Red Sox Relievers Combine To Toss 6 2/3 Scoreless Innings en Route To 5-3 Victory Over Nationals

The Red Sox bounced back from an ugly 10-2 loss on Friday and were carried by their bullpen en route to a 5-3 victory over the defending World Series champion Nationals on Saturday.

Chris Mazza made his second start and third overall appearance of the season for Boston in this one, as he was recalled from Pawtucket on Saturday in a roster move that saw Nathan Eovaldi placed on the injured list.

Working 2 1/3 innings while facing the Nationals for the first time in his career, the right-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

All three of those Washington tallies came in the top half of the third, when after retiring six of the first nine hitters he faced, Mazza struggled to record a single out and instead allowed three runs to cross the plate on four hits and a walk before fanning Kurt Suzuki on five pitches, which actually marked the end of his outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (46 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his slider and cutter a combined 70% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing 10 swings-and-misses with the two pitches. He also topped out at 94 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 11 times.

Hit with the no-decision due to the length of this outing, Mazza could be a candidate to get another start next time through the rotation, which would likely come against the Blue Jays late next week. We will have to wait and see on that.

In relief of Mazza, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez was dispatched with runners on first and second and two outs to get in the top of the third, and he got those outs while dancing around a bases-loaded jam in between two swinging strikeouts.

From there, Phillips Valdez stranded two runners and punched out the side in a scoreless fourth inning, and he also put two more runners on and recorded two more outs in the fifth before Austin Brice came on and ended the frame with the help of Alex Verdugo’s seventh outfield assist of the season.

Brice got the call for the start of the sixth as well and kept the Nationals off the board while leaving another two base runners stranded.

Josh Osich, Ryan Brasier, and Matt Barnes followed suit by combining to toss three shutout frames the rest of the way, with Barnes picking up his third save of the year courtesy of a seven-pitch groundout off the bat of Eric Thames to close out the ninth.

All in all, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke used six different relievers on Saturday — Hernandez, Valdez, Brice, Osich, Brasier, and Barnes — and the six combined to twirl 6 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen. Not too shabby.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another veteran right-hander for the Nationals in Anibal Sanchez. This time around, though, the Boston bats had an easier time of getting runs on the board, and it started right from the jump in the bottom of the first.

There, an Alex Verdugo leadoff single and one-out double from J.D. Martinez put runners in scoring position for Xander Bogaerts, who took full advantage of that opportunity by swinging away at the first pitch he saw from Sanchez, an 89 mph four-seamer above the strike zone, and crushing a 440-foot three-run home run to left-center field.

Bogaerts’ seventh big fly of the season, which had an exit velocity of 106.3 mph off the bat, gave his side an early three-run advantage.

An inning later, the bottom of the lineup got it done this time, as Kevin Pillar led the second off with a hard-hit triple and came into score moments later on a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI groundout. 4-0.

Fast forward to the fourth, after the Nationals had stormed back to make things interesting at 4-3, Pillar struck once more, collecting his second extra-base hit of the night off an 0-1, 89 mph fastball from Sanchez at the top of the zone. It just so happens that this extra-base knock was hit 435 feet over the Monster and was good for Pillar’s fourth big fly of 2020.

That solo blast gave the Red Sox a two-run edge at 5-3, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this victory:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

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

Right-hander Zack Godley will get the starting nod for Boston, while fellow righty Austin Voth will do the same for Washington.

Under normal circumstances, Godley’s rotation spot may be in jeopardy here seeing how the 30-year-old owns an ERA of 11.17 over his last three starts going back to August 12. However, Godley may be safe regardless of how he performs on Sunday since the Red Sox do not have a great deal of starting pitching options at the moment.

In nine career outings (five starts) against the Nationals, the South Carolina native has posted a lifetime 5.53 ERA and .884 OPS against over 40 2/3 total innings pitched.

Voth, meanwhile, is coming off a start in which he surrendered six runs in less than four innings of work at home against the Marlins on August 24.

The 28-year-old has never faced the Red Sox before in his career, but he does own a lifetime 3.52 ERA in six prior interleague outings that span 30 2/3 innings of work.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox going for the series win to close out the weekend.

Red Sox Muster Just Three Hits, Go Down Quietly in 9-1 Loss To Blue Jays in Buffalo

On a rain-soaked Wednesday night in Buffalo, the Red Sox kicked off the second half of the 2020 season by falling to the Blue Jays by a final score of 9-1 to fall to 10-21 on the year.

Colten Brewer made his third start and 10th overall appearance of the season for Boston in this one, as he was filling on for the cramped up Nathan Eovaldi.

Coming off a fine outing in his last time out against the Orioles, the right-hander struggled this time around, surrendering four runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The first pair of those Toronto tallies scored off Brewer came on a pair of solo home runs from Randal Grichuk and Rowdy Tellez in the bottom halves of the first and second.

