RECAP: Brandon Phillips Comes up Clutch with Go-Ahead Ninth Inning Home Run as #RedSox Finish off Sweep of Braves.

After taking the first two games of this interleague series against the Atlanta Braves over these last two days, the Red Sox looked to head into an off day with a three-game sweep to end their road trip on a positive note.

Making his seventh start of the season on Wednesday was Hector Velazquez, who entered the afternoon with a lifetime 3.38 ERA in two career relief appearances against Atlanta, both of which have come in 2018.

Tossing four full innings, the right-hander yielded just two runs on five hits and three walks to go along with two strikeouts on the day.

For as lousy as a start Velazquez got off to with the Braves tacking on two runs on a Ronald Acuna leadoff home run and Nick Markakis RBI single before a single out was recorded in the bottom half of the first, it was nice to see him settle down a bit.

After that disastrous first frame, the 29-year old buckled down and did not surrender a single hit to the final 12 Braves he faced in this one, as he worked his way around three walks along the way to a decent outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 57 (37 strikes), the Mexico native turned to his slider 33% of the time on Wednesday while topping out at 92.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he only threw seven times, in the fourth inning.

Although his ERA did rise from 3.24 up to 3.30 following this afternoon’s performance, Velazquez will look to build on a solid start to September in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays sometime next week if it’s in a starting capacity. If not, I would not be surprised to see him come out of the bullpen during this upcoming weekend series against the Houston Astros.

In relief of Velazquez, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final five innings of Wednesday afternoon’s contest, and they did not really have an easy go of it.

Drew Pomeranz, who entered the day with a 2.93 ERA since moving to the bullpen earlier last month, was first out of the ‘pen to relieve Velazquez in the bottom of the fifth.

The southpaw came into the game with the score at 2-1 in favor of the Braves. By the time he departed, that one-run lead had inflated all the way up to five after Pomeranz could only record one out on a force out while technically allowing all six hitters he faced to reach base.

That was certainly not great, and the situation got even worse when William Cuevas, who came in for Pomeranz, allowed an inherited runner to score from third on a Tyler Flowers single to make it a 7-1 game.

From that point on, both Cuevas and Bobby Poyner held the Braves scoreless in a combined 2.2 innings of work before Brandon Workman made an appearance to start the eighth.

Just moments after his team rallied from a six-run deficit to even things up at seven runs a piece, Workman allowed the then go-ahead run to score on a two out, pinch hit solo home run from Freddie Freeman.

However demoralizing it was at the time, the Red Sox still made another successful comeback effort, and Workman ended up getting credited with the winning decision, his fourth of the year.

Finally, to wrap this thing up, Craig Kimbrel came in for the save opportunity against his former club with a fresh one-run lead to protect.

Despite a two out walk, the flame throwing closer rebounded by striking out the next and final batter he faced to secure both his 38th save and the team’s 97th win of the season.

On the other side of things, a Red Sox lineup absent of Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Ian Kinsler to begin things was matched up against Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who entered Wednesday with the fourth lowest ERA (2.80) among qualified starters in the National League.

Foltynewicz, 26, had already faced Boston once before this season, and he dominated with seven innings of one run ball back on May 27th in a 7-1 win for Atlanta.

Similar to that outing more than three months ago, the Braves hurler was at the top of his game again, as he allowed another lone run in another six quality innings of work.

That one run, though, was scored by none other than Brandon Phillips, who in his first game in a Red Sox uniform, had himself quite the day, and it all started with this wild sequence at third to plate Boston’s first run of the contest in the second inning.

Fast forward all the way to the top of the eighth now, with Foltynewicz out and RHP Dan Winkler in for the Braves, it was surprisingly Christian Vazquez who got a huge rally started with a leadoff single.

Three batters and two additional singles later, Blake Swihart trimmed the Red Sox’s deficit down to four runs with a two RBI double lined to center field.

Following a pitching change that saw left-hander Jonny Venters take over for Winkler, Andrew Benintendi picked up right where Swihart left off by lacing another RBI knock to score Jackie Bradley Jr. from third and make it a three-run game.

Steve Pearce, pinch-hitting for Mitch Moreland, made it a two-run game with a sacrifice fly to left field that was deep enough to drive in Swihart from third.

After Brandon Phillips reached first on a throwing error that also allowed Benintendi to advance to third, the Braves turned to their bullpen once again and out came former Oriole Brad Brach to try and get out of a sticky situation.

