Rafael Devers Is Your American League Player of the Week

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers has been named American League Player of the Week for August 12th through the 18th.

The 22-year-old put together quite the week at the plate against the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles, slashing .593/.633/1.185 with 10 extra-base hits, three of which being home runs, and 11 RBI over his last six games.

That stretch included a run of eight straight hits that began with a six-hit, four-double performance in Cleveland on Tuesday, marking the first time since at least 1908 that a major leaguer had achieved that feat, and extended into Wednesday.

Against the Orioles on Sunday, Devers became the first big leaguer this season to surpass the century mark in RBI with a two-run homer, his 27th, in the seventh inning of a 13-7 victory.

On the 2019 campaign as a whole, Devers leads American League third baseman in games played (123), runs scored (103), runs driven in (101), slugging percentage (.575), and is tied with Houston’s Alex Bregman atop the fWAR leaderboards (5.5).

2019 has certainly been a breakout year for Devers to say the least. In what is only his second full season in the majors, the breakout star appears to be a lock to finish in the top three for American League Most Valuable Player voting in the fall.

Advertisements

Rafael Devers Homers, Surpasses 100-RBI Mark as Red Sox Complete Sweep of Orioles in 13-7 Comeback Win

After shutting out the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, the Red Sox fell behind by six runs early against the O’s on Sunday, but battled their way back to both complete the three-game weekend sweep and extend their winning streak to five games with a 13-7 victory.

Making his fifth start and 16th overall appearance for Boston was Nathan Eovaldi, who, before Sunday, hadn’t started a game in over four months.

Tossing just two full innings in this one, the right-hander yielded five runs, all of which were earned, on three hits and three walks to go along with one strikeout on the afternoon.

The first three of those Baltimore runs came on one swing of the bat right away in the top half of the first, when with one out and runners at the corners following a Jonathan Villar leadoff double and Trey Mancini walk, Renato Nunez unloaded on a 3-2, 79 MPH curveball from Eovaldi and sent it 415 feet over the Green Monster.

An inning later, ball four came back to bite Eovaldi once more, with Chris Davis drawing a walk to lead things off and Villar drawing another with two outs, which allowed Mancini to make it a 5-0 contest on a two-run single that also ended the top of the frame as he was thrown out at second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 43 (23 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing one swing and miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 97.7 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 13 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately getting hit with the no-decision while inflating his ERA on the year up to a not-so-nice 6.69 ERA, command, or lack thereof, played a major role for Eovaldi in his first start since April 17th. He’ll look for improved results, as well as an increased workload, in his next time out, which should come against the San Diego Padres next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the top of the third with his side trailing by five runs, and he bumped that deficit up to six by serving up a two-out RBI double to Hanser Alberto in his lone inning of work.

From there, Ryan Brasier worked his way around a one-out walk in a scoreless fourth, Josh Taylor allowed back-to-back two-out singles in an otherwise clean fifth, Marcus Walden tossed a scoreless sixth, which eventually led to him picking up his eighth winning decision of the season, and Andrew Cashner put together his third straight scoreless appearance since moving to the bullpen with the help of an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play in the seventh.

And finally, with this one already well in hand, Travis Lakins surrendered one run on one hit over two frames of relief to secure the 13-7 win for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles left-hander Ty Blach, who was claimed off waivers by Baltimore from the San Francisco Giants earlier in the month.

Already trailing by three runs before they took their first at-bats, five runs before taking their second, and six before taking their third, back-to-back RBI groundouts from Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts following a walk and double from Chris Owings and Mookie Betts to lead off the bottom half of the third netted the Sox their first two runs of the day.

In the fourth, Sam Travis continued to trim the deficit, as he took Blach deep to dead center off a one-out, first-pitch, 90 MPH sinker down the middle of the plate for his sixth home run of the season.

Fast forward to the sixth, and a leadoff double off the bat of J.D. Martinez and one-out walk drawn by Travis knocked Blach out of this contest and brought right-hander Gabriel Ynoa in for Baltimore.

