RECAP: Hanley Ramirez Homers for Third Time in Four Days as #RedSox Even Things up with Blue Jays.

Less than 24 hours after getting walked off by Luke Maile in extra innings, the Red Sox took the field for the middle game of this three-game weekend set in Toronto. Fortunately, this one was less of a nail biter than Friday’s night contest, and did not have to be decided in extras.

David Price made his first start for the Red Sox since the first game of the road trip they are currently on. Due to a bout with mild carpal tunnel syndrome in his left hand, Price was held out of his originally scheduled start this past Wednesday in New York. Three days later, he was back on the mound in Toronto for his eighth start of the season.

Contrary to how he looked before the carpal tunnel announcement, the Red Sox lefty put together a solid effort in his return to the mound on Saturday. In 5.1 innings pitched, Price held the Blue Jays to just two runs on five hits while walking three and tying a season high in strikeouts with six of them on the afternoon. The only real costly mistake the Tennessee native made came in the bottom of the sixth. With Justin Smoak at the plate to lead things off for the Jays, Price could not sneak a 93 MPH fastball by the Blue Jays first baseman, as he sent it 380 feet to left field for his teams second and final run of the day.

After that solo shot, Price would face one more batter in Kevin Pillar, who he got to pop out for the first out of the bottom half of the sixth inning. I don’t know if the fan running on the field had anything to do with it, but it looked like Price was prepared to at least finish the sixth. That did not happen though, as Alex Cora pulled him in favor of Carson Smith. The only inning in which the 32-year-old did not deal with baserunners was the second inning, when he struck out the side on 14 pitches. He ended his day with 93 pitches thrown, 55 of which went for strikes and his next start will more than likely come against the Baltimore Orioles sometime next week back at Fenway Park.

With Price’s day over and 11 outs still to get, Carson Smith would be the first man out of the Red Sox bullpen. Making his second appearance in the series. The righty did not need to do much, as he retired the only two batters he faced on 12 pitches, one of those including a strikeout. Slowly but surely, Smith has been looking better and better for the Red Sox. Since the calendar turned from April to May, the native of Texas has tossed six scoreless innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. His ERA has steadily decreased over the past few weeks, and it now stands at 3.38, the lowest its been since Opening Day.

After the conclusion of the sixth inning, the next three pitchers that came out of the Red Sox bullpen were nearly perfect. In three combined innings of work, Hector Velazquez, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel held the Blue Jays to zero runs on just two hits while striking out five. For Velazquez, today marked his first appearance in a game since the third for May. And for Kimbrel, today’s 1-2-3 ninth marked his 11th save of the season, that’s good for second in the American League.

On the other side of things, it took a little bit for the Red Sox lineup to get going against Jays starter Marco Estrada. For Estrada, he has not had a fun time facing the Red Sox as of late, and that sort of proved true on Saturday. After Christian Vazquez led the top of the third off with a fly out to left, three straight hits from the top of the lineup put three runs on the board.

A Mookie Betts double, followed by another double from Andrew Benintendi, plated the first run of the day for the Red Sox. Then Hanley Ramirez followed that up with a hit of his own, except his hit went out of the park.

That 89 MPH fastball from Estrada was sent 376 feet to left by the Red Sox first baseman for his sixth big fly of the season. Over the past four games, Ramirez has accounted for half of his season total with three homers in just 18 at bats.

Fast forward to the sixth, a one out double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts set up an ideal situation for Rafael Devers. After striking out in his first two at bats, Devers saw something he liked on the first pitch from Estrada and ripped a single to center field, allowing Bogaerts to score easily from second base. For Devers, it was his 24th RBI of the season.

Later on in the ninth, the Betts-Benintendi connection hooked up once again, as Benintendi pretty much put this one away with an RBI single that scored Betts from second after he had doubled in the prior at bat.

Some notes from this game:

In 11 games played this month, Mookie Betts has recorded more than one hit in five of them after his three hit performance on Friday.

Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez may both be heating up at the same time, as Benintendi currently has a five game hitting streak going on, while Ramirez has recorded a hit in six of the last seven games he has appeared in.

Speaking of hitting streaks, JD Martinez’s 12 game streak unfortunately came to end this afternoon, as he was held hitless for the first time since April 28th.

