RECAP: #RedSox Bullpen Lets One Slip by Them in 7-6 Loss to Mariners.

Following a tight series opening win against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night, the Red Sox were right back at it in another close game against the M’s on Friday. This time though, they did not come out on top.

Making his 15th start of the season last night, Rick Porcello was certainly not the problem in this one. In a total of six innings pitched, the righty surrendered four runs on seven hits and one walk while tying his season-high in strikeouts with nine on the night.

Things certainly could have gone worse for the New Jersey native and that’s how it was looking when he gave up a solo home run to the second batter he faced in Jean Segura in the first inning. The Mariners tacked on another two runs in their half of the second, but Porcello bounced back after that.

From the middle of the third until the conclusion of the sixth, the 29-year-old hurler held Seattle to just one run on three hits and that one walk, which all happened in the bottom half of the fifth.

Going into the sixth inning with a pitch count of 92, I thought for sure that Porcello’s night had come to an end. Instead, he showed another encouraging sign by retiring the Mariners 6-7-8 hitters in order on only eight pitches to retire the side.

Finishing with exactly 100 pitches (70 strikes), Porcello relied mostly on his two-seam fastball last night, as he threw it 31% of the time, compared to just 19% on his four-seamer. Out of those 19 pitches, the righty topped out at 93.1 MPH.

Going into the bottom of the seventh with nine outs to get and a three run lead to protect, the Red Sox bullpen did less of an ideal job in an effort to shut down the Mariners lineup.

In the one inning he appeared in, Heath Hembree gave up a leadoff home run to M’s catcher Mike Zunino to cut the lead to two. And in the eighth, after walking Ryon Healy and giving up a single to Ben Gamel, Matt Barnes gave the game away when old friend Denard Span ripped a two RBI double to right field to plate the tying and go-ahead runs.

For the second time in three appearances, Barnes surrendered two earned runs and because of it, he was charged with both the blown save and loss.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was tasked with going up against one of the better pitchers in the American League in James Paxton for Seattle.

Paxton, a native of Canada, pitched as advertised in his first two innings of work, as he retired seven of the first eight batters he faced on three strikeouts.

Looking as though it was going to be a challenge to get anything on the board, the Red Sox, with some help from some careless defense from the Mariners, turned this game on its head in their half of the third.

With five of the first six batters reaching base in the lineup, an RBI single off the bat of Brock Holt cut the Red Sox deficit to two. Two batters later, after JD Martinez reached on a single to load the bases, Mitch Moreland came through with an unusual two RBI hit that must have crossed up Kyle Seager at third base.

Later ruled a fielding error on Seager’s part, Moreland was no longer credited with any RBI, but it still tied the game.

Amidst all the chaos, Xander Bogaerts followed that up by launching his 11th home run of the season, a 387 foot three-run piece to put the Red Sox in front 6-3.

Unfortunately, despite chasing Paxton out of the game in the third, the Red Sox failed to score from that point on. Credit to the Mariners bullpen there.

They loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Brock Holt lined out to left to end the inning.

With one last shot to score in the ninth and facing off against Mariners closer Edwin Diaz, a JD Martinez single and a Xander Bogaerts walk gave the Red Sox a chance with one out in the inning. That turned into nothing though, as Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez popped out and grounded out to wrap this thing up. Series tied at one game a piece now.

Some notes from this one:

In 15 games against the Red Sox withe the Mariners and Rays this season, Denard Span has an OPS of .990 with two home runs and 10 RBI.

Rafael Devers extended his hitting streak to 10 games last night after a 2/5 day at the plate.

The Seattle Mariners have already won 22 one-run games this season.

Playing on national television later tonight, it will be Steven Wright and his 22.2 scoreless innings streak getting the start for the Red Sox. He will be matched up against Wade LeBlanc, a lefty, for the Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET.

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RECAP: David Price and Xander Bogaerts Lead #RedSox to 2-1 Win over Mariners.

