RECAP: The #RedSox Lost to the Yankees in Eventful Fashion Last Night.

Last night really felt like a throwback. Red Sox, Yankees, cold weather, Fenway Park, bench clearing brawl, four-hour game. I would expect that in 2004, but in 2018, not really.

Right from the get go, the Red Sox were trailing in this game. Making his third start of the season, David Price allowed the Yankees to score four times in the top of the first. Half of those runs  were scored on a two-run home run off the bat of Gary Sanchez. As it turns out, the first inning is all the action Price would see in this one. The lefty had to take an early exit because of “sensations” he was feeling in his left hand. He said his arm felt great, but his hand did not. From what I’ve heard, Price plans on making his next start against the Orioles on Patriots Day.

On short notice, Alex Cora turned to another lefty in the second, that being Bobby Poyner. After allowing two to reach and retiring the side, Poyner got rocked in the third inning. Three straight hits put the Yankees up by four again, and then we had some good old-fashioned mayhem.

Shades of the Manny Machado incident with Dustin Pedroia last season in Baltimore. Although I don’t think Tyler Austin intended on injuring Brock Holt, it was a pretty careless move by him. I understand why Holt took offense to it. I mean, there’s no reason to do something like that if you’re not trying to start something. What’s worse is the Red Sox could not get a double play out of this after it was reviewed.

Fast forward to the top of the seventh inning and we had even more drama. After scoring two more runs in the sixth, the Yankees entered the inning with a 10-6 lead. Joe Kelly was on the mound, and after he got the first batter he faced to ground out, Tyler Austin was up next. After swinging at the first pitch he saw, Austin took two straight balls, one which came close to hitting him. On the very next pitch, madness…

Gotta love the way Kelly handled this. Compared to the Manny Machado situation last year, I believe this was handled much better. No head shots, solid shot to the ribs, full on madness. Christian Vazquez probably should have restrained Tyler Austin from getting to the mound, but we got this glorious moment out of it:

Joe Kelly, man. He’s a bit of an odd ball, but he’s our odd ball.

In the aftermath of all this, Brian Johnson came in for Kelly with one out in the seventh. Working on zero days rest, I was thoroughly impressed with the outing the lefty put together. He allowed just one hit over 1.2 innings of work while fanning three, keeping his team in the game in the late stages.

Speaking of impressive outings, Carson Smith, like Johnson, kept the Red Sox in the game late. He tossed a scoreless top of the ninth, walking one and striking out one along the way.

Offensively, seven runs was not enough for the Red Sox to pick up their tenth straight win. Like I said, they were down by four right from the start, and although they got to Masahiro Tanaka and chipped away at the deficit more than once, they could not catch up.

Hanley Ramirez got things started in the home half of the first, as he blasted his second home run of the year over the Green Monster to make it a 4-1 game.

After going scoreless the next three innings, the Red Sox lineup erupted for five runs in the fifth. A Mookie Betts RBI double scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from second with one out in the inning, Yankees lead down to six. Two batters later and the bases loaded, JD Martinez entered himself into this rivalry with a huge hit. On the first pitch he saw from Tanaka, Martinez took a 89 mile per hour splitter and launched it over the center field wall.

Third grand slam for the Red Sox as a team this season. Just a reminder, they hit NONE in 2017. All of the sudden, we had ourselves a new ball game. Red Sox down 8-6 going into the sixth, things were looking up. Unfortunately, the Yankees knocked on two more runs to make it a four run game.

Moving ahead to the bottom half of the ninth, the Red Sox were down to their last three outs against Aroldis Chapman, a pitcher who has struggled at Fenway Park in the past. Two straight hits from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez put runners on second and third with no outs. Pinch hitting for Brock Holt, Sandy Leon failed to score either run and popped out to right field. After Mookie Betts struck out on six pitches, a wild pitch with Rafael Devers at the plate allowed Bradley to score from third and cut the deficit to three runs. Unlike last season, Devers could not catch up to Chapman’s fastball, as he struck out to end the game.