Greeted first by pinch-hitter Ian Kinsler, Brach could not sneak a 1-0 94 MPH fastball by Kinsler, as the Red Sox second baseman came through with the clutchest hit of the inning, a bases clearing two RBI double to pull his team even.

That would do it for the scoring in the eighth, and after the Braves jumped out to a brand new one-run lead in their half of the inning, it would all come down to the just called up Phillips in the ninth.

Down to their final out with Andrew Benintendi at first and closer AJ Minter on the mound for Atlanta, Phillips smacked the first pitch he saw, a 95 MPH fastball down the middle of the plate, and sent it 432 feet to left field. No doubt about it.

Phillips’ first big league homer since September 26th proved to be the most important hit of the afternoon, as it put the Red Sox up 9-8, which would go on to be your final score in this thrilling series finale.

Some notes from this 9-8 win:

From @SoxNotes: Brandon Phillips is the first player in Red Sox history to hit a go-ahead HR in the 9th inning or later in his debut with the team (source: ).

From @KNegandhiESPN: MLB teams were 487-0 when leading by 6 runs entering the 8th inning this season.. That streak came to an end as the erase a 7-1 deficit to beat the , 9-8.

Since August 26th, Ian Kinsler is slashing .361/.395/.528 with one home run and eight RBI in his last 10 games.

Finishing a seven-game road trip with a solid 5-2 record, the Red Sox will head into a much deserved off day on Thursday with 97 wins already under their belt.

Following the off day, the team will welcome the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros into town for a three-game weekend series at Fenway Park.

The pitching matchups for that series go as follows:

9/7. RHP Gerrit Cole (13-5, 2.86 ERA) vs. LHP David Price (14-6, 3.60 ERA)

9/8. RHP Charlie Morton (13-3, 3.14 ERA) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (12-3, 3.34 ERA)

9/9. RHP Dallas Keuchel (11-10, 3.46 ERA) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (16-7, 4.20 ERA)

For Price, Friday’s start will be the first in-game action he has seen since taking a line drive comebacker off his left wrist in his last outing against the Miami Marlins on August 29th, where he had to leave after only pitching three innings.

First pitch of the series opener against the ‘Stros is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Friday.

 

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RECAP: Brian Johnson Struggles as #RedSox Drop Series Finale to White Sox in 8-0 Loss.

On a humid afternoon in Chicago where the White Sox honored legendary commentator Ken “The Hawk” Harrleson with a touching pregame ceremony, the Red Sox, a former team of Harrelson’s during his playing career, looked absolutely lifeless this afternoon.

Let’s get into where things went wrong.

Making his 12th start of the season on Sunday was Brian Johnson, who before today, had never faced the White Sox nor pitched at Guaranteed Rate Field in his three-year career.

Right from the get go, it was clear Chicago had the left-hander’s number, because they came out swinging early and they were making hard contact.

Only able to pitch into the second inning of this one, Johnson surrendered four runs, all earned, on seven hits and one walk to go along with two punch outs on the afternoon.

A pair of runs in the first on a Tim Anderson solo home run and Kevan Smith RBI single another pair of runs in the second on a two RBI double off the bat of Matt Davidson. That is how the White Sox collected all four runs off of Johnson, and his day would come to an end after giving up that Davidson two-bagger.

Facing 12 total batters, the Florida native could barely manage to record four outs before he got the hook with one out and a runner on second in favor of Bobby Poyner.

Finishing with a final low pitch count of 38 (28 strikes), Johnson relied on his four-seam fastball 50% of the time and topped out at 90.3 MPH with that same pitch in the first inning.

Falling to 4-4 with a 4.36 ERA on the season now, the 27-year-old will look to rebound from an awry start to September in his next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next weekend.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had a daunting talk on their hands in completing nearly seven innings to close this one out.

Three September call-ups, Bobby Poyner, William Cuevas, and Robby Scott combined for five-and-two-thirds innings of work, and they gave up three earned runs on six hits, which essentially put this game out of reach for the Red Sox.

Oddly enough, White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka ended up hitting a solo home run off of Cuevas in the fourth after it looked like he initially homered earlier in the same at bat, but it was ruled foul.

Despite the results, Scott, who was inserted into this contest after Cuevas had to exit due to a heat-related illness, was the only Boston hurler to not surrender a run, so credit to him for that I guess.

Hector Velazquez was last up, and he allowed one run to cross the plate on two hits in the bottom half of the eighth. He has now given up runs in six of his last seven outings dating back to the beginning of August, although three of those were starts.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar opponent in Chicago’s James Shields.

