Kiké Hernández, Connor Wong both homer as Red Sox avoid sweep with 8-2 win over Reds; Chris Sale leaves game with shoulder soreness

Behind a six-run eighth inning, the Red Sox avoided a sweep at the hands of the Reds on Thursday night. Boston salvaged the series and put an end to a three-game losing streak by defeating Cincinnati by a final score of 8-2 at Fenway Park to improve to 29-27 on the season.

Chris Sale, making his 11th start of the year for the Sox, came out firing out of the gate. Facing the Reds for the first time in his career, the veteran left-hander struck out six of the first eight batters he faced over two scoreless innings before running into some trouble in the top of the third.

With one out and the bases empty, Sale surrendered back-to-back doubles to Curt Casali and Kevin Newman, allowing the Reds to open the scoring. Though he managed to strand Newman in the third, Sale once again gave up back-to-back doubles to Spencer Steer and Tyler Stephenson to lead off the fourth.

That sequence of events put runners at second and third for Stuart Fairchild, who flew out to Alex Verdugo in right field. Steer attempted to tag up from third on the play, but he was instead gunned down by Verdugo, who made an accurate throw to home and picked up his fourth outfield assist of the season after the Reds unsuccessfully challenged the call on the field.

With two outs and Nick Senzel at the plate, Sale fell behind in the count at 3-1, which prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora and assistant athletic trainer Masai Takahashi to pay him a visit on the mound. The lefty talked his way into staying in the game, but he then walked Senzel on six pitches and was removed from the contest after being visited by Cora and Takahashi yet again.

Sale, who was later diagnosed with left shoulder soreness, will undergo an MRI on Friday to determine just how severe the issue is. The 34-year-old left the mound on Thursday having allowed one earned run on five hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work. He threw 59 pitches (40 strikes) and did not factor into the decision.

Justin Garza took over for Sale out of the Boston bullpen and recorded the final out in the top of the fourth. The Red Sox lineup then got to Reds starter Hunter Greene in the bottom half of the frame after the talented righty had fanned seven of the first 10 Boston hitters he faced.

Rafael Devers led things off by lofting a 348-foot fly ball that center fielder Jose Barrero lost in the lights. Devers, who was credited with a double after moving up to second, then came into the score the tying run on a groundball RBI single off the bat of Justin Turner.

Following three scoreless innings of relief from Garza, Josh Winckowski, and Nick Pivetta, the Red Sox broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh. With new reliever Ian Gibaut in the game for the Reds, Enrique Hernandez crushed a go-ahead, 411-foot solo shot over the Green Monster for his fifth home run of the year.

Hernandez’s 103.5 mph blast gave Boston its first lead of the night at 2-1, but Cincinnati wasted no time in retaliating. Chris Martin, who did not yield a single run in eight May appearances, got the call for the eighth inning and immediately lost the lead by serving up a leadoff double to Newman and a game-tying single to Matt McLain.

Martin avoided any further damage by inducing a 5-4-3 double play and a flyout, paving the way for the Red Sox to get back to work in the latter half of the eighth. After Verdugo drew a leadoff walk off Reds righty Kevin Herget, Devers immediately drove him in by lacing a 106.5 mph go-ahead RBI double into the triangle.

Following a Turner single, the Reds elected to intentionally walk Jarren Duran. Herget then balked with the bases loaded to put the Sox up, 4-2. Hernandez tacked on two more with a two-run single through the right side of the infield before Connor Wong broke it open by depositing a 401-foot two-run homer into the first row of Monster seats.

Wong’s sixth big fly of the season gave the Red Sox a commanding 8-2 lead going into the final frame. Kenley Jansen then slammed the door on the Reds in a non-save opportunity by working his way around a two-out walk in an otherwise clean top of the ninth.

Next up: Rays in for four

After picking up their first home win against a National League Central opponent this season, the Red Sox will next welcome the division rival Rays into town for a four-game weekend series beginning Friday night. The set includes a scheduled day-night doubleheader on Saturday.

In Friday’s series opener, Garrett Whitlock will get the start for Boston opposite fellow right-hander Tyler Glasnow for Tampa Bay. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Connor Wong and Enrique Hernandez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Jorge Alfaro opts out of minor-league deal with Red Sox

Veteran catcher Jorge Alfaro has opted out of his minor-league contract with the Red Sox and intends to test free agency, according to’s Chris Cotillo. The club now has 48 hours to decide whether to block the 29-year-old backstop’s opt-out by adding him to the active roster.