That move would wind up favoring Boston more though, as Christian Vazquez greeted the new O’s reliever by knocking in Martinez from third on a line-drive RBI double down the left field line.

The emergence of Mitch Moreland hitting in the place of Sandy Leon led to another Orioles pitching change, this time with lefty Paul Fry taking over.

Again, the run that Red Sox pinch-hitters have been on this season continued, with Moreland being the beneficiary of sloppy defensive play from Baltimore on a routine pop fly to shallow left field.

What should have been the second out of the sixth instead went for an RBI single while both Travis and Vazquez scored to knot things up at six runs apiece.

An Owings strikeout and Betts walk brought Devers to the plate with the chance to give his side their first lead of the afternoon, and he came through with the go-ahead, run-scoring double off the Green Monster to do just that and drive in Moreland from second.

Bogaerts and Martinez followed suit with back-to-back RBI singles in between another Orioles pitching change, with Bogaerts’ knock coming off Fry and Martinez’s off of Shawn Armstrong.

All in all, the Sox entered their half of the sixth down 6-3. By the time the third out was recorded on a Travis punchout, 12 hitters had come to the plate and the score was now 9-6 in favor of Boston. Talk about turning a game on it’s head.

The offensive outpour did not stop there though, not with Vazquez and Moreland leading off the seventh with back-to-back singles and Betts plating Vazquez on a sacrifice fly to center.

Devers followed that by absolutely punishing a 1-1, 94 MPH four-seamer on the outer half of the strike zone from Armstrong and depositing it 399 feet to right for his 27th big fly of the season.

That two-run shot had an exit velocity of over 111 MPH, per Statcast, and it also marked the 100th and 101st RBI of the year for Devers, as he became the first player in baseball this season to reach the century mark in runs driven in.

A Bogaerts double and Martinez run-scoring single put the Red Sox up 13-6, and after the Orioles tacked on another run in their half of the ninth, 13-7 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

Josh Taylor’s last 15 appearances: 14 1/3 innings pitched, nine hits, three earned runs, five walks, 18 strikeouts, 1.88 ERA.

Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .563/.600/1.094 with three home runs and 11 RBI.

J.D. Martinez’s last 15 games: .414/.485/.707 with four homers and 10 RBI.

Mitch Moreland’s last seven games: .409/.458/.682 with one homer and six RBI.

With the Tampa Bay Rays topping the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, the Red Sox still stand 6 1/2 games off the pace for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another off day on Monday before welcoming the 64-60 Philadelphia Phillies into town for a two-game interleague series beginning on Tuesday.

Left-hander Chris Sale was supposed to start in the opener, but has since been placed on the 10-day injured list due to left elbow inflammation. Sox manager Alex Cora has yet to name a replacement.

Right-hander Aaron Nola will get the start for Philadelphia.

Since the beginning of August, the Phillies ace owns an ERA of 2.07 and batting average against of .194 over his last three outings and 19 innings pitched.

In one prior start at Fenway Park back on July 30th of last year, Nola hurled eight masterful innings of one-run ball in a contest the Phillies lost by a final score of 2-1.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their sixth straight win.

Red Sox Place Chris Sale on Injured List Due to Left Elbow Inflammation

In case you missed it, the Red Sox announced that left-hander Chris Sale had been placed on the 10-day injured list due to left elbow inflammation prior to Saturday’s win over the Baltimore Orioles.

In a corresponding move, right-hander Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. The club made the transaction official earlier on Saturday.

Sale allowed five runs, three of which were earned, on five hits, two walks, and 12 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in his last time out against the Cleveland Indians this past Tuesday.

According to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, the 30-year-old felt stiffness in his left elbow in the two days following his last start and informed the team’s training staff of it on Friday, which ultimately led to an MRI on Saturday.

“We’re not taking any chances and putting him on the injured list,” Dombrowski said when speaking with reporters Saturday. “There’s going to be further evaluation. Our doctors looked at the MRI. We’ll have other doctors look at the MRI. We’re in a situation where I don’t really know where it’s going to take us at this point. People will further read the MRIs, and then they’ll make their diagnosis.”