Coming off a three game sweep in Baltimore, the Red Sox continued their ten game road trip by kicking off a four game set against the first place Seattle Mariners in Seattle last night. Owning two of the three best winning percentages in all the American League entering Thursday, this series has potential to be a postseason preview.

Making his 14th start of the season in this one, David Price put together his best performance since he tossed that complete game against the Orioles back on May 17th.

In seven full innings pitched, the lefty allowed just one run on five hits, zero walks, and a HBP while notching seven strikeouts on the night.

There was really no point last night where Price found himself in too much trouble. The only run he gave up came in the fifth inning, when after Kyle Seager and Ryon Healy both led things off with singles, Guillermo Heredia drove in Seager from third on a sacrifice fly for the first out.

Other than that though, the Tennessee native shut the Mariners down from that point on up until the conclusion of the seventh inning. With the help of some slick defense from Xander Bogaerts, Price got out of the sixth unscathed.

And in his final frame of work, with his pitch count getting up there, it looked as though Price was going to get the hook after giving up another single to Healy with two outs in the seventh. Instead, Alex Cora let him stay in the game after a meeting on the mound, and Price responded by striking out the last batter he faced to retire the side.

Finishing with 106 pitches (73 strikes) on the night, the 32-year-old hurler reached a maximum velocity of 95.5 MPH on his four-seam fastball, which he threw 23% of the time in those seven innings.

In his last seven starts, not only are the Red Sox undefeated, but Price himself has been outstanding. Over his last 44.1 innings pitched in those even outings, the southpaw owns a 2.64 ERA while opponents are hitting a measly .205 off of him. It must have all started with that carpal tunnel scare back in early May, because David Price has been one of the better pitchers in the American League since then.

Back to the game, the Red Sox bullpen would be responsible for the last six Mariners outs with a run lead to protect. As he usually does, Joe Kelly tossed a shutdown eighth inning to pick up his 14th hold of the year, and that set up another save situation for Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.

It certainly was not easy, as the first two Mariners in the inning on consecutive walks, but the Red Sox closer bounced back, struck out Kyle Seager for the first out of the inning, and with some help from Xander Bogaerts at short, got out of the jam thanks to an inning-ending double play off the bat of Ryon Healy. 22nd save of the season secured. Fifth straight win for the Red Sox also secured.

On the flip side of things, I gotta start off by tipping my cap to M’s starter Felix Hernandez. A franchise legend in Seattle, King Felix’s best years are definitely behind him, but I would be lying if I said I was not impressed with the performance he put together against the Red Sox last night, 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K’s.

Of all people, Jackie Bradley Jr. got the scoring started for the Red Sox in the top of the second when he drove in Rafael Devers from second on an RBI double to put his team on the board first.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Xander Bogaerts came through with the go-ahead run on a 404 foot solo shot off of Hernandez. Good for his 10th home run of the season on what was a terrific night for the Red Sox shortstop.

Like I said, that solo homer put the Red Sox up by one and they would not have to look back on their way to the series opening win.

Some notes from this W:

From @SoxNotes: Red Sox starters have allowed 2 ER or fewer in 10 of the club’s last 11 games, including each of the last 7.

Another one from @SoxNotes: Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th HR of the season tonight. The Red Sox are the only team with as many as 6 players with 10+ HR (Martinez, Betts, Benintendi, Bogaerts, Devers, Moreland).

Rafael Devers extended his hitting streak to nine games last night. Over that span, Devers is slashing .314/.333/.514 with one home run and four RBI.

The Red Sox are 17-3 in the last 20 games Christian Vazquez has started behind the plate.

Heading into the middle game of this series later tonight, Rick Porcello will be getting the start for the Red Sox. He will be matched up against lefty James Paxton for the Mariners, who has already thrown a no-hitter this season back on May 8th in Toronto. We could be in store for another pitchers’ duel here. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM local time.

 

RECAP: Chris Sale Fans Nine as #RedSox Complete Sweep of Orioles.