Having already faced Boston 28 previous times over his 13-year career between the Rays, Royals, Padres, and now the White Sox, Shields had himself a solid day with six scoreless frames on Sunday.

Only managing four hits and two walks off the veteran right-hander, things did not get much better once the White Sox bullpen took over in the seventh, as Boston’s lineup could scrape together just one hit in the final three frames against the likes of Caleb Frare, Juan Minaya, and Hector Santiago.

One note from this 8-0 loss: 

80% of the Red Sox’s hits on Sunday came from Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez. Blake Swihart was responsible for the other one. None of the five hits went for extra bases.

All and all, the White Sox were tough opponent for the Red Sox this year, as they came away with the season-series win at 4-3.

Leaving the Windy City with a series-split under their belts, Boston will head south to Atlanta where they will be taking on a first place Atlanta Braves team.

Getting the start in the series opener tomorrow afternoon will be Nathan Eovaldi, who is able to pitch on such short rest because of that weather-shortened outing on Friday.

In 13 career starts against the Braves, Eovaldi has posted a solid 2.82 ERA and .235 BAA over 83 innings pitched.

Opposite Eovaldi will be rookie right-hander Touki Toussaint for Atlanta, who tossed six one-run innings against the Miami Marlins in his only other big league start back on August 13th.

First pitch of the series opener is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.

RECAP: #RedSox Winning Streak Comes to an End at Three in Rain-Filled 6-1 Loss to White Sox.

In the second of a four-game set against the Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox were looking to win their fourth straight game for the first time since August 12th on a rainy Friday night.

Making his 17th start of the season last night was Nathan Eovaldi, who entered the day with a 7.41 ERA over his last four starts and a 3.52 ERA in two career appearances (one start) at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Only able to pitch into the third inning of this one because of a lengthy weather delay, the right-hander’s struggles continued, as he got shelled for three earned runs on three hits and zero walks while recording six total outs.

Unable to strike out any of the 10 batters he faced on the night, the White Sox collected all three runs they scored off of Eovaldi in the bottom of the first. The first of which came on an Avisail Garcia RBI single, while the other two came off the bat of former Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada on his 17th home run of the season.

After holding Chicago scoreless in the second, the Texas native came back out for his third inning of work with his team in a 3-0 hole, but in the middle of the first at bat, the rain really started to pour, and that is when Crew chief Ted Barrett decided it was time to bring out the tarp.

With the rain delay officially lasting more than two hours, Eovaldi’s, along with White Sox starter Michael Kopech’s night, would come to a rather quick conclusion.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 35 (22 strikes), it was pretty obvious that the adjustments Eovaldi made with his landing foot, at the discretion of Pedro Martinez, these past few days did not come with the results he was necessarily looking for.

Out of those 35 pitches thrown, the 28-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 53% of the time he was on the mound Friday. He also topped out at 100.8 MPH with the same pitch in the first inning.

Although this particular outing was on the short side, let’s go ahead and take a look at how Eovaldi has been performing since he tossed eight scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on August 4th.

4 GS, 0-3, 8.05 ERA, 19 IP, 38 H, 24 R (17 ER), 3 BB, 12 K, 3 HR. Not great.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen would be turned to rather early once again on Friday night, and it was Drew Pomeranz who got the first call coming out of the rain delay.

Having only appeared in one game over the last week, the left-hander put in some solid relief work, as he scattered seven hits and six strikeouts over four scoreless frames. He also received some defensive help from the Red Sox outfield.

Next out of the ‘pen was Tyler Thornburg, who entered this contest with his team trailing by just three runs, but by the time he left, that deficit had increased to six after Matt Davidson launched a two out, three-run home run to left center field.

Thornburg was able to end the seventh inning, but that home run was essentially the final nail in the coffin for Boston.

Finally, just trying to keep his team within the five runs they were trailing by, Brandon Workman retired three of the four batters he faced in a scoreless eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another young right-hander for Chicago in the form of rookie Michael Kopech.

Kopech, a former Red Sox prospect who was part of the Chris Sale trade in 2016, received the call up to the majors on August 21st and is ranked as the top pitching prospect in the White Sox organization.

Making just his third career start on Friday, Kopech was up against his toughest opponent yet, and it showed early, as he hit the first batter he faced in Mookie Betts, then followed that up by walking Andrew Benintendi.

Thanks to some poor base running on Betts’ part though, the Texas native was able to get out of the first unharmed.

After working his way around a two out double from Ian Kinsler and a Sandy Leon HBP in the second, Kopech would be unable to resume his outing because of that two-hour rain delay.