The other two came in the fourth, when after yielding a leadoff double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Brewer served up another homer, this one good for two runs, to Tellez off a hanging 1-1, 76 mph curveball towards the inner half of the plate.

Tellez’ second blast of the night, which was his ninth in 20 career game against the Red Sox, put the Jays up 4-0.

Brewer’s evening came to a close shortly thereafter, as he recorded the first two outs of the frame before walking old friend Santiago Espinal on five pitches and getting the hook from Sox manager Ron Roenicke.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 80 (49 strikes), the 27-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 41% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings-and-misses with the pitch while topping out at 95.6 mph with it.

Hit with his second losing decision of the year later on while raising his ERA to 4.57, Brewer’s next start, if he does get one that is, would likely come against the Braves back in Boston sometime next week.

In relief of Brewer, Ryan Weber got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen and came into a four-run game with a runner on first and one out to get in the bottom of the fourth.

The 29-year-old got that out pretty easily, and he was also lights out in the fifth and sixth innings before running into a significant amount of trouble in the seventh.

There, Weber allowed the first three hitters he faced to reach base, resulting in another Blue Jays run crossing the plate to make it a 5-1 contest.

A lineout off the bat of Travis Shaw would mark the end of Weber’s outing, and in came Austin Brice who immediately walked Teosar Hernandez on six pitches to fill the bases for Guerrero Jr.

The Toronto phenom took full advantage of the opportunity that had been laid out before him, as he took a 3-0, 94 mph sinker from Brice and ripped a bases-clearing, three-run double down the left field line. Just like that, the Jays were up 8-1.

A Tellez RBI single moments later brought in Guerrero Jr. from second and put the Sox in an eight-run hole.

All in all, Boston pitching gave up five runs in the seventh inning. Three of those runs were charged to Weber, the other two to Brice.

Left-hander Josh Osich did manage to toss a scoreless ninth to keep the eight-run deficit intact, but by then the damage had already been done.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Julian Merryweather for the Blue Jays, who was making just his second career major-league start on Wednesday.

To put it simply, Merryweather impressed by keeping the Boston bats off the scoreboard over the first two innings while throwing strikes 64% of the time.

It wasn’t until the top of the fourth when the Sox offense finally got it going. There, with Shun Yamaguchi on the hill for Toronto, Mitch Moreland stayed hot by crushing his eighth big fly off the season deep to the opposite field off a two-out, first pitch 84 mph changeup on the outer half of the plate.

As it would later turn out, though, Moreland’s solo blast would prove to be the only offense the Red Sox could muster over nine frustrating innings on Wednesday.

In fact, Moreland’s homer was one of just three hits for the Sox all night, as 9-1 would go on to be your final score in this one.

Some notes and observations from this defeat:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Alex Verdugo’s 14-game hitting streak has come to an end following the 24-year-old’s 0-for-4 night at the plate.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game set against the Blue Jays on Thursday night.

Right-hander Chris Mazza will get the start for Boston, while veteran left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu will do the same for Toronto.

Mazza, who will be making his second start of the year for the Sox, will need to be added to the active roster prior to first pitch, which is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI.

Matt Barnes Not Only Reliever Who Could Close Out Games for Red Sox Following Brandon Workman Trade, Ron Roenicke Says

With Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman now Philadelphia Phillies, a couple late-inning spots just opened up in the back end of the Red Sox bullpen. More specifically, with Workman gone, the Sox do not exactly have a set closer at this point in time.

Right-hander Matt Barnes took charge of that responsibility in Boston’s 8-5 win over the Orioles on Friday and he looked good doing so, needing just 13 pitches to record his first save since last June.

Even with Barnes’ impressive importance fresh in his mind, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke didn’t really commit to the 30-year-old hurler as his set ninth-inning man moving forward.

“No doubt, I have faith in what he can do,” Roenicke said of Barnes during his postgame media availability. “I probably won’t do it the same way that we did with [Workman] because we had Barnes for the seventh or eighth or somebody and then going to [Workman]. This will be a little bit different, probably. I’m sure [Barnes] will get most of the opportunities, but if it matches up better with him in the eighth inning and another closer in the ninth, we’ll do that. I don’t think I’m just going to limit him to doing it for one inning.”

If it’s Barnes getting the call for the ninth, Roenicke named Austin Brice and Josh Taylor as relievers who could close out games if necassary.

“I think we have a couple guys that could do it,” the Sox skipper added. “I’m comfortable with all of them, so I think the match-ups will tell us what to do there.”

Left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez, who worked two scoreless innings in his 2020 debut on Friday after missing time on the COVID-19 related injured list, could be another candidate to close were it not for the plans the Red Sox have for the 23-year-old hurler.

