RECAP: Another Mookie Betts Leadoff Home Run Helps #RedSox Complete Sweep of Angels.

To be perfectly honest with you, I was expecting this Red Sox-Angels series to be a competitive one. Going into Tuesday, both teams were in the midst of impressive winning streaks, with the Red Sox at four straight and the Angels at seven. I thought the series opener, which featured David Price and Shohei Ohtani, would set the tone for what would be a close three games. Maybe the Red Sox take two out of three in Anaheim, I thought, that would be great. Well, I was completely wrong. Instead of three close games, the Red Sox blew out the Angels three nights in a row. They outscored the Angels 27-3 and never trailed at any point in the series. They entered at 13-2, and they leave at 16-2, marking the best start to a season a team has had since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers.

Eduardo Rodriguez made his third start of the season in this one, and he was fantastic. The lefty tossed six full innings, surrendering two earned runs on three hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts. His day got off to a bit of an odd start, with the home plate umpire having to leave the game after taking a foul ball off his right elbow, but the delay that took place did not appear to have any negative effect on Rodriguez. He recorded his first two K’s of the night by getting Mike Trout and Justin Upton back to back in the first.

The Angels tacked on their first run in the second. A one out walk to Andrelton Simmons lead to third baseman Zack Cozart driving him in on an RBI single two batters later. The only other real mistake Rodriguez made came later on in the fifth. With no outs and old friend Chris Young at the plate, Rodriguez tried to sneak a 94 MPH fastball by the Angels fourth outfielder, but failed, as Young took him deep to left center for his first home run with his new team. That cut the Red Sox lead at the time to one run.

By the time Rodrigurz got through his sixth and final frame, his pitch count was at a solid 104, 65 of which went for strikes. Since his horrid season debut back on the eighth of April, the native of Venezuela has been solid in his two starts, posting a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings pitched to go along with 13 K’s. It looks like he will be making his next start next Wednesday in Toronto.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen nearly tossed a perfect three innings. Heath Hembree and Carson Smith tossed a shutout inning each in the seventh and eighth, and Joe Kelly allowed one hit while striking out two to lock up the three game sweep.

Offensively, Mookie Betts got the scoring started in typical Mookie Betts fashion. On the third pitch he saw from Halos starter Nick Tropeano, Betts blasted his sixth long ball of the season over the wall in left field, putting his team up early.

Later on in the fourth, after a leadoff walk from Hanley Ramirez, JD Martinez stayed hot by ripping a double to left field, scoring Ramirez from first and picking up 15th RBI of the season. Two batters later, Rafael Devers collected his first of two RBIs on the night with a ground ball single to right that allowed Martinez to score from second.

Fast forward to the sixth, and we had Andrew Benintendi FINALLY getting his first home run of the season. On a 2-2 count, Benintendi hammered a 90 MPH fastball from Tropeano way over the wall in right field.

Three batters later, Devers collected that second RBI I mentioned earlier. He drove in JD Martinez, again, from third and put the Red Sox up by three.

After a quiet seventh, Mitch Moreland picked up his seventh RBI of the season with a sac fly that scored Hanley Ramirez from third.

With the game already in hand in the top of the ninth, Andrew Benintendi added on to his impressive night with a 2 RBI double that scored both Brock Holt and Mookie Betts to put them up 8-2.

Some notes from this one:

Mookie Betts hit his second leadoff home run in three days last night.

After a slow start to the season, Andrew Benintendi is now slashing .267/.384/.450 in 16 games. That’s a .834 OPS.

JD Martinez collected three hits last night, which marks his seventh multi-hit game of the season.

With two more RBIs last night, Rafael Devers is now tied for second in the American League in the category with 17, trailing only none other than Jed Lowrie for first place. He has 21.

Speaking of Jed Lowrie, the Red Sox will be taking on his team later tonight. That team being the Oakland Athletics, who despite being 9-10, have one of the best lineups in the AL thus far into the season.

Making his return to the rotation, Drew Pomeranz will be facing off against Athletics righty Kendall Graveman later tonight. First pitch is at 10:05 PM ET, GET PUMPED FOR DWEW.

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RECAP: Rafael Devers Delivers First Career Grand Slam as #RedSox Obliterate Angels Again.

After blowing out the Angels on Tuesday, the sizzling Red Sox essentially did the same thing last night.