For Kopech, out of the three starts he has made this season, two, both of which came at home, have been shortened due to weather.

Following the delay, Dylan Covey, who was part of the White Sox rotation the last time the Red Sox saw him, went out and pitched three scoreless innings of relief from the third until the middle of the sixth.

In fact, the only scoring Boston could manage in this one came in the eighth, when Andrew Benintendi mashed his 16th homer of the year off of Juan Minaya to make it a 6-1 game, which would go on to be the final score.

Some notes from this 6-1 loss:

From @RedSoxStats: Covey vs Red Sox this year 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K

Covey vs everyone else 87 IP, 70 R, 41 BB, 60 K, 6.18 ERA, 1.63 WHIP

Xander Bogaerts received his first ejection last night, as he was tossed in the top of the eighth for arguing balls and strikes. Rick Porcello was also ejected.

Since moving to the bullpen, Drew Pomeranz owns a 2.93 ERA in his last 15.1 innings pitched.

Tyler Thornburg, on the other hand, has given up five earned runs in his last five innings pitched.

Finishing August with a 18-9 record, the Red Sox will look to get back on track and guarantee a series split later tonight, as Eduardo Rodriguez will make his long-awaited return to the rotation and make his 20th start of the season.

Before spraining his right ankle against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 14th, Rodriguez had not surrendered a run in his last 19 innings pitched. He has never appeared in a game at Guaranteed Rate Field, but does own a 3.75 ERA over two career starts against the White Sox.

Opposite Rodriguez will be another southpaw in Chicago’s Carlos Rodon, who made his first start of the 2018 season against Boston back on June 9th.

Since that time, Rodon as arguably been the White Sox’s best starter, as he has posted a 2.70 ERA and .178 BAA in 14 starts this year.

First pitch of the third game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET, weather permitting.

RECAP: Mookie Betts Leads Comeback Effort as #RedSox Take Opener from White Sox in Third Straight Win.

After exploding for 14 runs to complete the two-game sweep of the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night, the Red Sox headed to the Windy City to embark on yet another road trip.

Getting the start in the series opener was Rick Porcello, who has faced the  53-80 White Sox plenty of times over his 10-year career, and entered Thursday with a 3.57 ERA in 11 career starts at Guaranteed Rate Field.

In what was his 28th start of 2018, the right-hander wrapped up his month of August with another shaky outing.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, Porcello surrendered four earned runs on eight hits and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

All four of those White Sox runs crossed the plate within the first two frames of this one, as an Avisail Garcia two-run home run and Matt Davidson RBI single in the first followed by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Garcia to score Yolmer Sanchez in the second gave Chicago an early three-run advantage.

Fortunately, Porcello settled down a bit, and despite still dealing with a solid amount of traffic on the base paths, held the White Sox scoreless over the final three-plus frames he pitched in.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (63 strikes), the New Jersey native saved his best for last by retiring the side in order in the fifth, which probably should have been his final frame of work.

Instead, he came back out for the bottom half of the sixth, walked Matt Davidson on eight pitches, the last three of which were all balls, and that is how is night would come to a conclusion. Given the fact the Red Sox were still trailing at this point in the contest, I probably would have started the sixth with Brandon Workman. That’s just me though.

Out of those 95 pitches, the 29-year-old relied heavily on his two-seam fastball, as he threw it 39% of the time he was on the mound on Thursday. He also topped out at 93.6 MPH with his other fastball, the four-seamer, in the second inning.

Unable to pick up the winning decision while his ERA jumped up to 4.27 on the season, let’s go ahead and look back at Rick Porcello’s August:

6 GS, 2-3, 5.11 ERA, 37 IP, 29 H, 21 ER, 8 HR, 9 BB, 45 K.

Those numbers include two starts against the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies in which Porcello combined to give up two earned runs over 16 innings pitched. He’ll look to get back on a more consistent track in his next time out, which should come against the Atlanta Braves next week.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen held the White Sox in order in four scoreless frames of work.

Yup, Brandon Workman, Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier, who picked up the win, and Heath Hembree combined to give up just two hits while fanning five en route to their team’s 92nd win of the season.

Shoutout to Xander Bogaerts for some great defense over at shortstop as well.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against young White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, who had never faced Boston in his three-year career between Washington and Chicago before Thursday.

A former 2012 first round draft pick who was part of the trade that sent Adam Eaton to the Nationals, Giolito, 24, has not been outstanding in any means in his first full season as a big league hurler, but he impressed last night.

