RECAP: Andrew Benintendi drives in SIX runs as #RedSox bounce back with 10-5 win.

After a disastrous Friday night, the Red Sox were in need of a rebound performance, and that’s exactly what happened on Saturday. Making his twenty-third start of 2017, Drew Pomeranz put together yet another solid outing for the Red Sox. The lefty managed to scatter seven hits and two walks over 6.2 innings while racking up five strikeouts. Despite the quality start, there were avoidable moments in this game for Pomeranz. Such as the two-run home run he served up to Gary Sanchez in the first, and loading the bases with no outs in the fourth. Luckily, the Yankees only got one run out of that and none after the fourth. Pomeranz was pulled in favor of Brandon Workman with Aaron Judge coming up and two outs in the bottom half of the seventh. Workman retired Judge, then went on to pitch a scoreless eighth inning as well. Returning from Pawtucket, Robby Scott got the call for the ninth. Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury both took him deep to start the inning, but Scott retired them in order after that.

Everyone in todays lineup reached base at least one time. With ten runs crossing the plate, you would think there’d be enough RBIs to go around but only three guys, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Rafael Devers, recorded at least two RBIs. The scoring began in the third, with Mookie Betts at the plate. Before that, a critical error committed by Todd Frazier allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach first, which loaded the bases. With the bases loaded, Mookie Betts singled to left, allowing Christian Vazquez to score from third, and Jackie Bradley Jr. to score from second. The next man up was Andrew Benintendi, and he took Luis Severino deep to shallow right, giving the Red Sox a 5-0 lead.

From being down 2-0 to taking a 5-2 lead, all thanks to Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. Benny Biceps didn’t stop there, though. Moving forward to the fifth, Eduardo Nunez and Mookie Betts started the inning with a single and double. This paved way for Benintendi to take Severino deep AGAIN for another three-run home run.

Later in the inning, with one out, Rafael Devers lined a double to center field, scoring Mitch Moreland from third and Xander Bogaerts from first. With the lead inflating to 10-3, things were kind of on cruise control for the Red Sox after their half of the fifth.

Since the start of August, Andrew Benintendi is slashing an outstanding .484/.540/.968 if I did the math right. He also has four home runs and 11 RBIs this month.  If he keeps up this pace, he’ll for sure win AL Rookie of the Month.

Today is Sunday, the Red Sox are 4.5 games up on the Yankees, and Chris Sale is pitching later tonight. That’s a pretty positive outlook right there.

66 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox bullpen implodes as winning streak comes to an end in The Bronx.

I’m writing this at 11:01 PM so excuse me if this becomes altered in any way. For a team that has had so much going their way, Friday night did not feel quite the same. Eduardo Rodriguez made the start for the Red Sox, and he was solid. Six shutout innings, two hits and two walks, while also striking out seven. A thirty pitch first inning didn’t help things, but it was good to see ERod get through six full with only 107 pitches. He definitely deserved the win, something he hasn’t gotten since May 26th. Unfortunately, the Red Sox bullpen had other plans. Shout out to Matt Barnes for doing his job, pitching a shutout seventh inning while facing four batters. Now, this is where things get messy, starting with Addison Reed. Since that home run he gave up against the Indians, Reed has been used lightly and mostly in the seventh inning, but he’s looked good in those appearances. Friday night was a different story though, as Reed started the inning by hitting Brett Gardner on the foot. The next batter, Aaron Hicks took Reed deep for a cheap Yankee Stadium home run, bringing the Yankees within one run. After giving up a single and a walk, John Farrell went with Joe Kelly, who was not much better. Kelly allowed both the tying run and go-ahead run to score while also allowing a third to score. After facing six batters and getting two outs, Kelly left the game in favor of Fernando Abad, who recorded the final out. So, a bullpen that leads the majors in ERA blew a lead in a pretty important game, a winnable game to say the least. Addison Reed is making the case to not be used in any high leverage situations at all, and Joe Kelly got rocked in his second game off the disabled list. All and all, the Red Sox had a three run lead going into the bottom of the eighth and ended up having nothing to show for it.

On the other side of things, the offense deserves some blame for this loss as well. Before the top of the ninth, the only three runs scored came on home runs. The first, a two-run blast off the bat of Hanley Ramirez in the first, his eighteenth, and the second being a solo shot off the bat of Andrew Benintendi in the fifth, his fourteenth. There were more opportunities to get some runs on the board, but the Red Sox couldn’t capitalize. Yankees starter Jaime Garcia loaded the bases in the top of the third, which led to nothing. If we can fast forward to the ninth, Aroldis Chapman was awful. He walked the first three guys he saw to load the bases again. Things got ugly after Andrew Benintendi hit a sacrifice fly to Aaron Hicks in left. A run did score but the man who was at second, Eduardo Nunez, tried to advance to third.