“The only thing with Darwinzon is because we know he can give us two or three [innings], it may be more important to do that in the…sixth, seventh, or eighth, maybe,” said Roenicke. “I think he is more valuable in doing that than just keeping him to one inning. We’ll see as time goes on, but he was coming out [Friday] for the first time. He threw some nasty pitches. I know sometimes he may get a little wild, but his pitches, you see the swings they take and the bats that break and it’s just really good stuff.”

Out of the 40 pitches Hernandez threw in his first outing on Friday, the Venezuelan got the Orioles to swing and miss seven times. Because he accrued two innings of work against Baltimore, his next outing likely won’t come until the Red Sox’ next series against the Blue Jays in Buffalo.

Powered by Home Runs From Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Rafael Devers, Red Sox Extend Winning Streak To Three Following 8-5 Victory Over Orioles

On a night they made their first move before the trade deadline, the Red Sox extended their winning streak to a season-best three consecutive games on Friday following an 8-5 victory over the Orioles.

Colten Brewer made his second start and ninth overall appearance of the season for Boston, and he looked much better than he did in his first career start against the Yankees last week.

That being the case because over four strong innings of work, the right-hander held the O’s scoreless while scattering three hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

The only real trouble Brewer ran into came in the bottom of the first, when he yielded two straight two-out singles to Renato Nunez and Pedro Severino before getting out of the inning unscathed.

Other than that, Brewer proceeded to retire eight of the final 11 hitters he faced going into the end of the fourth, which is the point where his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (50 strikes), the 27-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing two swings-and-misses and topping out at 95.2 mph with the pitch.

Unable to pick up the winning decision due to the length of his outing, Brewer did manage to lower his ERA on the season to 3.50. If he gets another start, it will likely come against the Blue Jays in Buffalo sometime next week.

In relief of Brewer, Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in what was his 2020 debut.

The 23-year-old southpaw faced eight batters over two scoreless frames of work, allowing one hit, walking another, and fanning three on his way to picking up his first career major-league victory.

From there, fellow lefty Josh Osich got lit up for five runs on three separate homers over 1 2/3 innings before Austin Brice had to come on and record the final out of the eighth.

And in the ninth, with Brandon Workman on his way to Philadelphia, Matt Barnes got the call to close this one out, and the right-hander did just that by maneuvering his way around a leadoff single in an otherwise clean inning to secure his first save and his team’s ninth win of the season in 8-5 fashion.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles ace left-hander John Means, who entered Friday with a 10.57 ERA through his first three starts of 2020.

After going down 1-2-3 in their half of the first, the Boston bats got it going in the second inning for a second straight night when a red-hot Xander Bogaerts led the frame off with a 412-foot solo shot to give his side an early one-run lead.

An inning later, the middle part of the Sox lineup struck once again, when after Kevin Pillar reached base on a one-out single, J.D. Martinez drove the outfielder and himself in on a 431-foot two-run blast to center field for his third homer of the year. 3-0 Boston.

Fast forward to the fifth, with reliever Jorge Lopez pitching for Baltimore, Rafael Devers put his power on display and had by far the best swing of the night.

With one out and runners at first and second, the 23-year-old took a 1-0, 85 mph changeup down the chute from the O’s right-hander and proceeded to deposit it 447 feet to dead center.

Per Statcast, Devers’ fourth big fly of the year had an exit velocity of 108.1 mph, which was the hardest hit ball of the evening for either side. It also put the Red Sox up 6-0.

In the sixth, Michael Chavis provided what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance with a two-run single off Lopez following back-to-back leadoff base knocks off the bats of Christian Vazquez and Alex Verdugo.

Chavis’ sixth and seventh RBI of the season put the Red Sox up 8-0, and 8-5 would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this victory:

With two hits on Friday, Alex Verdugo has extended his hitting streak to 12 straight games.

Rafael Devers has six hits in his last three games.

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the third game of this four-game weekend set on Saturday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston, while veteran right-hander Alex Cobb will do the same for Baltimore.

Perez surrendered five runs (four runs) to the O’s in his Red Sox debut back on July 25. The 29-year-old has made four career starts at Camden Yards and owns a 4.32 ERA and .698 OPS against in those outings.

Cobb, meanwhile, held the Sox to just one run in that same game Perez started in July. The 32-year-old, who was born in Boston, comes into the weekend with a 3.76 ERA and .634 OPS against through his first five starts and 26 1/3 innings pitched this season.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox looking for their fourth straight victory.

Rafael Devers Homers, Puts Together Second Straight Three-Hit Day as Red Sox Halt Losing Streak With 6-3 Win Over Phillies

At long last, the Red Sox have put an end to their nine-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory over the Phillies at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

Kyle Hart made his second start of the season for Boston, and although he did not pitch particularly deep into this game, he did look better than he did in his major-league debut last Thursday.

Working 3 2/3 innings in this one, the rookie left-hander yielded two runs, both of which were earned, on two hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

Both of those Philadelphia tallies came right away in the top half of the first, when after putting the first three hitters he faced on, Hart gave up an RBI single to Phil Gosselin and a run-scoring sacrifice fly to Didi Gregorius.

