RECAP: Rick Porcello and JBJ lead the way for #RedSox in series-clinching 5-1 win.

The Red Sox just took two out of three from the second place New York Yankees. I’m jacked up. Last night was frustrating, but the Red Sox certainly bounced back in the right way today. Rick Porcello was matched up against relatively new Yankee Sonny Gray, so there was a real chance of a pitcher’s duel. Porcello was great in the six innings that he pitched, scattering three hits while only surrendering one run while walking three and striking out four. That only run happened to be a solo home run, which came in the fifth inning off of Brett Gardner. Other than that though, I liked what I saw out of Porcello. The three walks were a bit of an issue, given the fact he easily could have gone deeper into the game, but I’ll take it. This time out makes it three straight quality starts for the righty, and he also has yet to lose a start in the month of August.

The bullpen was also good on Sunday, putting together their second straight scoreless effort. Brandon Workman pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, Addison Reed pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and even though it wasn’t a save situation, Craig Kimbrel shut the door on the Yankees in the ninth.

Offensively, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Sandy Leon, the eight and nine hitters, carried the load. They drove in all five runs and recorded a third of the team’s hits. Sonny Gray was tough to watch, not because he was bad, but because he took an average of twenty-eight seconds between each pitch. Luckily, his pitch count was pretty high since he had to leave after only throwing five innings. JBJ got the scoring started in the second, driving in Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon on a 2 RBI triple. The center fielder picked things up again the sixth, driving in Mitch Moreland on another RBI hit, this one being a single. Later on in the eighth, Sandy Leon essentially put the final nail in the coffin, doubling to right field and driving in two more runs, giving the Red Sox a 5-1 lead.

Big four-game series coming up in Cleveland. The Indians have won eight of their last ten games and will probably go on to win their division. With the way the standings are at currently, I believe the Red Sox would host the Indians in the ALDS. Eduardo Rodriguez makes the start tomorrow, looking forward to it.

71 down, 24 to go. 

RECAP: CC Sabathia outpitches Chris Sale as #RedSox drop middle game 4-3.

Leading up to this one, I would have guaranteed the Red Sox would be six games up in the division at the conclusion of Saturday night’s game. Unfortunately for me, that prediction did not age well as the Red Sox dropped the second game of this series in a rather frustrating fashion. Chris Sale, making his 25th start of 2017, was matched up against the longest tenured Yankee, CC Sabathia. Sale was not bad, but that means he wasn’t great either. In the seven innings he pitch, the lefty surrendered four earned runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out nine. Two of those hits were home runs, and that is where the Yankees scored all their runs. Tyler Austin took Sale deep for two runs in the second, and Todd Frazier just sneaked one over the Monster in the sixth. We were so close to seeing Sale notch another quality start, but that Frazier home run really sucked. Although he picked up his fifth loss, Sale did reach the 250 strikeout mark for the season as well. With all those K’s. Sale joins both Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers to record 250 or more K’s in 25 or fewer starts in a single season. Elite company for sure for Chris Sale. One thing I want to bring up about Sale though is how up and down he has been in August. In two road starts at Tampa and New York, Sale has been fantastic, allowing a total of one earned run over fifteen innings pitched. But, while pitching at Fenway Park this month, Sale has been well below average, allowing eleven earned runs in only twelve innings pitched. I don’t know if it’s anything to be concerned about, but Sale has been known to pitch worse as the season gets into the later stages.

After Sale exited, the bullpen did much better than they did on Friday night. Matt Barnes bounced back with a scoreless eighth inning, then Heath Hembree, Robby Scott, and Joe Kelly each got an out in the ninth. It’s too bad the offense couldn’t pick them up, but the bullpen did do their job in keeping the Red Sox in the game.

