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. 

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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. 

RECAP: Despite Rick Porcello’s awful start, #RedSox win third consecutive game.

After a rain out on Wednesday, the Red Sox welcomed the Chicago White Sox into town for a four-game series. This was a series I usually looked forward to because of Chris Sale, but now he is on the Red Sox. He was actually supposed to see him pitch on Sunday, but John Farrell switched around the rotation so Sale can pitch against the Yankees more. Even though the White Sox are one of the worst teams in baseball, I was still looking forward to seeing Yoan Moncada, who was one of my favorite Red Sox prospects before he got traded last December.

Anyway, Rick Porcello was on the mound against former Red Sox prospect Miguel Gonzalez, and both were pretty terrible. Porcello could only make it through 5.1 innings while surrendering five earned runs on seven hits, including a two-run home run to Nicky Delmonico in the third inning. This was after he was given a 4-0 lead and then a 7-2 lead to work with, too. This start was certainly discouraging, given the fact that Porcello had a great month of July. You’d figure a team like the White Sox wouldn’t give him much trouble, but here we are talking about how bad his start was. The bullpen did pick him up though, as Fernando Abad, Heath Hembree, Addison Reed, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Workman combined to pitch 3.2 perfect innings while striking out four. It was only a three-run game when Porcello left, so the effort from the bullpen was definitely a boost.

On the other side of things, all nine guys in the starting lineup recorded at least one base hit, and six of nine drove in at least one run. Eduardo Nunez continued his great play by driving in the first run of the game in the first. Hanley Ramirez then drove in Nunez on a double, and Rafael Devers hit his third home run of the season to conclude the scoring in the first.

In the second, Mookie Betts drove in Christian Vazquez along with himself on a two-run home run, his eighteenth on the year. Hanley Ramirez then collected his second RBI of the game, scoring Andrew Benintendi from second on an infield single. This was a great play to watch, the awareness of Andrew Benintendi was off the charts, scoring from second on an INFIELD single. After that, the bats would go silent until the fifth, when Mitch Moreland scored on a Benintendi RBI single. The last run of the game crossed the plate in the sixth, when Moreland drove in Xander Bogaerts on his twenty-third double of the season, giving the Red Sox a 9-5 lead and securing the win.

Red Sox have won three in a row, Yankees have lost three in a row, so the lead in the division stands at two. Eduardo Rodriguez is on the bump today, and he’s looking to rebound from a rough start against the Royals.

60 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Christian Vazquez walks it off for the #RedSox in one of the more bizarre games I’ve ever seen.

Wild, ugly, bizarre. Those are some good words you can use to describe last night’s victory over the Indians. In a game where Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco are pitching, a slugfest should be the last thing you would expect, but that’s what we got on Tuesday. Sale was bad, he’ll be the first to tell you that. The lefty gave up a season high seven earned runs while going five innings deep. Sale is usually caught by Sandy Leon, but a right knee issue kept him out of the lineup. That being said, Christian Vazquez was behind the plate, and I’d be interested to know if there were any chemistry issues, at least in the first few innings. Despite the bad start, he did rack up five strikeouts and I am glad he only pitched five innings, lessening his usual workload. If he got out of the fifth without giving up that home run to Edwin Encarnacion, then he probably would have come out and started the sixth. Looking to rebound on Sunday, Chris Sale will play his former team, the White Sox. I’ll be there, and I’m pretty excited about it. In relief of Sale, Blaine Boyer loaded the bases, but did not allow anything else while pitching a scoreless sixth. Matt Barnes struck out two while pitching a scoreless seventh, then we got to see the new guy, Addison Reed. Just acquired from the Mets, Reed gave up a solo home run to the first batter he faced, after that though, got the Tribe out in order. After all this, the Red Sox had a one-run lead, making way for Craig Kimbrel to try and get his 26th save of the season. Like Reed, Kimbrel gave up a home run to the first person he saw, Francisco Lindor. Kimbrel then proceeded to load the bases, and a wild pitch allowed Jose Ramirez to score from third, giving the Indians the lead. So, in a night Sale and Kimbrel are way off their game, the Red Sox still find a way to win. With just over two months to go in the regular season, resilience can be huge for a team in the middle of a pennant race.

