RECAP: David Price Struggles as #RedSox Drop Second Straight Game to Rays.

A day after dropping a close game to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, the Red Sox did not look much better on Saturday. Although the game was tied up until the top of the sixth inning, the Rays found a way to run away and hide with this one. And for the second time in less than a week, the Red Sox find themselves in the midst of a losing streak, technically.

David Price made his sixth start of the season this afternoon, and he, like Drew Pomeranz on Friday night, was hurt by the home run ball, but not in the conventional way. In fact, the first two runs the Rays scored in the second inning came on an inside the park home run off the bat of Denard Span.

A bad hop seemed to have fooled Jackie Bradley Jr., and that’s how Span managed to score so easily. It was originally ruled a three-base error, but the scorers changed their mind soon after that.

The Rays tacked on another two runs in the third on a legitimate two run home run. This one coming off Wilson Ramos’ bat to put the Rays up 4-2.

Over the next three innings, Price would be charged with one earned run and one unearned run. The first of those came on a bases loaded walk to Daniel Robertson in the fifth, and the second came after he was already out of the game. After Adeiny Hechavarria led the sixth inning off with a single and David Price was removed after getting the first two outs of the inning, it would be Heath Hembree who got the call to end things in the inning.

Unfortunately, Hembree allowed Hechavarria to score and that closed the book on David Price’s day, The lefty finished with a line of 5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R (5 ER), 4 BB, and 5 K’s. That marks two straight sort of uncharacteristic starts for Price, as he gave up nine hits and four runs last Sunday in Oakland. He’ll look to bounce back next week when the Red Sox take on the Texas Rangers in Arlington.

Back to Heath Hembree, after putting together an impressive outing on Friday night, the righty could not do much right on Saturday. The righty allowed four of the five batters he faced to reach base, including a home run off the bat of Carlos Gomez, and could only record one out, that being the final out of the sixth inning. Matt Barnes would take over for him with runners on first and second and no outs in the inning.

Luckily, Barnes had what was the best performance out of a Red Sox pitcher on Saturday, as he retired all three batters he faced to go along with two strikeouts. That made way for Brian Johnson to start things in the eighth inning, and that’s when things really got away from the Red Sox.

In two innings pitched, the lefty surrendered five runs on seven hits, one of those being a three-run home run in the ninth inning. That put the 12th run of the game on the board for the Rays, and that pretty much killed any chances at a comeback. So, all in all, not a great night for the Red Sox pitching staff, as those 12 runs scored against them is a season high.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup could manage just six runs in this one. That may seem like a high enough number to get the win, but I think they could have scored more off Rays starter Yonny Chirinos. It was a back and forth kind of game for the first five innings, but then things fell apart in the sixth.

Xander Bogaerts drove in the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly in the first. That gave the Red Sox the early lead, but it would be short-lived. Bogaerts would go on to collect another RBI with a single in the third, and Hanley Ramirez would do the same with an RBI single in the fourth. Rafael Devers had the biggest day out of anyone in the Red Sox lineup, as he collected  a team best two RBIs, including a solo home run in the fifth inning, his fourth of the season.

That home run looked like it could be meaningful at the time, but like I said, things fell apart for the Red Sox after they took their at bats in the fifth. Devers would go on to collect another RBI in the ninth. He is now in a tie with JD Martinez for the team lead in RBIs with 20 of them on the season.

So where do the Red Sox go from here, coming off their fifth loss in their last seven games? Well, taking the finale against the Rays today would be great, and then the Kansas City Royals come to town for three games before this homestand ends.

Rick Porcello gets the start later today against Rays righty Matt Andriese. Hopefully Mookie Betts will be alright after he exited yesterday’s game with tightness in his right hamstring. First pitch is at 1:05 PM, if the rain holds up.

 

 

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RECAP: Drew Pomeranz Serves up Three Home Runs as #RedSox Drop Series Opener to Rays at Fenway.

After taking two out of three from the Blue Jays earlier in the week, the Red Sox welcomed the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays into town for a three game weekend set. The Rays, who entered last night’s contest with six straight wins, sent their best starter, Blake Snell to the mound, while Drew Pomeranz got the nod for the Red Sox in what would be his second start of the season.

To be fair, I don’t think Pomeranz was awful last night. Yes, he gave up three home runs, but the only other hits he gave up were three singles, and he only walked two. So really, it was a typical early season Drew Pomeranz start. If all three of those homers were solo shots, then he would have only surrendered three runs in five innings. Not bad, but unfortunately, one of those homers was a two-run blast, and that put the Red Sox down by two runs before they even got their first at bats. Fast forward to Pomeranz’s last inning of work, and Christian Vazquez showed off his cannon behind the plate with this impressive strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.