Unfortunate result, but a very memorable game. I doubt anything will transpire tonight, but I’m looking forward to what these two teams have in store for the rest of the season.

Rick Porcello gets the ball against Sonny Gray in the rubber match later tonight. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

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RECAP: In Their First Meeting of the Season, the #RedSox Blew out the New York Yankees.

On a chilly Tuesday night over at Fenway Park, the 8-1 Boston Red Sox hosted the 5-5 New York Yankees for the first matchup between the two this season. On the mound, we had Chris Sale and Luis Severino, the second and third place finishers in the 2017 American League Cy Young race. To be honest, I was expecting a low scoring pitcher’s duel last night, but that’s the opposite of what we got.

In his first Fenway start of 2018, Chris Sale built on the early success he has had so far by keeping the Yankees lineup in check. The southpaw went six innings deep in this one, scattering eight hits and one run to go along with no walks and eight strikeouts. That lone run was just about the only mistake Sale made, as Yankees slugger Aaron Judge made him pay on a 1-0 fastball in the fifth inning, which Judge blasted over the center field wall. But like I said, that’s the only run Sale gave up, which is more than acceptable given the threats in the Yankees lineup. Speaking of that lineup, Sale managed to strike out new Yankee Giancarlo Stanton twice and Gary Sanchez once with this nasty slider:

When he departed after the sixth, Sale was at 87 pitches, 55 of which went for strikes. He probably would have come out for the seventh, but the Red Sox lineup put the game away in the bottom half of the inning by scoring nine times.

Instead of Sale, it was Joe Kelly who got the call for the seventh inning. First off, I dig his new walk in music.

And second, it was great to see Kelly pitch a scoreless inning. He did give up a leadoff single to Shane Robinson, but he also lowered his ERA all the way down to 8.31. Baby steps.

With the game already in hand, Brian Johnson was responsible for the last two innings of work. Making his second career relief appearance, Johnson actually got bloodied up pretty bad.

Pitching wise, he gave up a double and a walk while striking out two over the last two innings, securing his team’s ninth straight win.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup got to Yankees ace Luis Severino early and often. Once again, Mookie Betts led off the bottom of the first inning with a double. Two batters later, Hanley Ramirez drove him in on an RBI single, putting the Red Sox on top by one. In the second, Christian Vazquez led things off with a single. Two batters later, Mookie Betts advances Vazquez to second on a single. With runners on first and second and one out, Andrew Benintendi cleared the bases on his first triple of the season, putting the Red Sox up by three. To wrap things up in the second, Hanley Ramirez knocked in his second run of the night with another single, scoring Benintendi from third and giving the Red Sox their fourth and far from last run of the night.

Fast forward to the fourth, and Hanley Ramirez is still driving in runs. This time, he did it on a sac fly to right field. With Mookie Betts already at third base, that run scored easily.

Remember how the Red Sox exploded for six runs in the eighth inning this past Sunday? Well, they kind of did the same thing last night. Except this time it was earlier in the game and they put up more runs.

With Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle on the mound, Mookie Betts got the sixth started by ripping a double down the left field line. After back to back walks to Benintendi and Ramirez, JD Martinez found himself in an ideal situation. Down 1-2, Martinez took a 94 mile per hour fastball from Kahnle and nearly sent it out of the ballpark. Instead, the ball was slapped off the Green Monster, and two more runs came into score.

Another run and a few batters later, Mookie Betts found himself in nearly the exact same situation. Two outs, bases reloaded, with Chasen Shreve in for Kahnle. The result? Just a grand slam to put the Red Sox up by 13 runs.

Betts would finish with four hits and four RBIs in this one. In fact, the top third of the lineup did not record a single out last night. When the Red Sox have that going for them, I assume it’s going to be very hard to beat them. I mean, they’ve won nine games in a row for a reason.

