RECAP: Chris Sale and Andrew Benintendi help #RedSox split series with O’s in 7-3 win.

Things didn’t look great for the Red Sox on Friday night. The Sox had just dropped their second consecutive game to the Orioles, who seemed to be hitting their stride after a rough May. Luckily for the Red Sox, David Price and Chris Sale were there to salvage the series. Price pitched eight quality innings Saturday, and Sale pitched six solid innings on Sunday. There probably weren’t many people who thought Sale could go six after the first inning he had, but here we are talking about. The southpaw allowed three runs in the first, although I don’t completely blame him for all those runs. With one out in the inning and runners on first and second, the Orioles decided to try a double-steal, and it looked as if Sandy Leon picked off Joey Rickard at third. However, a challenge from Buck Showalter would show that Rickard’s hand touched the bag before Pablo Sandoval tagged him, resulting in runners on second and third with only one out. This play just says everything you need to know about Pablo Sandoval’s tenure as a member of the Red Sox thus far, just about worthless in every aspect of the game. If Deven Marrero was at third, that’s an out and that’s a fact. Instead Chris Sale gives up a double to Chris Davis, which allowed those runners to score. The Orioles would score their last run of the game in the first, when Jonathan Schoop drove in Davis on an RBI double. Sale really grinded his way to another quality start, only allowing three hits over the next five innings while striking out nine total. The Red Sox bullpen held their own on Sunday, as Blaine Boyer, Robby Scott, and Matt Barnes combined to pitch three innings while giving up three hits, zero runs, and striking out two. I saw a stat saying that Sale has like a 4.30 ERA over his past three starts, but I’m not worried about that, no Red Sox fan should.

The Red Sox offense recorded nine hits for the second day in a row Sunday afternoon. Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to break out of his early struggles, as he drove in two runs on a single in the first. Andrew Benintendi had his best game as a Major Leaguer, reaching base four times, including two home runs and a single, which drove in a total of three runs. With those two bombs from Benintendi, not only was it the first multi-home run game of his career, yesterday’s game could be the first step to getting Benintendi out of this slump. The other two runs the Red Sox scored came on a fielding error in the sixth, when Francisco Pena, the catcher, overthrew Manny Machado, and that allowed Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley to score.

To me, it feels weird to say this, but, if the Red Sox sweep the Yankees this week, they could have sole possession of first place going into next weekend’s series against the Tigers. No game today, FWIW, off-day.

31 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: David Price pitches into eighth inning; #RedSox avoid O’s late rally with 5-2 win.

Looking to build on his 2017 debut, David Price took the mound to face the Baltimore Orioles for the first time this season. Price was great, while also being very effective with his pitch limit. The 2012 Cy Young Award winner went deeper into the game than he did in Chicago, pitching 7+ innings, surrendering three hits and only one run, while striking out seven Orioles. The only real trouble Price ran into came in the bottom of the seventh, when Manny Machado took the southpaw deep for his twelfth homer of the year. I was surprised to see Price come out for the eighth, but as it turns out, he would only face one batter before his day was over. The funny thing was that Price struck Jonathan Schoop out, but because of a passed ball by Christian Vazquez, Schoop was able to reach first. I think it’s safe to say this is what Red Sox fans wanted to see out of David Price. Through his first two starts, Price’s ERA currently sits at a solid 3.00. Both of his starts have come on the road, so I’m interested to see how he will perform when he makes his first start of the year at Fenway.

John Farrell only needed two other pitchers to secure the win, but Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel were not at the top of their game. Kelly came in to relieve Price in the eighth, and he was able to get J.J. Hardy to hit into a double play right out of the gate. Unfortunately for Kelly, the next two batters he faced reached base, setting up Craig Kimbrel to come into the game with the chance to get a four out save. Kimbrel got out of the inning easy, but the ninth was a different story. I’m not trying to defend Kimbrel too much here, but I really think he was affected by the fact that the Red Sox made it a four-run game in the top of the ninth. Anyway, Kimbrel gave up his first run in forever, but that didn’t stop him from picking up his sixteenth save of the season.