The lefty also fanned three and finished with just 81 pitches, 49 of which went for strikes. He’ll look to rebound next time out when he goes up against the Kansas City Royals.

In relief of Pomeranz, the Red Sox bullpen shut the Rays down for the next four innings. In a sort of long-relief role, Hector Velazquez impressed yet again as he held Tampa Bay scoreless in 3.1 innings pitched while walking one and scattering four hits.

After Velazquez walked Denard Span with one out in the ninth, it was Heath Hembree who would get the call to keep the Red Sox within the one run they were trailing by. Well, with some help from Christian Vazquez, who caught Span stealing second, and a five pitch strikeout of Matt Duffy, Hembree got out of the inning unscathed.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup could not do much against Rays lefty Blake Snell. He held the Sox hitless through the first four innings and scoreless through the first five. It wasn’t until Christian Vazquez led the sixth inning off with a double where the Red Sox finally got some runs on the board. Mookie Betts drove the catcher in on a double to center field, picking up his 18th RBI of the season, and two batters later, JD Martinez did the same thing with a double of his own to right field. That scored Betts from Second and cut the Rays lead in half.

Move ahead to the eighth, and Betts and Martinez came through once again. After a one out double from Betts, Martinez barely got a single through the infield that scored Betts from second. That RBI single put the Miami native at 20 for the season and it cut the Red Sox deficit to just one run.

With one last chance in the ninth, Xander Bogaerts got the inning started by singling off Rays closer Alex Colome. Good start, but Eduardo Nunez and Jackie Bradley Jr. followed that up by popping out and striking out. Andrew Benintendi came on to pinch it for Christian Vazquez, and it was all up to him with two outs. After filling the count at 3-2, Colome got Benintendi looking at a 94 MPH fastball on the outside edge to end things.

No excuses there, that is definitely a pitch you should be swinging at with a full count in the ninth inning.

Anyway, on a more positive note, Xander Bogaerts made his return to the Red Sox lineup for the first time since April 8th and he reached base three times. Solid night, and it could not come at a better time with Brock Holt headed to the disabled list with a hamstring issue.

Next up for the Red Sox is the middle game of this series. David Price will be getting the ball against Rays righty Yonny Chirinos. First pitch is at 4:05 PM. Time to end the Rays winning streak at seven games.

RECAP: JD Martinez Comes Through with Big Fifth Inning Home Run as #RedSox Take Series from Toronto.

A nine game road trip filled with plenty of ups and downs has finally come to an end. The Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays 5-4 in their series finale last night, and they finish the trip with a solid 6-3 record.

Chris Sale got the start in this one, and he was matched up against Blue Jays veteran right-hander Marco Estrada. As was the case in his last start in Oakland, I don’t think Sale was at the top of his game last night. The lefty tossed six innings, surrendering three runs on four hits, including two home runs, and two walks while recording a season-low four strikeouts on the night. All three runs the Jays scored off of Sale came across in the first three innings. After that, he settled down a bit and held Toronto to just one walk over the final three innings of his outing. We also got to see a pretty cool moment when it looked like Sale was going to be taken out of the game with two outs in the sixth, but he convinced Alex Cora to keep him in the game. He retired the very next batter, Randal Grichuk, on one pitch following the exchange. Finishing the night with 104 pitches, 71 of which went for strikes, Sale will look to pick up another win next time out against the Kansas City Royals back in Boston.

In relief of Sale, the Red Sox bullpen had a bit of a challenge ahead of them. Earlier in the day, it was revealed that Joe Kelly’s six-game suspension for that incident with Tyler Austin would be upheld, so the team would be without the flamethrower for a little less than a week.

Anyway, Carson Smith would get the call for the start of the seventh inning, and he looked pretty shaky. In just two-thirds of an inning, the Jays managed to reach base twice off of Smith while scoring once. That made it a one run game, and that would be all for the right-hander out of Texas.

With two outs in the inning and the tying run on second base, Matt Barnes came through with a huge strikeout to retire the side and preserve the lead. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning as well, despite walking two, to pick up his fifth hold of the season and make way for Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.

For the second night in a row, Kimbrel was perfect. He needed just 16 pitches to end things in the inning and pick up his seventh save of the season, second best in the American League among closers.

On the other side of things, Andrew Benintendi got the scoring started for the Red Sox in the fourth inning. After Brock Holt doubled with one out to extend his hitting streak to nine games, an issue with his left hamstring led to him exiting the game. Tzu-Wei Lin replaced him and took over as the runner on second.