Next up, David Price takes the hill against Masahiro Tanaka for the middle game later tonight. Price has been stellar so far, so I’ll be interested to see how he handles this Yankees lineup. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

 

 

 

RECAP: #RedSox Stage Epic Eighth Inning Comeback to Sweep the Rays.

Not too long ago, I thought this recap was going to go in a complete;y different direction. The Red Sox were trailing the Rays by five runs heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. Throughout the game, they really never put anything together against Rays pitching. Lo and behold, they erupted for six runs to take the lead and ultimately win the game. What an inning it was.

Eduardo Rodriguez got the start in this one, and the lefty did not look all that sharp in his 2018 debut. In 3.2 innings pitched, the Rays got to Rodriguez for three runs on five hits and two walks. After the first inning he had where he struck out the side, I did not expect to see Rodriguez struggle the way he did. I’d say things got shaky when the first batter Rodriguez faced in the top of the second, CJ Cron, launched a solo home run to center field, tying the game at one. Once that happened, the native of Venezuela needed a lot of pitches to get through the next two-plus innings, although he did strike out seven. When he departed with two outs in the fourth, his pitch count was at 92, which was right around his limit for today.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not able to keep the Rays in check. They obviously did enough to keep the team in the game, but it wasn’t great. Hector Velazquez tossed two innings, he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. Bobby Poyner came in with two outs in the sixth, he walked one and struck out another to end the inning. Brian Johnson made his first relief appearance of the season in the seventh, he gave up two runs to score while only recording one out. There was also a really scary moment for the Red Sox in the seventh. A triple off the bat of Joey Wendle to left field led to Xander Bogaerts recieving a relay throw from JD Martinez. While trying to get the ball to Rafael Devers, Bogaerts lost the ball and it rolled towards the Rays dugout. Trying to save the ball from rolling out of the field of play, the short stop slid down the dugout steps in order to push the ball back towards the field. Unfortunately, Bogaerts roughed up his left ankle on the slide and would have to leave the game. Brock Holt came in to take over at short.

Heath Hembree came in to finish the inning, he got the only two batters he faced to fly out and ground out. Carson Smith got the call for the eighth inning. He looked shaky yet again as he loaded the bases after recording the first two outs. However, he got out of the inning with a clutch strikeout and is credited with the win. After that epic eighth inning, Craig Kimbrel came on for the start of the ninth and he retired all three batters he faced for his third save of the season.

Offensively, the Rays pitching staff did just about everything right against the Red Sox up until the eighth inning. Hanley Ramirez was responsible for the first two runs scored by the Red Sox in the first and fifth innings, but that and just four hits is all the Red Sox lineup could muster over the first seven. Fast forward to the bottom of the eighth, and things got really exciting, all with two outs in the inning.

Hanley Ramirez led things off with a single. Two batters later and two outs later, Mitch Moreland got his first hit of the season with a vintage RBI double off the monster, scoring Ramirez from second and cutting the deficit to four.

An Eduardo Nunez single put runners on first and third for Rafael Devers, who drove in both Moreland and Nunez by lining a double into the left field corner. Deficit is now at two.

A pitching change by the Rays saw Alex Colome take things over for Matt Andriese. That did not make a difference. The first batter Colome faced, Christian Vazquez, ripped an RBI single to left center that scored Devers from second. All the sudden, we had a one run game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Back to the top of the order, Mookie Betts collected his second hit of hit the day with a game-tying RBI single to left, barely scoring Vazquez from second.

Next up, Andrew Benintendi had arguably the most important at bat of the game. On a 1-1 count, Benintendi took a cutter from Colome and just got enough of the monster to drive in Betts with a double. The score now was 8-7, and that’s how it would end.

A six run comeback to win your eighth straight game is a great way to end the weekend and go into an off day. The Red Sox are 8-1, at no point in their history have they ever been better through nine games.

The New York Yankees are next up on the schedule, as they come into Fenway for a three game set that starts Tuesday night. The pitching matchup will be Chris Sale versus Luis Severino, power arm versus power arm. Should be a good one. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

 

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Drives in Career Best Six Runs as #RedSox Win Seventh Straight Game.