Other than that, though, Hart did manage to sit down nine of the next 12 Phillies who came up to the plate against him before Philly’s lineup flipped back over a second time with two outs in the fourth. At that point, Hart’s day was over.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (39 strikes), the 27-year-old hurler turned to his slider and four-seam fastball 66% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing five whiffs with the combination of pitches while topping out at 90.2 mph with the heater.

Hit with the no-decision due to the length of his outing while lowering his ERA to 11.12, Hart’s next start, if he does get one that is, would likely come against the Blue Jays in Buffalo sometime next week.

In relief of Hart, right-hander Austin Brice got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen with one out to get in the top of the fourth, and he got that out by getting Andrew McCutchen to pop out before working a scoreless fifth inning as well.

From there, Ryan Weber tossed a shutout sixth and allowed one run on one hit while only recording the first out of the seventh before making way for Matt Barnes, who fanned two in that frame and danced his way around a one-out walk in a laborious, yet clean eighth inning.

With a three-run lead to protect at that point, Brandon Workman was dispatched for the top of the ninth, and the Sox closer got the job done by retiring the only three Phillies he faced in order to secure the save and the 6-3 win for his side.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Jake Arrieta for the Phillies, who was making his sixth career start at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

Down by a pair of runs before even taking their first at-bats, the Boston offense got things going in their half of the third.

There, a two-out double off the bat of Kevin Pillar brought Rafael Devers to the plate for a second time, and the resurgent third baseman took full advantage of that opportunity by clubbing a two-run, 419-foot homer to dead center to even things up at two runs apiece.

In the fourth, a leadoff walk of Mitch Moreland would later come back to haunt Arrieta, as the Phillies starter allowed the first baseman to score on a sacrifice fly from Jackie Bradley Jr. 3-2 Boston.

In the fifth, the Sox took advantage of some poor fielding from Philadelphia when after Alex Verdugo extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a one-out double, Kevin Pillar plated his fellow outfielder by reaching first base thanks to a fielding error committed by Rhys Hoskins. 4-2 Boston.

Fast forward to the seventh, and Devers struck once more, this time collecting another RBI on a hard-hit double to left off reliever Ramon Rossothat brought in Verdugo from second and made it a 5-3 contest.

And in the eighth, Bradley Jr. provided some insurance by driving in Moreland from third on another run-scoring double off Rosso. Bradley Jr.’s second RBI of the day put the Red Sox up 6-3, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score. Losing streak over.

Some notes and observations from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

Rafael Devers’ last two games: 6-for-9 (nice) with one homer, four RBI, and three runs scored.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll head off on another road trip and kick off a four-game set against the Orioles in Baltimore starting on Thursday night. The 12-2 O’s took two out of three from the Sox to begin the 2020 season.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston in the series opener, while fellow righty Asher Wojciechowski will do the same for Baltimore.

Eovaldi is coming off his worst outing of the year in which he surrendered eight runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Yankees, but he did hold the O’s to just one run over six innings in a winning effort back on Opening Day.

Wojciechowski, meanwhile, has yet to face the Red Sox this season. The 31-year-old has made three starts at Camden Yards so far this year and owns a 5.40 ERA in those outings.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox looking for their second straight victory.

Red Sox Serve up Four Home Runs in Yet Another Defeat To Yankees To Extend Losing Streak To Eight Consecutive Games

In their final game at Yankee Stadium in 2020, the Red Sox fell to the first-place Yankees by a final score of 6-3 on Monday, which extended their losing streak to a season-worst eight consecutive games.

Martin Perez made his fifth start of the season for Boston in this one, and he came into the week having made just one career start in the Bronx prior to Monday.

Only able to work the first three innings due to a 1 hour and 22 minute rain delay, the left-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on two hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with one lone strikeout on the night.

All three of those New York tallies came in the bottom half of the second, when after plunking Tyler Wade, the Yanks’ No. 9 hitter, with two outs, Perez served up an RBI double to Aaron Hicks and followed that by serving up a 428-foot two-run to Luke Voit on a 2-2, 83 mph changeup right down the chute moments later.

Those three consecutive mistakes put Perez’s side in an early three-run hole, and his evening would unknowingly come to a close after a scoreless third inning due to that aforementioned inclement weather.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 58 (30 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his cutter and changeup a combined 58% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing three swings-and-misses with the combination of pitches while also topping out at 93 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 10 times.

Hit with his third losing decision of the year while also raising his ERA to 4.07, Perez will look to rebound in his next time out, which should come against the Orioles in Baltimore on Saturday.

In relief of Perez, left-hander Josh Osich got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen following that 83-minute rain delay, and he surrendered a pair of leadoff homers to Thairo Estrada and Voit in the bottom halves of the fourth and fifth innings.