A three-day mental break clearly did Jackie Bradley Jr. no favors, as he was held hitless in four at bats today in his first start in center since May 8th. He is now 2 for his last 27.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox have the chance to end their long road trip with a series win tomorrow afternoon. Drew Pomeranz is on the mound for the visiting side, while it will be righty Joe Biagini getting the start for Toronto. First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM ET, should be a good way to spend Mothers Day.

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RECAP: Chris Sale Has Career Night, but #RedSox Still Find a Way to Lose to Blue Jays in Extras.

Flashback to April 24th, and you’ll find that the Red Sox were walked off in Toronto in extras in the first game of that series. Why do I bring that up? Well, the same thing essentially happened last night. That’s right, the Red Sox opened up a three game series north of the border on Friday night, and once again, they were walked off by the Blue Jays in extra innings. This one took an inning longer than the first one though, and it did not involve Craig Kimbrel and Curtis Granderson.

How we got there: Chris Sale made his eighth start of the season last night, and as he usually does at the Rogers Centre, pitched a gem. The lefty tossed nine full innings, scattered three runs on six hits, walked none, and tied his career high in strikeouts with 15 on the night. It did not appear as if things were going to go Sale’s way in the beginning of this game, as he gave up the first of those three runs before recording a single out in the first inning. The Red Sox ace was getting hit fairly hard, and after the Blue Jays tacked on another run in the second, pitching coach Dana Levangie went out and had a lengthy conversation with both Sale and Sandy Leon. They must have come to the conclusion that the Blue Jays were stealing signs, because they went with multiple signs for the rest of the night, and Sale looked like a different pitcher.

At one point, the Florida native retired 15 straight Blue Jays before surrendering the game-tying home run to catcher Luke Maile in the seventh inning. Following that blip, Sale pitched two more scoreless innings. In the ninth, it looked like the Blue Jays were about to get the go-ahead run to third on a hard hit ball by Kevin Pillar, but a great throw from Andrew Benintendi to Brock Holt and an almost perfect relay from Holt to Eduardo Nunez got Pillar out at third for the second out of the inning.

After getting the next batter, Kendrys Morales, to ground out to end the frame and send this one to extra innings, Sale’s night would come to an end. Although he tossed nine innings, the 29-year-old did not factor in the decision. He finished the night with a season high 116 pitches, 85 of which went for strikes.

In extras, the Red Sox bullpen was not at their best. Matt Barnes kicked the bottom half of the 10th off by walking the first two batters he faced to put runners on first and second with no outs. How he got out of it I don’t know but he got Josh Donaldson to strike out in a huge spot with two outs in the inning to send things to the eleventh.

An inning later, Carson Smith had the best performance of any Red Sox reliever, as he recorded the first two outs of the inning before giving up a single to Kevin Pillar. That hit would not come back to bite the Texas native though, since he struck out the very next batter he faced on six pitches.

Another inning later, and this game came to an end quickly with Brian Johnson on the mound for the Red Sox. The lefty walked the first batter he saw on four straight balls. Not ideal. The very next pitch he threw was taken 418 feet to right center field by Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile.

As they say in Toronto, the Maile man always delivers, and he sent the Blue Jays home with a series opening win last night. To put it simply, Chris Sale deserved better. Not just from the bullpen, but from the lineup too.

For Brian Johnson, I can’t imagine Friday night’s performance helps his chances of staying up with the Red Sox. In ten games as a reliever, Johnson owns an ERA of 9.00 in 13 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting .321 off of the lefty, so it’s difficult to justify keeping someone with those kind of numbers on the active roster.

Anyway, on the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup got the scoring started in the top of the first. Facing off against Blue Jays righty Aaron Sanchez, Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi got on base right away in this one to put runners on first and third with no outs. After Benintendi stole second with JD Martinez at the plate, the third member of the Red Sox outfield scored Betts from third and advanced Benintendi from third on an RBI ground out.

Fast forward to the fourth, with the Red Sox trailing by one run, and Xander Bogaerts led the inning off by tying things up once again.

That 426 foot shot to center marked Bogaerts’ fourth of the season. Four batters later, with Brock Holt at first, Sandy Leon drove in a run in one of the most bizarre fashions you’ll see.