Rick Porcello got the start in this middle game, and he, like David Price put together a solid performance against one of the better lineups in the American League. The right hander tossed six shutout innings, scattering six hits and six strikeouts along the way to his fourth win of the season. There were several situations where it looked like the Angels could go for a few runs, but Porcello got out, unscathed, in all of them.

For instance, the Angels loaded the bases with one out in the first after the Red Sox had just picked up their first run of the game. In response to this, Porcello struck out Kole Calhoun and Zack Cozart back to back to end the inning with his team still in the lead.

Later in the third, the Angels were threatening again with runners on first and second with no outs. This time, Porcello responded by retiring the 3-4-5 hitters in order on nine pitches.

When his day ended after getting the last out of the sixth, Porcello finished with 101 pitches on the night, 71 of which went for strikes. His ERA on the year now sits at a solid 1.40.

With three more innings to work with, the Red Sox bullpen continued and finished the shutout. Carson Smith got the call for the seventh, he walked one and struck out one while tossing a scoreless frame. Marcus Walden would be responsible for the eighth, he struck out one while holding the Angels scoreless. And to wrap things up, Craig Kimbrel, who hadn’t made an appearance since April 15th, retired the side in the ninth on 10 pitches, guaranteeing the shutout and the series win.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup followed up their six home run game on Tuesday by tacking on another nine runs last night. Once again, the lineup chased the starter for the Angels out of the game early, as Tyler Skaggs’ day was over in just the fifth inning.

Mitch Moreland got the scoring started in the first. With Hanley Ramirez on second after doubling to center, Moreland drove in him on an RBI single, his first of four on the night.

Later on in the third, the Red Sox got to Skaggs five times to up their lead to six runs. After the top third of the order began the inning by loading the bases, Moreland drove Mookie Betts in from third on a single left field. With the bases still loaded, Rafael Devers built on his solo home run from Tuesday night and mashed a bases clearing grand slam to right field. All of the sudden, the Red Sox were up big for the second straight night.

Fast forward to the seventh, and JD Martinez went deep for his fourth long ball of the season, as he took advantage of a 2-0 count and mashed an 87 MPH slider from Angels reliever Blake Wood and sent it over the right field wall. 7-0.

With the game already in hand in the ninth and JD Martinez at first, Mitch Moreland decided he was not done yet and for the first time this season, Mitchy Four Bags went big fly to right field, giving the Red Sox their eighth and ninth runs of the contest.

Some notes from this one:

Despite not hitting a home run or collecting an RBI, Mookie Betts still recorded two hits last night. His OPS now is currently sitting at a hefty 1.249

Since the Red Sox played their first game at Fenway Park back on April 5th, JD Martinez has put up a slash line of .364/.375/.727 to go along with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 11 games played. That translated to an OPS of 1.102. And I imagine as the weather gets nicer, Martinez will ony get better.

At the beginning of the season, I did not think Mitch Moreland had a defined role with this current team. He started the year on the bench and did not run into regular playing time for a few weeks. Since April 8th though, Moreland has an OBP of .577 and a .818 SLG in 26 plate appearances.

With the series finale later tonight, the Red Sox will be going for their seventh straight win before heading up north to Oakland for the weekend. Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start tonight against Halos righty Nick Tropeano. First pitch is once again at 10:07 PM ET.

RECAP: #RedSox Put on Home Run Derby in Anaheim; Destroy Angels 10-1.

As the Red Sox were kicking off their nine game road trip, there was a lot of hype going into last night’s game against the Angels. Shohei Ohtani, the two-way phenom from Japan, was supposed to pitch on Sunday in Kansas City, but bad weather postponed that game, and his start got moved back to Tuesday. It also just so happens that the starter for the Red Sox, David Price, had his start moved back as well. So, there we had it. David Price facing off against Shohei Ohtani in a matchup between the two best teams in the American League at this point in the season.

Luckily for us, David Price held up his end of the bargain last night, unlike Ohtani. The left hander put together a solid five inning performance, allowing just one run on three hits while walking four and striking out six. Those four walks are less than ideal, but only one was costly. That being a leadoff walk to Angels catcher Martin Maldonado in the third inning, who would later score from third on an Albert Pujols RBI single. Other than that, Price and the Red Sox bullpen were nearly perfect as a whole.

The native of Tennessee finished the night with 78 pitches, 49 of which went for strikes. It has not been announced yet, but I’m assuming he will be making his next start in Oakland on Sunday.