On the other side of things, you could make the case Carlos Carrasco was even worse than Sale last night. After the Indians scored three times in the first and twice in the second, the Red Sox answered with five of their own in their half of the second. Mitch Moreland, who is getting hot again, took Carrasco deep for a three-run home run, scoring Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts in the process. Brock Holt drove in the fourth run, scoring Christian Vazquez from third. With two outs, Eduardo Nunez stayed hot by lacing a RBI double to center field, scoring Mookie Betts and tying the game. Brock Holt was a part of that play, and for the second night in a row, he was called out at home. Hanley Ramirez nearly had himself a home run in the fifth, but Austin Jackson made an outstanding catch to rob him, jumping over the bullpen wall and still securing the catch. Might be better than any catch JBJ has made this year.

In the sixth, Mookie Betts drove in Mitch Moreland on a RBI single and Eduardo Nunez drove in Christian Vazquez, Betts and Chris Young on another double. After heading into their half of the ninth down by one, Rafael Devers singled and Mitch Moreland reached first on a strikeout, setting the table for Christian Vazquez. On a 3-1 fastball, Vazquez homered to center field, walking it off and giving the Red Sox the 12-10 win.

A wild one for sure, and the Red Sox have secured their first series win since they were in Texas. With the Yankees dropping one to the Tigers, the Red Sox find themselves back in first place. Rick Porcello is on the mound later tonight with the chance to sweep.

59 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Mookie Betts and Doug Fister come up huge as #RedSox end July with a 6-2 win.

Hours after acquiring Addison Reed, the Red Sox and Indians kicked off a three game series at Fenway Park. Doug Fister, who had yet to pick up a win for his new club, was matched up against the Tribe’s Mike Clevinger. Up to today, Fister has been a disappointment, owning an ERA north of seven. Perhaps it’s him just getting more comfortable, or he just wanted to prove his doubters wrong, but Fister was lights out for 99% of his start on Monday. In the 7.2 innings he pitched, the 33 year-old scattered five hits and two walks while striking out five Indians. It was a bit surprising to see him come out for the eighth, but it was nothing I was upset with. After allowing a lead off single and getting the first two outs of the eighth, Bradley Zimmer took Fister deep to right field, into the Red Sox bullpen. That would be the last pitch Fister would throw, and he got a well deserved ovation on his way to the dugout. This was really vintage Doug Fister, what he did consistently in Detroit for years, and he’s earned himself another start later this week. Brandon Workman came into the game after the home run, and he got the last four outs, clinching the win.

The bats kicked things off early on Monday, scoring three times in the second after a scoreless first. Mookie Betts drove in Mitch Moreland and Christian Vazquez on a two out single, and Eduardo Nunez drove in Betts on an RBI double that could have kept the inning going if Brock Holt was not called out at home. Mookie continued racking up RBIs in the fourth, driving in Mitch Moreland on a RBI single. Eduardo Nunez did this as well, scoring Vazquez from third on another RBI single. As part of the huge day he had, Rafael Devers drove in Nunez on a RBI single in the seventh, giving the Red Sox their sixth and final run. In his sixth career Major League game, Devers collected four hits while never recording an out. Compared to how Yoan Moncada looked in his first few games last season, Devers has looked much more composed. In 24 AB’s, Devers already has an OPS over 1.000 while only striking out five times.

With the moves they made on Monday, the Yankees look legit. With that in mind, it’s probably a good time for the Red Sox to go on a run. Was today the start of one? We’ll have to see.

Also, I hope Yoan Moncada is okay after what happened to him last night, seemed scary.

58 down, ? to go.