Going into today with the series against the Orioles in hand, the Red Sox looked to Chris Sale to complete the three game sweep before heading out to Seattle for the second leg of this road trip.

Making his 15th start of the season, Sale built on the success from his last time out against the White Sox and had his way with another American League basement team on Wednesday. Pitching into the seventh inning of this one, the lanky lefty held the Orioles to just one run on two hits, four walks, and a HBP while recording nine strikeouts.

To be frank, I thought Sale’s day was over once he retired the side in the sixth and had a pitch count of 96. Instead, he came back out to start the seventh, walked the first two batters he faced, and then was given the hook. Questionable decision to say the least, and although it did not cost them the game, it ruined Sale’s shot at a six inning, shutout performance when Mark Trumbo came around to score later on in the seventh. Nonetheless, Sale’s outing was good enough to earn him his sixth winning decision of the season.

Anyway, finishing with 109 pitches (69 strikes) on the day, Sale got the hook in favor of Brandon Workman. Having dealt with a pretty inconsistent strike zone from home plate umpire Brian Knight, the Florida native had some things to say on his way towards the Red Sox dugout, which led to a meaningless ejection.

In relief of Sale, Brandon Workman allowed an inherited runner to score in an otherwise solid seventh inning. For the last two frames, Justin Haley, whose contract was purchased from Triple A Pawtucket, this past friday, shutout the Orioles while scattering two hits and a walk en route to locking down his teams 47th win of the season.

On the other side of things, it was another multi-homer game for the Red Sox lineup, this time featuring Mookie Betts and JD Martinez.

Facing off against a pitcher making his big league debut for Baltimore in Yefry Ramirez and playing in his second game since being activated from the disabled list on Monday, Betts put the Red Sox on the board first by mashing his 18th home run of the season in the third inning.

After Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and Eduardo Nunez drove in a combind four runs while chasing Ramirez out of the game in the fifth, it was JD Martinez’s time to mash in the seventh.

With Mike Wright on the mound for the Orioles, Martinez saw a 0-2 fastball he liked and sent it just over the wall in right field for his 22nd big fly of the season.

That sneaky home run put the fifth and final run on the board for the Red Sox, and that is all they would need to pick up the win.

Some notes from this one:

According to Statcast, Chris Sale was responsible for the 27 fastest pitches thrown in today’s contest. Ranging from 97 to 99.1 MPH, the Red Sox hurler definitely had his fastball working in his favor.

Going 1/4 at the plate today, Rafael Devers has extended his hitting streak to eight games now.

According to FanGraphs, 55% of the home runs JD Martinez has hit his season have been hit to the opposite field. On the flip side of that, Mookie Betts has pulled 94% of the home runs he has hit this season.

With the first portion of this road trip over and done with, the Red Sox head west to take on a red-hot first place Seattle Mariners team, fresh off a sweep of a divisional foe themselves. David Price will get the ball in the opener tomorrow and he’ll be matched up against King Felix, Felix Hernandez for the Mariners. The Red Sox are undefeated in Price’s last six starts, so hoping for good things there. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM local time on Thursday.

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers Homer as #RedSox Pick up Series Win in Baltimore.

After taking 12 innings to take the series opener from the Orioles on Monday, the Red Sox had themselves an ugly win against Baltimore that took nearly four hours to complete last night.

Making his 13th start of the season on Tuesday, Eduardo Rodriguez had himself a busy night against the team he began his professional career with. Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the lefty surrendered two runs on eight hits and two walks while fanning four.

Right from the beginning, it did not appear that things  were going to go smoothly for the Venezuelan hurler. In fact, Joey Rickard greeted Rodriguez by launching a 395 foot home run to lead things off in the bottom of the first.

From that point on, Rodriguez did not have one clean frame of work, as the Orioles reached base at least once in every inning the 25-year-old pitched in. Luckily though, they did not do too great of a job of capitalizing on those opportunities, since, outside of that leadoff home run, Rodriguez gave up just one run in the third inning before departing with two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the sixth.