After an off day on Friday, the Red Sox picked up where they left off against the Tampa Rays Today.

Making his second start of the season, Rick Porcello impressed in his 2018 Fenway Park debut. The righty got off to a rough start, as he allowed the Rays to score twice in the top of the first, but he really settled down after that. At one point, Porcello had retired 17 batters in a row from the second to the seventh inning. He finished with a line of 7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, O BB, and 7 K’s. With those two runs the Rays scored in the first, the Red Sox streak of seven straight games where starters allowed less than one earned run ended, but it was a solid outing from Porcello nonetheless. The New Jersey native exited in the eighth after throwing 94 pitches, 66 of which went for strikes.

When Porcello departed with one out in the top of the eighth, it was righty reliever Marcus Walden who took over for him. Walden got the only batter he faced in the inning, Mallex Smith, to ground out into a 1-6-3 double play, thus ending things in the inning. Fast forward to the ninth, and Walden retired the side in order, striking out two and getting some help from Andrew Benintendi with the second out.

This performance was good to see out of Walden compared to how he looked last week against the Rays and Marlins. He’ll be optioned to Triple A Pawtucket to make room for Eduardo Rodriguez, who will be activated from the 10-Day Disabled List and will start in the series finale tomorrow.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup had their way with Rays pitching in this one. After going down by two runs very quickly, the Red Sox headed to the second inning up by two. Mookie Betts got things started right away with a leadoff double, and that was followed by a Andrew Benintendi walk and a Hanley Ramirez bloop single. With the bases loaded and no outs, JD Martinez came extremely close to launching  a grand slam to right field, but Rays center fielder Carlos Gomez came up with it. That did allow Betts to score from third and the Red Sox were on the board. The very next batter, Xander Bogaerts, got his great day at the plate started by lacing a double off the left field wall, clearing the bases and putting his team up by one. Rafael Devers was up next, and he drove Bogaerts home with an RBI single to right, and the Red Sox were up 4-2 in a very exciting first inning.

In the very next inning, the Red Sox lineup matched the total of runs they scored in the first by putting up another four runs, all on one swing of the bat from Xander Bogaerts. After Rays starter Jake Faria had walked three of the first five batters he faced in the second inning, Bogaerts took things into his own hands yet again and delivered big. Again.

That slam was the first from the Red Sox since September 24, 2016, which Dustin Pedroia was responsible for. That also came against the Tampa Bay Rays.

With that grand slam, Xander Bogaerts had upped his RBI total in the game to six, a new career high for the short stop. He is now hitting .371 on the season with an OPS of 1.148.

The bats went silent for a while after those first two innings, as Rays pitching held them to zero runs over the next four innings. Fast forward to the bottom of the seventh though, and things started to pick up again.

With Chaz Roe on the mound and JD Martinez at the plate, can you guess who won in this matchup? If you guessed Martinez, you would be correct because the Red Sox slugger launched his first home run of the season over the Green Monster to put his team up 9-2.

Gotta love the silent treatment when Martinez made his way back to the dugout after rounding the bases.

Two batters later and we had Rafael Devers launching his first home run of the season off of Roe as well, giving the Red Sox their tenth and final run of the contest.

All and all, it was a great day for the Red Sox lineup. Not only did they score a ton of runs, but they drew a total of six walks and forced the Rays to use five pitchers, including a position player, the day before their “bullpen day”.

The Red Sox are now 7-1. This is the best start to a season they have had since 1920. Like I said, Eduardo Rodriguez will be getting the start tomorrow afternoon, with Andrew Kittredge “starting” for the Rays. First pitch is at 1:05 with the Red Sox going for their eighth straight win.

#RedSox #1 Prospect Michael Chavis Has Been Suspened 80 Games for PED Use.