The Red Sox offense didn’t need to score a ton of runs thanks to David Price. Hanley Ramirez was the star of the game, potentially breaking out of a power struggle by going 2 for 3 with a home run, a double, a walk, and three RBIs. It was also nice to see Mookie Betts get two hits and an RBI since he has been struggling recently. Xander Bogaerts also drove in a run Saturday, scoring Mookie Betts from third on a fielder’s choice in the eighth.

Chris Sale gets the start today, looking to rebound from his worst start in a Red Sox uniform that took place in Chicago. With the chance to leave Baltimore with a split, I expect Chris Sale to be lights out Sunday.

Also, shout out to Mitch Moreland for this catch on an awful throw from Pablo Sandoval:

30 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Rick Porcello shakes off rough first inning; #RedSox drop game two 3-2.

Note: Before this game even started the Red Sox received bad news pertaining to Eduardo Rodriguez. ERod was placed on the 10-Day DL with a right knee injury, which happened while he was warming up for his start yesterday. Brandon Workman getting called up was the corresponding move, but it looks Brian Johnson will get the start in ERod’s slot next time around the rotation.

Doesn’t get much worse for a starting pitcher to give up a leadoff home run to start his outing. Unfortunately for Rick Porcello, that’s exactly what Seth Smith had in mind, taking the 28 year-old RHP deep after a long AB. That wouldn’t be the only damage done in the first, as a scuffling Manny Machado blasted his 11th home run of the season to left field with only one out. This would be the only real trouble Porcello would run into, save the fact the Orioles scored another run in the fourth. If you take away the first inning though, the Orioles only got five hits and one run off Porcello in five innings, which is nothing to be ashamed of against an offensive team like that. The Red Sox bullpen would be responsible for the seventh and eighth innings, and they did not allow a single run in that span. Heath Hembree, Robby Scott, and Joe Kelly combined for only one hit while striking out two Orioles in two innings of work.

This Red Sox offense appears to be stuck in a rut. The fact that they struggle to score runs against mediocre pitchers is kind of embarrassing for a team that had one of, if not the best offense in baseball in 2016. In his first start at third since being activated from the DL, Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the season in the top of the second. The only other run for the Red Sox would come in the seventh, when Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Xander Bogaerts on a 2 out RBI single. The offensive struggles from the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Andrew Benintendi, and Mookie Betts have become quite evident during this road trip. Alec Asher got the best of this lineup today, hopefully Dylan Bundy doesn’t have the same luck.

By the way, shout out to Mookie for making one of the best catches you’ll see, just sprawled out for this one:

29 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez gives up seven runs; #RedSox lose opener in Baltimore 7-5.

As I said yesterday, it would be great if the Red Sox won at least three out of four in Baltimore to maybe gain some ground in the AL East standings. Well, after Thursday’s loss, taking three out of four looks less probable. The Orioles had an awful May, going 12-16, including a season-high 7 game losing streak. Their struggles have been highlighted by Manny Machado, whose BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, and OPS+ are currently the worst they have been since his MLB debut in 2012. With all that in mind, I thought the Red Sox had a good shot at winning this series. Eduardo Rodriguez got the start, and before the game even started, things looked rough. While he was warming up in the bullpen, ERod took a tumble, and stayed down for a few minutes. Being aware of this, John Farrell alerted the home plate umpire that ERod may not be 100%, and I don’t think he was. The 24 year-old Venezuelan southpaw nearly got through six innings, but not before giving up four home runs, which scored all seven runs for the Orioles. Blaine Boyer would come in to relieve Rodriguez with two outs in the sixth, he got all four outs he was responsible for, ending the sixth along with getting the O’s in order in the seventh. Fernando Abad was responsible for the eighth, and despite getting into a jam, he got out of the inning without giving up a run. Rick Porcello, David Price, and Chris Sale are next up in this series, and each start should be exciting to watch.

Offensively, the Red Sox could virtually do nothing against former Red Sox starter Wade Miley. The only run they got off Miley came in the second, when Christian Vazquez drove in Sam Travis on an RBI single. The bats would go silent until the top of the ninth, when the Red Sox got four of their nine hits and four of their five runs. Christian Vazquez would drive in two more runs on another RBI single. Then, Jackie Bradley took Donnie Hart deep for a three-run blast, making it a two-run game. Pablo Sandoval would bat next, with the chance to get the tying run to the plate, but unfortunately for the Red Sox, he grounded out, and that ended the game.

