Red Sox unveil Opening Day roster, place Eduardo Rodriguez, Ryan Brasier on injured list and recall Tanner Houck from alternate training site

The Red Sox unveiled their 26-man Opening Day roster on Thursday and in doing so placed two pitchers on the injured list.

Both left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (left elbow inflammation) and right-hander Ryan Brasier (left calf strain) were placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to March 29.

Lefty Chris Sale (Tommy John surgery) will also begin the year on the injured list alongside Rodriguez and Brasier.

In place of Rodriguez, righty Tanner Houck was recalled from the Sox’ alternate training site in Worcester. The 24-year-old hurler will make his first start of the season on Saturday.

The Red Sox will go into the 2021 season with 14 pitchers and 12 position players on their major-league roster to start things out in the first of three against the Orioles on Friday afternoon.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox Waste Strong Start From Martín Pérez, See Three-Game Winning Streak Snapped in First Extra-Innings Loss of Season To Orioles

The Red Sox got their first taste of Major League Baseball’s new extra-innings rules for 2020 on Saturday and in doing so saw their winning streak snapped at three games following a 5-4 defeat at the hands of the Orioles in 10 innings.

Martin Perez made his sixth start of the year for Boston in this one, and he put together what was without a doubt his most impressive outing as a member of the Red Sox thus far.

Over seven quality innings of work, the left-hander yielded just one earned run while scattering five hits and one walk to go along with a season-best six strikeouts on the night.

That lone Baltimore tally came in the bottom of the second, when with one out and the bases empty, Perez served up a solo homer to Pat Valaika off a 1-1, 85 mph changeup on the outer half of the plate.

Other than that one blip though, Perez really got into a groove with the help of a few nifty plays from Alex Verdugo and Kevin Pillar.

From the middle of the third up until the conclusion of the sixth, the Venezuelan southpaw sat down 11 of 13 Orioles before running into a bit of trouble in the seventh.

There, Perez put runners at first and second with one out, and then runners at second and third with two outs, prior to retiring Ryan Mountcastle and Bryan Holaday in consecutive order to end his evening on a positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (62 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler was more aggressive in his approach on Saturday, as he turned to his cut-fastball 46% of the time he was on the mound, inducing seven swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 94.8 mph with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 16 times.

Unable to pick up the winning decision to no fault of his own while lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.45, Perez’s next start should come against the Nationals back at Fenway Park sometime next weekend.

In relief of Perez, fellow lefty Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the bottom half of the eighth, and he allowed multiple runs in his second consecutive appearance after issuing a two-out walk to Hanser Alberto and getting taken deep to left field by Anthony Santander.

That rocket of a two-run home run saw Boston’s deficit get erased entirely, and Ryan Brasier had to come on to get his side out of the eighth with the 3-3 stalemate still intact thanks to the efforts of Christian Vazquez, who gunned down Andrew Velezquez at second base to end the inning.

From there, Brasier came back out for the ninth and danced his way around a two-out infield single and walk in an otherwise clean frame of work to send this one to extra innings.

In extras, Matt Barnes entered the 10th with his side up 5-4 and a runner, Rio Ruiz, already on second base, as the new rules for this season go.

Barnes, fresh off his first save in over a year on Friday, then yielded a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt off the bat of Cedric Mullins which Mitch Moreland fielded and unsuccessfully attempted to get Ruiz out at third.

With still no outs recorded and runners on the corners, Barnes proceeded to issue a wild pitch in the middle of his duel against Alberto, allowing Ruiz to score from third and knot things up at five runs apiece.

By reaching on an infield single to second, Alberto advanced Mullins 90 feet to third base, and an intentional walk of Santander filled the bases for Baltimore.

Because of that predicament, Boston brought in Jackie Bradley Jr. from center field and ran with a five-man infield from that point forward.

As cunning as that strategy may have been, it did not work out in the end, as Barnes got walked off on following a scorcher of a one-out, game-winning single from Pedro Severino.

Again, one night after picking up his first save of 2020, Barnes was charged with his second loss and second blown save of the year as the O’s took this one by a final score of 5-4.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar opponent in Orioles veteran right-hander Alex Cobb, who held the Sox to one run in his season debut back on July 25.

This time around, the Boston bats were again held in check by Cobb, but only up until the fifth inning.

There, Bradley Jr. kicked off the scoring for his side by crushing his first home run of the year 402 feet to dead center field off a one-out, 2-1, 92 mph heater at the top of the zone from Cobb.