Technically ruled a strikeout, Leon was unfortunately not credited with an RBI on that play. What’s even funnier about it is that it was the last run the Red Sox scored all night. At one point, they went more than seven innings without a single hit. I’ll give credit where credit is due when I say the Blue Jays bullpen was stellar in the seven combined innings they tossed last night. They held the Red Sox lineup to essentially nothing once Aaron Sanchez departed in the sixth.

Next up for the Red Sox is a David Price v. Marco Estrada matchup later this afternoon. After all the carpal tunnel drama this past week, it will be interesting to see how Price responds today. Alex Cora had said that if his hand starts bothering him again, they have a plan to get Price out of the game right away and go to the bullpen. First pitch of the middle game of this series is scheduled for 4:07 PM ET. Like I said, should be…interesting.

 

RECAP: JD Martinez’s Clutch Home Run Leads #RedSox to Win over Yankees in Series Finale.

Going into the series finale on Thursday night, a win for the Red Sox was almost vital. The difference between leaving New York tied for first place in the AL East and trailing by two games is huge. The good thing is, they locked down the get away day win, but it was a rocky road getting there.

Eduardo Rodriguez got the start in this one, and he was coming off a performance in Texas where he gave up three home runs. Fortunately, he put together a much better outing in the Bronx last night. In five rain-interrupted innings, the lefty surrendered zero runs on just one hit and three walks while fanning eight. Other than the fourth inning, there was really no point in the game where it looked like Rodriguez was struggling. From the first to the third, he faced 10 batters and struck out half of them. After that, things got a little shaky for the native of Venezuela in the bottom half of the fourth. A leadoff walk to Aaron Judge, a single to Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees first hit of the night, and another walk to Gary Sanchez loaded the bases with only one out in the inning. With a three run lead to protect, it was looking like the Yankees were about to stage another comeback. That still happened, but not with Rodriguez on the mound, as the 25-year-old retired the next two batters he faced to get out of the fourth unscathed.

In between the conclusion of the fourth inning and the middle of the fifth, there was a 55 minute rain delay, which ultimately ended Yankees starter CC Sabathia’s day, but not Rodriguez’s. He came back out for the fifth inning and wrapped his stellar night up by collecting two more K’s and getting Brett Gardner to ground out to short to conclude things in the fifth. It’s a shame he couldn’t go any further, but with a pitch count of 95 (53 strikes) and that previously mentioned weather delay, I can understand why Alex Cora went with a fresh arm for the sixth.

That fresh arm just so happened to be Matt Barnes, coming off one of his worst outings of the season on Wednesday night. Those struggles would not continue though, as the righty tossed a scoreless frame despite walking the first batter he saw. Next up out of the ‘pen was Heath Hembree for the seventh inning, and that’s where things started to momentarily fall apart for the Red Sox once again.

After getting Tyler Austin to fly out to right to begin the inning, Hembree surrendered two hits and a walk to the next three batters he faced. That loaded the bases up with just one out, and that was all the action Hembree saw. In the month of May, the righty out of South Carolina owns an ERA north of 11 in four innings of work. Not great.

Having already dealt with a bases loaded jam in this series, Joe Kelly was next out of the bullpen. Things did not get off the best of starts for the Red Sox flamethrower, as he walked in a run on four pitches and gave up a one-run single in two consecutive at bats. After that, the Yankees tacked on another two runs before Kelly retired the side, thus tying the game at four runs a piece.

With the Red Sox taking the lead back on a JD Martinez home run in the top of the eighth, Alex Cora decided to stick with Kelly for another inning of work. Again, he was not at his sharpest, as he allowed the tying run to reach second base at one point, but came through in the end. Facing off against Neil Walker with runners on first and second and two outs, Kelly needed six pitches to record his second and final strikeout of the night, while stranding the tying and go-ahead runs in the process. The California native was credited with a blown save and his second win of the season thanks to his efforts.