Finishing with 109 pitches (67 strikes), Rodriguez’s night came to an end after giving up a single to Craig Genrty. That made way for Hector Velazquez, who hadn’t pitched since last Friday, to take over things in the sixth.

Needing one out to get out of the inning, Velazquez struck out catcher Austin Wynns to retire the side. Coming back out for the seventh, the Mexico native did not have nearly the same amount of luck, as he loaded the bases for the Orioles in between recording the first two outs. And for the second night in a row, we got Joe Kelly coming into a high stress situation with the bases loaded.

Unlike Monday, Kelly did not need a strikeout to get out of the bases loaded jam. Instead, he got Jonathan Schoop to softly ground a comebacker to himself and made the toss to home for the inning-ending force out.

In the eighth, Matt Barnes was the recipient of some bad luck when, after he walked the first guy he saw in Mark Trumbo, Craig Gentry, Graig Gentry reached base on what looked like a routine groundout set up for a double play. Instead, Rafael Devers, who had been playing great defense at third lately, misplayed it and everyone was safe.

Thankfully, the UCONN alum bounced back and retired the next three batters he faced in order, with some help from JD Martinez, to get out of yet another jam.

Entering the ninth with a four run lead, it was a bit surprising to see Craig Kimbrel, who pitched on Monday, enter the game in a nonsave situation. As he usually does, the Red Sox closer did not look all that comfortable pitching in a game that was not close at the time, and he gave up two runs on one hit and two walks to make things interesting before striking out Pedro Alvarez to lock up the series win. It was the first time since May 26th against the Braves that Kimbrel had been roughed up in an outing.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup got to Orioles starter David Hess early for the second time this season. They scored five runs off of him in 4.2 innings pitched last month, and they got to him for another five runs in just 3.1 innings on Tuesday night.

Rafael Devers got the scoring started in the top of the second when, after Xander Bogaerts drew a walk to leadoff the inning, the young third baseman mashed his 10th big fly of the season 396 feet to right field to put his team in front early. On that home run, Devers became the fifth member of the Red Sox to reach double-digit home runs this year.

An inning later, Andrew Benintendi joined in on the action by launching his 12th homer of the season 402 feet to center field.

In the fourth, after Hess loaded the bases with one out in the inning, Benintendi came through again by drawing a five pitch walk to pick up his 46th RBI of the season.

That led to an Orioles pitching change, and righty Miguel Castro took things over with the bases still loaded. With JD Martinez at the plate, a balk allowed everyone to move up and another run was on the board. Castro then reloaded the bases for Mitch Moreland, but he grounded into an inning ending double play to end the threat.

To wrap up the scoring, Christian Vazquez knocked in Xander Bogaerts on an RBI single in the fifth, and the Orioles bullpen shut them down from that point until the middle of the ninth inning. In total, the Red Sox reached base 19 times last night, but they still got outhit 9-11 by the Orioles. I hate to say it, but I think this game may have gone in a different direction if the Orioles were not one of, if not, the worst team in the American League.

Some notes from this win:

Forgot to mention this earlier, but the Red Sox are now 12-1 in Eduardo Rodriguez’s starts this season.

Despite the shiny 1.93 ERA, Hector Velazquez does own a 1.44 WHIP this season. He gets hit a decent amount, but he is definitely the benefactor of some good luck.

In the seven game hitting streak he is currently riding, Rafael Devers is slashing .296/.321/.519.

At his current pace, Andrew Benintendi is projected to finish this season with 31 HR and 117 RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was the only member of the Red Sox lineup who failed to reach base last night.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox will look to close out this series with a sweep in a few hours. Chris Sale will be taking the mound for his 15th start and he will be matched up against righty Yefry Ramirez, who will be making his major league debut for the Orioles. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 PM. Last one before heading out to Seattle.

RECAP: Steven Wright Extends Scoreless Innings Streak as #RedSox Take Opener from Orioles in Extras.