Jose Peraza followed that solo blast with a hard-hit, ground-rule double to left-center field that nearly left the park itself, and the second baseman was quickly driven in from second when the red-hot Alex Verdugo picked up his second extra-base hit of the contest on an RBI two-bagger that split the gap in right-center field.

An inning later, the middle portion of the Sox lineup got to new Orioles reliever Shawn Armstrong, with Moreland and Vazquez reaching on a one-out walk and single, and Kevin Pillar plating Moreland from second on a softly-hit run-scoring infield single. Just like that, the Sox had themselves a two-run lead at 3-1.

Alas, that 3-1 edge would not prove to be enough in the end, as Baltimore tacked on two runs of their own in their half of the eighth, which resulted in Boston playing in their first extra-innings game this year.

In the 10th, with Verdugo already on second since he recorded the last out of the ninth, three straight one-out walks drawn by J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Moreland off of Cole Sulser allowed the Sox outfielder to score from third and make it a 4-3 game.

Despite having the bases loaded with two outs to work with in the 10th, the Red Sox could not make anything of that golden opportunity against right-hander Miguel Castro, and after the Orioles walked it off in their half of the frame, 5-4 would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. They left 10 runners on base as a team.

Alex Verdugo extended his season-best hitting streak to 13 consecutive games on Saturday. He also picked up his league-leading fifth outfield assist.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Next up for the 9-19 Red Sox, it’s the finale of this four-game weekend series against the Orioles on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Zack Godley will get the start for Boston, while left-hander Wade LeBlanc will do the same for Baltimore.

Godley has yet to face the Orioles this season. LeBlanc, meanwhile, surrendered four runs to the Red Sox in his 2020 debut back on July 26.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox looking for the series win.

Red Sox Lineup: Mitch Moreland Returns as Boston Seeks Series Win Over Orioles

After stringing together their fist three-game winning streak of the season following an 8-5 victory over the Orioles on Friday, the Red Sox will look to improve to 10-18 on the season with another win in Baltimore on Saturday.

Left-hander Martin Perez will make his sixth start of the year for Boston, and he will be opposed by veteran right-hander Alex Cobb for Baltimore.

The 29-year-old Perez is coming off a rain-shortened outing in his last time out against the Yankees in which he surrendered three earned runs over three innings of work.

On the season as a whole, the Venezuelan southpaw owns a 4.07 ERA, a 4.82 FIP, and a .665 OPS against through five outings and 24 1/3 total innings pitched.

In four prior starts at Camden Yards, Perez has yielded 14 runs (12 earned) on 24 hits and five walks over 25 total frames. That’s good for a 4.32 ERA.

Cobb, meanwhile, has made three of his five starts this season in Baltimore and owns an ERA of 4.60 and OPS against of .691 in those outings.

Back on July 25, the 32-year-old opposed Perez in his first outing of the year and held the Sox to just one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings on the mound.

Including that strong start, Cobb has posted a 3.73 ERA in 18 career outings against Boston.

Here is how the Red Sox will be lining up against Cobb and behind Perez to begin things on Saturday:

Outside of the fact that Alex Verdugo has moved back up to the leadoff spot and Kevin Pillar has slipped down to the seven-hole, there really is not too much to point out here. Mitch Moreland is also back in the lineup with a right-hander on the mound for Baltimore.

Among these nine hitters, Moreland, Pillar, and J.D. Martinez have all taken Cobb deep once before in their careers, while Christian Vazquez has accrued 10 hits and collected two RBI in 14 prior at-bats against the Orioles righty.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox going for the series win over the O’s as well as their fourth straight win overall.

Christian Vazquez Crushes Red Sox’ 239th Home Run of 2019 to Set New Single-Season Franchise Record

Christian Vazquez made quite a bit of history on Wednesday night, setting the Red Sox’ record for home runs in a single season with his 23rd big fly of the year.

That 427-foot, two-run shot coming off of Rangers left-hander Kolby Allard on Wednesday marked the 239th homer hit by the Red Sox in 2019, surpassing the club’s previous record of 238 total home runs, which was set back in 2003.

Subsequently, Vazquez was removed from this contest in the fourth due to tightness in his left hamstring, which is believed to have popped up when the backstop went from first to third on a Mitch Moreland single in the top half of the second.

Per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, taking Vazquez out for Sandy Leon was more precautionary than anything, and he was not going to catch on Thursday regardless.

As it also turns out, Chris Owings added on to the Red Sox history as well on Wednesday, as his fourth inning strikeout at the hands of Rangers right-hander Luke Farrell marked Boston’s 1,338th punchout of the year to surpass the 2014 record of 1,337 K’s.

Luke is the son of former Sox manager John Farrell.