Alfaro, who turns 30 later this month, joined the Red Sox on a minors pact in January after being non-tendered by the Padres last November. Though the right-handed hitter did not make Boston’s Opening Day out of spring training, he elected to remain in the organization and has since torn it up with Triple-A Worcester.

Entering Thursday, Alfaro has batted a stout .320/.366/.520 with 13 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 30 RBIs, 22 runs scored, four stolen bases, nine walks, and 43 strikeouts in 43 games (191 plate appearances) with the WooSox. Defensively, the native Colombian has allowed six passed balls and has thrown out five of 35 would-be base stealers while splitting time behind the plate with Caleb Hamilton and Ronaldo Hernandez. He has also made two starts at first base.

Despite the strong offensive performance, it does not appear as though the Red Sox are keen on adding Alfaro to their 26-man group. That being the case because they are comfortable with the tandem of Connor Wong and Reese McGuire and do not intend on carrying a third catcher at this time.

When speaking with reporters (including Cotillo) prior to Wednesday’s loss to the Reds at Fenway Park, Red Sox manager Alex Cora acknowledged that Alfaro would be a tough fit on the roster as things stand now.

“He’s swinging the bat well,” Cora said. “We’ll see where we’re at. Obviously, right now, we’re very comfortable with Reese and Wong. There’s (another) 29 teams out there. They might have a chance or not. In a selfish way, hopefully, nobody wants him. As a person and a player, I would love him to be in the big-leagues, either with us or somebody else. It’s where we’re at right now. We’re very comfortable with these two guys. I’ll repeat myself.”

As noted by Cotillo, the Red Sox will presumably wait until the 48-hour deadline to make their official decision on Alfaro. That way, they can protect themselves in the event that either Wong or McGuire suffer some sort of injury in the interim.

If Alfaro does indeed leave the organization, though, Hamilton and Hernandez would emerge as the top two catching options for the WooSox while Stephen Scott and Nathan Hickey are right behind them at Double-A Portland.

(Picture of Jorge Alfaro: Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

James Paxton’s 8 strikeouts not enough as Red Sox blow late lead in 5-4 loss to Reds; Masataka Yoshida, Enmanuel Valdez homer

For the second night in a row, the Red Sox fell short of a comeback win over the Reds in the process of suffering their second straight one-run loss and their third straight loss overall.

Despite receiving a strong performance from James Paxton and leading after six innings, Boston fell to Cincinnati by a final score of 5-4 at Fenway Park on Wednesday to drop back to one game of .500 at 28-27 on the season.

With right-hander Luke Weaver starting for the Reds, the Red Sox opened the scoring when Masataka Yoshida belted a 359-foot solo shot down the right field line to lead off the bottom half of the second inning. Yoshida’s seventh home run of the year, and first since May 4, left his bat at 97.8 mph.

An inning later, Connor Wong extended his hitting streak to seven by reaching base on a one-out single. He then moved up to second on an Alex Verdugo groundout before coming into score on an opposite-field RBI double from Rafael Devers. The run-scoring knock was the 200th two-base hit of Devers’ career, but he was left at second as Justin Turner grounded out to end the third.

Boston would maintain a two-run lead through four innings. Paxton, who to that point had experienced very little turbulence in his fourth start of the season for the Sox, then ran into some trouble in the fifth. After recording the first two outs of the frame via strikeout, the veteran left-hander issued a four-pitch walk to Jose Barrero.

Luke Maile, Cincinnati’s No. 9 hitter, wasted no time in making Paxton pay for the free pass by driving in Barrero all the way from first on a towering RBI double off the Green Monster. Maile then advanced to third on a Kevin Newman single, but Paxton stranded the runners on the corners by fanning the final batter he faced in Matt McLain.

All told, Paxton allowed just the one earned run on four hits and one walk to go along with eight strikeouts over five solid innings of work. The 34-year-old finished with exactly 100 pitches (68 strikes) and induced 22 swings-and-misses, the most of any big-league pitcher on Wednesday. He also lowered his ERA on the season to 4.26.

With Paxton’s night done, the Red Sox got that run right back in the bottom of the fifth when rookie Enmanuel Valdez took Weaver 356 feet over the Green Monster for his fourth homer of the year. The 99.1 mph blast put Boston back up, 3-1, going into the sixth.