Coming off a 3-3 homestand against the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox embarked on a 10 game road trip with the first stop coming in Baltimore. Facing off against a 19-45 Orioles team, Steven Wright and the Red Sox bullpen gave up absolutely nothing in a twelve inning win.

Making his second start of the season, Wright extended his scoreless inning streak to 23.2 in a solid effort last night. Pitching into the seventh inning, the knuckleballer scattered four hits and three walks while fanning five.

It was not until his final frame of work when Wright finally ran into a bit of trouble, and that happened when he allowed three consecutive Orioles to reach base, which loaded the bases with two outs to end his night. With his pitch count at 93 (58 strikes), Alex Cora turned to Joe Kelly to get the most crucial out of the game.

Adam Jones, who had already reached base twice up to this point, had been a career .250 hitter when facing Kelly, but those numbers got a little worse because the Red Sox flamethrower got Jones to strikeout on five pitches to end the inning, thus killing any shot at an Orioles rally.

From the bottom half of the eighth on, the Red Sox bullpen continued to shut down the Orioles lineup. Kelly, Brian Johnson, Brandon Workman, and Heath Hembree combined to toss 4.1 scoreless frames while limiting the O’s to just one hit and three walks.

Combine that with the Red Sox finally tacking on a pair of runs in the top half of the 12th, and Craig Kimbrel was all set up to notch his 21st save of the season. The closer led things off by questionably walking Craig Gentry, but bounced back by striking out the next three batters he faced on 15 pitches. Ballgame over.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup got Mookie Betts back for the first time in over two weeks, but could not do much against Orioles pitching either. In fact, their ace, Dylan Bundy, had arguably his best start of the season against one of the better run producing teams in the American League.

Oh, they had their chances, but those did not come until late in this one. Up until the start of the 11th inning, the Red Sox sent more than three batters to the plate just five times last night and that did not translate in to any runs scored.

If you fast forward to that 11th inning, you’ll realize that Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and JD Martinez loaded the bases with two outs for Mitch Moreland. With Orioles reliever Mychal Givens, on the bump, Moreland got ahead and had a 3-0 count to his advantage. After taking the next two pitches for strikes to fill the count, the Red Sox first baseman could not keep up with a 96 MPH fastball from Givens and struck out while simultaneously leaving the bases loaded.

Luckily though, a similar situation presented itself in the 12th when, with Givens still on the mound, a single and a double from Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers and a Eduardo Nunez HBP loaded the bases with no outs this time.

Celebrating his 30th birthday, Brock Holt was due up next, and he came through with a 296 foot sacrifice fly to center field.

That allowed Bogaerts to score from third with plenty of time to spare while Devers and Nunez advanced into scoring position at the same time.

Now, to add on some insurance, Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered with a sacrifice fly of his own. This one scored Devers from third to put the Red Sox up by two, which is all Craig Kimbrel would need in the bottom half of the inning.

Some notes from this win:

Mookie Betts went 1/5 with a single in his return to the Red Sox lineup last night. He was taken out of the game in the middle of the 11th for precautionary reasons.

Rafael Devers accounted for his teams only extra base hit on the night when he hit his 14th double in the 12th. He made a handful of great plays at third base as well.

In four appearances this season, Brandon Workman has yet to give up a run and has only surrendered two hits and one walk in 4.1 innings pitched.

Happy belated birthday to Brock Holt. Position player of the game IMHO.

With the series opener in the books, Eduardo Rodriguez will toe the rubber for the Red Sox in the middle game of this three game set later tonight. He will be matched up against righty David Hess for the Orioles, who, in his last start against Boston on May 20th, gave up five runs in less than five innings pitched. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM once again.

 

 

Mookie Betts Is Back and Leading Things off for the #RedSox Tonight in Baltimore.

That’s right, folks. After missing 14 games with an abdominal strain, Mookie Betts is BACK and hitting leadoff against the Orioles tonight.

In those 14 games he missed, the Red Sox lineup averaged 4.5 runs per contest. Andrew Benintendi slashed .328/.391/.724 with five home runs and 11 RBI in the leadoff spot in Betts’ place as well.

