Nathan Eovaldi Walks Four, Allows Three Runs in Final Start of Season as Red Sox Fall to Orioles

After falling to the Texas Rangers 7-5 in their final road contest of the season on Thursday, the Red Sox opened up the final weekend of the 2019 campaign with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

Making his 12th and final start of the season for Boston was Nathan Eovaldi, who came into the weekend fresh off his first quality outing of 2019 in his last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Working five full innings this time around, the right-hander surrendered another three runs, all of which were earned, on three hits and four walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

All three of those Orioles tallies came on one swing of the bat in the top half of the third, when with two outs and two runners on following a one-out double from Austin Hays and a one-out walk drawn by Trey Mancini in consecutive order, Eovaldi was just one pitch away from escaping a tight spot, but instead served up a hanging, 0-2, 81 MPH curveball to Renato Nunez, who crushed said pitch well over the Green Monster to get his side on the board first at 3-0.

Other than that one costly mistake though, Eovaldi settled in nicely enough, retiring six of the final eight Orioles he faced with the help of a 6-3 double play turned in the fifth, which would wind up being the Texas native’s last inning of work.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (50 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 41% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 99.6 MPH with the pitch while Juan Centeno was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with his first losing decision of the year despite lowering his ERA down to 5.99, Eovaldi’s first full season in Boston is in the books.

The flame throwing righty finishes with a 2-1 record, a 5.99 ERA, a 1.58 WHIP, and a .276 batting average against over 23 total appearances (12 starts) and 67 2/3 innings pitched.

In relief of Eovaldi, Hector Velazquez entered the sixth with a three-run deficit to maintain, and he filled the bases with two outs before getting Jonathan Villar to pop out to Brock Holt in shallow center to get out of the jam.

From there, Colten Brewer walked one and fanned two in a scoreless seventh, Andrew Cashner walked two in an otherwise clean eighth, and Marcus Walden allowed the O’s to score their fourth run of the night on a leadoff walk of Hays and two-out RBI single off the bat of Nunez in the ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles right-hander Adrian Wojciechowski, someone they had only gotten two total runs off of over two seperate starts and 11 2/3 innings of work leading into Friday.

Unable to get anything going against Wojciechowski once again in this one, it was not until the last half of the ninth when the Boston bats finally got going.

There, with left-handed reliever Richard Bleier on the mound for Baltimore, Rafael Devers led things off with a scorching leadoff double, his 53rd of the year.

That set up Xander Bogaerts in a prime run-scoring spot, and he delivered with an RBI single right back up the middle to plate Devers from second and finally get his team on the board.

Bogaert’s 500th career run driven in did make it seem as though a late rally was about to get off the ground.

Any momentum that was built up quickly dissipated though, as Bogaerts was picked off at first for the first out of the ninth, Mitch Moreland whiffed on four pitches for the second, and Christian Vazquez grounded out to third for the last out, ending Friday’s contest with a final score of 4-1.

Some notes from this loss:

With their 77th loss of the season and 40th at Fenway Park, the Red Sox guarantee that they will finish with a losing record at Fenway.

Rafael Devers is three hits away from 200 on the season.

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

Friday was certainly an eventful day for the Red Sox. They capped it off with an uneventful loss to one of the worst teams in all of baseball.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the final Saturday game of the season, with right-hander Jhoulys Chacin getting the ball for Boston and rookie left-hander John Means doing the same for Baltimore.

Chacin has posted a 6.00 ERA and .831 OPS against in five total outings (four starts) and 12 total innings of work since joining the Sox at the beginning of the month.

His first start against the O’s should serve as one last final 2020 audition for the 31-year-old.

Means, meanwhile, looks to wrap up a solid rookie campaign on a positive note.

In terms of Game Score, the 2019 All-Star’s best start of 2019 came against the Red Sox back on May 6th, when Means tossed seven innings of one-run ball in an eventual winning effort at Camden Yards.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Two games left on the year. Time to cherish what is left.

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Eduardo Rodriguez Impresses and Rafael Devers Homers as Red Sox Blank Orioles to Extend Winning Streak to Four

After cruising to a 9-1 win to open up a three-game weekend set with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, the Red Sox took the series with a 4-0 shutout win over the O’s on Saturday to extend their winning streak to four and improve to 66-59 on the season.