Holding the Red Sox hitless through four scoreless innings, it was not until Ian Kinsler singled with two outs in the fifth when the potential no-hitter came to an end.

Still, Giolito remained in the game up until the point when he walked Brock Holt with one out in the seventh. That is how his night would end and that is where things really started to turn around quickly for Boston.

With one out, one runner on, and Jeanmar Gomez now on the mound for the White Sox, an Ian Kinsler put runners on the corners for Blake Swihart, pinch-hitting for Sandy Leon.

In a similar role on Wednesday, Swihart came through with a big pinch hit, and he did the same last night, as he drove in Holt from third on an RBI to right center field. 4-1.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was up next, and he cut into the White Sox lead some more by driving in Kinsler from third on a sacrifice fly to center field. 4-2.

Back to the top of the order now came Mookie Betts, who had only faced Gomez three times in his career prior to Thursday, yet came away with arguably the clutchest hit of the contest.

On a 1-1 92 MPH slider, Betts launched his 29th home run of the season 373 feet to the left field seats to knot things up at four runs a piece.

Fast forward to the ninth, still in a 4-4 game, with one out and runners on first and second, Jackie Bradley Jr. played hero, as his RBI single off of White Sox reliever Thyago Vieria plated to the go-ahead run in the form of Ian Kinsler, but that was just the beginning.

In fact, three more runs would come around to score in the top half of the ninth, one on an Andrew Benintendi RBI single to add on some extra insurance, and the next two coming courtesy of JD Martinez, who put this game on ice with his 39th big fly of the season.

Some notes from this 9-4 win: 

During the seventh inning of their last two games, the Red Sox have scored 15 total runs.

Over his last four games, Mookie Betts is batting .583 with two home runs and six RBI. So much for that slump.

In only 127 games this season, JD Martinez has hit 39 home runs and driven in 114 runs. We’re not even in September yet.

Ian Kinsler recorded his second three-hit game in a Red Sox uniform on Thursday. He is also batting .583 in his last three games.

Blake Swihart is slashing .304/.333/.391 with six RBI in his last 10 games. Probably time for him to start getting more regular playing time behind the plate.

Joe Kelly has now gone seven straight relief appearances without giving up a run.

Looking to guarantee a series split later tonight, it will be Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for the Red Sox.

Over his last four starts, Eovaldi owns a 7.41 ERA in only 17 innings pitched. That is not great, but with some help from Pedro Martinez, it would not be surprising if Eovaldi bounced back with a solid outing against a team he has not seen much of over his career.

Opposite Eovaldi will be rookie right-hander Michael Kopech for the White Sox, who was once part of the Red Sox organization himself.

Traded to Chicago along with current second baseman Yoan Moncada among others for Chris Sale back in December 2016, Kopech was recently called up on August 21st.

Ranked as the White Sox’s best pitching prospect, the former 2014 first round draft pick owns a 1.13 ERA in eight innings pitched over his first two career starts, the first of which was shortened due to rain.

Known for the speed of his four-seam fastball, a pitch he throws nearly 70% of the time, according to Statcast, this Red Sox lineup will undoubtedly be the toughest opponent Kopech has faced in his very young career.

I, for one, am very excited to see how it goes down.

First pitch of the second game of the series is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECAP: Eduardo Nunez Walks It off in the Ninth as #RedSox Bounce Back Multiple Times to Put an End to Losing Streak.

Coming off their worst weekend of the season and an off-day on Monday, the Red Sox welcomed the National League East’s Miami Marlins into town for a quick two-game interleague series before heading back out on the road later this week.

Getting the start for Boston in this opening game was Brian Johnson, his 11th of the season, who also started against the Marlins back on April 2nd, where he allowed just one run to score in six quality innings of work in a 7-3 win for Boston.

Only pitching into the fifth in this one, the left-hander once again gave up one run while scattering five hits and a lone walk to go along with three punch outs on the night.

What cost Johnson that one earned run came in the top half of the third, when with one out and the bases empty, Marlins rookie outfielder Isaac Galloway launched his second home run of the season to pull this game even at one run a piece.

Other than that, the Florida native certainly dealt with a fair amount of traffic on the base paths, but he did a solid job of limiting what the Marlins could get off him. Especially when you consider that Starlin Castro led the fourth inning off with a triple and could not come around to score.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (44 strikes), Johnson’s night came to a conclusion after giving up a one out single to Rafael Ortega.

Out of those 73 pitches, the 27-year-old relied on his four-seam fastball 48% of the time on Tuesday and topped out at 91.9 MPH with that same pitch in the first inning.