Two batters later, Benintendi drove Lin in from second on a double of his own, picking up his 14th RBI of the season.

It seemed as if the Red Sox could have gotten more off of Marco Estrada in the third, but Benintendi was picked off sliding back into second base, and that ended the inning.

In the fifth, Rafael Devers tacked on another run on a sacrifice fly that scored Mitch Moreland from third and cut the Blue Jays lead to one run.

Fast forward another inning, and JD Martinez put the exclamation point on this one by taking Estrada deep to left field for a three-run blast.

That ball was hit 365 feet at 102 MPH off the bat, and it put the Red Sox up by two runs, ultimately sealing the win in the end. Those three RBIs now put Martinez at 18 for the season, which is best for seventh in the American League.

With the road trip over and done with, the Red Sox will now be at home for their next six ballgames, those coming against the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals. Xander Bogaerts should be back this weekend after spending a few weeks on the disabled list, which could not come at a better time if Holt’s injury is serious.

Drew Pomeranz will get the series with the Rays kicked off later tonight, as he makes his first Fenway start of the season. First pitch is at 7:10 PM, hopefully the rain will lighten up before then.

 

 

RECAP: Mookie Betts and Brock Holt Drive in All Four Runs for #RedSox as Losing Streak Comes to an End.

Finally, the three game losing streak is behind us. That’s right, the Red Sox won a baseball game last night, and although they did not do it in convincing fashion, it was a solid victory regardless.

Making his fourth start of the season, Eduardo Rodriguez put together a solid performance on the mound in Toronto. In 6 2/3 innings pitched, the lefty surrendered three runs on six hits and a walk, striking out three along the way.

Rodriguez ran into some trouble here and there throughout his start, but he limited the damage. The biggest mistake he made last night came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Jays third baseman Yangervis Solarte mashed a leadoff home run on the first pitch he saw. That put the Blue Jays up 3-2 at the time, but the Red Sox responded with two runs of their own an inning later, which ultimately led to the native of Venezuela picking up his third win of the season. By the time he got the hook with two outs in the seventh, Rodriguez was at 106 pitches, 66 of which went for strikes. He’ll be looking for his fourth next week against the Kansas City Royals.

In relief of ERod, Heath Hembree came on to finish things in the seventh and he struck out the only batter he faced. Joe Kelly tossed a scoreless eighth after that, and Craig Kimbrel rebounded from Tuesday night by picking up his sixth save of the season in a perfect inning of work. I think it’s safe to say the Red Sox bullpen is solid.

Offensively, Mookie Betts got the scoring started in the top of the first. On the third pitch of the game from Aaron Sanchez, Betts belted his seventh long ball of the year 402 feet over the wall in right field.

That leadoff home run from Betts marks his third of the season already and the 14th of his career. No other player in the history of the Red Sox has had more than 10. Betts would get in some more action later, but not before Brock Holt got involved in the fifth inning.

After Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian  Vazquez led the inning off with a pair of walks, Holt extended his hitting streak up to eight games with an RBI double to center field.

Off the bat, it looked like that ball could have been caught, but a slip up from left fielder Steve Pearce while he was pursuing the fly ball prevented that from happening. With Jackie Bradley Jr. scoring on the play, the Red Sox went up by a run for a half inning.

Since his eight game hitting streak began on April 14th, Holt is slashing .455/.455/.697 with one home run and six RBIs to go along with two straight three hit games. It’s been great to see Holt playing this way recently, especially with Xander Bogaerts still on the disabled list. If he keeps playing like this, I’ll be interested to see how Alex Cora works him into the lineup after Bogaerts returns this weekend.

Anyway, to put an exclamation point on this one, Mookie Betts delivered the biggest hit of the night in the seventh inning. Trailing by one with one out in the inning and a runner at first, Betts went yard for the second time, this time against Danny Barnes. (fast forward to :30 if you don’t want to see the first one again)

That 366 foot shot was Betts’ eighth of the season, and it put the Red Sox up 4-3, all but guaranteeing the team their 18th win in 23 games. Betts also owns an OPS of 1.192 after last night’s spectacle, best among American League outfielders.

After splitting the first two games of the series, it will be Chris Sale looking to go home with the series win later tonight. In the three starts he made at Rogers Centre last season, the lefty averaged 1.6 K’s per inning while maintaining an ERA of 0.00 in 22 innings pitched. He’ll be matched up against Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 PM ET.