Since he’s coming off the DL on the day the Red Sox open up a three game series against the Orioles, let’s take a look at some of Betts’ numbers at Camden Yards:

31 G, 123 AB, 37 H, 11 HR, 26 RBI, .610 SLG.

I think it’s safe to say that Orioles Park is a place Betts is familiar with. In fact, back on May 31st, 2016, the Red Sox outfielder mashed a career high three home runs and accounted for five of his teams six runs in a 6-2 win over the Orioles.

So, yeah, I’d say Mookie Betts, like most hitters, enjoy taking swings at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

The Red Sox went 8-6 in the Tennessee native’s absence and they send Steven Wright to the mound in the series opener later tonight. He will be matched up against Orioles ace Dylan Bundy. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.

RECAP: JD Martinez’s Two-Run Home Run Powers #RedSox to 4-2 Win over White Sox.

Less than 24 hours after dropping the opening game of this three game series against the lowly Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox were right back out there this afternoon, with JD Martinez in the lineup, which unlike Friday night, proved to be the difference maker.

Before that though, David Price toed the rubber for his 13th start of the season. Coming in on a bit of a roll as of late, Price did not have the best of first innings. In fact, the first three batters he faced all reached base, which led to the first run of the game coming on a Jose Abreu RBI double. Two batters later, the second White Sox run crossed the plate on an RBI groundout off the bat of catcher Kevan Smith. And just like that, the Red Sox found themselves in a hole before even taking their first at bats.

Thankfully, Price settled in once he retired the side in the first by punching out old friend Yoan Moncada on four pitches.

From the start of the second inning to the conclusion of the top half of the sixth, the lefty held the White Sox scoreless while scattering three hits and two walks in five frames of work. In total, the Tennessee native recorded six strikeouts on only 86 pitches (56 strikes) en route to his seventh winning decision of the season.

In relief of Price, three Red Sox relievers tossed a scoreless inning each. Joe Kelly retired the side in order in the seventh, Matt Barnes extended his scoreless appearance streak to 12 in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel, who had not pitched since June 2nd, picked up his 20th save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth with some help from Andrew Benintendi.

 

On the other side of things, the Red Sox actually scored some runs against the White Sox today. Shocking I know.

Facing off against lefty Carlos Rodon, Andrew Benintendi got things started by drawing a six pitch walk. Two batters later, after Xander Bogaerts reached base on a fielding error, JD Martinez made his return to the Red Sox lineup after a one game absence by grounding into what should have been a double play. Instead a bad throw from White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada got away from Jose Abreu and allowed Martinez to reach safely while also scoring Benintendi from second. No RBI for Martinez, but still an impactful at bat to cut the deficit in half early.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr., batting out of the nine-hole, mashed his first home run in nearly two months to knot this thing up at two. 414 feet, 105.7 MPH off the bat.

Fast forward to the fifth, and after Xander Bogaerts led the inning off by reaching first on a fielding error, JD Martinez pretty much put this game away with a go-ahead, two-run shot for his league leading 21st big fly of the season.

Another vintage opposite field blast for Martinez, he sent that 85 MPH changeup from Rodon 391 feet into the Red Sox bullpen to make it a 4-2 game. The Red Sox would not have to look back.

Some notes from this win:

On that home run from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second inning, it was the outfielders’s first extra-base hit against a left-handed pitcher this season. (@SmittyOnMLB)

Since the start of May, JD Martinez has hit 16 home runs in 35 games. Over that span, he is averaging just over eight at bats per home run.

The Red Sox are undefeated in David Price’s last six starts. In those six outings, Price owns a 2.91 ERA in 37.1 innings pitched.

With the series coming to an end tomorrow afternoon, the White Sox will send young righty Reynaldo Lopez to the hill. He will be matched up against another righty in Rick Porcello for the Red Sox. First pitch of the finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM and both teams will be looking to pick up the series win.