One of those other opinions will come from Dr. James Andrews, who will more than likely meet with Sale as well.

Sale himself was not made available to the media on Saturday. As Dombrowski put it, “Chris, I think, needs a couple of days to himself at this point.”

Obviously, there’s no timetable for when Sale could possibly make any kind of return. In fact, when asked about whether or not the Florida native will pitch again in 2019, all Dombrowski could say was, “I don’t know one way or another at this point.”

Sale was scheduled to start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. A replacement has yet to be named by Sox manager Alex Cora, who said that, “Somebody has to step up. That’s how it works in this business,” following Saturday’s win over the Orioles.

On the other side of this move, Ryan Brasier was recalled from Pawtucket one month after a somewhat-surprising demotion.

In that time with the PawSox, the 31-year-old posted a 0.96 ERA and .182 batting average against over 10 relief appearances and 9 1/3 innings pitched.

On the 2019 campaign as a whole, Brasier owns an ERA of 4.46 and batting average against of .242 in 44 appearances and 40 1/3 innings of work with Boston. He did not pitch Saturday.

Stay tuned for something on here if Sale speaks with the media in the next few days.

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.

Rick Porcello Tosses Six Strong Innings, Mookie Betts Homers as Red Sox Cruise to 9-1 Victory over Orioles

After taking a competitive series from the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox picked up where they left off by opening up a three-game weekend set against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday with a 9-1 win to mark their third consecutive victory.

Making his 25th start of the season for Boston and second against Baltimore was Rick Porcello, who came into the weekend fresh off allowing five runs on five hits over five innings in his last time out against the Los Angeles Angels.

Working six full frames this time around to surpass the 2,000 mark for his career, the right-hander yielded just one earned while scattering four hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

That lone Orioles tally came in the the top half of the third inning, when with two outs and Jonathan Villar at first following a two-out single, Trey Mancini laced an RBI double to right field off a 1-1, 90 MPH two-seam fastball from Porcello to put his team on the board.

Other than that one blip though, Porcello escaped the third by fanning Anthony Santander on three pitches before retiring eight of the final 11 Orioles he faced from the beginning of the fourth up until the middle of the sixth, which is the point where his evening came to an encouraging close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (47 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer more than 38% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 91.7 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually earning his 11th winning decision while lowering his ERA on the year to 5.49, Porcello’s next start should come against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the seventh inning with a brand new five-run lead to protect, and he did so by needing just 11 pitches to sit down the side in order.

From there, the recently called up Travis Lakins saw this one through to its completion by working his way around a leadoff single and one-out walk in the eighth before punching out the side in the ninth to secure the 9-1 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles right-hander Aaron Brooks, someone they faced twice in April when he was a member of the Oakland Athletics pitching staff.

Perhaps aided by that level of familiarity, a Mookie Betts double to lead things off the first set up Rafael Devers right away with a runner in scoring position.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Brooks, a 2-2, 86 MPH changeup on the outer edge of the plate, the red-hot Devers managed to rip an RBI single to the opposite field to get his side on the board first.

Fast forward to the fourth, after Baltimore came back to tie things up at one run apiece, and Andrew Benintendi took that lead back by driving in J.D. Martinez from second on a one-out, run-scoring triple to the triangle.

Two batters later, Mitch Moreland followed that Benintendi triple with an RBI three-bagger of his own, this one coming with two outs and on a pop fly to right field to make it a 3-1 contest.

In the sixth, a Martinez HBP, a Benintendi single, and Christian Vazquez sacrifice bunt set up the pinch-hitting Sam Travis with runners at second and third against new O’s reliever Richard Bleier.

Travis was put on intentionally, filling the bases for another pinch-hitter in the form of Chris Owings.

Having not played since going 0-for-5 in his Sox debut this past Sunday, Owings made up for that by plating a pair on a two-run double to left off the first pitch he saw from Bleier. Owing’s first hit in a Red Sox uniform put his new team ahead 5-1.