This offense is kind of a head scrather. They seem to score a majority of their runs in bunches, and they can’t seem to score much off mediocre pitchers. Mookie Betts continues to struggle, dropping his BA to .266 after an 0 for 4 performance. It is good to see JBJ heat up with the bat, though, that’s a positive from this loss.

29 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz pitches seven quality innings; #RedSox take series with 4-1 win.

After his awful start in Oakland and an argument with the manager, things weren’t looking all that great for Drew Pomeranz. Ever since he came here last July, it’s been a disappointing experience, riddled with mediocre and pretty bad starts. But, over his past two starts against the Rangers and White Sox, Pomeranz has looked like the guy that made the NL All Star team last season. The 28 year-old southpaw pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season Wednesday night, going a total of seven innings while scattering seven hits, surrendering one run, and striking out eight. Over his last two outings, Pomeranz has pitched 13 innings, given up 11 hits, 3 earned runs, only walked one batter, all while striking out 19 total batters. With a healthy David Price returning to the rotation along with this version of Drew Pomeranz, this rotation has the potential to be lethal, one of the best in baseball. The Red Sox bullpen didn’t need to do much last night, as Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel finished the White Sox off. Barnes got them in the eighth, and Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth, picking up his fifteenth save of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox bats couldn’t do anything against journeyman starter Mike Pelfrey Wednesday night. Through the first five innings, the Red Sox reached base a total of four times, that’s it. Apparently Pelfrey has awful numbers when he faces a lineup for a third time, so the White Sox took him out after five. That decision really benefited the Red Sox, as they scored all four of their runs in the sixth. After loading the bases with only one out, Josh Rutledge got his chance to give his team the lead. Unfortunately, he grounded out to short, but the double play was avoided thanks to Rutledge’s speed, and that tied the game at 1. Pablo Sandoval would be next, and he drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single. After getting the lead, Christian Vazquez almost immediately increased that lead, driving in Rutledge and Sandoval on a double to left center. That would conclude the scoring for the Red Sox in Chicago. I mean, it’s not all that encouraging that the Red Sox could only score in one inning, but I’ll take it, especially since they took two out of three from the White Sox.

Next up, the Orioles in Baltimore. Four games against a team that just had an awful May. ERod, Porcello, Price, and Sale are all expected to pitch, so I think 3 out of 4 would be a nice goal to reach.

29 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox even things up with ChiSox despite Sale’s struggles; win 13-7.

When it was announced that Chris Sale would be matched up against Jose Quintana Tuesday night, fans and analysts everywhere were expecting a pitcher’s duel. Well, that’s about the opposite of went down. Sale got off to a rough start for his standards, giving up a hit and a walk in the first inning. Despite all the base runners, Sale still managed to get all three outs via strikeout. The second inning was even worse for Sale, as he gave up three runs on four hits, and he still got two more strikeouts. After allowing another run in the third, Sale came back out for the fourth. With two outs and a runner on first, Todd Frazier came up for his third AB of the game. Before the game, Frazier talked to the media about he wanted to take his former teammate deep, and that’s exactly what he did, pulling the White Sox within one run. Sale’s day would end after pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. His worst start with the Red Sox for sure, but I was expecting Sale to be off considering the fact he was playing his first team. Heath Hembree was responsible for the sixth and seventh, and he had a nice bounce back outing, not allowing a hit in either inning. Blaine Boyer struggled in this third appearance out of the Red Sox bullpen, surrendering one run on four hits while only getting through two-thirds of the eighth. With two outs in the eighth, Craig Kimbrel got the call and would have to end the game by getting four outs. Kimbrel recorded his fourteenth save of the season, collecting two strikeouts on the way to the win.