Unable to pick up the win due to the length of his outing and the fact that the Red Sox had a bit of a meltdown later on, Johnson will look to build on this so-so start in his next time out, which will be coming against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had themselves a night to forget from the eighth inning on.

Up until that point, Brandon Workman, with the help of Blake Swihart, and Joe Kelly looked decent in their combined 2.2 scoreless frames of relief.

Once Matt Barnes took the mound to begin the eighth though, well, let’s just say things got ugly real quick.

Entering the inning with a 4-1 lead, Barnes allowed two of the first three hitters he faced to reach, including back-to-back homers off the bats of JT Realmuto and Starlin Castro to pull the Marlins back to even.

Six batters and one pitching change later, with the bases loaded and Heath Hembree in for Barnes, it was Rafael Ortega who struck again, as his one out, two RBI single gave his club a brand new 6-4 lead before the side was retired.

In the ninth, moments after the Red Sox had jumped out to a one-run lead of their own, Craig Kimbrel could not shut the door on the Marlins.

Nope, he allowed three of the six batters he faced to reach, which led to Miami scoring what looked to be the go-ahead run on a Magneuris Sierra RBI single. Just demoralizing.

Thanks to efforts from his team in the bottom half of the inning though, Kimbrel did manage to notch his fourth winning decision of the season while also collecting his fourth blown save. Granted, he has not pitched much recently, but it’s still not a great look.

To summarize, here’s the final pitching line from Red Sox relievers after the seventh inning:

2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR. That’s a 27.00 ERA, which is far from ideal.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Marlins right-hander Jose Urena, who held Boston to one run in seven innings in his only other start against them back on April 3rd. That is not how things went on August 28th, though.

Starting the long night of scoring was Ian Kinsler, whose one out RBI single to plate Xander Bogaerts from third put the Red Sox on the board first.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts both reached base to leadoff the third, which set up Andrew Benintendi for an ideal scoring spot.

On a 1-2 96 MPH fastball from Urena, Benintendi ripped a RBI double to right field, driving in Bradley Jr. to retake the lead at 2-1.

With Mookie Betts advancing to third on the play, Xander Bogaerts was able to score the outfielder on a sacrifice fly to left. 3-1.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Eduardo Nunez made some noise by mashing his eight big fly of the year, a 380 foot shot hit just over the top of the Green Monster to increase his team’s lead to three runs.

After Miami went off for five runs in their half of the eighth, the Red Sox responded right away with a rally of their own in their half of the same inning.

With hard-throwing reliever Tayron Guerrero on the mound for the Marlins, three of the first four Boston hitters reached to load the bases with one out for Blake Swihart, who struck out on six pitches.

Fortunately, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through big time, as with the count full, he delivered with a two RBI single to drive in a pair of runs to tie this game up.

Next up was Mookie Betts, who came to the plate with runners on the corners and got ahead in the count against Guerrero at 3-1.

On the very next pitch of the at bat, Guerrero sailed a 98 MPH fastball right over Betts’ head and that allowed Ian Kinsler to slide in and score what appeared to be the run that would finally put an end to this losing streak.

That would not be the case however, and it was not until with one out in the ninth and runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth where this marathon of a game would finally come to an end.

With Drew Steckenrider pitching, Eduardo Nunez came to the plate with one big hit under his belt already, and he came up clutch without recording a base knock in his final at bat.

 

Yup, a game-winning force out that probably should have been an inning-ending double play but was not because of a throwing error committed by JT Riddle at shortstop.

With the ball rolling all the way to the camera well, JD Martinez had no problem scoring from second, and just like that, this game was over.

A fitting end to a game as ugly as this one, but nonetheless, the Red Sox losing streak has come to an end at three. They remain as the only team this season to have yet drop four consecutive contests.

Some notes from this 8-7 win:

Including last night, JD Martinez is slashing .405/.488/.568 with one home run and six RBI.

Dating back to July 27th, Craig Kimbrel has surrendered runs in five of his last 10 relief appearances and owns a 5.23 ERA over that span.

In his last 10 appearances, Matt Barnes has given up 10 earned runs in only 9.1 innings pitched.

Heath Hembree has allowed eight runs to cross the plate (six earned) on 10 hits in his last 7.1 innings of work going back to the fifth of August.

In hopes of picking up the quick two-game sweep later tonight, it will be the red-hot David Price toeing the rubber for the Red Sox.

Since the All-Star break, Price owns a 1.09 ERA over his last six starts. The Red Sox are also unbeaten in Price’s last eight starts.