He failed in doing so, recording the second out in the process, and basically ruined any momentum the Red Sox had. Mitch Moreland then flied out to Jacoby Ellsbury, and the bail out of Chapman was complete.

This could end up being the worst loss of the season, but it might not even matter come October. It all depends on how the rest of the series goes. Drew Pomeranz is pitching later today, and Chris Sale is pitching Sunday night, so the outlook looks good for the remaining two games.

65 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the #RedSox won again.

Yes, those Red Sox won again on Wednesday night. Rick Porcello, making his twenty-fourth start of the season, was matched up against Rays righty Jake Odorizzi. Last time Porcello pitched at the Trop, he had his best start of the season, pitching a complete game in a losing effort. He wasn’t this good last night, but he was good enough, getting through six innings before being lifted in the seventh. In those 6+ IP, Porcello allowed only four hits and two earned runs, both home runs, while walking two and striking out seven. The best part of his start, easily, was the immaculate inning he threw in the fifth. Nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts. Along with Craig Kimbrel, Porcello is the second Red Sox pitcher to accomplish this feat this season.

The only real mistakes Porcello made came in the sixth, when both Adeiny Hechavarria and Brad Miller took him deep. After coming out for the seventh and allowing the first two batters to reach, Matt Barnes would be inserted the game. Barnes would finish the inning without allowing a run to score. Brandon Workman pitched a scoreless eighth, and Joe Kelly secured the win with a 1-2-3 ninth. It was nice to see this start out of Porcello considering how much he struggled against the Indians last time out. It looks like he’ll be making his next start against… the Indians. That’s a makeup game, hopefully Porcello can perform better on Monday then he did last Thursday.

Offensively, the bats gave Porcello a decent amount of run support. Andrew Benintendi scored the first run of the game in the third, scoring on a fielding error by Odorizzi on a Mitch Moreland pop out.  In the fifth, Mookie Betts drove in Eduardo Nunez with an RBI single, his 70th of the season. A passed ball and a wild pitch allowed two more runs to score, then Sandy Leon drove in two more, Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, on a 2 RBI single. Next time he was up, Leon did it again with another RBI single, this time just scoring Brock Holt. A wild pitch with Eduardo Nunez up allowed Leon to score, and that would be it for the scoring.

The top two guys in the lineup, Eduardo Nunez and Andrew Benintendi, accounted for 55% of the hits, 33% of the runs scored, but 0% of the run production. Despite scoring nine runs, Red Sox hitters were only responsible for three of them, and Sandy Leon drove in two of them.

Another off day today, this one being in New York. First place is not on the line in this three-game weekend series, but you got to think it’s still relatively important against a team like the Yankees. ERod gets the start on Friday, and he’ll be followed by Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale on Sunday Night Baseball.

65 down, ? to go. 

 

RECAP: Chris Sale strikes out 13 Rays; #RedSox win seventh consecutive game.

After a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox and an off day on Monday, the Red Sox kicked things off against the third place Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday. Chris Sale, coming off his worst start of the season last Tuesday, made the start and he was matched up against Rays righty Austin Pruitt. Maybe it’s because Chris Sale is out-of-this-world good or the fact that Pruitt is not well-known, but this game did not really feel like a pitcher’s duel even though it was. At no point in this game did it look like Chris Sale was about to give in. It wasn’t until there was one out in the fifth when the Rays got their first hit, a single, off of Sale. The southpaw faced 28 batters total over the eight innings he pitched, and he struck out 13 of them. If I did the math correctly, Sale’s K/9 now stands at 12.8, so for every nine innings the guy pitched, he’s essentially striking out thirteen guys. Back in 2001, Randy Johnson set the record for K/9 at 13.4. With just less than two months to go in the season, I’d say that record is within Sale’s reach if he keeps striking out batters the way he has this year.

With a two-run lead going onto the bottom of the ninth, Craig Kimbrel was inserted into the game to secure the win. In typical fashion, Kimbrel struck out the side, reaching 90 strikeouts on the season and notching his 28th save of the season.

Like I said, this was kind of a pitchers duel, so the bats weren’t doing much. Dustin Pedroia, fresh off the 10-Day DL, scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Rafael Devers in the fourth inning. Later on in the ninth, Xander Bogaerts scored a very important insurance run on an RBI single off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. Although he did not score or drive in a run, Eduardo Nunez continued his dominance with the Red Sox by recording three hits in five at bats and raising his BA to .422 in the ten games since he was traded to Boston.

The winning streak now stands at a season-high seven games. The Yankees lost last night, so the division lead now stands at four games. One more in Tampa later today, Rick Porcello will be making the start, and he was great last time he pitched at the Trop.