Once Price left after the fifth, Brian Johnson got the call for the bottom half of the sixth inning. Johnson, who was supposed to start Monday against the Orioles, provided three innings of quality work. Over that span, the Angels reached base four times, once on a fielding error, and struck out three times. I would think Johnson could have gone one more inning at 43 pitches, but it was Marcus Walden who closed this thing out in the ninth. He retired the side with nine pitches, thus giving his team the series opening win on the road.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup put on a Sho. They scored ten times, hit six home runs, and chased Shohei Ohtani from the game after just two innings with the help of a blister on his throwing hand.

Ohtani has received plenty of hype from his two starts this season, but those were both against the Oakland Athletics. Last night, Mookie Betts introduced himself by blasting a solo home run in the first at bat of the game.

That would not be the only damage Betts did, as he would go on to homer two more times and finish the game without recording a single out. More on that later, for now, let’s get to the second inning.

A Brock Holt RBI single and an Andrew Benintendi sac fly put the Red Sox up by three early, and that would spell the end for Shohei Ohtani’s night since his pitch count was already up at 66 by the time he got out of the second. The very next inning is when things really got out of hand.

After Angels reliever Luke Bard, brother of Daniel, got the first two outs of the inning while giving up a single to JD Martinez, it was the surging Jackie Bradley Jr. who got the three home runs fun started.  With the count at 2-1, Bradley tattooed an 84 MPH slider 440 feet into the center field bleachers for his first long ball of the season.

After a Christian Vazquez walk, Brock Holt decided he wanted to hit his first home run as well. He made it a 7-1 game by driving a 3-2 fastball over the wall in center field.

Back to the top of the lineup, Mookie Betts mashed his second of three on the night by taking another slider and catapulting it over the left field wall again. 8-1.

A Rafael Devers solo blast in the next inning put the Red Sox up by eight, and that would be all the scoring they would do until the eighth. Can you guess who scored the tenth and final run of the night?

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If you guessed Mookie Betts, you would be correct! The Red Sox leadoff hitter capped off his big night by going yard for the third time. At just 25 years old, Betts has already accomplished that feat THREE times in his young career. The only other player in Red Sox history who has done that is none other than Ted Williams.

If all this information was a bit too much to handle, here are a couple of videos recapping all the action:

At 14-2, this Red Sox team is one of the most exciting in all of baseball. They can score runs in bunches, hang with the best pitching staffs in the game, and have the ability to never be out of a game they are losing.

Rick Porcello will look to build on a successful Game One, as he gets the start against Halos lefty Tyler Skaggs later tonight. First pitch is at 10:07 PM ET. Hope you can stay up for it.

 

RECAP: Doug Fister makes impressive debut; #RedSox drop series to Angels in 4-2 loss.

On Wednesday, Doug Fister opted out of his contract with the Angels. On Sunday, he was starting against them while also making his Red Sox debut. The journeyman starter had a solid start, as the Angels only scored in one of the six plus innings he pitched. The first was good, but the second was the complete opposite. The Angels got half of their hits in that inning, scoring three times off of Fister. Other than that though, not too bad for a debut with a new team. I wouldn’t have brought him back out for the seventh, but Robby Scott and Heath Hembree was able to get out of that jam. Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Craig Kimbrel, who hadn’t pitched since last Sunday, allowed one run while pitching the ninth. With Fister pretty much solidifying a spot in the back-end of the rotation, hopefully he can hold things down until Eduardo Rodriguez returns.

Offensively, not much to report on. The only two runs came on solo home runs from Mitch Moreland, his eleventh, and Jackie Bradley Jr, his tenth. Parker Bridwell, the Halos starter, had one of the more efficient starts I have seen. I believe he only had 72 pitches when he got taken out with two outs in the seventh. I was surprised Mike Scioscia made that move, but it worked since the Red Sox could not score on either Angels reliever.

The Yankees lost again, which does help, but I can’t help but feel like this team is under achieving. At seven games over .500, the 2017 Red Sox have left much to be desired. It’s funny how the Red Sox, Cubs, and Indians, three World Series favorites, haven’t really taken off in the standings yet. This Red Sox team is definitely capable of going on some great run this summer, but until that happens, it will be hard not to get frustrated.

41 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox nearly pull off ninth inning miracle in 6-3 loss.

