RECAP: Christian Vazquez Finishes Triple Shy of Cycle as #RedSox Pick up 7-1 Win over Tigers.

Coming off a night in which they shutout the Detroit Tigers in the series opener on Tuesday, the Red Sox carried that over by holding Detroit to just one run on seven hits last night.

Making his 12th start of the season on Wednesday, the Red Sox improved to 11-1 whenever Rodriguez takes the mound. In 5.2 innings of one run ball, the lefty scattered five hits and one walk while striking out five to pick up his seventh winning decision on the year.

There were not many high stress situations for Rodriguez in this one. Pitch count was a bit of an issue, as it has been in his previous starts, but he was still effective pitching into the sixth inning. The only run he surrendered came in the top of the second on back to back two out hits from the Tigers 7-8 hitters. Other than that, solid night for the 25-year-old hurler, just wish he could pitch deeper into games.

Heading into the sixth, Rodriguez had the chance to complete the inning. A las, with two outs in the inning and a runner at first, the native of Venezuela could not retire Leonys Martin, and that single concluded his night.

Finishing with 107 pitches, Heath Hembree took over for Rodriguez with runners on first and second and one out in the inning. Despite walking the first batter he saw in JaCoby Jones on four pitches to load the bases, Hembree recovered by retiring the only other batter he faced in Jose Iglesias on two pitches to get out of the sixth.

Speaking of bases loaded situations for the Tigers, Matt Barnes did the same thing after recording the first two outs of the seventh. The righty needed 36 pitches in total, but he was able to get out of the jam by retiring Tigers catcher James McCann on seven pitches, thus extending his scoreless inning streak to 12.

From the conclusion of the seventh inning on, the Red Sox bullpen had a much better time of things. Brandon Workman and Bobby Poyner combined to toss two scoreless innings on the way to a convincing 7-1 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup feasted on Tigers pitching for the second straight night. They put up six runs in the opener and they put up seven on Wednesday.

Facing off against career reliever turned starter in Blaine Hardy for Detroit, the Red Sox were held scoreless in the first two innings.

Going into the bottom of third trailing by one, Rafael Devers led things off by reaching first on an infield single that easily could have been an out if not for a misplay from Miguel Cabrera. That was followed by an RBI double from Christian Vazquez and this thing was tied.

After Jackie Bradley Jr. reached first on a HBP to put runners on first and third, Andrew Benintendi drove both of them in on his 16th double of the season.

Xander Bogaerts then drove Benintendi in on an RBI double of his own and that put the Red Sox up 4-1 after three.

Fast forward to the fifth, with Hardy still on the mound for the Tigers, and Andrew Benintendi built on his great night at the plate by launching his 10th home run of the year. 5-1.

Two innings later, Christian Vazquez greeted new Tigers pitcher Buck Farmer by mashing his second home run in five days on the first pitch he saw in the at bat.

372 feet with a 95 MPH exit velo. on that solo shot that put the Red Sox up 6-1 in the seventh.

And in the ninth, making the most of his opportunities, recently called up Sam Travis knocked in his teams seventh and final run of the night on a one out RBI single. In five at bats since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket on June 2nd, Travis has driven in three runs.

Some other notes from this win:

In his last three starts now, Eduardo Rodriguez has pitched at least into the sixth inning while giving up two or fewer runs. His ERA on the season now sits at 3.88.

Andrew Benintendi has hit three home runs this month. In April, he only hit one. Benintendi now ranks 7th in the American League with a .922 OPS.

After going 3-for-4 at the plate last night, Xander Bogaerts owns a .476 OBP in the month of June.

With two hits last night, Rafael Devers recorded his first multi-hit game since May 28th against the Blue Jays.

Christian Vazquez needed just a triple to complete the cycle last night. He is 4/10 over his last three games and owns a 1.100 OPS this month.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch twice last night, once in the third and once in the eighth, with two different pitchers on the mound for the Tigers.

Having already picked up the series win, the Red Sox will look to rookie hurler Jalen Beeks for the sweep later tonight. Beeks, a lefty, will be making his Major League debut, and he will be matched up against Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd. Bobby Poyner will be optioned to Pawtucket in a corresponding roster move. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM. Should be an entertaining one. Happy Jalen Beeks Day.

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RECAP: #RedSox Fall Behind Early, Nearly Complete Comeback in 5-3 Loss to Athletics.

It took some time, but the Red Sox lost to the Oakland Athletics for the fourth straight time last night. After a rain delay that lasted approximately one hour and 40 minutes, the Red Sox found themselves behind early once again.

Eduardo Rodriguez got the start in this one, marking his eighth of the season. For the second time in a row, the lefty only lasted five innings on the mound, and despite not being as effective as he was last Wednesday in New York, he did a solid job of avoiding any major damage. In five full innings pitched, the native of Venezuela surrendered three runs on six hits, including a home run, to go along with no walks and four strikeouts. All three of those runs were scored over the first two innings, as Matt Chapman drove in a pair on a double in the first, and Stephen Piscotty mashed a solo home run over the Green Monster in the second.

For Piscotty, this home run is sure to be memorable. It’s his first one since he was activated from the bereavement list on Tuesday, as his mother passed away from ALS last week. Regardless of the result, it was a very cool moment to witness live.