From there, fellow southpaw Josh Taylor made his 2020 debut after getting activated from the injured list and needed just nine pitches to toss a scoreless bottom of the sixth, while Austin Brice gave up another solo shot to Aaron Hicks in the seventh and Heath Hembree fanned a pair in a perfect eighth inning.

Hembree’s impressive work kept Boston’s deficit at three runs, but it would prove to not be enough in the end.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar foe in Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery, whose 2020 debut came against Boston back on July 31.

The 27-year-old had a no-hitter going through his first 3 2/3 innings on Monday, but a string of three straight two-out hits in the fourth from J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Christian Vazquez broke that up, with Vazquez plating Martinez on an RBI single that was just out of the reach of Gleyber Torres.

As it would almost immediately turn out, Vazquez’s 12th RBI of the season came at just the right time as the Yankees ground crew began to roll the tarp onto the field almost as soon as Vazquez had reached first base safely.

The Red Sox headed into a lengthy weather delay with two outs and runners on the corners in the fourth, but they could not do anything with that opportunity once the rain lifted.

That being the case because after Michael Chavis drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases, Alex Verdugo was the victim of a swinging strikeout at the hands of Luis Avilan to extinguish the threat and end the inning.

Verdugo did redeem himself in the top of the sixth, though, when with two outs and Vazquez at second, the outfielder drove the catcher in on a run-scoring double off reliever Michael King. 5-2 New York.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, with the Yankees up 6-2, vaunted fireballer Aroldis Chapman made his first appearance of the season out of the New York bullpen. Perhaps taking advantage of some of Chapman’s expected rustiness, the Sox made somewhat of a comeback attempt with Jose Peraza ripping a one-out triple and Jonathan Arauz scoring him on an RBI double down the left field line.

That pushed the Red Sox’ deficit to three runs at 6-3, but alas, that would go on to be Monday’s final score after Kevin Pillar and Rafael Devers struck out back-to-back to end the game.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

The Red Sox have lost their last 11 games at Yankee Stadium.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Next up for the Red Sox, they will return to Fenway Park and open up a two-game interleague series against the Phillies beginning on Monday night.

Right-hander Zack Godley will get the start for Boston, while fellow righty Zach Eflin will do the same for Philadelphia.

In four career appearances (two starts) against the Phillies, the 30-year-old Godley owns a lifetime 1.53 ERA and .528 OPS against over 17 2/3 total innings pitched.

Eflin, meanwhile, will be making his first career start against the Red Sox and his first career start at Fenway Park.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox looking to finally to put an end to this dreadful skid, maybe?

Red Sox Get Dominated by Gerrit Cole, Yankees as Losing Streak Grows to Five Straight Games

A change of venue could not turn things around for the Red Sox on Friday night, as they saw their losing streak grow to to five in an 8-3 series-opening defeat at the hands of the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Colten Brewer made his first career start and his seventh overall appearance of the season for Boston to kick off the weekend, and his first taste of the opener role was not very favorable.

That being the case because over 2 2/3 innings of work, the right-hander surrendered two runs, both of which were earned, on four hits and three walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

Both of those New York tallies came in the bottom half of the third, when after escaping a bases loaded jam in the first and retiring three of the four hitters he faced in the second, Brewer served up a one-out, two-run double to Gleyber Torres off a 2-1 heater on the outer half of the plate to put his side in a 2-0 hole.

That damaging blow was followed by a Mike Tauchman pop out, and thus marked the end of Brewer’s rather stressful outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (41 strikes), the 27-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 51% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 95.2 mph with the pitch.

Eventually hit with his first loss of the season, it’s unclear at this point if Brewer will get another crack in the opener role anytime soon. In the meantime, I would expect him to make his next appearance as a reliever.

Speaking of relief pitchers, Austin Brice got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in relief of  Brewer, as the 28-year-old came on with one out to get in the bottom half of the third, got that out on a grounder, and also punched out the side in the fourth. A nice bounce-back effort from him after Tuesday’s rough showing.

From there, Ryan Brasier was responsible for the fifth, recorded the first two outs relatively easily, but then ran into a whole world of trouble following a single from Torres.

A few moments after giving up that base hit, the soon-to-be 33-year-old fell behind in the count against Tauchman at 3-2, which first baseman Mitch Moreland saw as a chance to play behind the base since Torres would be running with two outs.

Brasier, however, did not pick up on this, as he instead cocked back like he was ready to throw over to Moreland, but with no one covering the bag, a balk was called and Torres was awarded second base.

That bout of sloppiness, which was also bountiful on Thursday, came back to bite the Sox almost immediately when Tauchan proceeded to lift a run-scoring double to left to bring in Torres.

To make matters even worse, the ever-dangerous Gary Sanchez followed that up by absolutely demolishing a 1-2, 96 mph fastball on the outer half of the plate from Brasier and deposited it 457 feet into the left field bleachers.