Jackie Bradley Jr. added on to that lead with a sacrifice fly to center to drive in Travis from third, and just like that, Boston had themselves a five-run lead.

An inning later, up against Tom Eshelman, a Devers leadoff walk and Bogaerts double put runners in scoring position once again for Martinez, who came through with yet another sac fly, driving in Devers from third.

Benintendi followed with his third hit and second of the extra-base hit variety, plating Bogaerts from third on an RBI double to give the Sox a seven-run advantage.

And in the eighth, Betts put the exclamation point on this blowout by mashing his 21st home run of the season with two outs in the inning.

That 358-foot blast over the Green Monster gave the Red Sox a 9-1 lead, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Rafael Devers’ last six games: 15-for-28 (.536) with six doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI.

Andrew Benintendi’s August thus far: .356/.406/.593 with nine doubles, one homer, and nine RBI. He has multiple hits in four of his last five games.

With their winning streak now at three, the Red Sox currently sit 6 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card Spot.

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

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston, while right-hander Asher Wojciechowski will do the same for Baltimore.

Rodriguez surrendered a season-high 10 hits in his last time out against the Cleveland Indians on Monday before being hit with the no-decision.

In two outings against the organization he began his pro career with this season, the 26-year-old is 2-0 with a minuscule 1.98 ERA and .188 batting average against over 13 2/3 quality innings of work.

Wojciechowski, meanwhile, held the Sox scoreless while taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning of a 5-0 win for the O’s in Baltimore back on July 21st.

The 30-year-old has since allowed 14 runs over his last four starts and 21 2/3 innings pitched. He has never made an appearance at Fenway Park.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their fourth straight win.

 

 

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.

 

Jackie Bradley Jr. Goes Yard Twice, Drives in Six Runs as Red Sox Tee off on Orioles in 17-6 Win

After an ‘unacceptable’ 11-2 loss to open a three-game weekend series on Friday, the Red Sox bounced back against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, blowing out their divisional foes by a final score of 17-6 to improve to 54-45 on the season.

Making his 20th start of the season for Boston and second against Baltimore was Rick Porcello, coming off an outing in which he allowed four runs in six innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in a win this past Monday.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the right-hander, like David Price before him, got shelled for six runs, all of which were earned, on a season-high 11 hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The first five of those six Orioles tallies came in the bottom half of the third, when after his team had jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, Porcello gave it right back by serving up a one-run double to Trey Mancini to cap off a string of three straight hitters reaching base to begin the inning, a one-out, three-run home run to Renato Nunez off a 1-0, 81 MPH changeup, and a two-out RBI single to Chris Davis.

Those three hits resulted in the Red Sox’ initial five-run advantage completely disappearing, but fortunately for Porcello, his side tacked on a total off 11 runs over the next two innings, and he did not give that lead up.

The only other damage the Orioles got off Porcello took place in the fifth, when with two outs and the bases empty, outfielder Anthony Santander stayed hot and took the New Jersey native deep to right on an 0-2, 84 MPH slider on the inner half of the plate for his second homer in as many days.

Porcello was just one pitch away from his first 1-2-3 inning, but instead yielded hits to three of the last four Orioles he faced and wrapped up the fifth by getting Richie Martin to ground out to second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (67 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball more than 31% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing one swing and miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 91.2 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 26 times and got four whiffs on while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately picking up his eighth winning decision of the season despite his ERA inflating to 5.61, July has not been Porcello’s best month, as he owns a 8.64 ERA over his last three starts. As it turns out though, the Sox are 3-0 in those games. Porcello’s next start should come against the New York Yankees on Thursday.

In relief of Porcello, Heath Hembree entered in the middle of the sixth with a cushy 10-run lead to protect, and he retired the side in order.