Kutter Crawford received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Making his first appearance since tweaking his right ankle in Arizona this past Saturday, Crawford immediately issued back-to-back walks out of the gate. The righty then retired Tyler Stephenson and the pinch-hitting Jake Fraley on a pair of flyouts, but he could not escape the jam entirely.

Instead, Crawford extended the inning by giving up an RBI single to Nick Senzel that cut Boston’s lead down to one at 3-2. Josh Winckowski came on to record the final out of the sixth but he, too, was not his usual self in the top of the seventh.

After Maile reached on a Devers throwing error to lead off the inning, Newman and McClain delivered back-to-back singles to fill the bases with no outs. Winckowski then got Jonathan India to ground into a a 6-4-3 double play, but it was enough to allow the pinch-running Will Benson to score from third to knot things up at three runs apiece.

Just moments after they tied the game, Spencer Steer gave the Reds their first lead of the night by crushing a go-ahead, two-run home run into the Monster seats off Winckowski, who was ultimately charged with a blown save as well as the losing decision.

Trailing 5-3 now, the Red Sox had a golden opportunity to respond in the latter half of the inning. Valdez, Verdugo, and Devers all reached to fill the bases with two outs. But lefty reliever Alex Young got Turner to ground out to short to extinguish the threat.

Following a 1-2-3 top of the eighth from Chris Martin, Yoshida led off the bottom half with a hard-hit double off new Reds reliever Lucas Sims. Jarren Duran then drove in Yoshida from second with a two-base hit of his own. Alas, the potential tying run was left on base as the pinch-hitting Raimel Tapia (lineout) and Valdez were each retired by Sims.

Like Martin, Nick Pivetta put up a zero in the top of the ninth to give the Red Sox one more shot in the latter half. With two outs and the bases empty, Devers lifted a 104.6 mph line drive to center field off Buck Farmer, but it fell well short of the bleachers and was caught by Senzel on the warning track for the final out.

Next up: Sale gets ball in series finale

On the heels of a 13-13 May, the Red Sox will look to open the month of June by putting an end to this three-game losing streak and avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Reds in Thursday’s series finale. Left-hander Chris Sale will get the start for Boston while Cincinnati will counter with hard-throwing right-hander Hunter Greene.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox rally late, but fall short of comeback in 9-8 loss to Reds

They certainly made things interesting in the end, but the Red Sox could not overcome an eight-run deficit and pull off a come-from-behind win over the Reds on Tuesday night. Boston instead got to within one run in the ninth inning before falling to Cincinnati by a final score of 9-8 at Fenway Park to drop to 28-26 on the season.

With Brayan Bello making his eighth start of the year for the Sox, the Reds opened the scoring in the top half of the second. After giving up back-to-back one-out singles to Will Benson and Stuart Fairchild, Bello yielded an RBI groundout to T.J. Friedl, who beat out a would-be inning-ending double play.

The Red Sox had a golden opportunity to respond against Reds starter Ben Lively in the bottom of the second. Masataka Yoshida drew a leadoff walk and immediately went from first to third base on a line-drive double from Jarren Duran. Enrique Hernandez then drew another walk to fill the bases with one out. But Lively escaped the jam by fanning Enmanuel Valdez and getting Reese McGuire to line out to reigning National League Player of the Week Matt McClain.

Bello proceeded to grind through a scoreless third inning before surrendering a leadoff triple to Will Benson to begin things in the fourth. The right-hander was able to strand Benson at third base by retiring Fairchild and striking out the final two batters he faced.

Because he needed 97 pitches (61 strikes) to get through four innings, Bello’s night came to a close sooner than expected. The 24-year-old hurler wound up allowing just the one earned run on five hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. He induced six swings-and-misses and was ultimately charged with his third losing decision of the year.

In relief of Bello, Justin Garza received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The righty ran into immediate trouble in the fifth by giving up a leadoff single to Jonathan India, which was immediately followed by a run-scoring double off the bat of Jake Fraley to put Cincinnati up, 2-0, at the midway point.

Again, the Red Sox had a chance to get to Lively in their half of the fifth. With two outs and one runner on first following a leadoff single from Hernandez, Raimel Tapia laced a 103.5 mph double off the Green Monster. Hernandez, who was waved in by third base coach Carlos Febles, attempted to score all the way from first on the play, but he was instead gunned down at home plate on a perfectly-executed relay started by Reds center fielder Jose Barrero.