Offensively, CC Sabathia pretty much had his way with the Red Sox lineup. It wasn’t until the fifth when the Red Sox scored their first runs of the game. Other than that though, I was pretty surprised with what I saw out of Sabathia, who is way past his prime. The first run of the game came off the bat of Sandy Leon, who drove in Xander Bogaerts on an RBI ground out. Jackie Bradley Jr. then drove in Rafael Devers on an RBI single in the same inning. Later on in the seventh, Rafael Devers, playing in his 20th big league game, mashed his eighth home run of the season right over the Red Sox bullpen.

This cut the Yankees lead to one, and Xander Bogaerts had the chance to give his team the lead in the eighth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Bogaerts looked awful against David Robertson, striking out on three pitches. They had another chance to at least tie the game in the ninth, after Sandy Leon reached on a strikeout. Brock Holt came in to pinch run, and he tried to steal second. I don’t know why, but trying to steal on a 2-0 count seems pretty dumb. Betances was struggling to find the strike zone in that at bat and that caught stealing took any momentum away. The fact remains, the Red Sox are awful on the bases, making more outs than any other team. It did not COST them this game, but still, it hurt.

Rick Porcello is on the mound this afternoon against new Yankee Sonny Gray. Time to take this series and go up by five games.

70 down, 25 to go. 

RECAP: Mitch Moreland picks up #RedSox bullpen in exciting 9-6 win over the Yankees.

Last time the Red Sox saw the Yankees, they took two out of three games from them with the help of guys like Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, and Chris Sale. That series began one week ago yesterday, and the Red Sox lost the opener. But yesterday, the Red Sox did the opposite of blowing a lead, they came back from a pretty sizable deficit late in the game. First, I was shocked that the weather did not interfere with this game, even though you’d think so with how long that game took. Second, I hope Drew Pomeranz is okay because over the past few months he’s gone from liability to asset. Pomeranz only lasted 3.1 innings before being removed from the game. While he was warming up for the fourth inning, you could see him grip his back, then on his last pitch, you could see that he couldn’t finish his throwing motion, leading to him being taken out. The diagnosis was back spasms, which doesn’t seem all that bad so we’ll have to wait and see if the lefty can give it a go in Cleveland next week.

In relief of Pomeranz, the bullpen definitely did not put forth their best effort. Despite not being all that sharp, Brandon Workman did manage to finish the fourth while holding the Yankees to nothing in the fifth as well. The Red Sox entered the sixth inning with a 3-0 lead and Matt Barnes served up a two-run home run to Todd Frazier, cutting the lead to just one run. Unable to finish the inning, Joe Kelly came on to do that. The righty started the seventh as well, which was one of the ugliest innings I think I have ever seen. Kelly gave up a home run, then Heath Hembree and Robby Scott allowed an additional three runs to score. So, with four pitchers John Farrell relies on heavily, the Red Sox go from having a 3-0 lead to trailing 6-3. Luckily, Addison Reed stabilized things for the bullpen in the seventh, ending the inning by retiring Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, while tossing a scoreless eighth as well. It was the most impressed I’ve been with Reed since the trade, and he, along with the Red Sox offense, paved the way for Craig Kimbrel to pick up his 29th save of the season, as he made Aroldis Chapman look even worse by striking out the side.

At the plate, the Red Sox had a decent night. Facing Jordan Montgomery for the second time in the past week, they did manage to score more than one run off the lefty this time out. Rafael Devers got the scoring started in the second, blasting his seventh home run of the season into the Monster seats, scoring Xander Bogaerts as well. In the 19 games he has appeared in, Devers is hitting one home run for every 10 AB’s he has. To put that in perspective, Giancarlo Stanton, MLB’s home run leader, has an AB/HR of 10.1 right now. Anyway, Christian Vazquez hit this third home run of the season in the fifth, which seemed important when Matt Barnes gave up those two runs, but the Yankees eventually tacked on more. The four runs the Red Sox scored in the fourth were extremely critical since they were in response to the four the Yankees scored in their half of the inning. In the inning, eight batters were sent to the plate and Mitch Moreland, who was pinch-hitting for Chris Young had the biggest hit in the game. It was a one-run game at that point thanks to Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, and Moreland lined an 0-2 pitch to center, allowing both Eduardo Nunez and Benintendi to score, giving the Red Sox a 7-6 lead. By the way, that seventh inning alone took over an hour to complete. Some insurance runs were tacked on in the eighth, with Jackie Bradley Jr. driving in two off of Aroldis Chapman, who continues to prove he can’t perform against the Red Sox.