Since Kelly protected the one run lead in the eighth inning, that paved the way for Craig Kimbrel coming in for a clean ninth. There has been plenty of tak about when it is most ideal to use the Red Sox closer, but I think it’s safe to say that he prefers working in the ninth. Compared to Wednesday night, Kimbrel looked like a different guy on the mound. He tossed a perfect frame while also recording his 24th strikeout this season. With save number 10 on the year, Kimbrel locked down the get away day win for the Red Sox, ensuring that they leave New York with a share of the division lead in the AL East.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup was not at a disadvantage with 18-year veteran CC Sabathia on the mound for the Yankees. In fact, they reached base nine times off of him in only four innings. Mookie Betts set the tone right away with a leadoff double to right field to start the game. Two batters later, Hanley Ramirez got his impressive day at the plate started with an RBI ground out to short. That allowed Betts, who had moved up to third, to score easily and give the Red Sox their first run of the game.

Fast forward to the third, and Hanley Ramirez is in the thick of things once again. After two straight hits from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi to lead off the inning put runners on second and third, Ramirez notched his second of three RBIs on the night on a single to shallow right field that Gleyber Torres could do nothing with. That allowed Betts to score from third and allowed Benintendi to advance to third himself. JD Martinez wrapped up the scoring in the top of the third, as he drove in Benintendi from third on a hard hit RBI force out that could easily have been a double play if Gleyber Torres held on to the ball.

Later on in the fifth, Hanley Ramirez led things off by putting the fourth run of the game for the Red Sox on the board with his fifth big fly of the season.

That 412 foot shot to left field came just in the nick of time for the Red Sox, as the game was delayed due to rain one pitch into the next at bat.

After a 55 minute delay and a Yankees rally in the bottom of the seventh, it seemed as if the Red Sox were destined to blow another late lead. Fortunately for them, JD Martinez did not allow that to happen. With Dellin Betances on the mound for his second frame of work, the Red Sox outfielder took a 97 MPH fastball on the inside edge of the plate and launched it 350 feet into the opposite field.

A vintage JD Martinez home run, his ninth of the season, put the Red Sox on top 5-4 and they would not have to look back. His only hit of the game turned out to be the most important one. What a guy.

Some notes from this one:

After a three-hit performance last night, Mookie Betts leads all of baseball in several offensive categories. Those being Batting Average (.361), Slugging Percentage (.803), OPS (1.244), Total Bases (98), Home Runs (13), and Extra Base Hits (27). All of this and he’s batting leadoff. Incredible.

With his ninth home run of the season last night, JD Martinez has now recorded a hit in 11 straight games. Over that stretch, the Miami native is slashing an outlandish .444/.490/.778 in 49 Plate Appearances.

For the first time this season, Hanley Ramirez has homered in back-to-back games. That happening after going 19 games in between his second and third long balls of the season. So maybe he’s about to heat up.

Next up for the Red Sox is the last leg of this road trip in Toronto. Last time they were up north, the Red Sox came away with the series win. Chris Sale gets the ball in the series opener, he’ll be matched up against righty Aaron Sanchez for Toronto. David Price is also scheduled to pitch on Saturday in this three-game set. First pitch tonight is set for 7:07 PM ET. Happy Sale Day.

 

 

RECAP: #RedSox Fall to Yankees Again Thanks to Another Collapse from the Bullpen.

A day after a disappointing loss to the Yankees in the opening game of this series, the Red Sox found themselves in a similar position last night. With the game going in their favor up until the bottom of the eighth, it’s almost inexcusable that they could not come away with the win to even things up at one game at piece. Instead, they’ll look to salvage something from this three-game set later tonight.

Since the news broke that David Price would not be able to make his scheduled start on Wednesday, everyone in the Red Sox rotation moved up a spot. Meaning it would be Rick Porcello on the mound against Masahiro Tanaka. In what was his worst start of the season up to this point, I thought that Porcello was still somewhat effective, as he prevented the Yankees from running away with this one.

The righty out of New Jersey tossed 5.1 innings, surrendered five earned runs on eight hits, three walks, and a HBP, all while fanning just three Yankees. Surprisingly, no one in that menacing lineup managed to go deep off of Porcello. That may not have been the most surprising part of the 2016 Cy Young Award winner’s night though. Nope, that would have to be the three free passes he gave up. In his seven starts prior to this one, Porcello has only walked more than two batters once, and that was back on April 24th in Toronto. In my opinion, those three walks last night were indicative of the fact that Porcello may not have had his best stuff going. After recording the first out of the sixth and giving up a single to Gleyber Torres, the 29-year-old’s night would come to an end with a pitch count of 91, 51 of which went for strikes.