Making his 26th start of the season for Boston and third against Baltimore was Eduardo Rodriguez, who came into the weekend having given up a season-high 10 hits in his last time out against the Cleveland Indians.

Working into the eighth inning this time around, the left-hander kept his former club off the scoreboard, scattering just four hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The most trouble Rodriguez came into on Saturday came in the top half of the fourth, when a leadoff walk of Trey Mancini and two-out walk of Jonathan Villar put runners at first and second for Pedro Severino.

Rodriguez did not waver though, as he got the Baltimore backstop to ground into an inning-ending out at second and proceeded to sit down 10 of the next 12 Orioles he faced before yielding a one-out single to Hanser Albeto in the eighth, which is the point where the Venezuela native’s evening came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 106 (70 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler relied on both his four-seam fastball and changeup a combined 58% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing four swings and misses with the heater and five with the change. He also topped out at 95.7 MPH with the four-seamer while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately earning his 14th winning decision to reach a new career-high while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.10, Rodriguez will look to build on this strong performance in his next time out, which should come against the San Diego Padres next weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, Matt Barnes entered the eighth with a four-run lead to protect and an inherited runner on at first, and he allowed that runner to advance to third on a Mancini single and wild pitch before escaping the jam by punching out Anthony Santander and Renato Nunez in consecutive order.

And in the ninth, Brandon Workman preserved the 4-0 shutout win by fanning a pair himself in a scoreless frame of relief.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against O’s right-hander Adrian Wojciechowski, someone who held them scoreless in Baltimore just last month.

Able to get on the board against the Orioles starter in his first ever appearance at Fenway Park, Brock Holt kicked off the scoring in the fifth with a bang, as he led the inning off by mashing his second home run of the season off a first-pitch, 90 MPH four-seamer at the top of the zone.

That was also Holt’s first homer since returning to the Sox after mourning the loss of his junior college baseball coach Derwood “Pops” Penney. A pretty special moment for him to say the least.

A Jackie Bradley Jr. triple to follow up that big fly kept the pressure on Wojciechowski, and he faltered even further by allowing Bradley Jr. to score from third on a wild pitch with Mookie Betts at the plate.

Fast forward to the seventh, with left-handed reliever Paul Fry in for Baltimore, and Betts put a runner in scoring position for Rafael Devers with a two-out double off the left field wall.

Three pitches later, Devers came through and doubled his side’s lead with a two-run, 365-foot blast off an 0-2, 93 MPH heater from Fry.

Devers’ 26th home run of 2019 put the Red Sox ahead 4-0, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From the Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .500/.543/.969 with three homers and 10 RBI.

With the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays both winning on Saturday, the Red Sox still stand 6 1/2 games back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game series on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in his first start since April 17th, while left-hander Ty Blach will do the same for Baltimore.

Eovaldi is expected to throw between 55-60 pitches and hopes to work the first four innings Sunday before increasing his workload next week.

In his career against the O’s, the 29-year-old is 3-0 with a 4.67 ERA and .310 batting average against over seven prior starts and 34 2/3 innings of work.

Blach, meanwhile, allowed seven runs, six of which were earned, in his Orioles debut against the New York Yankees on August 12th after being claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants earlier in the month.

The 28-year-old has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park before in his career.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the weekend sweep.

Red Sox Held to Just One Hit by Asher Wojciechowski, Drop Series to Orioles in 5-0 Shutout Loss

After exploding for a season-high 17 runs on Saturday, the Red Sox were certainly held in check by the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, as they were shut out for the first time since April 16th in an underwhelming 5-0 loss, marking the first time they have dropped a series to their divisional foes in nearly two years.

Making his second start of the season for Boston and 19th overall was Andrew Cashner, who was dealt by Baltimore on July 14th for a pair of Dominican Summer League prospects.

Tossing six full innings against his former club, Cashner surrendered four runs, all of which were earned, on six hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with seven strikeouts on the afternoon.