Hernandez was in the spotlight for the wrong reasons in the sixth inning as well. After issuing a leadoff single to Benson and one-out walk to Barrero, Garza got McClain to hit a grounder to Hernandez at shortstop. Hernandez fielded the ball cleanly, but — in an attempt to start an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play — he then made a poor throw to the awaiting Valdez at second base.

As a result of Hernandez’s second error of the night and his 11th of the season, Benson scored his side’s third run while Barrero and McClain each advanced an additional 90 feet. Joely Rodriguez then came on to record the final out of the sixth on a five-pitch punchout, but the lefty was not nearly as sharp in the seventh.

Rodriguez walked two of the first four batters he faced in the inning in the process of filling the bases with one out. He followed that by sequence by issuing a bases-loaded free pass to Fairchild, which brought in Kevin Newman from third to give the Reds a 4-0 advantage. Barrero then doubled that lead on one swing of the bat, as he clobbered a 421-foot grand slam off the leftmost light standard above the Green Monster.

Trailing by eight runs going into the latter half of the seventh, the Red Sox finally got on the board. After Lively went 5 2/3 scoreless frames and Alex Young got the final out of the sixth, Fernando Cruz put up a three-spot on the other side of the stretch. With two outs, Valdez singles off Cruz and then scored all the way from first on an RBI double from McGuire. Back-to-back run-scoring triples from Tapia and Rafael Devers cut the deficit to five at 8-3.

Cincinnati got one of those runs back in the eighth, as Tyler Stephenson belted a one-out triple to deep center field before scoring on a Spencer Steer sacrifice fly that came off Ryan Sherriff. After poor base running from Yoshida led to Triston Casas lining lining out to an inning-ending double play a half-inning later, it appeared as if Boston was headed towards a rather ugly loss to kick off the homestand.

That changed in the ninth, though. With Eduardo Salazar on the mound for the Reds, Valdez drew a one-out walk and McGuire followed with another double to put runners at second and third. Tapia, Devers, and Justin Turner then strung together three straight run-scoring hits to trim Cincinnati’s lead to three runs and force manager David Bell to turn to his closer in Alexis Diaz.

Diaz, in turn, served up an RBI double to Yoshida, who was pinch ran for by Pablo Reyes. With runners at second and third, Duran pushed across Turner and allowed Reyes to move up to third with an RBI groundout. Just like that, the tying run was only 90 feet from home plate.

Down to their final out, Casas fell behind in a 1-2 count before whiffing at an 89.7 mph sinker at the knees to end it. Casas finished the night having gone 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. The Red Sox, as a team, left seven runners on base altogether.

At three hours and 12 minutes, Tuesday’s loss marked Boston’s second-longest nine-inning game of the season. Only an 8-3 win over the Blue Jays back on May 3 (three hours and 10 minutes) took longer.

Devers reaches milestone

With his run-scoring single in the seventh inning, Devers notched the 500th RBI of his big-league career. The 26-year-old is the 35th player to record 500 RBIs for the Red Sox and is the fourth-youngest player to do so behind only Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, and Jim Rice.

Tapia finishes homer shy of cycle

By putting together his first three-hit game as a member of the Red Sox on Tuesday, Tapia finished a home run shy of the cycle. The 29-year-old outfielder doubled in the fifth inning, tripled in the seventh inning, and singled in the ninth inning. He is now batting .364/.417/.500 over his last seven games.

Next up: Weaver vs. Paxton

The Red Sox will look to snap this two-game skid in the second game of this three-game set against the Reds on Wednesday night. Left-hander James Paxton will get the start for Boston while Cincinnati will counter with right-hander Luke Weaver.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Raimel Tapia: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote infield prospect Christian Koss to Triple-A Worcester

To accommodate the addition of shortstop Marcelo Mayer to Double-A Portland’s roster, the Red Sox have promoted fellow infield prospect Christian Koss to Triple-A Worcester, per the club’s minor-league transactions log.

Koss, 25, batted .224/.283/.336 with seven doubles, one triple, two home runs, 10 RBIs, 18 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 10 walks, and 33 strikeouts in 38 games (147 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs this season.

Considering how much better he did in Portland last year (.739 OPS in 125 games), those numbers may seem underwhelming on a broader scope. Still, Koss has been more productive at the plate as of late. Dating back to May 21, for instance, the right-handed hitter has gone 7-for-23 (.304) with two doubles, one homer, three RBIs, five runs scored, two stolen bases, zero walks, and seven strikeouts over his last seven games. That homer came as part of a two-hit effort in Sunday’s 10-8 loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Hadlock Field.