Brasier did manage to get Clint Frazier to whiff to finally end the inning, but the damage had already been done as the Yankees went into the sixth with a 5-1 edge.

The recently-recalled Dylan Covey, celebrating his 29th birthday on Friday, was next up for Boston, and he tossed a scoreless bottom of the sixth before getting rocked for three runs on four hits in the seventh.

That late outburst increased New York’s run total to eight, and they tacked on two more against Brandon Workman in the ninth before Marcus Walden wrapped things up to hold the deficit at seven runs. Not like it mattered much in the end anyway.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees ace right-hander Gerrit Cole, who was making his first start against Boston while donning the pinstripes. To put his outing in simple terms, the $324 million man came as advertised.

As a matter of fact, the only ounce of offense the Boston bats could produce off Cole was not until the fourth inning.

There, after the Yanks starter had faced the minimum nine batters through his first three innings of work, Red Sox leadoff man re-introduced himself to Cole in the fourth by crushing a 385-foot solo shot to deep right field.

Verdugo’s fourth homer of the season cut his side’s deficit in half at 2-1, and they nearly scored again an inning later, but as he is expected to do, Cole held the Red Sox in check. He finished his night with no walks and eight strikeouts over seven quality frames.

Fortunately, Cole was only able to go seven innings, and the Sox took advantage of that right away in their half of the eighth when Verdugo and Rafael Devers picked up an RBI each off Jonathan Holder to make it an 8-3 contest.

Alas, three runs is all the Red Sox would be limited to, as Adam Ottavino closed things out in the eighth and Ben Heller secured the 10-3 victory for New York and 10-3 loss for Boston in the ninth.

Some notes and observations from this defeat:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

The Red Sox’ No. 3-5 hitters, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Mitch Moreland, went a combined 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts on Friday.

Friday’s game took 3 hours and 35 minutes. Going into the weekend, the Red Sox were third in baseball in average time per game (3 hours and 19 minutes).

Next up for the Red Sox, the second-third of the 2020 major-league season begins on Saturday night in the Bronx.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will be getting the ball for Boston, while left-hander James Paxton will be doing the same for New York.

Eovaldi is coming off six quality innings of three-run ball to go along with 10 strikeouts in his last time out against the Blue Jays. The 30-year-old, who once played for the Yankees, owns a lifetime 3.54 ERA and .687 OPS against in 28 career outings (26 starts) at the Stadium.

Paxton, meanwhile, has allowed exactly three eanred runs in each of his first three starts this season. The 31-year-old made four starts against the Sox in 2019 and went 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA over 24 2/3 total innings pitched.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FOX and WEEI. Red Sox looking to snap out of this slump.

 

Red Sox Endure More Pitching Struggles Out of Bullpen in 8-2 Loss to Rays

It was a close game until it wasn’t. In other words, the Red Sox trailed the Rays by just one run going into the seventh inning of Tuesday’s contest, and wound up dropping their second straight to Tampa Bay by a final score of 8-2.

Martin Perez made his fourth start of the season for Boston in this one and his second straight against the Rays as he was coming off five strong, scoreless innings in his last time out on August 5 at Tropicana Field.

Working 5 2/3 innings at Fenway Park on Tuesday, the left-hander held the opposition to two runs while scattering three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first of those two Tampa Bay tallies came right off the bat in the first, when on his sixth pitch, Perez served up a leadoff homer to Mike Brosseau on a 3-2, 91 mph fastball on the outer half of the plate.

That certainly was not a promising way to begin a ballgame, but Perez was able to settle down a bit. As a matter of fact, the only other time the Rays got to the Sox starter came in the third inning on a one-out RBI single from Yandy Diaz.

Other than those two slight mishaps, Perez looked relatively solid once more, as he retired 10 of the final 11 hitters he faced before a two-out walk to Jose Martinez in the top of the sixth marked the end of his evening.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (57 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his vaunted changeup 34% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing seven swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 93 mph with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw seven times.

Unfortunately hit with the tough luck loss to fall to 2-2 on the season, Perez did manage to lower his ERA to 3.38. He’ll look to bring that down even more in his next time out, which could come against the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.

In relief of Perez, Austin Brice got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, inherited the man Perez had walked, and ended the top half of the sixth by getting Hunter Renfroe to ground out right back to him.

From there, well, let’s just say things got ugly, as Brice and the recently-recalled right-hander Robert Stock combined to surrender six runs on four hits and two walks in the seventh. Christian Vazquez was also charged with a passed ball in the process that saw the Sox’ deficit grow from one run to seven.

Stock came back out for the eighth, loaded the bases while recording the first two outs of the inning, and was replaced by another relative newcomer in Dylan Covey, who got out of the jam and also worked a scoreless ninth to hold the Rays at eight runs. Not like it mattered much in the end, but still another positive development there.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against Andrew Kittredge, who had closed things out for the Rays on Monday, yet opened for them on Tuesday.