After all was said and done, the Red Sox enter today with a five game lead in the division. Chris Sale gets the start today against CC Sabathia, advantage Red Sox. With the chance to go up by six games, today’s game presents a great opportunity for a team to runaway with the division.

70 down, 25 to go. 

RECAP: Mookie Betts saves the day; #RedSox defeat Cardinals 5-4.

Tuesday night was fun, last night started out pretty bad, then it got really fun. This game looked like a lost cause going into the ninth, then things got a whole lot better. With all the frustration and excitement, we also got a great ceremonial first pitch out of it.

Eduardo Rodriguez was making the start for the Red Sox, coming off a solid start aginst the Yankees last Friday where he deserved a W. The bullpen let him down in that one, but this time out, the bullpen kept the Red Sox in the game. ERod retired the Cardinals after facing four batters in the fourth, unfortunately, the second inning was nothing like this. With the first four batters all reaching, the Cardinals went on to score all four of their runs in the inning. They could have had five, but Jackie Bradley Jr’s cannon prevented that from happening.

If you look at his final line, 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 K, and 6 K’s, then you’re probably thinking, “Not great, could’ve been better.” Well, you would be somewhat correct but things could have gotten a whole lot worse. Luckily, ERod rebounded after that second inning and was able to pitch into the sixth.

With one out in the sixth, Matt Barnes was inserted into the game. He struck out the only two batters he faced in the inning, then pitched a scoreless seventh while surrendering one hit. Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel were both used after that, and they both pitched scoreless innings. So, the bullpen definitely did their job keeping the lineup in the game.

On the other side of things, Lance Lynn looked a whole lot better than Mike Leake did the other night. The only runs the Red Sox got off him came in the second, on a Eduardo Nunez RBI single and a sac fly from Mookie Betts, that cut the lead in half. That’s all they got off Lynn though, but they did miss on a good amount of scoring chances. The Cardinals bullpen wasn’t as good though, and that’s where the Red Sox did most of their damage. Seung Hwan Oh and Tyler Lyons both pitched scoreless innings, then things got messy in the Cardinals bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal was first up in the ninth, and he served up a solo home run to Xander Bogaerts and a walk to Mitch Moreland before exiting. Zach Duke would be next, and he allowed another walk, to JBJ, while also striking out Brock Holt. So, he exited the game in favor of John Brebbia, and this is where the momentum shifted. A long pause before pitching to Eduardo Nunez caused an uproar from the Cardinals bench, which led to Mike Matheny getting ejected. A pop out from Nunez paved the way for Mookie Betts. On a 3-2 pitch, which was extremely important to the outcome of this game, Mookie lined a double off the Monster, driving in Chris Young as the tying run and JBJ as the winning run.

A wild win to say the least. I did not expect Xander Bogaerts to go deep in the ninth, and I did not expect the Red Sox to win this game back in the seventh inning. But, they kep finding a way, which is important since the Yankees have won three in a row.

A day off today before welcoming in those Yankees for three games over the weekend. Drew Pomeranz, Chris Sale, and Doug Fister or Rick Porcello are lined up for this series, should be a good one.

69 (NICE) down, 26 to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox turn triple play, pour it on in 10-4 win over Cardinals.

In their first visit to Fenway Park since Game 6 of the 2013 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals, who entered Tuesday winning eight of their last nine, opened up a two-game series against the Red Sox. Starting for St. Louis was Mike Leake, and he was matched up against Rick Porcello. Neither starter was great, but Porcello ended up pitching significantly better than Leake. In the seven innings he pitched, Porcello scattered eight hits and two walks, surrendering three earned runs while also striking out six. The Red Sox righty had great defense playing behind him on Tuesday night, including a triple play that was turned in the fourth.