On the other side of the ball, Koss has seen the majority of his playing time this season come at shortstop, where he has committed just one error in 281 1/3 innings. The versatile 6-foot-1, 182-pounder has also made two starts at second base, one start at third base, and one start in left field.

“He loves to play the game,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Koss back in March. “He’s made some great plays at shortstop, very athletic, versatile. He’s a good one.”

A former 12th-round draft selection of the Rockies coming out of UC Irvine in 2019, Koss was dealt to the Red Sox for left-hander Yoan Aybar in December 2020. The Riverside, Calif. native is currently regarded by as the No. 34 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

With the WooSox, Koss is slated to join a crowded infield mix that already includes Bobby Dalbec, Ryan Fitzgerald, Niko Goodrum, David Hamilton, and Nick Sogard. It is worth mentioning that he can once again become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter if he is not added to the Sox’ 40-man roster by the protection deadline in November.

(Picture of Christian Koss: Kelly O’Connor/

Red Sox place Corey Kluber on paternity list, recall Ryan Sherriff from Triple-A Worcester

Before opening a three-game series against the Reds at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, the Red Sox made a pair of roster moves pertaining to their bullpen.

Boston placed right-hander Corey Kluber on the paternity list and recalled left-hander Ryan Sherriff from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Kluber and his wife, Amanda, recently welcomed the birth of their fourth child. The 37-year-old must now remain on the paternity list for at least 24 hours, but no more than 72 hours. In other words, he is eligible to be reinstated on Wednesday at the earliest and by Friday at the latest.

Signed to a one-year, $10 million deal back in January, Kluber was Boston’s Opening Day starter to begin the 2023 season. But the veteran righty struggled to a 6.26 ERA (6.60 FIP) with 34 strikeouts to 18 walks in his first nine starts (41 2/3 innings) for the club.

Taking those difficulties into consideration, Kluber was removed from the starting rotation and demoted to the bullpen last week ahead of Garrett Whitlock’s return from the injured list. He has yet to pitch in relief for the Sox, which is something he has not done in a regular season game since 2013.

Sheriff, meanwhile, is back with the Red Sox for the second time this season after initially having his contract selected from Worcester earlier this month. The 33-year-old southpaw made two appearances on back-to-back days against the Mariners on May 16 and 17, marking his first big-league action since 2021. He tossed a scoreless frame in each of those games and recorded one strikeout.

With the WooSox this year, Sherriff has forged a 2.79 ERA and 3.57 FIP with 21 strikeouts to nine walks over 18 outings spanning 19 1/3 innings of work. He joins Joely Rodriguez as the only other lefty available to manager Alex Cora out of the Red Sox bullpen for the time being.

(Picture of Corey Kluber: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Adam Duvall set to begin rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester next week

Red Sox center fielder Adam Duvall will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester next Tuesday, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) prior to Friday’s series opener against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.

Duvall fractured his left wrist while attempting to make a diving catch on a sinking liner in Detroit on April 9 and has been sidelined ever since. Fortunately, the veteran slugger did not require surgery and is no longer wearing a cast or splint on his wrist.

Since having the cast removed earlier this month, Duvall has been building up strength in his left wrist while ramping up baseball activities on the field. It now appears as though the 34-year-old is ready to return to action, as he will join the WooSox for the start of their next series on the road against the Louisville Bats.

This milestone will represent a homecoming of sorts for Duvall, who hails from Kentucky and played his college baseball at Louisville. It remains to be seen how many minor-league games Duvall will need before being cleared to rejoin the Red Sox, though he told’s Chris Cotillo last week that his target date was June 9, which is when he is first eligible to come off the 60-day injured list.

Duvall signed a one-year, $7 million contract with Boston in January and had gotten his first season with the Red Sox off to a torrid start before getting hurt. In his first eight games, the right-handed hitter batted .455/.514/1.030 with five doubles, one triple, four home runs, 14 RBIs, 11 runs scored, three walks, and five strikeouts over 37 plate appearances.

In Duvall’s absence, Jarren Duran has emerged as the Red Sox’ primary center fielder. Though he was among the hottest hitters on the team early on, the speedy 26-year-old is currently in the midst of an 0-for-19 slump at the plate dating back to last Saturday.

(Picture of Adam Duvall: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox move Corey Kluber to bullpen

For the second time in as many weeks, the Red Sox have moved a member of their Opening Day starting rotation to the bullpen.