With the Red Sox trailing by one at the time of Porcello’s departure in the sixth, lefty Brian Johnson would be first out of the bullpen. The former Florida Gator came through with two big outs to retire the side, then recorded the first out of the seventh inning as well. Considering this was his first time in a game since the first of May, it was reassuring that Johnson did not show any signs of struggling last night. After getting a fresh lead in the top half of the inning and getting Didi Gregorius to line out to kick off the bottom half, Carson Smith would enter this one and be responsible for ending things in the seventh.

The Texas native needed three batters to record two outs, but no damage was done in the inning, as the Red Sox still had a one run lead to protect going into the bottom of the eighth. That is where things got a bit sticky though, with Matt Barnes on the mound. A leadoff double to Neil Walker certainly did not help, and that was followed by a five pitch walk to Gleyber Torres two batters later. With runners on first and third and just one out in the inning, it was all left up to Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, who had never recorded a five out save in his entire career.

Well, that would not happen last night either, unfortunately. The flame throwing Kimbrel gave up a go-ahead triple to the very first batter he saw in Brett Gardner. That scored the runners from first and third and put the Red Sox down by a run. Even worse, the lead would increase for the Yankees four pitches into the next at bat, as Aaron Judge launched a 97 MPH fastball from Kimbrel into orbit, sending it 429 feet into the night sky.

Judge’s ninth long ball of the season put the Yankees up by three, and that’s all the run support Aroldis Chapman would need a half inning later.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup had a much easier time reaching base last night off of Masahiro Tanaka than they did Tuesday night against Luis Severino. Mitch Moreland got the scoring started in the top half of the second, as he put the Red Sox momentarily on top with his sixth home run of the season. A two-run blast that scored Xander Bogaerts from first as well.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth, Andrew Benintendi got in on the action with a home run of his own. This one a solo shot, mashed 391 feet into the right field bleachers of Yankee Stadium, his second of the season and his sixth career homer in the Bronx.

An inning later,trailing by two, and facing a new pitcher in Chad Green, Eduardo Nunez cut the Red Sox deficit in half with a sacrifice fly to center field. That scored Xander Bogaerts from third after he had ripped a double off of Tanaka to lead off the sixth.

Later in the seventh, still trailing by one, Hanley Ramirez left his mark on this game. It really did not make a difference by the end, but it was huge at the time. After Brock Holt and Mookie Betts both grounded out to start the inning, Andrew Benintendi drew a walk on six pitches. That set up a spot where Hanley Ramirez could go deep for the first time since April 14th and give his team the lead. Well, on the third pitch off his at bat, that’s exactly what Ramirez did.

That 431 foot shot to left put the Red Sox up by one in the seventh. Like I said, it seemed HUGE at the time it was hit, but that warm feeling did not last all that long.

Fast forward another inning, this time up by a run, and the Red Sox had a great chance to tack on some insurance runs. Mitch Moreland and Eduardo Nunez led the inning off against Yankees reliever Chasen Shreve with a walk and a double. That meant with no outs in the inning, the Red Sox had runners in scoring position. Ideal spot to be on, but the bottom half of the lineup could not capitalize on it. Even with two outs and the bases loaded for Andrew Benintendi after an intentional walk to Mookie Betts, nothing. Maybe getting more of a lead going into the ninth would have helped Craig Kimbrel out a little bit more, I don’t know.

Anyway, that did not happen and the Red Sox lost their second game in a row to the hands of the Yankees. It stings, but they have the chance to even the season series up later tonight. At least JD Martinez extended his hitting streak to 10 games, that’s pretty cool. Oh yeah, Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start against veteran lefty CC Sabathia, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM ET. Would be a real shame if someone like Eduardo Nunez laid down a bunt against ol’ CC, a real shame.

David Price Has Been Diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Going into this three-game series against the New York Yankees, David Price was scheduled to start the middle game today for the Red Sox. Instead, he was scratched from his start and sent back to Boston because of a tingling sensation in his left hand. If you remember, in the last start Price made against the Yankees on April 11th, he had to depart after just one inning because of the same sort of discomfort in his pitching hand. In four starts since then, the lefty owns a 6.95 ERA in 22 innings pitched.