Statement from Chavis:

Well, this news stinks. The number one prospect in the Red Sox organization, Michael Chavis, has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for the use of PEDs. Chavis, 22, tested positive for the drug Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone this past offseason, and will not receive pay while he is suspended.

Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone is a drug players have tested positive for in the past. Just two seasons ago, Massachusetts native Chris Colabello, then with the Toronto Blue Jays, received an 80 game suspension for testing positive for the same drug.

Chavis has stated that he was not aware of taking any banned substance, but that doesn’t matter now. Already blocked by Rafael Devers at the major league level, the third baseman will miss out on a chance to further develop at first base, which he had been doing, and garner any sort of trade interest from other teams.

Having been in the Red Sox farm system for nearly four years, I found this news to be quite disappointing. It took some time, but last season was the best one Chavis has had as a minor leaguer, as he posted a career high .910 OPS between Single A Salem and Double A Portland. Could he have been using then? Probably, his numbers don’t look so great if you take away what he did in 59 games with Salem to start the 2017 season. Now, he’ll have to wait until sometime in July until he can take the field again in an organized game.

2016 first round pick Jay Groome takes over as the number one prospect in the Red Sox organization, if that’s how the rankings work.

RECAP: Hanley Ramirez Comes Through for #RedSox Again in 3-2 Opening Day Win.

Playing in their first home game of the season, the Red Sox played their second straight game that went into extra innings. They won the first one in Miami, and they won in 12 innings today against the Tampa Bay Rays.

David Price got the start in this one, and he looked just as good as he did last Friday in Tampa Bay. The southpaw once again tossed seven shutout innings, scattering three hits, walking three, and striking out five. He threw 91 pitches on Thursday, 56 of which went for strikes.

Price has yet to yield a single run to opponents, and his start marks the seventh straight start a by Red Sox pitcher where one or fewer runs have been scored off of them. Through those seven games, Red Sox starters own a 0.86 ERA in 42 innings pitched to go along with 39 total strikeouts and just 10 walks. Those are some impressive numbers, but unfortunately, David Price could not get the W today even though he deserved it.

Once Price departed after completing seven innings, Carson Smith took over in the top of the eighth. Smith walked the first batter he saw, and followed that by serving up a home run to Rays third baseman Matt Duffy. Duffy, who owns a career .393 Slugging Percentage, gave his team a two-run lead thanks to his first long ball of the season. Smith was able to get out of the inning, but his start to this season has been far from promising. In four appearances, the Texas native has given up four earned runs in 2.2 innings pitched, making for an ERA north of 10 at 13.50. Not a great look for the righty who still hasn’t settled in with his club despite this being his third season here.

Trailing 2-0 heading into the ninth, Hector Velazquez would be responsible for keeping the deficit at two runs, and that is exactly what he did. Considering the fact he just started a game this past Sunday, I was surprised to see Velazquez come out of the bullpen on just three days rest. He pitched a clean inning though, and the Red Sox managed to score twice in the bottom half of the inning, so credit to Velazquez for holding the Rays in check.

With the game headed to extras, Craig Kimbrel would get the call to pitch in the top of the tenth in a non-save situation. The Red Sox closer was a bit shaky today, which led to him loading the bases while recording the first two outs of the inning. Going up against Rays DH CJ Cron, Kimbrel came through with a huge strikeout, keeping the game tied.

Next up out of the bullpen, Bobby Poyner was the last pitcher used by the Red Sox. The rookie reliever retired the side in order in the eleventh. In the twelfth, Poyner gave up a leadoff single to Joey Wendle, then proceeded to retire the next three batters he faced. With his stellar performance in this one, Poyner was credited with the first win of his young big league career.

Offensively, the Rays held the Red Sox lineup in check yet again. Despite not using a stereotypical starting pitcher, the Rays have found some success in sticking with just relief pitchers on two occasions this season. The first time, March 31st, Rays pitching surrendered three runs to the Red Sox. Today, April 5th, Rays pitching surrendered another three runs to the Red Sox. Both of these games have resulted in losses for Tampa Bay, but the pitching has not been to blame.