Only making four starts against the Marlins in his 11-year career, the recently turned 33-year-old hurler owns a 3.42 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched to go along with a 1-3 record in those outings.

Opposite Price will be rookie right-hander Trevor Richards for Miami, who made his first career big league start against the Red Sox on April 2nd, where, in less than five innings pitched, he surrendered five earned runs on eight hits in a losing effort.

Since then, Richards has had a solid rookie campaign for himself, as he owns a 3.94 ERA and .250 BAA in 17 starts and 91.1 innings pitched.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET Wednesday.

RECAP: Hector Velazquez Gets Roughed up as #RedSox Open up Players’ Weekend with 10-3 Loss to Rays.

Heading into Players’ Weekend winners of four of their last seven, the Red Sox arrived at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg for their last series of the season against the 67-61 Tampa Bay Rays, who entered Friday on a five-game winning streak.

Less than a week after being on the wrong side of 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay this past Sunday, Hector Velazquez made his sixth start of the season last night and did not have much of anything going for himself.

Pitching into just the third inning of this one, the right-hander ended up getting charged for EIGHT earned runs on nine hits to go along with two walks and four strikeouts.

At one point giving up six straight hits in the second, which led to three Rays runs crossing the plate, what really screwed Velazquez over came an inning later, when with two outs and runners on first and second, Steve Pearce, in the place of Mitch Moreland at first base, could not field a grounder off the bat of Kevin Kiermaier, which led to a single that allowed Ji-Man Choi to score from second.

On what should have been an inning-ending play, the Rays managed to tack on an additional four runs before Velazquez got the early hook in what was all of a sudden an 8-2 game.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 72 (46 strikes), the 29-year-old turned to his sinker the most on Friday, as he threw it a total of 21 times. He also topped out at 92.4 MPH with that same pitch in the second inning.

Falling to 7-2 with a 3.69 ERA on the season now, Velazquez will look to rebound in his next time out, which should come against the Chicago White Sox next weekend, if he remains in the rotation.

In relief of Velazquez, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final five-plus innings of last night’s contest, but thanks to the efforts of Drew Pomeranz, only two other pitchers were used.

Pomeranz, who entered with two outs in the bottom half of the third with a runner on first, surrendered two runs on a two-run home run off the bat of Rays rookie Willy Adames in the fourth in an otherwise solid 4.1 frames of work to end the seventh. Xander Bogaerts came through with some flashy defense as well.

Joe Kelly, making his third relief appearance in the last four days, wrapped up a rather tough night for Red Sox pitching by working his way around two hits and tossing a scoreless eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rays “opener” Diego Castillo, who pitched in the same role last Sunday and held Boston scoreless in nearly two innings of work.

Pitching into the second once again, the Rays hurler retired five of the seven batters he faced before getting lifted for Jalen Beeks with two outs and runners on first and second.

Beeks, a former Red Sox pitching prospect who was part of the Nathan Eovaldi deal last month, tossed four scoreless frames and picked up the win in his only other appearance against his former team on Sunday.

Although he was not as effective last night, Beeks did manage to pick up the winning decision, his third of the season, while surrendering three runs on seven hits and three walks to go along with four punch outs.

Starting the scoring in the top of the third with three straight two out hits, Xander Bogaerts stayed hot with a two RBI single to plate both Mookie Betts and Steve Pearce.

Those runs appeared to be crucial at the time, as it cut the Red Sox deficit to one, but as I mentioned before, the Rays went off for five runs of their own in their half of the third.

Fast forward to the fifth, and JD Martinez wrapped up his team’s scoring while collecting his league-leading 110th RBI of the season on a one out single to drive in Andrew Benintendi from second to trim the Rays lead down to only seven.

Some notes from this 10-3 loss: 

The Red Sox out hit the Rays 13-12 on Friday, yet got outscored by seven runs. That is mostly due to the fact that none of those 13 hits went for extra bases. Nope, all of them were singles.

In his last 10 games, Xander Bogaerts is slashing .385/.429/.718 with two home runs and 12 RBI.

Since its inception, the Red Sox are 0-4 in Players’ Weekend games. Not great.

Despite the loss, 90-40 is at least satisfying to look at, right?

Looking to get back on the right track later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the start for Boston.

Porcello (15-6, 4.14 ERA) owns a lifetime 2.72 ERA in 14 career starts at Tropicana Field, with the most recent coming on May 24th, an outing in which the right-hander got shelled for six runs (four earned) in less than four innings in an eventual loss.