The right-hander only recorded one out in the first inning though, as he had to depart earlier than expected due to an apparent right arm injury.

After the dust had settled from all that and right-hander John Curtiss was dispatched by Tampa Bay, Michael Chavis opened up the scoring for his side in the second.

Celebrating his 25th birthday on Tuesday, the second baseman followed up a Christian Vazquez two-out double with a hard-hit RBI single to drive in the backstop and tie things up at one run apiece.

Despite all that early adversity, Curtiss and the rest of the Rays pitching staff held things down against a rather stagnant Red Sox offense.

The only other run Boston pushed across in this one came in the eighth inning on an Alex Verdugo RBI single, but even then, Andrew Benintendi cost his side an out by tripping and getting caught in between second and third base on the play. Very on brand for this season.

Verdugo’s fifth RBI of the year made it an 8-2 game in favor of Tampa Bay, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

In his second straight start at third base in place of Rafael Devers, Jonathan Arauz went 2-for-3 after going 3-for-4 on Monday.

Michael Chavis, meanwhile, may have made a mental error at second base in that troublesome seventh inning, but he did go 2-for-4 at the plate on Tuesday and is now 6-for-his-last-13.

Andrew Benintendi also had a multi-hit game to raise his batting average on the season to .103.

Martin Perez has allowed four earned runs over his last 19 1/3 innings pitched.

Next up for the Red Sox, it doesn’t get any easier with Blake Snell getting the start for the Rays on Wednesday night. The Red Sox will send out Zack Godley to oppose the 2018 American League Cy Young winner.

Snell has yet to face the Sox this season, but he does own a lifetime 3.75 ERA and .683 OPS against in four career starts and 24 total innings pitched at Fenway Park.

Godley, meanwhile, is coming off four scoreless frames in his second start with the Red Sox against the Blue Jays on August 8. The 30-year-old has only pitched against the Rays twice before in his career and has given up three total runs in those outings.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time.

Mitch Moreland Comes Through With Two Homers, Walks It off for Red Sox in Series-Clinching 5-3 Victory Over Blue Jays

For the first time in nearly a full calendar year, the Red Sox have won a series at home following a 4-3, walk-off victory over the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Sunday.

Nathan Eovaldi made his fourth start of the season for Boston to close out the weekend, and he had a nice bounce-back outing coming off a somewhat rough go of things in Tampa Bay last week.

Working six innings on Sunday, the right-hander surrendered three runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and zero walks to go along with 10 strikeouts on the afternoon to tie a career-high.

All three Toronto tallies yielded by Eovaldi were driven in by the sons of former major-leaguers, with Cavan Biggio lifting a two-out solo shot in the third, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. plating Teoscar Hernandez on a two-out RBI single in the fourth, and Bo Bichette crushing a solo homer of his own to lead things off in the sixth.

Other than those mishaps, Eovaldi was fairly effective, missed plenty of bats, and escaped the top half of the sixth inning without giving anything else up to end his day on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (63 strikes), the 30-year-old flamethrower turned to his vaunted four-seam fastball 40% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing four swings-and-misses and topping out at 100.2 mph with the pitch.

Hit with the no-decision while raising his ERA on the year to 4.09, Eovaldi will look to build on this start in his next time out, which should come against the Yankees in the Bronx this coming Friday.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Josh Osich got the call to begin things in the seventh, and he got the first two outs of the frame before a two-out walk of Biggio resulted in Sox manager Ron Roenicke turning to Austin Brice with the dangerous Bichette due up next.

As Roenicke had intended, Brice got the Blue Jays shortstop to ground into an inning-ending forceout, and then proceeded to punch out the side in the eighth on 17 pitches.

From there, Matt Barnes kept a 3-3 tie intact during a two-strikeout top of the ninth, and he would later be credited with his first winning decision of 2020 because of it.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against yet another veteran right-hander for the Blue Jays in the form of ex-Angels hurler Matt Shoemaker.

Mitch Moreland, who had faced Shoemaker seven times in his career before Sunday, got the scoring started for Boston with a 414-foot solo home run with one out in the second inning.

In the third, the Sox took advantage of sloppy defense from Shoemaker when Jackie Bradley Jr. led the inning off with a single, advanced to second on a Tzu-Wei Lin sacrifice bunt, and came around to score when the Toronto starter misfielded a soft grounder off the bat of Alex Verdugo. That bizarre sequence made it a 2-1 contest in favor of the home side.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, another left-handed hitter got the best of Shoemaker, this time with Rafael Devers busting out of a cold spell and tying this one up at three runs apiece with a 449-foot blast to dead center coming off a first-pitch, 92 mph sinker on the inner half of the plate. The 23-year-old’s first Fenway big fly of 2020.

And in the ninth, a two-out walk drawn by Xander Bogaerts off Jays reliever Thomas Hatch brought Moreland to the plate for a fourth time. And with the chance to win this one, the 34-year-old did not waste anytime, as he swung at the first pitch he saw from the opposing right-hander and deposited an 86 mph slider well over the Green Monster to walk it off.