When Alex Cora announced that Price would not be starting on Wednesday, there was plenty of speculation on the reason why. Many assumed it was because of the Yankees and his shaky numbers against them. Others assumed it was because of another injury, like Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Well now, we know what it is that’s bothering Price.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. That’s right, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. As ridiculous as it sounds, that is what Alex Cora said on WEEI earlier. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Carpal Tunnel can be defined as, “a common condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. The condition occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand — the median nerve — is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist.”

Now I’m no medical expert, but I’m pretty sure this is the thing people get when they spend too much time on their phones/computers/video game consoles? Regardless of how he got it, the Red Sox need David Price to be healthy. When healthy, Price is a top of the rotation type pitcher, which is something every team could use. People can forget pretty easily, but Price opened up this season by tossing two straight seven inning shutouts.

Alex Cora said he’s optimistic that Price will be able to rejoin the team on the road trip. Which would be ideal, because the Red Sox are down to just four starting pitchers. They do have options with Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez in the bullpen, but I’m sure they would prefer it if Price made his next start in Toronto.

RECAP: Giancarlo Stanton Homers Twice as #RedSox Can’t Complete Comeback Against Yankees.

After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox and Yankees began a three-game series at Yankee Stadium for the first time this season last night. With the two best records in all of baseball, this series has some serious potential although it is only the beginning of May.

Drew Pomeranz got the start in this one for the Red Sox, and he was surprisingly good. I’ll be honest, I thought the lefty was going to get shelled by the Yankees lineup last night, especially during the second inning. Giancarlo Stanton hit his first of two home runs of off Pomeranz to lead off the frame, and that was followed by a walk, an injury delay, and then another walk. It appeared that Pomeranz was having an issue with one of the fingernails on his throwing hand last night, and that’s what caused the delay.

Luckily for the Red Sox, Pomeranz was able to deal with any sort of discomfort he was feeling and tossed five innings of one-run ball after that. The Yankees tacked on their second run of the night on another Stanton homer, but that was all Pomeranz gave up. With his pitch count at a season-high 107 (62 strikes) after recording the last out in the bottom of the sixth, Pomeranz’s day would be done. The Tennessee native finished with a pitching line of 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 6 K’s. All things considered, not too shabby for Pomeranz, a performance worthy of a win, that’s for sure.

In relief of Pomeranz, it was Heath Hembree who got the call for the seventh. After recording the first out of the inning on two pitches, the righty followed that up by loading the bases on his next 18. With the game tied at two at the time, Alex Cora would turn to Joe Kelly to get out of a very tight situation, and he was greeted by the Yankees faithful with plenty of boos.

Aaron Judge was the first batter Kelly faced, and he ripped a single to left field. That scored Neil Walker from third and it looked like it was going to score Gleyber Torres from second as well. However, a great throw to home and outfield assist from Andrew Benintendi prevented that from happening.

https://www.mlb.com/video/benintendi-nabs-torres-at-home/c-2022043483?tid=6479266

After getting Didi Gregorius to ground out to end the inning, Kelly would come back out for the eighth. A leadoff walk to Giancarlo Stanton, a stolen base, and a wild pitch eventually led to there being one out and a runner at third. Facing Aaron Hicks, the Red Sox flamethrower got the Yankees outfielder out on a fielder’s choice. Thanks to Hanley Ramirez, Stanton was ruled out at the plate.

https://streamable.com/m/2022175183

Carson Smith would be up next from the Red Sox bullpen, and he struck out Miguel Andujar on four pitches, the only batter he faced.

On the other side of things, Yankees starter Luis Severino put on quite the performance on the mound last night. He held the Red Sox to their only two runs of the game in six-plus innings of quality work.

Andrew Benintendi got the scoring started for the Red Sox in the top half of the fifth. After Eduardo Nunez led off things by striking out and reaching on a wild pitch, Mookie Betts moved him up to second three batters later on a hard hit single to center field. Next up was Andrew Benintendi, and he lined a single of his own to center which allowed Nunez to come around and score from second. One run game.