During his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Gresh and Fauria earlier Wednesday afternoon, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced that Corey Kluber would be joining Boston’s relief corps ahead of Garrett Whitlock’s return from the injured list this Saturday.

The decision to move Kluber to the bullpen comes two days after Tanner Houck put together his best start of the season in Monday’s 2-1 loss to the Angels in Anaheim. The right-hander allowed just one earned run on three hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with eight strikeouts over six strong innings.

Coming off that solid performance, Houck will now get the start in Sunday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. That responsibility was initially going to fall to Kluber, who has suddenly become the odd man out in a crowded rotation mix.

“We were waiting for Tanner to see how he felt after his start,” Cora said. “We’re going to make a change. Actually, Tanner is going to start on Sunday and Corey is going to go to the bullpen, starting on Friday.”

Kluber, 37, signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the Red Sox back in December that came with an $11 million club option for 2024. The veteran righty impressed in spring training and was named Boston’s Opening Day starter as a result.

Since taking the mound against the Orioles at Fenway Park on March 30, though, Kluber has struggled mightily, posting a dismal 6.26 ERA and 6.59 FIP with 34 strikeouts to 18 walks in his first nine starts (41 2/3 innings) as a member of the Red Sox. He allowed five runs (one earned) over a season-low 2 1/3 innings in this past Sunday’s 7-0 loss to the Padres in San Diego.

A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Kluber has only come out of the bullpen five times over the course of his 13-year big-league career. He did, however, make one relief appearance for the Rays in Game 2 of last October’s American League Wild Card Series against the Guardians.

“Well, we’ve been doing it for the last two or three years  having starters in the bullpen, and some guys we use more aggressively,” said Cora. “Others we’ve got to be patient, and the case with Corey, I think he came out of the bullpen last year in the playoffs, but he hasn’t done it throughout his career. 

“We’ve just got to make sure we give him enough time to be ready and see when we are  going to use him,” Cora added. “Obviously, we want him to get back on track, and back on track is throwing strikes, and this is something that he’s done throughout his career. He hasn’t done it the first month and a half [this] season. The stuff is … very similar to last year, but obviously the control and the command wasn’t there and we just got to make sure we keep making adjustments.”

With Kluber out of the picture for the time being, the Red Sox will now move forward with a five-man starting rotation consisting of Chris Sale, James Paxton, Houck, Whitlock, and Brayan Bello.

“We had that conversation with Corey and [he’s] very professional. He understands,” Cora said. “He signed here to be a starter, but right now he’s struggling and, you know, obviously the kids are throwing the ball well. There’s a lot of off-days coming up. So we decided to make the change.”

Kluber joins Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford, and Josh Winckowski as multi-inning options with starting experience available to Cora out of the Boston bullpen. Pivetta, of course, was jettisoned from the rotation last week to accommodate the addition of Paxton.

(Picture of Corey Kluber: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Red Sox held to 2 hits in 4-0 loss to Angels; Brayan Bello impresses again

After being held to one run on Monday, the Red Sox were shut out in yet another loss to the Angels on Tuesday night. Boston fell to Los Angeles by a final score of 4-0 at Angel Stadium to extend its losing streak to three and drop to 26-23 on the season.

In similar fashion to Monday’s series-opening defeat, a young right-hander shined on the mound for the Sox. Brayan Bello, making his seventh start of the year, allowed just two earned runs on six hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts over a career-high seven innings of work.

Both runs Bello surrendered came by way of the long ball. To lead off the bottom of the first, a red-hot Mickey Moniak crushed a 418-foot solo shot to deep center field to open the scoring for the Angels.

Though Bello gave up two more hits in the inning, he was able to settle down by retiring nine straight batters from the middle of the second through the end of the fourth. Matt Thaiss then led off the bottom half of the fifth with a 409-foot solo homer of his own to double Los Angeles’ lead to 2-0.

Bello once again rebounded by keeping the Angels off the scoreboard over the next two innings. He retired the side in order in the sixth and then stranded Gio Urshela at second base after yielding a two-out double in an otherwise clean bottom of the seventh.

Finishing with 98 pitches (67 strikes), Bello induced 12 swings-and-misses while averaging 96.1 mph with his four-seam fastball. The 24-year-old hurler was ultimately charged with the tough-luck loss, but he did lower his ERA on the season down to 4.08. That includes a 2.57 ERA in five starts since being recalled from Triple-A Worcester on April 28.