Moreland’s second long ball of the day and third of the weekend put the Red Sox up 5-3, which would of course go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this walk-off victory: 

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Mitch Moreland’s last seven games: 7-for-21 (.333) with four homers and nine RBI.

From The Providence Journal’s Bill Koch:

Red Sox pitchers faced 35 Blue Jays hitters on Sunday. They struck out 15 of them.

Look at Rafael Devers, man.

Now a quarter of the way through the truncated season, the Red Sox are a not-so-nice 6-9 on the season. The homestand rolls on with the first of four against the Rays on Monday night.

Ron Roenicke has yet to name a starter for the series opener, but Tampa Bay will go with left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who surrendered five runs over five innings his last time out against Boston on August 5.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox looking for their second straight win.

Alex Verdugo Clubs Two Homers Over Green Monster, Takes One Back in Right Field as Red Sox Open Series Against Blue Jays With 5-3 Victory

For the second time this season, the Red Sox are on a winning streak, as they followed a 5-0 win over the Rays on Wednesday by opening up a seven-game homestand with a 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday.

Ryan Weber made his third start of the season for Boston in this one, coming off back-to-back losing decisions to kick off his 2020 campaign.

Working three-plus innings on Friday, the right-hander surrendered two runs, both of which were earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

The first of those two Toronto tallies off Weber came right away in the first inning, when after nearly striking out moments before, Cavan Biggio led things off with a 397-foot solo shot to left field coming off a 3-2, 89 mph sinker down the heart of the plate.

In the third, Biggio caused more trouble, this time leading off the frame with a line-drive single and coming around to score moments later on RBI double off the bat of Bo Bichette.

The sons of former players didn’t make things easy for Weber, but he did manage to strand Bichette by getting Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to ground out to retire the side in the third before a leadoff single from Travis Shaw in the fourth marked the end of his evening.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 64 (39 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his sinker 48% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing one swing-and-miss and topping out at 89.6 mph with the pitch.

Able to halt his personal losing streak while lowering his ERA on the year to 9.90 despite getting hit with the no-decision, Weber’s next start, if he gets one that is, would likely come against the Tampa Bay Rays next Wednesday or Thursday.

In relief of Weber, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen and managed to clean up his predecessor’s mess by getting Teoscar Hernandez to pop out to second before inducing a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play off the bat of Danny Jansen.

From there, Colten Brewer tossed a perfect top of the fifth, Ryan Brasier yielded one run on two hits and one walk in the sixth, Austin Brice danced his way around a two-out walk in an otherwise clean seventh, Matt Barnes walked a pair yet didn’t surrender anything in the eighth thanks to a 4-6-3 twin-killing started by Xander Bogaerts, and Brandon Workman, with the help of Alex Verdugo, worked a scoreless ninth to lock down the save and the 5-3 victory for his side.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Tanner Roark for Toronto, who had last pitched on July 28 due his team’s series against the Phillies last week getting postponed.

Perhaps a bit rusty because of all that time off, walked four of the first five Red Sox hitters he faced, allowing Mitch Moreland to pick up an RBI by drawing a bases-loaded walk with one out in the bottom of the first.

A Christian Vazquez double-play extinguished any shot of doing more damage off Roark right away in this one, but the Boston bats were back at it again in the second.

There, on the very second pitch of the inning, Alex Verdugo crushed a 1-0, 77 mph changeup on the outer half of the plate from Roark and deposited it 366 feet into the Monster seats in left field. His second homer in as many games put the Sox up 2-1 early on.

An inning later, another left-handed hitter got to Roark, as Moreland followed a one-out Xander Bogaerts single with a first-pitch, 427-foot two-run blast over everything in right field to make it a 4-2 contest. His fourth home run of the season.

Fast forward to the eighth, and Verdugo put this one to bed with a leadoff solo shot over the fence in left field, his second of the contest, off Rafael Dolis.

That 331-foot shot put the Red Sox up 5-3, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this win:

Alex Verdugo has a .927 OPS now. Wouldn’t be surprising to see him in the leadoff spot soon, maybe even on Saturday.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second of this three-game set against the Jays on Saturday night.

Veteran right-hander and one-time Blue Jay Zack Godley will get the start for Boston, while fellow righty Chase Anderson will do the same for Toronto.

Godley, 30, surrendered five earned runs in just over three innings of work in his first start with the Sox against the Yankees last weekend. He owns a lifetime 4.70 ERA and .691 OPS against in three career outings (one start) and 7 2/3 innings pitched against the Jays.

Anderson, meanwhile, will be making his 2020 debut on Saturday after starting the season on the injured list due to an oblique strain. The 32-year-old has never pitched inside Fenway Park before in his career.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox looking to put together their first three-game winning streak of the year.