Like I said, with Jose Quintana on the mound for the White Sox, nobody was expecting the Red Sox to score runs at the rate they did last night. After a scoreless first, the Red Sox bats picked things up, crossing the plate seven times over the next two innings. Deven Marrero and Mookie Betts hit back to back jacks in the second, and Marrero went deep again in the fourth, scoring Chris Young and Sam Travis along with him. Three more runs came across in the fifth, all coming on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s sixth home run of the season. Two more home runs would be hit by the Red Sox, Xander Bogaerts hit one in the eighth, and Mitch Moreland hit a two-run home run in the ninth to cap off an incredible offensive night. In total, Red Sox hitters hit six home runs, and more than half the lineup went yard Tuesday night. Deven Marrero and Sam Travis easily had their best games at the Major League Level, with Marrero going deep twice and Travis getting three hits, including two doubles.

After a bit of a lull offensively, it looks like these bats are about to breakout again. Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon were the only hitters who failed to get a hit, and both still reached base via a HBP and a walk. Chris Sale stunk last night, he said that himself, but I’m not too worried. With Pablo Sandoval returning from the DL, the infield could get a bit crowded. I like Josh Rutledge, but I don’t think he’s an everyday player. I would expect Marrero to move over to second until Dustin Pedroia returns from his injury. Drew Pomeranz takes the hill today, that could go many different ways.

28 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: David Price makes strong 2017 debut; #RedSox drop tough one in Chicago 5-4.

After winning six in a row, it looked like this Red Sox team had started to find their way as a whole. Well, now the Red Sox have hit another snag, dropping their second consecutive game on Memorial Day. This game had plenty of hype beforehand, and that was because David Price, the $31 million dollar man, was making his first start of the 2017 season. For someone who has not faced Major League batters since last October, Price was mostly good throughout the 5 innings he pitched. Like I said yesterday, I was expecting the worst for Price, and many people were, but I was thoroughly impressed with what I saw from the 2012 Cy Young Award winner. He really only got into trouble in the third inning, when he walked two of the first three hitters he faced. Melky Cabrera would come up to the plate next, and he took full advantage of Price, taking him yard to left center, driving in three, and giving the White Sox a 3-1 lead. Price would go on to pitch two more innings, getting taken out after five full with only 88 pitched because of a pitch limit. So, the bullpen was responsible for the last three innings of the game, and they had a one run lead to work with. Joe Kelly walked one while pitching a shutout sixth, and he was relieved by Matt Barnes, who was awful. Barnes gave up three hits and two earned runs, which gave the White Sox a 5-4 lead, and that would be the final score. Blaine Boyer made his second appearance for the Red Sox, and he retired the White Sox in order to end the eighth inning. The biggest takeaway pitching wise is obviously David Price’s strong return to this rotation. Sale, Price, Porcello, and even Rodriguez could really be something special if they all pitch the way they are capable of. Another thing I took away from this loss is the bullpen. Yesterday it was Hembree, today it was Barnes. Two guys John Farrell relies on heavily in key situations. With the returns of Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg still being question marks, these guys need to pitch on a more consistent basis.

Offensively, the Red Sox were flat for the second game in a row, only recording four hits on the afternoon. They got the first run in this one, which usually results in wins, but that didn’t help on Monday. Xander Bogaerts drove in the first run of the game, hitting a sac fly that allowed Mookie Betts to score from third. After not scoring in the second and third, two more runs crossed the plate in the fourth. The first coming when Hanley Ramirez scored on a Christian Vazquez double, the second coming on a Jackie Bradley Jr. ground out, which scored Sam Travis from third. The final run the Red Sox scored, which was the go-ahead run at the time, came in the fifth, when Mookie Betts drilled one out barely over the left field wall, his fifteenth of the season. Seeing Mookie going 2 for 4 on Monday was definitely encouraging to see. It was kind of a weird game for substitutions, since the Red Sox made plenty of them. Dustin Pedroia had to leave the game early with a wrist issue, and he was replaced by Josh Rutledge. I just saw that he is heading back to Boston for an MRI, so that’s discouraging. Sam Travis only played like the first four or five innings, he was defensively replaced by Mitch Moreland. It was also interesting to see Sandy Leon, a .240 hitter this season, pinch hit for Deven Marrero in the ninth. That move didn’t work, to nobody’s surprise.

If you really want to be an optimist, you can take Price’s performance and say this game was a positive. But, I’m looking at it more like this team is heading back down to earth after that win streak. I wouldn’t be surprised if Farrell’s on the hot seat again in one-two weeks.

27 down, ? to go.