Opposite Porcello will be rookie left-hander Ryan Yarbrough for Tampa Bay, who has never started against the Red Sox, but does own a 3.00 ERA in four relief appearances against them this season.

First pitch of the second game of the series is scheduled for 6:10 PM ET Saturday.

RECAP: David Price Dominates Indians in Eight Scoreless Innings as #RedSox Become First Club to Reach 90 Wins.

Just a handful of hours after ending their three-game losing streak with a 10-4 win on Wednesday night, the Red Sox were back at it Thursday afternoon looking for a series split against a first place Indians team.

Making his 25th start of the season and coming off seven two-run innings in his last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price entered the day with a lifetime 2.24 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians. That trend continued this afternoon.

Pitching eight full frames in this one, the left-hander held Cleveland scoreless while scattering just three hits and one HBP to go along with zero walks and seven punch outs on the afternoon.

Starting his outing by retiring 18 of the first 19 batters he faced, the most trouble Price ran into came in the top half of the seventh, when he gave up a pair of singles but escaped without any damage thanks to an inning-ending unassisted double play.

In his final frame of work, the Tennessee native hit the first batter he faced in Brandon Guyer, but ended up facing the minimum thanks to another DP and six pitch strikeout of Roberto Perez to retire the side and end his day on a high note.

 

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (68 strikes), Price turned to his two-seam fastball 33 times and topped out at 94.9 MPH with the same pitch in the first inning.

As he later improved to 14-6 with yet another dominant performance, let’s take a look at how the 32-year-old hurler has been performing since the All-Star break.

6 GS, 4-0, 41.1 IP, 29 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 40 K, 1.09 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .193 BAA.

Ace-like stuff. Price will look to build on this recent stretch run of dominance in his next time out, which should more than likely come against the Miami Marlins next Wednesday.

In relief of Price, Tyler Thornburg was the lone reliever who got the call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the ninth and final frame. Despite giving up two hits, Thornburg managed to hold on and preserve the shutout to secure his team’s 90th win of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher they had never seen before in RHP Adam Plutko for Cleveland.

Plutko, a 26-year-old rookie, managed to manuever his away around Boston’s lineup through the first four innings on Thursday, but the fifth is where this game really turned on its head.

Starting with leadoff hits from Sandy Leon, whose double could not be caught by Melky Cabrera in left field, and Jackie Bradley Jr., followed by a one out walk of Andrew Benintendi, the bases were all of a sudden loaded for Blake Swihart, who was not even in the original starting lineup.

On a 2-2 fastball from Plutko, Swihart ripped a double to the wall in right field to plate Leon and Bradley and give the Red Sox a two-run advantage.

After intentionally walking JD Martinez to reload the bases, new Indians pitcher Adam Cimber could not sneak a 2-1 sinker by Xander Bogaerts, as the red-hot shortstop drove in another pair of runs on a two RBI single to left field.

Another intentional walk, this time of Brock Holt, once again reloaded the bases for Eduardo Nunez, who capitalized on a run-scoring opportunity and ripped the THIRD two RBI two-bagger of the inning to score both Martinez and Bogaerts and make it a 6-0 game just like that.

An inning later, JD Martinez wrapped up his team’s scoring by racking up his 109th RBI of the year on a one out single off of Indians reliever Josh Tomlin that drove in Mookie Betts from third. 7-0, which would end up being the final score on Thursday.

In the matter of one day, the Red Sox have turned a three-game losing streak that had everyone panicking into a brand new two-game winning streak. With the split against the Indians today, the team has now not lost a series since the first day of July. That is some impressive stuff.

Some other notes from this win:

Mitch Moreland, who was originally the starting first baseman in this contest, had to depart in the first inning after suffering a left knee contusion while sliding for a foul ball near the Red Sox dugout.

On a more positive note, to go along with those David Price numbers up above, the Red Sox are 8-0 in Price’s last eight starts and are 19-6 overall.

Xander Bogaerts has recorded at least one hit in eight of his last 10 games. Over that span, he is slashing .316/.366/.658 with two home runs and 10 RBI.

Over their last four games, Red Sox pitching held Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez to five total hits in 33 combined at bats. Only two of those hits went for extra bases.

Finishing the brief homestand with a 4-3 record, the Red Sox head south for a quick three-game weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Starters for the three-game set are as followed: Hector Velazquez, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi. The Rays have yet to announce their starters.

Head to head, Boston has had the advantage against Tampa Bay this season, as they own a 11-5 record against them going into their final matchup of 2018.

First pitch of the first game of Players’ Weekend is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Friday.