Every run the Cardinals got off of Porcello came in the sixth inning, and half their hits off of Porcello came in the sixth as well. Luckily, the seventh inning was much better and that’s how the defending Cy Young Award winner would end his day. In his 25 starts this season, only twice has Porcello failed to pitch at least six innings. Joe Kelly would be inserted into the game in the eighth, in a much different situation than last Friday in New York. Kelly completed the inning, but not before giving up one run on two hits while striking out one. To secure the win, Robby Scott pitched a scoreless ninth.

Offensively, it looked like the Red Sox were going to struggle to score off of Mike Leake. Rafael Devers drove in the first run of the game in the first, scoring Andrew Benintendi on an RBI single. After that though, they left the bases loaded and didn’t score again until the fifth. This time, the scoring started when Leake loaded the bases again. With Hanley Ramirez up, Leake served up a hard double off the Monster, allowing both Eduardo Nunez and Mookie Betts to score. An intentional walk of Devers reloaded the bases, which led to Xander Bogaerts driving in Benintendi from third and keeping the bases loaded. A Mitch Moreland RBI single booted Leake out of the game, making way for Matt Bowman. That change didn;t affect the Red Sox though, as three consecutive hits led to three more runs, giving them a total of eight in the inning and a 9-0 lead. Another run would cross the plate in the sixth with a bases-loaded walk of Jackie Bradley Jr., and that was more than was needed for the win. Everyone who started this game recorded at least one base hit. The 5-7 hitters, Devers, Bogaerts, and Moreland went a combined 7 for 13 with 3 RBIs. The three hits out of Xander Bogaerts were good to see since the shortstop has been in a bit of a slump since the middle of last month. Eduardo Nunez also impressed with yet another multi-hit game at Fenway Park. It looked like a precaution, but Andrew Benintendi was removed from the game after he got hit by a pitch in the fourth.

Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start against Lance Lynn tonight, as the Red Sox go for the mini sweep.

68 down, 27 to go. 

 

RECAP: #RedSox can only muster three solo HR’s as Indians take make-up game 7-3.

The Red Sox were supposed to have Monday off, but a rain out back on August 2nd changed that. The Cleveland Indians, fresh off of taking three out of four from the Rays, made a quick stop at Fenway before heading to Minneapolis. Trevor Bauer made the start for the Tribe, while Doug Fister did so for the Red Sox. Despite pitching a quality outing last time out against the White Sox, Fister was well below average on Monday night. Walks were the biggest problem for a pitcher who is known for not giving up a lot of walks. Four total walks, in the 4.1 innings Fister pitched. Over that span, the righty gave up seven hits, one for a home run, four other runs, and he struck out five. The second inning was the worst for Fister, it was there where the Indians scored three times by reaching base seven times by sending nine guys up to the plate in the inning. After a clean third and fourth, Edwin Encarnacion hit his first of two home runs, breaking the tie and making it a 5-3 game. Fernando Abad would replace Fister with one out in the inning, and he finished the inning. Heath Hembree would replace Abad with two outs in the sixth. The first batter he faced, Edwin Encarnacion, took him deep and drove in his third and fourth run of the game. Hembree would pitch until there was two outs in the top of the eighth, then Brandon Workman came on and finished things up with 1.1 scoreless innings. Those two home runs were pretty demoralizing. The Red Sox climbed their way back up to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth, then the Indians tack on four more over the next two innings. Pretty much took them out of the game.

The Red Sox only scored three runs, but I’d be lying if I said those weren’t some of the funnest runs they have scored all season. The rookies, Rafeal Devers and Andrew Benintendi accounted for all three runs scored on Monday night.

Devers hit his first in the second:

Then, Benintendi hit his in the third:

Lastly, Devers went bridge again in the fourth:

Three runs on eight hits total. Eduardo Nunez seems to like Fenway Park, racking up another three hits, and Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts also got a hit.