RECAP: #RedSox Drop Third Straight as Curtis Granderson Launches a Walk off Home Run for Blue Jays in Series Opener.

I must say, the Red Sox have spoiled us to begin this season. In 22 games, they’ve already had two winning streaks of at least eight games, and have been one of the best all around teams in baseball in terms of run production and pitching. That’s all nice, but things have kind of halted since that no-hitter on Saturday night. Since the start of that game, the pitching has still ben great for the most part, but the Red Sox have scored a grand total of four runs in three games, and three of those runs were scored in Toronto last night.

Speaking of Toronto, the Red Sox kicked off the last third of their road trip up north last night. Rick Porcello, looking for his fifth win of the season, was on the mound for Boston while it was lefty JA Happ making the start for the Blue Jays.

Porcello looked great once again, as he surrendered three runs over seven innings, allowing three hits, three walks, and striking out a season high of nine along the way. The walks were a bit unusual, since before last night he had given up a total of one all season, but I really have nothing else to complain about from Porcello’s start. Those three runs the Jays scored in the second weren’t all on him, that was a pretty weird inning. I mean, Rafael Devers could have made a better throw, that could have limited what the Blue Jays did. At the end of the day though, I’ll take seven quality innings from Porcello anytime I can get them. He finished his night at 103 pitches, 65 of which went for strikes. And since he got hit with the no decision, he’ll look for that fifth win of the season once again this weekend, back home against the Tampa Bay Rays.

In relief of Porcello, Joe Kelly was first up and he too had a quality outing. In two innings pitched, the righty allowed one hit and struck out one batter as he held the Blue Jays scoreless in a crucial situation, since they had the chance to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, a walk off was apparently inevitable because Curtis Granderson put a stamp on this contest an inning later.

No doubt that this is a bad look for Craig Kimbrel. An elite closer like himself should be able to keep thing tied going into the eleventh. But, that was the first time in nearly a week the Red Sox flamethrower had seen any in-game action. Regardless, he got hit with his first loss of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup never stood much of a chance against JA Happ last night. The veteran starter held the Red Sox to just one run on four hits, while striking out 10, in the seven innings he pitched.

That one run was important though, as it cut into the Blue Jays lead in the top of the sixth.

Hanley Ramirez collected his 16th RBI of the season, and the Red Sox were now down by only two runs.

Fast forward to the ninth, and it looked like the Red Sox were done for with Roberto Osuna on the mound. The young Jays closer had been perfect in save opportunities before last night, but the bottom of the order rallied.

After Hanley Ramirez and Rafael Devers both singled with one out in the inning, Eduardo Nunez picked up his seventh RBI of the year by ripping a single to right field that scored Ramirez from second and moved Devers up to third. One strikeout and one lucky walk from Christian Vazquez later, and Brock Holt came through with the clutchest hit of the night for the Red Sox.

On the second pitch of the at bat, Holt took a 97 MPH fastball from Osuna and laced it into left field. That allowed Devers to score from third and should have kept the inning going with Mookie Betts due up next. Instead, Eduardo Nunez was tagged out trying to score from second on what was one of the most aggressive sends from third base coach Carlos Febles that I have seen.

That disaster of a play ended the top half of the ninth, and the rally the Red Sox had going as well. With one last chance in the tenth, Tyler Clippard walked one while also facing the minimum as he got Hanley Ramirez to ground into a game-ending double play.

That makes three straight losses for the Red Sox now. No need to panic yet, it’s still way too early for that. Eduardo Rodriguez will look to end this little skid, as he faces off against Jays righty Aaron Sanchez later tonight. First pitch is at 7:05 PM ET.

RECAP: Khris Davis Owns the Day as #RedSox Drop Second Straight Game to Athletics.

For the first time this season, the Boston Red Sox have lost two straight games. As unfortunate as that may be, they are still 17-4 and finished the west coast portion of their road trip at 4-2. Regardless of how they got there, 4-2 on the road ain’t too shabby. With three games left on the trip in Toronto, finishing at either 7-2 or 6-3 would be more than exceptional.

Anyway, David Price made his sixth start of the season in this one, and he was great up until the eighth inning. The lefty held the Athletics to one run on six hits and a walk while striking out five. That one run came on a Khris Davis RBI single in the bottom half of the first. Other than that, not too much to complain about from Price over the first seven innings, because not only was he effective, he was efficient with his pitch count as well. By the time he departed with two outs in the eighth, he was only at 96 pitches, 68 of which went for strikes.