Fast forward to the seventh, Eduardo Nunez led things off once again, and he reached base yet again, this time on a single. Another three batters later, Mookie Betts scored Nunez on a triple that got by Brett Gardner in left field.

https://www.mlb.com/video/betts-rbi-triple-in-the-7th/c-2021891283?tid=6479266

That knotted things up at two runs a piece, but the tie would not last long, as the Yankees scored the go-ahead run a half inning later. After a scoreless eighth, the Red Sox lineup would have one last chance to make a game out of this one in the ninth against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman.

In the past, Chapman has looked shaky while facing the Red Sox, but that was not the case last night. He gave them a shot by putting Jackie Bradley Jr. on first after hitting him in the elbow with a 103.3 MPH fastball, the hardest thrown pitch so far this season.

With a runner on first and two outs, Alex Cora stuck with Christian Vazquez in a huge spot. That move did not pay off though, as Vazquez grounded out to Gleyber Torres to end the game.

With that loss, the Red Sox fall to 25-10, and with that win, the Yankees improve to 25-10. David Price was supposed to pitch tonight, but he got sent home because of a finger issue. Instead, it will be Rick Porcello making the start against Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.

RECAP: Chris Sale K’s 12 as #RedSox Pick up Series Win Against Rangers.

Going into the series finale in Texas today, I was very much looking forward to the pitching matchup in this one. On one side, we had Chris Sale going for the Red Sox, and on the other, Doug Fister got the start for the Rangers. Both were teammates in Boston for the majority of last season and both work at a diligent and refreshing pace.

Between the two, it was Sale who had the better day on the mound, as the lefty tossed seven full innings of one run ball. Over that span, Sale scattered one run on four hits to go along with one walk, two HBP’s and a season-high 12 strikeouts. The Florida native set the tone right away with three strikeouts in the first to kick off his eighth start of 2018. After that, the only costly mistake Sale made came in his final frame of work, when he surrendered a leadoff home run to Ryan Rua in the seventh. Other than that, it was a phenomenal day for Sale. He had his full arsenal working, including his slider, which he was having issues with earlier in the season. At 3-1, it’s a shame Sale will miss the upcoming series in New York. Expect his next start to come Friday or Saturday in Toronto.

In relief of Sale, and with a five run lead to work with, the Red Sox bullpen was nearly perfect yet again. Matt Barnes got the call for the eighth inning, he needed just nine pitches to retire the Rangers side in order. Next up was Carson Smith, and he would be responsible for the last three innings of this one. He allowed a single with one out, but struck out the next two batters he faced to wrap things up for the Red Sox in Arlington.

On the other side of things, Mitch Moreland got the scoring started for the Red Sox early. A Mookie Betts leadoff single in the first would later lead to a run when Moreland took a 82 MPH changeup from Rangers starter Doug Fister and ripped it into the left field corner. That would score Betts from second, but the Red Sox outfielder would have to leave the game an inning later due to a right shoulder contusion.

Two innings later, after JD Martinez doubled to left field with one out, Xander Bogaerts drove in the second run of the day by sending another ground ball to left field that scored Martinez from second. Fister would settle down a little bit after that, but the bottom half of the Red Sox lineup got to the veteran righty in the sixth.

With two outs in the inning, Eduardo Nunez got the rally started on a simple single to left field. After Jackie Bradley Jr. took a 89 MPH fastball off his elbow to put runners on first and second, Sandy Leon came through with the first home run from a Red Sox catcher this season.

That 398 foot, three-run shot put the Red Sox up 5-0. JD Martinez would homer for the eighth time this season an inning later to put his team up by six runs, and that’s all the scoring they would need to pick up this series-clinching win.

Some notes from this one:

With 12 K’s on the day, Chris Sale is now fourth in baseball with 63 strikeouts on the season, trailing only Max Scherzer, Gerritt Cole, and Justin Verlander.

In 32 games played this season, JD Martinez has recorded multiple hits in 15 of them. He is in the midst of  a nine-game hitting streak after a two hit performance at the plate today.

Going into their first series of the season at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox and Yankees will own the best two records in the American League. With a one-game lead in the division, this series isn’t pivotal for the Red Sox and their season, but it does carry some importance. Drew Pomeranz will be first up on Tuesday, and he’ll be matched up against Yankees ace Luis Severino, who is coming off his first career complete game shutout. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET on Tuesday. Should be a fun week.