Moving on, with his pitch count all the way up to 93 (53 strikes) through just five innings of work, Eduardo Rodriguez’s night would come to an end. He’ll look to build on this so-so performance next time out against the Baltimore Orioles this Sunday.

Rodriguez’s departure would make way for the return of Steven Wright in the seventh inning. Making his first big league appearance since April 29th of last season, I was curious to see how the knuckeballer would perform in his new role out of the Red Sox bullpen. In his first two innings of work, Wright certainly was not all that effective, but he held the Athletics scoreless over that stretch. He came back out to start the eighth inning as well, but that was probably a mistake.

After getting the leadoff man Jed Lowrie to ground out, Wright gave up two consecutive singles to put runners on first and second with just one out. That would be all for the California native, as he would later be charged with two earned runs when the base runners he was responsible for scored on a Mark Canha double.

Once Wirght departed, it was up to Bobby Poyner to get out of the eighth inning jam. Like Wright, Poyner had just been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket. As I just mentioned though, the lefty gave up a two-run double to the second batter he faced in Mark Canha, and that pretty much put this game out of reach.

Looking to keep it a one run game an inning later, Brian Johnson got the call for the ninth for the second straight win. Once again, Johnson did his job effectively. He held the A’s scoreless while tossing his second straight perfect inning in as many nights.

So, even with some newer additions from within, the Red Sox bullpen should still be an area of concern. Isn’t that right, Mr. Dombrowski?

Anyway, on the other side of things, The Red Sox lineup was held to just three runs last night. Similar to how he performed against them in Oakland, A’s starter Daniel Mengden pitched well against the Red Sox for the second time this season. He held them to just to runs, one of which was earned, over six innings pitched. The Athletics bullpen followed suit by tossing three innings of one run ball.

Trailing 3-0 essentially from the get go, the Red Sox had a chance to tack on a run in their half of the first. Unfortunately for them, a base running gaff from Andrew Benintendi as he was unwisely rounding third base cost them that chance.

Fast forward to the fourth, Mitch Moreland plated the first run of the game for the Red Sox on an RBI ground out that scored JD Martinez from third. This would not have been possible if, when Martinez led the inning off, Matt Chapman did not commit an error while making an errant throw to first base from third. Since the ball ended up out of play, Martinez was awarded second base, and he would eventually score in the inning.

An inning later, Andrew Benintendi redeemed himself from that base running blunder he made earlier by mashing his third home run of the season into the bleachers in right field.

That 437 foot bomb pulled the Red Sox within one run before the A’s pulled away in the eighth. Later in the ninth, down to their last three outs, it looked like a late night rally was about to be staged.

Rafael Devers led things off by reaching first on a strikeout. Pinch hitting for Christian Vazquez, Brock Holt followed that up by ripping a double to left field to put runners on second and third with no outs. With the top of the lineup now at the plate, I was thinking walk off. Instead, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Hanley Ramirez were retired in order. Devers did cross the plate to make it a two run game, but that would be all the Red Sox could muster in the final frame.

On the bright side of things, Andrew Benintendi is in the midst of an eight game hitting streak. Over that stretch, the Red Sox outfielder is slashing .308/.372/.538 with two home runs and six RBIs.

Having dropped their last two games, Chris Sale will have the opportunity to be the stopper later tonight. He’ll be matched up against A’s righty Trevor Cahill in the series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET. Happy Sale Day.

Carson Smith Has Been Placed on the 10-Day Disabled List.

A day after losing Hector Velazquez to a lower back strain, the Red Sox got more bad news today in the form of Carson Smith’s right shoulder/arm. Apparently, after he gave up a home run and left yesterday’s game in the middle of the eighth inning, Smith let out his frustration by throwing his glove in the Red Sox dugout. According to the tweet from Evan Drellich above, that throwing of the glove may have been costly for the righty reliever, as he is now set to miss an extended period of time on the disabled list.

Ever since the Red Sox acquired Smith prior to the 2016 season, there has been pretty lofty expectations placed upon his shoulder. He was made out to be this borderline elite arm who could pitch in the seventh, eighth, or even ninth inning. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, the Texas native has appeared in only 29 games with the Red Sox, and owns a 2.66 ERA over that span.

In a short tenure that’s been riddled with multiple injuries, this season looked like the one where Smith was going to put it all together as a member of the Red Sox bullpen. With all of those injuries keeping him sidelined in the past, this is the most relief work he has gotten in three years. Although Red Sox fans may not have had the most confidence in the 28-year-old up to this point, losing him for an extended amount of time certainly won’t help things with an already shaky Red Sox bullpen.

Lefty Bobby Poyner has taken Smith’s spot on the 25-man roster, and Steven Wright took Hector Velazquez’s spot yesterday. Just a few moments ago, Dave Dombrowski said the Red Sox bullpen is, “not an area of concern”, which in my mind, is completely false. But there’s nothing to gain from the President of Baseball Operations saying he has no confidence in his teams bullpen.

I’m sure once the trade deadline rolls around in July, the Red Sox will be in the market for a reliever or two that are on expiring contracts. That’s not for a while though, and for now, the Red Sox bullpen needs to prove they can be reliable outside of Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly. If they do that, then maybe the Red Sox can break out of this .500 rut they’ve been on the past three-plus weeks.