All four of those Baltimore tallies came across to score within the first three innings Sunday, with Trey Mancini getting things started on a one-out, first-pitch solo home run off his old friend in the first.

A leadoff walk of Dwight Smith Jr. came back to bite Cashner in the second, with Smith Jr. advancing to second on the first out of the frame, and then scoring from second on a one-out RBI double off the bat of Chris Davis.

Cashner managed to sit down the next two Orioles he faced to strand Davis at second, but ran into additional trouble in the third, with Jonathan Villar reaching on an infield single to lead off the inning and Mancini blasting his second big fly of the day off a 3-1, 84 MPH changeup.

That put the Orioles up 5-0, and it seemed as though Cashner’s leash was shortening every at-bat, but fortunately for Boston, the Texas native settled in a bit and retired nine of the last 13 hitters he faced leading into the end of the sixth, where his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 105 (62), the 32-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 49% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing five swings and misses and topping out at 95.6 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 0-2 as a Red Sox, Cashner’s first two starts with Boston certainly haven’t been memorable. I don’t want to make excuses, but when you consider that those first two starts have come against the Toronto Blue Jays, the team Cashner faced in his last start as an Oriole, and the Orioles, the team Cashner spent the season-and-a-half with, it’s not too crazy to think that they might have the slight advantage.

Cashner’s next start should come against neither of those teams and instead against the New York Yankees on Friday.

In relief of Cashner, Marcus Walden entered the seventh with his team trailing by four, and he maintained that deficit with a 1-2-3 inning.

Heath Hembree, on the other hand, saw that four-run gap widen to five by serving up a leadoff solo shot to Villar in an otherwise scoreless eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against journeyman right-hander Asher Wojciechowski for Baltimore, who brought with him a 5.74 ERA through four appearances (three starts) this season.

Despite what those numbers may indicate, the Sox got Wojciechowski at his best, as the Orioles starter took a perfect game into the third and a no-hitter into a seventh.

There, Rafael Devers laced a leadoff, opposite-field double that nearly sneaked over the fence in right, but it was still good for his side’s first hit of the day.

Other than that one knock though, Devers was left at second and Jackie Bradley Jr. was left at first an inning later following a one-out walk.

Bradley Jr. would wind up being the final batter Wojciechowski faced in this one. His final line: 7 1/3 innings pitched, one hit, zero runs, two walks, one HBP, and a career-high 10 punchouts.

The Boston bats didn’t fare much better against the O’s bullpen either, with left-hander Paul Fry fanning the only two Red Sox hitters he faced to end the top half of the eighth, and Mychal Givens stranding Mookie Betts at third in the ninth after walking him to lead off the inning.

A first-pitch ground out to first from J.D. Martinez is how this one ended, and 5-0 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox dropped a series to the Orioles on Sunday for the first time since August 25th-27th, 2017.

One hit is the fewest the Red Sox have had in a single game since, you guessed it, when they were no-hit by Sean Manaea and the Oakland Athletics on April 21st, 2018. It’s also the first time they’ve been one-hit in the Alex Cora era.

The Red Sox are 5-5 out of the All-Star break.

With two losses in their last three games, the Red Sox are currently 11 games off the pace for first place in the American League East. They also sit three games back of the Oakland Athletics for the second Wild Card spot.

Boston’s next 14 games come against either the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay Rays, with the first three of those 14 taking place at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw and former Red Sox prospect Jalen Beeks will do the same for Tampa Bay.

Rodriguez has had himself a solid July thus far, pitching to the tune of a 1.96 ERA and .182 batting average against over his last three starts and 18 1/3 innings pitched. The Red Sox are 3-0 in those games.

In four career starts at the Trop, the 26-year-old is 0-2 with a lifetime ERA of 7.11 and batting average against of .333 over 19 total innings of work.

Beeks, meanwhile, will be making his first start of the season for the Rays after appearing in 20 games out of the bullpen.

The 26-year-old owns a 2.78 ERA to go along with a .244 batting average against over 64 2/3 total innings pitched.

In two prior meetings against the team that drafted him, Beeks has allowed a total of three runs over 9 1/3 innings. That’s good for an ERA of 2.89.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to prove that they can still contend.