Pretty disappointing night overall, especially since the Yankees won too. Next up, two games against the St. Louis Cardinals starting tonight. Rick Porcello is on the hill later, then we get ERod on Wednesday. 

67 down, 28 to go. 

RECAP: Chris Sale, Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi come up big as #RedSox take series with 3-2 win.

Friday was a disaster, right? I know I’ve made that point clear, but I want to bring it up again because I, along with a whole lot of other people, was interested to see how the Red Sox would respond to that loss. If they get swept, it’s not a big deal, but that would not have been great. Instead of that possibility, this team ends up taking the series from the Yankees, separating themselves by 5.5 games.

To get there, Chris Sale was at the helm for this primetime matchup. As he usually is, Sale was outstanding. The only run he gave up should not have even been charged to him, but it is what it is. The lefty scattered four hits over seven complete innings, surrendering one earned run while walking two and striking out twelve. That only run came across in the fifth. With Chase Headley on first with two outs, Austin Romine hit what looked like a deep pop up to Mookie Betts in right. Instead of making the catch, which did look routine, Mookie missed it, as the ball hit the heel of his glove and rolled away from him. This allowed Headley to score and that tied the game at one. After that mishap, Sale maintained the shutout and exited after finishing the seventh with his twelfth strikeout, which just so happened to be on his 114th pitch, a 99 MPH fastball. In his 24 starts this season, Sale has struck out 10 or more 16 times, three shy of the record Pedro Martinez set in 1999.

After Sale departed, things got messy. Matt Barnes, who has rather bad numbers pitching away from Fenway Park, was inserted into the game to the start the eighth. He allowed three of the first four hitters he faced to reach, loading the bases. Todd Frazier then hit a sacrifice fly, driving in the then go-ahead run. Robby Scott would come in to end the inning by striking out Didi Gregorius. The bottom of the ninth is where things really got weird, with Addison Reed pitching. Reed walked Chase Headley to start the inning, got Ronald Torreyes out on a sac bunt, then prepared to face Jacoby Ellsbury with one out. I can’t remember how this went specifically, but I believe John Farrell tried to make a pitching change after Reed threw a ball to Ellsbury.

Since Carl Willis had already made a mound visit in the inning, Farrell was sent back to his dugout. Obviosuly, this wasn’t a great look and you could tell it rattled Addison Reed with the way he reacted to being taken out after he got Ellsbury out.

Craig Kimbrel, who should have come in much earlier, came in to finish the ninth, and got the Yankees in order in the tenth as well, picking up his fourth win.

If the Red Sox ended up losing this game, John Farrell would have taken a lot of heat. I mean, he still will, but there should be less since he got bailed out again.

Offensively, the Red Sox did not give their ace that much run support. Jordan Montgomery wasn’t great, but he did surrender only one run. They were hitting the ball hard off the rookie, but most of them resulted in outs. That one run came in the fifth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Brock Holt on an RBI single. The bats would go quiet until the ninth, when the Red Sox needed a run to tie the game, and that’s what happened. Aroldis Chapman was pitching with one out in the ninth as Rafael Devers stepped up to the plate for his second AB of the game. On a 1-2 pitch, Devers took the Yankees closer deep, tying the game with his fourth career home run.

Chapman got out of the ninth without giving up the go-ahead run, but Tommy Kahnle wasn’t much better in the tenth. The former White Sox reliever loaded the bases after getting the first out, making way for Andrew Benintendi. The less talked about rookie who continues to get talked about more singled to right, allowing Jackie Bradley Jr. to score the eventual winning run.

It was a crazy Sunday night, and that’s the way Red Sox Yankees should feel with this division race. The Red Sox did their job, leaving with a bigger lead than they had going into The Bronx on Friday. After a make-up game against the Yankees and a two-game series against the Cardinals, the Yankees come right back into our lives with a three game series next weekend.

67 down, ? to go.