RECAP: Khris Davis Owns the Day as #RedSox Drop Second Straight Game to Athletics.

For the first time this season, the Boston Red Sox have lost two straight games. As unfortunate as that may be, they are still 17-4 and finished the west coast portion of their road trip at 4-2. Regardless of how they got there, 4-2 on the road ain’t too shabby. With three games left on the trip in Toronto, finishing at either 7-2 or 6-3 would be more than exceptional.

Anyway, David Price made his sixth start of the season in this one, and he was great up until the eighth inning. The lefty held the Athletics to one run on six hits and a walk while striking out five. That one run came on a Khris Davis RBI single in the bottom half of the first. Other than that, not too much to complain about from Price over the first seven innings, because not only was he effective, he was efficient with his pitch count as well. By the time he departed with two outs in the eighth, he was only at 96 pitches, 68 of which went for strikes.

How he got to his departure from this game isn’t all that effective. With the game tied at one, Price retired the first batter he saw in the bottom of the eighth, and followed that up by allowing back to back singles. After striking out Jed Lowrie for the second out of the inning, Khris Davis struck once again as he took things into his own hands, taking the very first pitch of his at bat, an 87 MPH slider from Price, and blasting it 388 feet into the steps in right field.

Davis knew it was gone, Price knew it was gone, and just like that the Athletics were up by three runs, which is all they needed to lock up the win.

Carson Smith came in for mop up duty after the homer, and he retired the only batter he faced on two pitches.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup had a better day than they did on Saturday. Unfortunately, that’s not saying much because they only scored one run.

That one run came in the top of the seventh on a Brock Holt RBI double. It looked like it was going to be meaningful at the time since it tied the game with one out, but they had some other chances and could not capitalize on them.

Credit to Athletics starting pitching for the second day in a row. He didn’t toss a no-hitter, but Daniel Mengden was solid. He allowed just that one run in 6.1 innings pitched, scattering six hits, striking out five, and walking no one. The Athletics bullpen was also pretty solid as they held the Red Sox scoreless in just less than three innings pitched.

The last chance the Red Sox had to tie or win this thing came in the ninth with two outs and Brock Holt on first after he reached on a fielding error. With Christian Vazquez at the plate and Mookie Betts, who would be pinch-hitting for Tzu-Wei Lin, on deck, it looked like they had a decent chance to take this thing to the bottom of the ninth. On the eighth pitch of the at bat, Vazquez popped up to shallow right field, and it almost fell through.

Luckily for the Athletics, they avoided a potential disaster with Mookie Betts looming and picked up their 11th win of the season.

That marks the first time the Red Sox have lost a series in seven tries to start the year. Like I said earlier, next up is the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, who just dropped three out of four to the Yankees in New York. After a travel day on Monday, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball in the opener against Jays lefty J.A. Happ. Rogers Centre is certainly more of a launch pad than the Coliseum in Oakland, so maybe the Red Sox bats will wake up a bit this coming week. First pitch for that game on Tuesday is 7:07 PM, back to normal.

RECAP: A’s Lefty Sean Manaea Tosses a No Hitter as #RedSox Win Streak Comes to an End.

Going into the middle of this game of this series, Athletics starter Sean Manaea owned a career 13.50 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox. In 11.1 innings pitched, Manaea has allowed 17 earned runs on 26 hits. Those numbers are far from good.

With those numbers in mind, and the fact that Chris Sale was on the mound for the Red Sox, I was honestly expecting an easy win. Instead, they got no hit for the first time in nearly 25 years.

In a matchup of quality left-handed pitchers, it was Manaea who came up on top. The other guy though, Chris Sale, wasn’t too bad either. While having some struggles early, Sale allowed the Athletics to score three times over seven innings, scattering six hits and one walk over sevn full innings, fanning 10 along the way.

For some reason, the lefty really struggled with the top third of the A’s lineup, specifically leadoff man Marcus Semien. He was the only player in the whole game to touch home plate, and he did it on three separate occasions, including on a solo home run in the fifth. Old friend Jed Lowrie collected his league-leading 23rd RBI of the season as well.