RECAP: Chris Sale Dazzles in Return from DL as #RedSox Complete Four-Game Sweep of Orioles in Three Days.

Less than 24 hours after sweeping the Orioles in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox were looking for the real four-game sweep this afternoon to head into an off day on a positive note.

Making his 23rd start of the season and first since July 27th due to a 10-day disabled list stint caused by left shoulder inflammation, Chris Sale picked off right where he left off and flat dominated at Camden Yards on Sunday.

Granted, it was against a last place Orioles team, but still, for not pitching in a big league game for over two weeks, Sale really did pick up right where he left off in this one.

Pitching five complete frames, the left-hander held Baltimore scoreless on one hit, a single, while not walking a single batter on the afternoon.

The most incredible part of this Sale start, at least for me, had to be the number of strikeouts.

As he faced 16 total Orioles through those five scoreless innings, Sale managed to punch out 12(!!!). 12! In five innings! That’s 80% of the outs he recorded. All done with just 68 pitches. Truly surreal.

Out of those 68 pitches thrown, 48 of which were strikes, the Florida native induced 15 total swings and misses on the day.while

Relying on his four-seam fastball 31 times, the seven-time All Star topped out at 99.7 MPH with it in the third inning. Another sign that Sale’s left shoulder is feeling quite fine.

Alex Cora made it clear following the game that Sale was going to be limited to 75 pitches no matter what happened. And given the fact he completed five innings in such a convincing fashion with those 68 pitches, it makes sense why they did not want to put him back out there only to have him not finish the sixth.

It’s also worth noting that this was the 29-year-old’s first in-game action this month, so easing him back into things isn’t such a bad plan either.

Regardless, Sale maintained the stellar form he has put on display time in and time out this season, and because of that, he increased his scoreless innings streak up to 28 dating back to July 6th.

Including today, Sale owns a nice 0.69 ERA over his last 10 starts with 109 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched over that span. He has not given up a home run in a start since the first day of June.

As he improved to 12-4 on the season, the lanky lefty will look to build on an impressive return to the rotation in his next time out, which should come sometime next week against either the Tampa Bay Rays or Cleveland Indians, depending on how the upcoming off days impact pitching matchups.

In relief of Sale, the Red bullpen was once gain turned to at a rather early spot starting in the sixth inning.

  • Tyler Thornburg entered in a 2-0 game and retired the first two batters he faced, but followed that up by loading the bases on a single and two walks in a frame he was unable to finish. Out of the 24 pitches Thornburg threw, 10 went for strikes. That is not good.
  • Ryan Brasier would have to come on and attempt to get out of the jam Thornburg had created, and he managed by getting Trey Mancini to strikeout in a nerve-wracking seven pitch at bat that ended the inning and left the bases juiced.
  • Brian Johnson, despite moving up to the rotation earlier in the week, got the call for the seventh, and he needed just 16 pitches to work his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise scoreless frame of work.
  • Matt Barnes’ August struggles continued in the eighth, as he allowed three of the first four Orioles he faced to reach and load the bases in a two-run game. Fortunately, after surrendering Baltimore’s lone run on a Trey Mancini sacrifice fly, the UCONN product buckled down and fanned Tim Beckham on four pitches to retire the side.
  • Finally, Craig Kimbrel came on for the save in the ninth with a brand new three run lead to work with. He too continued some recent struggles by allowing the tying run to come to the plate with runners on first and second, but struck out the final pair of Orioles hitters he faced to notch his 35th save and secure his team’s 85th win of 2018.

So, over the past three days/four games, Red Sox relievers has been responsible for 19.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen en route to the four-game sweep. Having two off days in the next four days will certainly come in handy to get those guys some rest.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles RHP Alex Cobb.

Despite the rough first year he has had in Baltimore, Cobb was certainly more reminiscent of his days with the Tampa Bay Rays in one of his better outings of the season on Sunday.

Starting the scoring right away in the top half of the first was none other than Steve Pearce, who greeted Cobb by mashing a solo shot to left field to give the Red Sox an early advantage. Yet another big fly off a former team for Pearce, his 10th of the year.

Fast forward to the fourth, and a leadoff double off the bat of Brock Holt would turn into Boston second’s run of the afternoon thanks to a fielding error in right field on a JD Martinez single. Despite Holt coming in to score on the E9 committed by Adam Jones, Martinez was not credited with an RBI on the play.

Five innings later and going into the ninth with a one-run lead, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts provided some late game insurance with a pair of RBI base knocks.

Bradley Jr. drove in Eduardo Nunez, who technically got the rally started with a leadoff single off of O’s reliever Mychal Givens, from second to make it a 3-1 game.