From there, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez punched out the side, walked one, and gave up a hit to another in the seventh in his third appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on the 16th, fellow lefty Josh Taylor worked his way around a leadoff single in an otherwise perfect eighth, and Colten Brewer finished things off with a clean ninth inning to secure the 17-6 blowout victory for the Red Sox.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles rookie right-hander Tom Eshelman, making his third career big league start and first against a team besides the Tampa Bay Rays.

A leadoff single from J.D. Martinez would turn out to be the catalyst for a huge four-run second inning, with Andrew Benintendi reaching base on a four-pitch walk, and Christian Vazquez getting his team on the board first with an RBI single to left, driving in Martinez all the way from second.

Jackie Bradley Jr., with a large group of family and friends in attendance, padded that early lead by blasting his 10th home run of the season, a 410-foot, three-run shot off a first-pitch 76 MPH curveball from Eshelman.

An inning later, Rafael Devers reached the 20-homer plateau for the second straight season, as he led off the third by taking Eshelman deep to right off a 3-2, 86 MPH two-seamer right down Broadway.

That gave the Red Sox an early five-run lead, and it looked like they were on their way to running away with this one. They eventually did, but not before the Orioles made this a new game with a five-run frame of their own in their half of the third.

The 5-5 stalemate did not last long, though. Not with Michael Chavis reaching first on a one-out throwing error in the fourth and Mookie Betts plating him, as well as himself, on his 15th big fly of the year. This one sent 364 feet over the left field fence to give the Red Sox a new 7-5 lead.

A pitching change following a Devers walk and Xander Bogaerts single saw Jimmy Yacabonis take over for Eshelman, and he was immediately greeted by Martinez, who ripped his second hit of the night, a two-run double to left, to score both Devers and Bogaerts. 9-5.

A wild pitch with Benintendi at the plate allowed Martinez to advance to third easily, and Vazquez capitalized on Baltimore’s miscue by collecting his second RBI of the contest on a bloop single to left. 10-5.

With runners at first and second and still one out to get, Bradley Jr. laced an 0-2, 86 MPH slider from Yacabonis and just snuck his second three-run homer of the night off the right field foul pole.

Per Statcast, Bradley Jr.’s 11th dinger of 2019 had an exit velocity of 99.9 MPH, good enough to put the Red Sox up 13-5.

In the fifth, a Brock Holt leadoff double resulted in three more Boston runs crossing the plate, with Betts, Devers, and Bogaerts stringing together back-to-back-to-back RBI hits off Yacabonis, making it an 11-run contest in the process of doing so.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, with outfielder Stevie Wilkerson pitching for the O’s, Sandy Leon, who entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh, put this one to bed by blasting home run number three on the season off a 1-0, 55(!!!) MPH slider.

Leon’s first non-three-run shot of the year gave the Red Sox the 17-6 lead, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Michael Chavis left in the fifth inning Saturday due to back spasms. He won’t play tomorrow, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora isn’t too concerned.

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Rafael Devers’ July to this point: .333/.408/.794 with eight home runs and 25 RBI.

Xander Bogaerts’ last seven games: .500/.559/.767 with two homers and five RBI.

Mookie Betts, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games on Saturday, is slashing .426/.493/.672 with two homers, 10 RBI, and 10 walks over his last 15 games.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the final game of this weekend series on Sunday afternoon in Baltimore.

Right-hander Andrew Cashner gets the start for Boston against his former club, while fellow righty Asher Wojciechowski will do the Same for Baltimore.

Fresh off a five-inning, five-run performance in his Red Sox debut last Tuesday, Cashner made 17 starts with the O’s before being traded on July 13th.

In his career at Camden Yards, the 32-year-old is 6-8 with a lifetime 4.49 ERA and .260 batting average against over 22 starts and 130 1/3 total innings pitched.

Wojciechowski, meanwhile, brings with him a 5.74 ERA over four appearances (three starts) and 15 2/3 innings of work on the 2019 season.

The 30-year-old has only faced off against Boston one time, and that came back in September of 2017 when he was with the Cincinnati Reds. In that one appearance, Wojciechowski tossed two scoreless innings of relief in an eventual 5-4 loss.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for a much-needed series win.