It was a lovely night at Fenway on Saturday night. The new 34 plaque looks great, and I was hoping the Red Sox were going to look great as well. David Price was on the mound for the Red Sox, making his sixth start of the 2017 season. The 31-year-old had himself another solid outing, scattering six hits and three earned runs over six quality innings while only walking one and striking out five. The only problem I had with this start was the fact that there were baserunners in all but two of the six innings pitched by Price. The Angels spread out their runs, but Price really wasn’t hit too hard. Despite picking up his second loss, I think more blame deserves to be put on the bullpen for this one. Fernando Abad came in the seventh and made a mess, allowing two runs while failing to get out of the inning. Shout out to Blaine Boyer for getting out of the seventh and being the only reliever to toss a clean inning. Lastly, Matt Barnes put the Red Sox offense in a 5 run hole, meaning it would take more than a grand slam just to tie it.

The bats couldn’t do much damage off of Angels hurler JC Ramirez. The only run he surrendered came on Mitch Moreland’s tenth home run of the season in the second. The Halos bullpen was looking pretty good until Cam Bedrosian came in for the ninth. He got the first two outs, but gave up a run and loaded the bases while doing so. A wild pitch on a Christian Vazquez strike out allowed another run to score, but that’s all the Red Sox would get as Chris Young struck out to end the game.

Rubber match today, headlined by Doug Fister’s first start in a Red Sox uniform.

Oh yeah, how about Manager John getting tossed in the seventh? Gotta love it.

41 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon both go deep as #RedSox pick up 9-4 victory over the Angels.

Note: Prior to last night’s game, the Red Sox made some roster moves, adding a few players Dave Dombrowski is familiar with. First, Doug Fister was claimed off of waivers from the Angels. The 33-year-old RHP is on the back-end of his career, but he still has the opportunity to contribute to a team that is in need of a consistent option out of the back half of the rotation. He’ll start on Sunday against his former team. The second move was signing former Cardinals infielder Jhonny Peralta to a minor league deal. Peralta, 35, is also on the back-end of his career, but he too can provide depth at a position that has been a weakness for this team.

There's something in our eye!
#34ever - #VoteRedSox (@redsox)

On to the game: Friday night was all about David Ortiz. The former Red Sox slugger has had himself quite a weekend, getting a street named after him and taking part in a roast and all. The ceremony before the game was great. Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Jim Rice, Wade Boggs, and Pedro Martinez were on all hand to see Ortiz’s number enshrined forever.

The most emotional part of the ceremony surprisingly came from Dustin Pedroia. Those two were teammates for nearly a decade, so they have experienced plenty of highs and lows wearing that uniform. In his short speech to Ortiz, Pedroia called him family:

The reaction out of Ortiz shows how close these guys were during their time as teammates. Like I said, they really have seem it all, from World Series titles to late season collapses all the way down to consecutive last place finishes. Although his style is completely different than that of Ortiz, Pedroia is that dude.

I should probably get on to the game now… Rick Porcello has been pretty awful this season, that’s what most Red Sox fans would tell you. Well, on Friday night, he made the first strides to get back to that 2016 form. Prior to the seventh, Porcello scattered six hits and gave up one run while walking one and whiffing eight. The seventh was a different story, but I’m not going to pay much attention to it because he could have been taken out sooner. The bullpen was responsible for eight outs, and they got all of them without allowing a run. Heath Hembree, new set-up man Joe Kelly, and Blaine Boyer combined to give up only two hits to the Angels, so that’s quality stuff.

The offense scored early and later too. Three runs crossed the plate and the Red Sox only needed one hit, a Xander Bogaerts RBI double, to score those runs. The other two came on wild pitches. In the fourth, Hanley Ramirez hit the 250th home run of the career, a 2-run shot that barely landed over the right field wall. That home run will definitely hold a special place in Ramirez’s heart. A milestone number on the same night his favorite player’s number is retired. Hanley wouldn’t be the only one to go deep though, as a suddenly hot Sandy Leon launched his fifth home run of the year to the bleachers, another 2-run shot that made it a 7-1 game. The Angels scored three in their half of the seventh, so the two runs the Red Sox scored in their half of the eighth were definitely helpful. Those runs came off the bat of Sandy Leon again, a 2 RBI double that scored Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley. Also, how about JBJ? Another multi-hit game has his BA at .272 right now. At the beginning of the month, it sat at .226, so in the month of June, he is hitting an impressive .350.

David Price is on the mound later tonight, I’ll be at the game, so I’m looking forward to seeing Papi’s number in person.

41 down, ? to go.