How he got to his departure from this game isn’t all that effective. With the game tied at one, Price retired the first batter he saw in the bottom of the eighth, and followed that up by allowing back to back singles. After striking out Jed Lowrie for the second out of the inning, Khris Davis struck once again as he took things into his own hands, taking the very first pitch of his at bat, an 87 MPH slider from Price, and blasting it 388 feet into the steps in right field.

Davis knew it was gone, Price knew it was gone, and just like that the Athletics were up by three runs, which is all they needed to lock up the win.

Carson Smith came in for mop up duty after the homer, and he retired the only batter he faced on two pitches.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup had a better day than they did on Saturday. Unfortunately, that’s not saying much because they only scored one run.

That one run came in the top of the seventh on a Brock Holt RBI double. It looked like it was going to be meaningful at the time since it tied the game with one out, but they had some other chances and could not capitalize on them.

Credit to Athletics starting pitching for the second day in a row. He didn’t toss a no-hitter, but Daniel Mengden was solid. He allowed just that one run in 6.1 innings pitched, scattering six hits, striking out five, and walking no one. The Athletics bullpen was also pretty solid as they held the Red Sox scoreless in just less than three innings pitched.

The last chance the Red Sox had to tie or win this thing came in the ninth with two outs and Brock Holt on first after he reached on a fielding error. With Christian Vazquez at the plate and Mookie Betts, who would be pinch-hitting for Tzu-Wei Lin, on deck, it looked like they had a decent chance to take this thing to the bottom of the ninth. On the eighth pitch of the at bat, Vazquez popped up to shallow right field, and it almost fell through.

Luckily for the Athletics, they avoided a potential disaster with Mookie Betts looming and picked up their 11th win of the season.

That marks the first time the Red Sox have lost a series in seven tries to start the year. Like I said earlier, next up is the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, who just dropped three out of four to the Yankees in New York. After a travel day on Monday, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball in the opener against Jays lefty J.A. Happ. Rogers Centre is certainly more of a launch pad than the Coliseum in Oakland, so maybe the Red Sox bats will wake up a bit this coming week. First pitch for that game on Tuesday is 7:07 PM, back to normal.

RECAP: A’s Lefty Sean Manaea Tosses a No Hitter as #RedSox Win Streak Comes to an End.

Going into the middle of this game of this series, Athletics starter Sean Manaea owned a career 13.50 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox. In 11.1 innings pitched, Manaea has allowed 17 earned runs on 26 hits. Those numbers are far from good.

With those numbers in mind, and the fact that Chris Sale was on the mound for the Red Sox, I was honestly expecting an easy win. Instead, they got no hit for the first time in nearly 25 years.

In a matchup of quality left-handed pitchers, it was Manaea who came up on top. The other guy though, Chris Sale, wasn’t too bad either. While having some struggles early, Sale allowed the Athletics to score three times over seven innings, scattering six hits and one walk over sevn full innings, fanning 10 along the way.

For some reason, the lefty really struggled with the top third of the A’s lineup, specifically leadoff man Marcus Semien. He was the only player in the whole game to touch home plate, and he did it on three separate occasions, including on a solo home run in the fifth. Old friend Jed Lowrie collected his league-leading 23rd RBI of the season as well.

At 110 pitches (72 strikes) through seven innings, Sale’s day came to an end. I would guess he’ll make his next start on Friday, back at home against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The only other pitcher the Red Sox used was Heath Hembree. In his first appearance of the series, Hembree allowed a double and a walk, both with two outs, but got out of the inning unscathed, leaving the Red Sox lineup with one last chance in the ninth.

Unfortunately, that opportunity was not capitalized on by the Red Sox because Sean Manaea was excellent last night. The only mistakes he made were mere walks, which happened on just two occasions. There was some controversy on what was a hit and what wasn’t, like in the sixth inning.

It looked like Andrew Benintendi had just broke up the no-hitter with a dribbler down the first base line for a single. He was initially called safe, but he was later ruled out for running outside of the base path while running towards safe. That took away the hit, and Benintendi was none too pleased about it.

Despite the frustration here, that does not take away from what Manaea did. No hitting one of the best lineups in baseball is no small task, and Manaea needed just 108 pitches to do it. In fact, last night’s game was two hours and 16 minutes, which has to be the quickest game the Red Sox have played in this season. Manaea’s no-no also marks the first from an Athletics pitcher since Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game on Mother’s Day back in 2010.

From here, the Red Sox need to put this loss behind them. Shake it off, move on, and take the series with a win today. David Price will look to build on his successful outing in Anaheim, as he faces off against A’s righty Daniel Mengden. First pitch is at 4:05 PM ET.