In relief of Bello, Joely Rodriguez received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora in the eighth. The left-hander immediately gave up a leadoff double to the pinch-hitting Taylor Ward and then served up a 393-foot two-run home run to Mike Trout that effectively put this one out of reach.

Heading into the ninth inning trailing by four, the Red Sox had gotten very little from their lineup to that point in the contest. Angels starter Griffin Canning, who came into play Tuesday sporting a 6.14 ERA in six outings, outdueled Bello by putting up zeroes over seven effective frames.

Canning scattered two hits and three walks. He only allowed one runner to advance into scoring position. That happened in the top of the second, when Triston Casas drew a two-out walk and Enmanuel Valdez followed with a single. Reese McGuire then struck out on a foul tip to extinguish the threat.

After veteran lefty Matt Moore replaced Canning in the top of the eighth, the pinch-hitting Rob Refsnyder drew a leadoff walk to bring the tying run to the plate with no outs. Refsnyder essentially switched places with Alex Verdugo, who grounded into a force out, before Masataka Yoshida grounded into an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play. Jacob Webb then made quick work of Justin Turner, Rafael Devers, and Valdez in the ninth to end it.

Tuesday marks the third shutout loss of the season for the Red Sox and the second in their last three games. They have scored just one run in their last 32 innings dating back to the fourth inning of Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Padres in San Diego.

Next up: Paxton looks to help Sox avoid sweep

The Red Sox will look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Angels in Wednesday night’s series finale. James Paxton is slated to make his third start of the season for Boston while Los Angeles will counter with fellow southpaw Tyler Anderson.

First pitch from Angel Stadium is scheduled for 9:38 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Richard Bleier on 15-day injured list, recall Brennan Bernardino from Triple-A Worcester

Before opening a three-game series against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday night, the Red Sox placed veteran reliever Richard Bleier on the 15-day injured list due to left shoulder inflammation. In a corresponding move, fellow left-hander Brennan Bernardino was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Bleier made his 19th appearance of the season for Boston in Sunday’s 7-0 loss to the Padres in San Diego. Over 1 1/3 innings, the 36-year-old gave up one run on one hit, which came on a solo homer off the bat of the left-handed hitting Matt Carpenter in the bottom of the third.

Following Sunday’s performance, Bleier now owns a 5.85 ERA and 5.44 FIP with 12 strikeouts to three walks across 20 innings of relief in his first season with the Red Sox. While the southpaw has excelled when it comes to getting batters to chase (36.6 percent chase rate) and not giving up free passes (3.4 percent walk rate), he has struggled in other areas.

According to Baseball Savant, Bleier currently ranks in the 10th percentile of all big-league pitchers in expected batting average (.291). He also ranks in the 13th percentile in expected slugging percentage (.498), the seventh percentile in strikeout rate (13.8 percent), the fourth percentile in whiff rate (16.3 percent), the first percentile in fastball velocity (86.9 mph), and the third percentile in fastball spin.

Acquired from the Marlins for Matt Barnes and cash considerations in late January, Bleier was brought in to tame opposing left-handed hitters out of the bullpen. As was the case on Sunday, though, Bleier has not had the best of time against lefties and is actually faring better against righties.

So far, lefties are hitting a stout .429/.467/.786 with one double and three home runs in 31 trips to the plate against Bleier this season. Righties, on the other hand, are batting just .231/.268/.346 with three doubles and one home run over 56 plate appearances.

At this point in time, it remains to be seen if Bleier will require more than 15 days on the injured list. If that is not the case, Bleier will first be eligible to be activated on Tuesday, June 6, when the Red Sox open a three-game set against the Guardians in Cleveland.

Bernardino, meanwhile, is up with Boston for the second time this season. The 31-year-old was optioned to Worcester last Tuesday, but he actually joined the big-league club in San Diego over the weekend as a member of the taxi squad. He was eligible to be called up on Monday since he is replacing an injured player.

Claimed off waivers from the Mariners in mid-April, Bernardino has appeared in 11 games for the Red Sox thus far. In that time frame, the native Californian has pitched to a 3.65 ERA (4.75 FIP) with 10 strikeouts to three walks over 12 1/3 innings of work.

With Bleier going on the injured list, Bernardino joins Joely Rodriguez as the only two lefties available to manager Alex Cora out of the Red Sox bullpen.

(Picture of Richard Bleier: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)