In the very next at bat, Mookie Betts, in a 2-0 hitter’s count, ripped an RBI double off of Givens to score Bradley Jr. all the way from first and extend his hitting streak to eight games.

4-1 on Betts’ 63rd RBI of the season, which would turn out to be the final score in favor of the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox’ 85 wins are their most ever through 120 games. They are 50 games above .500 for the first time since 1946.

Another one from @SoxNotes: Chris Sale has a 0.20 ERA in his last 7 starts (44.0 IP, 1 R). According to , that is the lowest ERA by a Red Sox pitcher over any 7-start span since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. In those 7 starts, Sale has 79 K and 6 BB.

At 85-35, the Red Sox will head to Philadelphia via train for a quick two-game set against the Phillies that begins on Tuesday.

Rick Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi will get the starting nod for Boston in those two interleague contests, as they will be matched up against RHPs Nick Pivetta and Vince Velazquez in that order.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET on Tuesday.

 

RECAP: A 10-3 Win over the Orioles Has the #RedSox off to Their Best Start in Franchise History.

Less than 24 hours after taking the series opener from the Orioles, the Red Sox won their third straight game today. Hector Velazquez got the start in this one, and he put together a solid performance against a lineup that can do some damage. In five complete innings, the right hander from Mexico allowed two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out five. Those two runs the Orioles scored off of Velazquez came on one swing of the bat, a Pedro Alvarez two-run home run in the fifth. Other than that mistake, not much to complain about because it could have been worse. I mean, the Orioles had runners on base in every inning Velazquez pitched in except the second, when he struck out the side. So, it was impressive to see him work his way out of those few jams he got himself into.

With Velazquez’s day done after throwing 86 pitches (58 strikes), it was Joe Kelly who got the call for the sixth inning. With some help from Jackie Bradley Jr., Kelly tossed a scoreless frame while striking out one. Here’s the first out that I was speaking of:

The only other pitcher the Red Sox used today was Marcus Walden, and he wrapped this thing up by going the last three innings. In those three innings, the Orioles were limited to just one run in the ninth and three hits total to go along with three strikeouts. This outing may very well be the best Walden has had thus far with the Red Sox, which is encouraging to see considering the fact he owned a 1.50 WHIP before today’s game and lowered his ERA by a full run with today’s effort.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup struck early yet again, facing off against old friend Alex Cobb, who was making his Orioles debut. Mookie Betts got things started with a leadoff walk in the first, and he injured himself while scoring on an Andrew Benintendi RBI double. How did Betts injure himself you ask? Well, take a look for yourself:

As can be seen in the video, Betts collided with Orioles catcher Chance Sisco while also taking a relay throw off the back. He managed to stay in the game for a little while after, but was eventually replaced by Blake Swihart in the fourth inning.

Anyway, still in the first, Hanley Ramirez returned from a wrist contusion he suffered on Thursday by scoring Benintendi along with himself on his third long ball of the year. That ball landed in the second row of the Monster seats in left field, in case you were interested.

Fast forward to the third, and JD Martinez put the fourth run for the Red Sox on the board with his third home run of the season.

An inning later, the Red Sox tacked on four more runs, upping their total on the day to eight. Andrew Benintendi collected his second and third RBI’s of the game by ripping a two out, two run single into right field, putting the Red Sox up by six. Hanley Ramirez followed that up by scoring Benintendi with an RBI double of his own. With JD Martinez at the plate, the fourth and final run of the inning scored on a throwing error after Martinez hit a ground ball to Manny Machado. A bad throw from the O’s shortstop allowed Ramirez to score from second. 8-0 heading into the fifth.

After the Orioles tacked on two runs of their own in their half of the fifth, the Red Sox responded an inning and a half later. With Blake Swihart on second, JD Martinez collected his second RBI of the day by ripping a single to left field.

In the seventh, Blake Swihart returned the favor by picking up his first RBI of the contest, scoring Brock Holt from second with a single to center field. That gave the Red Sox their tenth and final run of the game and all but guaranteed their twelfth win of the season.

At 12-2, the Red Sox have never had a better start in their storied history. Given the way they have handled the Orioles and their pitching staff so far, we very well could be looking at a 14-2 team heading into this upcoming road trip. If the weather holds up, Chris Sale will get the start against Dylan Bundy tomorrow afternoon. Temperatures are expected to be in the 30’s in Boston, so good luck to anyone heading into Fenway. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM.

Also, before I forget, Mookie Betts was diagnosed with a left foot contusion. X-Rays were negative and his status is day-to-day.