64 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Chris Young homers twice, Eduardo Nunez once as #RedSox complete sweep of White Sox.

What a Sunday it was. Got to Fenway early, saw Chris Sale toss a bullpen, and walked all across the park. I’ve been to six games this year, and I’ve seen six different starting pitchers, which is a first. I also got to see Yoan Moncada for the first time on Sunday, which was great as well. Doug Fister made the start, coming off his best start in a Red Sox uniform last Monday. After a 1-2-3 first inning, Fister had a much more difficult time in the second, where the White Sox got four straight hits to start the inning and scored three times by the time the third out was recorded. It was discouraging at the time since Fister just gave up the lead, but he was solid from the fourth on. With one out and a runner on first, Fister was removed and greeted with a standing ovation for his performance. Addison Reed came in to the game, and ended the inning while striking out one. Matt Barnes pitched a shutout eighth, and Craig Kimbrel notched his 27th save of the season while pitching a scoreless ninth. So, the bullpen has looked great lately and Doug Fister definitely earned another start.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox offense got things started early. Eduardo Nunez and Chris Young both hit solo home runs in the first. In the third, Chris Young did it again with an RBI double, scoring Andrew Benintendi and tying the game. After not scoring in the fourth, Chris Young did it AGAIN with a three-run home run, scoring Sandy Leon and Benintendi, untying the game, and securing the win.

The Red Sox finish the home stand with a 7-2 record, including six in a row. After a day off on Monday, Chris Sale makes the start in Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Also… last loss was about a week agoooooo.

63 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: JBJ and Andrew Benintendi both go deep as #RedSox win fifth straight.

The Red Sox have not lost a game since Sunday, which was the last time Drew Pomeranz made a start. On Saturday night, Pomeranz put together another solid performance against an AL Central team. After a leadoff home run, Pomeranz did not allow anything, scattering seven hits and a walk over 6.1 IP while striking out eight. There were times where it looked like the White Sox could score a few, but Pomeranz got out of everything until the seventh, when Blaine Boyer came in with one out in the inning. Boyer finished the inning with a double play, then faced the minimum in the eighth with the help of Andrew Benintendi and Brock Holt. With a three run lead in the ninth, Craig Kimbrel entered the game and was absolutely electric.

So, he hit a guy, did this, struck out two, and got the save, his 26th of the season. Back to Pomeranz, he got his eleventh win, lowered his ERA to 3.36, and looks like a legit number two guy in this rotation.

The lineup only produced five hits on Saturday, but that’s all it takes sometimes to beat bad teams like the White Sox. Old friend James Shields was on the bump for the ChiSox, and he was not all that bad. Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. both hit two-run home runs in the first two innings, giving the Red Sox a 4-0 lead and all they needed to secure the win.

Unfortunately, the Yankees won last night so the division lead remains at three. Still, five straight wins is great, and Doug Fister will look to finish the week undefeated against the White Sox today. I’ll be at Fenway, so I’m excited for it.

62 down, ? to go. 

 

RECAP: Mitch Moreland delivers walk-off home run as #RedSox win fourth straight.

The day after the Red Sox scored nine runs, I was expecting more than three on Friday night. Eduardo Rodriguez made the start, and he looked as good as he has since he returned from the disabled list last month. He ran into some trouble in the fourth, allowing two runs to score, but he limited the damage after that. Finishing with a final line of 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB’s and 5 K’s, Erod will look to maintain this level of success next time out against the Rays or Yankees. In relief, the bullpen was not perfect, but they did not allow a single run again. Addison Reed, Matt Barnes, Craig Kimbrel, Brandon Workman, and Heath Hembree combined to pitch five shutout innings, striking out seven in the process. It looked like Kimbrel was going to give the White Sox the lead in the ninth, but a great play by Christian Vazquez and 100 MPH heat from Kimbrel kept that from happening. It also looked like the White Sox could have taken the lead in the eleventh, but a great effort from both Hembree and Rafael Devers kept that from happening.

Scoring wise, not a lot was going on for the Red Sox against Carlos Rodon. Chris Young drove in Devers in the fifth and Eduardo Nunez left the yard in the sixth, but that’s all they could get off Rodon. It wasn’t until the eleventh when the Red Sox scored again, when Mitch Moreland, who was a defensive replacement, blasted one over the Monster with two outs, giving his team their fourth straight win.

I believe out of their last nine wins, five have been walk-offs, which creates a unique vibe with this team. The funny thing is, the guy who gave up the winning run’s last name is Bummer, so you could say that it was a real bummer for the White Sox last night. The Yankees also lost last night, and they have lost four in a row, giving the Red Sox a three game lead in the division.

Drew Pomeranz is on the mound tonight with the opportunity to take this series before it’s even over.

61 down, ? to go.