen, why would Pomeranz deserve a spot in the rotation if he continues to stink? We’ll have to wait on that though. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM.