Blake Swihart Has Been Activated from the 10-Day Disabled List.

Missing the past 10 days with a right hamstring strain, Blake Swihart is officially back after the Red Sox activated him from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday.

In the last game he played with the big league club against the New York Yankees on August 2nd, the catcher/utility man had to leave in the top of the seventh inning in an eventual 15-7 win for the Red Sox.

Later diagnosed with a strain in his right hamstring, Swihart was placed on the 10-day disabled list that Friday morning, but Alex Cora seemed confident that he was not going to miss that much time and he did not.

As part of the rehab process, Swihart appeared in one game for Low A Lowell this past Sunday where he started at catcher in batted third in the Spinners lineup.

In three at bats against the Brooklyn Cyclones, the 26-year-old failed to reach base while striking out once before being replaced in the seventh inning.

Despite the results, or lack thereof, the Red Sox must have been happy with what they saw out of Swihart and his right hamstring, because he is back with the team today in Philadelphia.

The 2018 season has not been easy on Swihart. Given the lack of playing time early on, the trade rumors, and then the hamstring injury this month, hopefully the final month and a half of the regular season will be better for the Texas native, because it certainly looked like he was hitting his stride prior to the DL stint.

Since the Red Sox placed Christian Vazquez on the 10-day disabled list on July 8th with a right finger fracture, which opened up more opportunities for Swihart to catch, the former first round pick is slashing .324/.378/.529 with one home run and two RBI over his last 10 games.

With a two-game interleague series set to begin today in Philadelphia for the Red Sox, it would not surprise me if Swihart saw some pinch-hitting opportunities in the pitcher’s spot in the lineup this week.

To make room for Swihart on the 25-man roster, Dan Butler, who caught two games for Boston against the Orioles last weekend, has been designated for assignment.

First pitch of tonight’s game against the Phillies is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.

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RECAP: Alex Cora Gets Ejected, Steve Pearce Homers Again, and Rick Porcello Tosses Complete Game as #RedSox Take Game Two from Yankees.

One night after taking the opening game of this series against the New York Yankees in blowout fashion on Thursday, the Red Sox were back at it again with another convincing win on Friday.

Rocking the red tops, as is tradition for Friday home games to kickoff the weekend, Rick Porcello had himself a night to remember in one of the biggest games of the season.

Making his 23rd start of the season, Porcello was the only Red Sox hurler to take the mound tonight. He made sure to see this win through to its completion.

Pitching nine full innings, the righty hit the very first batter he saw in Brett Gardner, which led to some drama a few moments later.

After Alex Cora got ejected in the bottom half of the first, which I’ll talk about more down below, Porcello went on to give up just one run on one hit in the final eight frames he appeared in.

That one run, a solo shot off the bat of Yankees’ DH Miguel Andujar on a 0-1 89 MPH changeup in the third, was just about the only mistake the New Jersey native made all evening.

To go along with the lone run, Porcello tied his season-high in strikeouts with nine and sat down the final 21 Yankees he faced to notch his 14th winning decision of the year.

Finishing with an efficient 86 pitches, 79% of which went for strikes, the 10-year veteran relied on his fastball, both two and four-seam, 46 times on the night and topped out at 93.3 MPH with his four-seamer in the second inning.

In two starts against New York at Fenway Park in 2018, the former Cy Young Award winner is 2-0 with zero earned runs in 16 total innings pitched.

He’ll look to build on this success in his next time out, which should come against the Blue Jays up north in Toronto sometime next week.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup may not have put up as many runs as they did on Thursday evening, but they took an early lead and would not have to look back in this win.

Facing off against one of the better pitchers in the American League in Luis Severino, who entered Friday with a 8.84 ERA in his last four starts, Mookie Betts set the tone right away even though he did not reach base.

After Brett Gardner was hit by a pitch in the Yankees half of the first, Severino more than likely retaliated by airing a 96 MPH fastball right by Betts’ head on his first pitch of the night.

Obviously, Mookie, along with the Red Sox dugout, did not take too kindly to that gesture, and Alex Cora ended up getting tossed as a result.

Once the dust settled from that incident and Andrew Benintendi ripped a one out ground-rule double, Steve Pearce, fresh off a three homer game on Thursday, continued to mash by launching ANOTHER home run, this one good for two to put his team’s first runs of the contest on the board.

Three batters later, after Ian Kinsler had singled and swiped second, Eduardo Nunez came through with his second RBI knock in as many days by hitting a bloop single to shallow center to drive in Kinsler from second.

Unfortunately, the newest member of the Red Sox would have to depart from this game with tightness in his left hamstring after he came up gimpy while crossing the plate.

Because of that injury, we did get to see Mookie Betts patrolling a second base, his “natural position”, for the first time since 2014 and made a nice play on the very first ball hit to him in the second.

Anyway, Mitch Moreland, who did not start this game but came in because of the Kinsler injury, wrapped up the scoring for the Red Sox in the fifth, as he drove in JD Martinez from second while collecting his 49th RBI of the season. That made it a 4-1 game and that would be the final score in a game that took two hours and 15 minutes to complete.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 77-34. They are 7.5 games up on the Yankees in the AL East. Talk about damage.

From @SoxNotes: Rick Porcello is the first Red Sox pitcher to allow 1 or 0 hits in a 9.0-inning complete game against the Yankees since Pedro Martinez did so on September 10, 1999.

Having already guaranteed a series split, Nathan Eovaldi gets the start tomorrow afternoon going for the series victory.

A former Yankee, Eovaldi spent two seasons (2015-16) rocking the pinstripes and has only started against New York once in his seven-year career.

He’ll be matched up against rookie Chance Adams for New York, who will be making his big league debut on the biggest stage possible on Saturday.

First pitch of the third game is scheduled for 4:05 PM ET.

 

RECAP: Steve Pearce Launches Three Homers and Drives in Six Runs as #RedSox Steamroll over Yankees in 15-7 Series Opening Win.

In an exciting game that had just about everything a baseball fan could ask for on Thursday night, it was the Red Sox, despite a rather slow start, who had their way with the New York Yankees in the first game of a four-game weekend series.

Yes, the early performances from Brian Johnson and Boston’s lineup would lead you to believe the Red Sox would have to fight their way to a potential win last night, but an eight run fourth inning really turned this game on its head.

Speaking of Johnson, the lefty made his first career start against the Yankees on Thursday, as he filled in for Chris Sale, who is currently on the 10-day disabled list.

Pitching five full innings, Johnson was certainly not at his best in his seventh start of the season, but he didn’t need to be.

Starting right away in the top of the first, the Florida native allowed the first three batters he faced, including a three-run blast off the bat of Didi Gregorius to put the Yankees up 3-0 early.

An inning later, another home run, this one coming from Aaron Hicks with two outs in the second, tacked on another run to New York’s lead, and the Red Sox found themselves trailing by four before they even took their second set of at bats.

Fortunately, Johnson settled down a bit from that point up until the middle of the fifth when he served up another homer to Gregorius to lead off the inning. By the time that happened though, the Red Sox had already jumped up to a 10-4 lead, so it’s not like it had that big of an impact on the final result.

Able to pick up his first winning decision since April 2nd, the 27 year-old hurler ended his so-so night by striking out the final three batters he faced to up his total to 11 on the night, setting a new career-high with that mark.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 104 (65 strikes), Johnson relied on his four-seam fastball 45 times last night, and topped out at 91.4 MPH with it on his 87th pitch of the game.

If Sale is able to make his next start in Toronto next week, I can’t imagine there would be a reason to keep Johnson in the rotation. We’ll have to wait and see on that.

Anyway, in relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen began their night with a six run lead to protect in the sixth.

Brandon Workman made his first appearance with the big league club since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket on Tuesday, and he surrendered a Giancarlo Stanton mammoth shot of a solo home run in what was an otherwise clean two innings of work. He also received some help from Ian Kinsler with two fantastic plays at second in the seventh.

Joe Kelly was next up in the eighth, and although his old friend Tyler Austin was nowhere to be found, the righty reliever looked decently dominant in an eight pitch 1-2-3 frame of work.

Finally, Ryan Brasier came on to close this thing out, and despite trimming the Yankees deficit to eight runs, managed to hold on to record the final out of the night and secure his team’s 76th win of the season.

On the other side of things, where do I even begin? Holy moly, what a night it was for just about everyone who swung a bat for the Red Sox on Thursday.

Facing off against an opponent they usually struggle against in the Yankees’ CC Sabathia, Mookie Betts, who entered last night in a 10/48 skid since the All-Star break, got the scoring started for Boston by drawing a two out bases loaded walk in the second to cut New York’s lead down to three.

In the third, Steve Pearce pulled his team a little closer by blasting his first of three home runs on the night in what would end up being Sabathia’s final frame after he had already walked four batters in a rather short period of time.

Big mistake there by Aaron Boone and the Yankees, because my god, did the Red Sox lineup go off in the fourth.

Before an out could even be recorded by Yanks reliever Jonathan Holder, Boston sent seven men to the plate, which resulted in a brand new 8-4 lead and one hell of a play at home courtesy of Jackie Bradley Jr. on an Andrew Benintendi fielder’s choice.

Steve Pearce’s second home run of the night, a three-run shot, was part of this barrage as well.

Once Chad Green came in for Holder, who, again, failed to record a single out, more RBI knocks from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi scored the seventh and eighth runs in what will more than likely go down as the most exciting inning of the season.

Over the next two innings, an RBI double from Ian Kinsler in the fifth put the Red Sox up 11-5, and in the sixth, another RBI two bagger off the bat of Andrew Benintendi increased the Red Sox lead to 12-5.

One batter later, Steve Pearce put the exclamation point on his incredible night by mashing his third big fly of the game off of Luis Cessa to complete the hat trick and put his team’s 14th and final run of the contest on the board. Here are all three homers in one convenient video.

In total, Red Sox hitters reached base 25 times on Thursday, which resulted in a season-high tying 15 runs crossing the plate. The team also hit .375 (9/24) with runners in scoring position.

Some other notes from this win:

Injury related: Blake Swihart would have to leave this game with right hamstring tightness in the sixth inning. He has been ruled day-to-day.

Mookie Betts broke out of his little slump in a big way last night, as he reached base SIX times by himself in six tries.

In his first taste of the rivalry, Ian Kinsler went 3/6 with two RBI and two defensive gems at second base.

Steve Pearce, in 59 career games against the Yankees, is slashing .294/.385/.586 with 13 HR and 29 RBI, which are the most he has against any individual team.

From @SoxNotes: Steve Pearce is the 3rd Red Sox player ever to hit 3 HR in a game against the Yankees, joining Kevin Millar (7/23/2004) and Mo Vaughn (5/30/1997).

Another one from @SoxNotes: The Red Sox are 6.5 games ahead of the Yankees, their largest lead in the AL East since September 2013.

The Sox are 20-5 in their last 25 games. They lead the majors in win % (.691, 76-34), runs per game (5.34), stolen bases (86), AVG (.270), and OPS (.796).

Having won the series opener in convincing fashion, the Yankees and Red Sox will be back it at later tonight in a pitching matchup featuring two different types of right-handers.

For the Yankees, it will be Luis Severino, a power arm, and for the Red Sox, Rick Porcello, who relies less on his velocity, gets the nod for game two.

Despite the ace status, Severino has had his fair share of struggles lately, as he owns a 8.84 ERA in his last four outings for New York.

Rick Porcello, who has posted a 3.31 ERA in 20 career starts against the Yankees, is coming off an appearance in which he surrendered four earned runs in less than six innings pitched against the Minnesota Twins on July 28th.

Not expecting another blowout in this one, but it should still be an entertaining night regardless. First pitch of the second game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Friday.

 

RECAP: #RedSox Held to One Run by Phillies’ Jake Arrieta in 3-1 Series Splitting Loss.

On a day where Chris Sale was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, Drew Pomeranz did not put forth his best effort to make Red Sox fans feel a little more comfortable with the fact they will be with out their ace for the time being, although Sale’s injury does not appear to be all that serious.

Anyway, making his 10th start of the season last night, Pomeranz was far from awful against the Philadelphia Phillies, that much is certain, but he was from great as well.

In five full innings, the lefty somehow managed to hold the Phils to just two runs while surrendering four hits, four walks, and two hit batsmen to go along with three punch outs on the night.

It was not pretty by any means, but by the time Pomeranz’s day came to an end in the middle of the fifth with his team trailing by just two runs, it’s difficult to say that he did not give the Red Sox a chance to win this game, because he kept them in it and worked around plenty of traffic on the base paths to hold Philadelphia to two runs.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95, the 29-year old hurler only threw strikes about 53% of the time on Tuesday night. He also topped out at 92.3 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he went to 30 times, in the third inning while lowering his ERA on the season to an unsightly 6.56.

Due to the fact that Brian Johnson has taken over for Chris Sale while he is on the DL, all signs point to Pomeranz maintaining his spot in the Red Sox rotation. If nothing were to change, the Tennessee native would start again sometime next week against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In relief of Pomeranz, the Red Sox bullpen had themselves another solid night up until the ninth inning.

Joe Kelly, with the help of Blake Swihart’s cannon of an arm, worked his way around a leadoff single to face the minimum three batters in the lone inning he pitched in the sixth.

Heath Hembree too worked his way around a leadoff walk to toss a scoreless seventh and Matt Barnes, despite loading the bases, escaped any damage in the eighth inning with a big time strikeout of Cesar Hernandez.

In the final frame though, with the Red Sox trailing by just one run, Hector Velazquez, who had pitched on Monday, allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach base, which drove in the Phillies’ third and final run of the night to create some distance between them and the Red Sox going into the bottom half of the inning.

On the other side of things, similar to what Aaron Nola did for the Phillies in the series opener, Jake Arrieta had his way with the Red Sox lineup on Tuesday.

Tossing seven innings of one run ball, the ex-Cub held Boston to one lone run on six hits and one HBP with seven strikeouts.

That one run came in the sixth inning on a Xander Bogaerts RBI groundout. That’s all the scoring the Red Sox could manage in this one, although they did have plenty of opportunities.

I won’t break down all of them, but I will highlight the most crucial of these scoring chances that came in the ninth.

With Seranthony Dominguez on the mound for Philadelphia to protect a two run lead, a leadoff walk drawn by JD Martinez appeared to be a step in the right direction for a second walk-off hit in as many nights.

However, that optimism was quickly wiped away when Xander Bogaerts took a 99.1 MPH fastball off his right hand in the very next at bat. The same right hand that impacted Bogaerts’ 2017 campaign when he was hit with a pitch in Tampa Bay right before the All-Star break.

Despite the obvious pain he was in, Bogaerts was able to stay in this game and represent the tying run at first base with no outs.

From that point, Dominguez really buckled down for the Phillies, as he consecutively sat down the next three hitters he saw to pick up the save.

Ian Kinsler, who was making his Red Sox debut, Mookie Betts, who came on to pinch hit for Eduardo Nunez, and Brock Holt were all retired on just 11 pitches, and that was how last night’s contest would come to a close with a final score of 3-1.

Some notes from this one:

From @EvanDrellich: Right hand contusion for Xander Bogaerts. X Rays negative. Same spot as last year. He sounded worried just because of the similarity but good news again is X Rays are negative.

From @PeteAbe: Dombrowski said Sale was “adamant” he would miss only one start. Suspicion is how he throws his slider could be the cause. Team is being cautious. MRI was not needed.

In his aforementioned Red Sox debut, Ian Kinsler went 1/4 at the plate with two strikeouts batting in the six-hole. He was also solid at second base.

Extending his hitting streak to 11 games with a sixth inning single, Blake Swihart finishes his month of July with an outstanding slash line of .412/.474/.618 in 14 games.

Ending July with a 19-6 record, the Red Sox have Wednesday off before hosting the New York Yankees for a four-game set that begins tomorrow.

With a 4-5 record against the Bombers this season and a five game division lead to protect, you don’t need me to tell you that this upcoming series is meaningful.

Brian Johnson starts in the place of Chris Sale in the opener on Thursday. He’ll be matched up against CC Sabathia for New York, who has both struggled and succeeded against Boston in two separate starts at home this season.

As for Johnson, well, he’s never started against the Yankees, but he has yet to give up a run against them in three relief appearances as well. Should be an interesting matchup of two left-handers.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Thursday.

Ian Kinsler Set to Bat Sixth in #RedSox Debut.

There you have it. Less than 24 hours after the trade was completed, Ian Kinsler will make his debut with the Red Sox later tonight.

Taking over as the everyday second baseman and batting sixth on Tuesday, Kinsler will wear the number 5.

Among American League second baseman, the 36-year old infielder ranks fourth in terms of fWAR (2.0) and first in Defensive Runs Saved (10).

In his career against the Phillies, Kinsler is slashing .357/.438/.607 with one home run and two RBI in seven games.

At Fenway Park, in 41 career games, he is slashing .260/.306/.441 with seven homers and 26 RBI.

As a corresponding move, the Red Sox optioned Tzu-Wei Lin to Triple A Pawtucket, hence Kinsler taking his number.

The trade deadline is less than 15 minutes away now. It’s looking less likely that the team will be able to land a reliever with guys like Jake Diekman and Brad Ziegler landing with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

RECAP: Blake Swihart Walks It off for #RedSox in Extra Innings Win over Phillies.

Playing in their first interleague series since sweeping the Washington Nationals earlier this month, the Red Sox came into the week fresh off three straight wins and a quick two-game set against a first place Philadelphia Phillies team next up on the schedule.

David Price, who has big game experience pitching against the Phils during his rookie year in the 2008 World Series, made his 21st start of the season last night and extended what has been a near-dominant run for Red Sox starters.

In a full eight innings pitched, the lefty held Philadelphia to just one run while scattering eight and hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

Things did not appear as though they were going to go as smoothly as they did for Price early on, as he surrendered five hits and that one run within the first three innings. But, with the help of some careless Phillies base running…

the Tennessee native settled down with a stretch of nine straight retired batters from the top of the third all the way to the sixth.

After escaping two more respective jams and stranding multiple runners on base in the sixth and eighth innings of this one, Price’s night would come to an end with his pitch count reaching 97.

Out of those 97 pitches (66 strikes), the 32 year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball the most on Monday, as he went to it nearly 31% of the time while also topping out at 93.3 MPH with his two-seamer in the third inning.

Unable to pick up the win due to this game going 13 innings, Price will look to carry over this recent success into August, where he is slated to make his next start against the New York Yankees this upcoming Sunday. *gulps*

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen did a fantastic job of limiting what the Phillies could do at the plate, and that prevented them from scoring the go-ahead run at any time last night.

Tossing a combined five scoreless frames, Tyler Thornburg, Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree, Joe Kelly, and finally Hector Velazquez, who picked up the win to improve to 7-0 on the season, were all part in a fine effort in the eventual 75th win of the year for the Red Sox.

My biggest takeaways here were how Thornburg continued to impress, as his scoreless appearance streak now stands at six, and how Joe Kelly worked his way around a two out walk in the twelfth to avoid any damage. Hembree was also solid.

On the other side of things, I have to start off by tipping my cap to Phillies starter Aaron Nola. Similar to what Tyler Gibson did on Thursday night for the Twins, Nola mostly had his away against a dangerous Boston lineup.

Had it not been for a Jackie Bradley Jr. single and an Eduardo Nunez RBI triple that should have been caught in center field in the bottom of the fifth, Nola more than likely would have held the Red Sox scoreless in the eight frames he pitched in. He’s that good.

Anyway, we’ll pick this thing up in the 13th inning, when with one out, Eduardo Nunez at second, and Philadelphia reliever Luis Garcia on the mound, Blake Swihart had the chance to send everyone home happy.

Stepping up to the plate for the second time that night after pinch-hitting for Sandy Leon in the tenth, Swihart swung at the first pitch he saw from Garcia, a 99 MPH fastball right over the heart of the plate, and launched a scorching 106 MPH ground-rule double into the Red Sox bullpen, driving in Nunez from second and ensuring his team’s second walk-off win in the last four days with the 2-1 victory.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: Including tonight, Red Sox starting pitchers have a 1.41 ERA in their last 12 games. According to , that is the club’s lowest starting pitcher ERA over any 12-game span since 1933 (1.31 from 7/20-8/3).

Extending his hitting streak to 10 games with that walk-off double, Blake Swihart is slashing .429/.484/.679 over that span with one home run and three RBI.

In his last five games, Eduardo Nunez owns an OPS of 1.213.

At 75-33, the Red Sox are 42 games over .500. Absurd.

Going for the quick two-game sweep later tonight, it will be Drew Pomeranz getting the start for the Red Sox. He’ll be matched up against fairly new Phillie Jake Arrieta.

Known for his time spent with the Chicago Cubs, Arrieta owns a 3.45 ERA in 20 starts in his first year in Philadelphia.

Last season, when the Cubs were at Fenway in April, this same pitching matchup took hold for a game on April 28th. I remember because I was there.

Surprisingly, Pomeranz outpitched Arrieta in what turned out to be a close 5-4 win for the Red Sox.

Regardless of that, first pitch of the second and final game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET tonight. Could be Pomeranz’s last start for a while if he continues to struggle.

Also, the Red Sox traded for Ian Kinsler last night. You can read about him here. The trade deadline is at 4 PM ET today.

RECAP: Kyle Gibson Outduels Brian Johnson as #RedSox Drop Series Opener to Twins in 2-1 Loss.

Coming off a five-game road trip in which lousy weather followed them from Detroit the Baltimore, the Red Sox headed home for the first time since the All-Star break to welcome the 47-53 Minnesota Twins into town. After their game against the Orioles got rained out in the second inning on Wednesday night, one might have expected the team to come out firing against the Twins on Thursday, but that simply was not the case.

In what might be his last start for the forseeable future with RHP Nathan Eovaldi being added to the 25-man roster earlier in the day, Brian Johnson made his sixth start of the year in this one, and he was solid yet again.

Pitching nearly six full innings, the lefty held the Twins scoreless while scattering four hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts, something he has done in three straight starts.

Despite the goose egg in runs allowed, Johnson certainly was far from perfect and found himself working around a healthy amount of traffic in the first and last innings he appeared in.

The first lot of traffic on the base paths came in the first, as two of the first three Twins the Florida native faced in this game reached base on singles.

With runners on first and second, another single off the bat of Eduardo Escobar to center field looked like it was going to be good enough to score Joe Mauer from second for the first run of the evening. Luckily for the Red Sox, a cannon from Jackie Bradley Jr. to nab the Twins third baseman at the plate put a temporary hold on any immediate danger.

Two batters later though, the bases were loaded for the Twins after DH Mitch Garver had a drawn a seven pitch walk.

Faced with yet another tough spot early on, Johnson buckled down by striking out the next batter he faced in Robbie Grossman on another seven pitches to escape the jam and send this thing to the middle half of the first.

Including the strikeout of Grossman, the 27-year old starter/reliever hybrid went on to retire 14 straight Twins hitters from the first all the way to the top half of the sixth.

Once Eddie Rosario broke that streak by drawing a five pitch walk, Johnson’s night would soon come to an end, but not before a wild sequence took hold on a Brian Dozier single.

As can be seen in the video, Jackie Bradley Jr. gets this ball in as soon as possible to try to nab Eddie Rosario at third.

That did not pan out, and neither did Rafael Devers’ throw to Brock Holt at second to catch Dozier advancing to second.

What did work out here was someone on the left side of the infield communicating to Holt that Rosario was headed towards home.

After recovering from the attempted tag out of Dozier, the Red Sox utility man got up quickly, turned, and darted a near-perfect throw to Blake Swihart to get the out at the plate and prevent the Twins from getting on the board. A very well executed 8-5-4-2 play on the second out of the inning.

Following another walk of Eduardo Escobar, Johnson’s eventful night came to an end with the chance to get the win, as he was replaced in favor of Heath Hembree.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (53 strikes), the former Florida Gator relied on his four-seam fastball 43% of the time while on the mound on Thursday and topped out at 91 MPH with it on his 67th pitch of the contest.

In terms of innings pitched, 5.2, this is the deepest Johnson has pitched into an outing since he tossed six one-run innings in his first start of the season back on April 2nd against the Miami Marlins.

Lowering his ERA to 3.45 and WHIP to 1.33, the left-hander came away with a no-decision on Thursday, and as I had already mentioned, will return to the bullpen within the next few days.

In relief of Johnson, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the sixth and retired the lone batter he faced in the inning.

Coming back out for a second frame of work with a one run lead to protect, the South Carolina native served up two straight hits to start out the seventh.

After a GDIP off the bat of Ehire Adrianza tied the game at one run a piece, Hembree gave up his third hit of the inning against the last batter he saw.

Matt Barnes came in to clean the mess that Hembree had made with two outs, ended the inning by striking out Joe Mauer, but surrendered the go-ahead run on a two out Mitch Garver RBI double in the eighth. Charged with his third loss of the season, last night marked the first time since July 12th in which Barnes had given up an earned run.

From that point on, Ryan Brasier continued his run of quality relief work with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to keep his team within striking distance, which nearly worked out for them.

On the other side of things, Twins starter Kyle Gibson was DEALING last night. He needed 120 pitches to get through eight innings, but he was excellent.

The only run the Red Sox could muster in this one came in the second, when, with one out and Blake Swihart at third and Jackie Bradley at first, Mookie Betts grounded out to short, which allowed Swihart to easily score from third.

However, on the throw from shortstop to first base, Bradley tried to advance all the way from first to third on a pretty agressive move and ultimately paid the price for it, as he was tagged out to end the inning thanks to a fine throw from Joe Mauer. Betts did come away with an RBI, but that was all the scoring the team could come up with.

I mean, they certainly had their plethora of opportunities, like loading the bases on multiple occasions in the first and ninth innings, but had nothing to show for it.

Speaking of the ninth inning, I need to know why Mitch Moreland was not pinch-hitting for Jackie Bradley Jr. in that spot.

Bases loaded, one run game, two outs, Twins closer Fernando Rodney on the mound, a pitcher Moreland has hit at a .600 clip over his career, and he is nowhere to be found.

Alex Cora said after the game that there was no reason in particular why Moreland did not come on to hit for Bradley. It was just a matter of the team being in favor of the way the lineup was matched up against Rodney.

And ultimately, that decision did not pan out. As the Red Sox center fielder, fresh off making two fantastic plays with his glove, fanned for second time to wrap this frustrating 2-1 loss up.

Some notes from this one:

In 14 at bats this month, Blake Swihart is slashing .417/.500/.625 with one home run and two RBI to go along with a current eight game hitting streak as well.

Since joining the big league club on July 28th, Ryan Brasier owns an ERA of 0.00 in eight innings pitched. With the recent struggles from the bullpen, perhaps it’s time to give Brasier some more high leverage opportunities.

This is just my opinion, but the Red Sox should probably upgrade their bullpen.

Dropping two consecutive games for the first time since June 19-20 against these Twins, the Red Sox will look to even things back up tomorrow to kick off what should be a fun weekend for the team. Chris Sale gets the ball for the Friday start and he will be matched up against veteran righty Lance Lynn for Minnesota.

In his only other start against the Twins this season, Sale struck out 11 batters in seven innings pitched back on that June 19th game at Target Field.

First pitch of the second game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Friday.