Anyway, the Red Sox didn’t score their first run of the game until the ninth inning. A Mookie Betts leadoff single followed by an Andrew Benintendi walk set up Hanley Ramirez in a prime position. On the second pitch of his at bat against Alex Colome, Ramirez lined a single to center field, allowing Betts to score from second to make it a one run game. After JD Martinez grounded into a double play, it came down to Xander Bogaerts to either tie this thing or win it himself.

With Andrew Benintendi just 90 feet away, Bogaerts laced a clutch double off the wall in left field, just out of the reach of Mallex Smith.

This allowed Benintendi to easily score from third and we had ourselves a tied game. Three batters later and the bases loaded, Jackie Bradley Jr. nearly won the game for the Red Sox on an infield single , but he was ruled out at first by just inches.

jbj out

After going scoreless in the next two innings, the Red Sox offense picked up again in the bottom of the twelfth. A Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff double was followed by a beautiful sac bunt off the bat of Christian Vazquez. With one out and a runner at third, Rays pitching intentionally walked Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, loading the bases with Hanley Ramirez at the plate. On the first pitch he saw from Ryan Yarbrough, Ramirez ended things by lining a walk off single to right field, scoring Bradley and giving the Red Sox the 3-2 win.

That marks six straight wins for this Red Sox team. This also marks two straight wins Hanley Ramirez is pretty much responsible for. A healthy Hanley can elevate this lineup, and that is what he has done so far this season. After today’s performance, Ramirez has taken over the team lead in RBIs with six. He has also been playing exceptional defense at first as well. Seven games in and Hanley has definitely proven why Alex Cora wants him batting third in the lineup almost everyday.

Next up for the Red Sox is another off day on Friday. After that, Rick Porcello will make the start on Saturday afternoon against Rays righty Jake Faria, who allowed one run in four innings last time he faced the Red Sox on April 1st.

Also, Eduardo Rodriguez is back and he will be starting on Sunday. That’s probably why Velazquez came out of the bullpen today. Looking forward to that.

We also got Lil Wayne tweeting about the Red Sox, so that’s something.

VERY LATE RECAP: Hanley Ramirez’s Go-Ahead 2 RBI Double Gives #RedSox the 4-2 Win in Extras.

Well I am very late with this recap blog. The game ended about 20 hours ago, so my thoughts on the game aren’t that fresh anymore. Instead of breaking down the entire game like I usually do, I guess I’ll just give the SparkNotes version of what went down last night to go along with some videos.

Chris Sale tossed five innings last night and gave up one run.

Jackie Bradley Jr. made a fantastic catch.

JD Martinez drove in the first run of the game in the top of the first for his second RBI of the season.

After the Marlins tied the game in the fourth, the next run of the game was not scored until the top of the eleventh, when Andrew Benintendi drove in Eduardo Nunez from second with a one out RBI single, his first of the season.

Later in that inning, it looked like Matt Barnes was about to get the save for the Red Sox, but he allowed the tying run to score. Luckily, Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts were able to get Justin Bour out at the plate, leaving the game tied heading to the twelfth.

Hanley Ramirez continued his mean streak against his former team, as he finished the game with two hits, including this very clutch two-run double in the top of the thirteenth.

That would all but lock up the victory for the Red Sox in this one. Heath Hembree was rewarded with his first win of the year, thanks to the two shutout innings he pitched. Here’s his last pitch:

Before I forget, JBJ was not the only center fielder to make an impressive catch last night. Marlins rookie Lewis Brinson robbed Mookie Betts of  a potential go-ahead solo blast back in the eleventh.

Impressive to say the least. Good thing the Marlins never got the chance to capitalize on it.

Five straight wins for the Red Sox heading into Opening Day at Fenway Park. I will not be there, but I will be watching. And I will have a normal recap blog to post after, hopefully.

Okay, that will do it for this shortened recap. Shoutout Hanley Ramirez, the real Mr. 305. Dale!