At 110 pitches (72 strikes) through seven innings, Sale’s day came to an end. I would guess he’ll make his next start on Friday, back at home against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The only other pitcher the Red Sox used was Heath Hembree. In his first appearance of the series, Hembree allowed a double and a walk, both with two outs, but got out of the inning unscathed, leaving the Red Sox lineup with one last chance in the ninth.

Unfortunately, that opportunity was not capitalized on by the Red Sox because Sean Manaea was excellent last night. The only mistakes he made were mere walks, which happened on just two occasions. There was some controversy on what was a hit and what wasn’t, like in the sixth inning.

It looked like Andrew Benintendi had just broke up the no-hitter with a dribbler down the first base line for a single. He was initially called safe, but he was later ruled out for running outside of the base path while running towards safe. That took away the hit, and Benintendi was none too pleased about it.

Despite the frustration here, that does not take away from what Manaea did. No hitting one of the best lineups in baseball is no small task, and Manaea needed just 108 pitches to do it. In fact, last night’s game was two hours and 16 minutes, which has to be the quickest game the Red Sox have played in this season. Manaea’s no-no also marks the first from an Athletics pitcher since Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game on Mother’s Day back in 2010.

From here, the Red Sox need to put this loss behind them. Shake it off, move on, and take the series with a win today. David Price will look to build on his successful outing in Anaheim, as he faces off against A’s righty Daniel Mengden. First pitch is at 4:05 PM ET.

 

RECAP: Two Swings of the Bat Is All #RedSox Need to Win Eighth Straight.

After completing the three game sweep of the LA Angels on Thursday night, the Red Sox arrived in Oakland on Friday to take on the 9-10 Athletics, who were coming off a sweep of their own.

Drew Pomeranz was activated from the 10-day disabled list prior to this one, and he had an interesting 2018 debut to say the least. The Athletics got to Pomeranz for three runs in the first, and the lefty needed 45 pitches just to get through the inning. After that though, Pomeranz settled down for a bit. The Mississippi native held the A’s to just three hits, one walk, and no runs. After recording the second out of the fourth inning, Pomeranz was given the hook in favor of Hector Velazquez. Finishing with a total of seven strikeouts, the southpaw needed 88 pitches to get through his first start, 58 of which went for strikes. If things go according to plan, I’d assume Pomeranz will make his next start on Thursday in Toronto.

In relief of Pomeranz, the Red Sox bullpen was fantastic yet again. Hector Velazquez tossed three shutout innings while scattering four hits, he departed with runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

Brian Johnson would get the call next, and he gave up a single, that quite honestly, should have been caught by Eduardo Nunez, to Matt Olson, the only batter he faced. That loaded the bases and made way for Matt Barnes to get into some game action for the first time since last Sunday.

Facing Matt Joyce with the bases loaded, Barnes definitely created some angst among Red Sox fans watching this game last night. He loaded the count on the first six pitches of the at-bat, but got Joyce to swing and miss on a 94 MPH fastball, ending the inning and preserving the four run lead the Red Sox had.

Barnes went on to collect one more strikeout while tossing a 1-2-3 eighth inning. That made way for Joe Kelly in the ninth, and he too pitched a perfect inning to lock up the win.

Over the last 24.1 innings they have appeared in, the Red Sox bullpen has given up a grand total of one run. To put it into perspective, that’s a 0.37 ERA.

Offensively, like the title reads, the Red Sox lineup only needed two swings of the bat to beat the Athletics in this series opener. The first swing came in the second, after the Red Sox had just gone down by three runs in the bottom of the first, how would they respond? Well, after Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez both singled with one out in the inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. took a Kendall Graveman 94 MPH cutter and cleared the bases with his second home run of the season. A 436 foot shot over the wall in right field with a 106 MPH exit velocity.

That tied the game at three. Later on in the sixth, after the top third of the lineup began the inning by loading the bases on three straight singles, Mitch Moreland stayed hot. On the first pitch he saw from A’s reliever Emilio Pagan and cleared the bases once again.

That marks the FIFTH grand slam the Red Sox have hit already in just 19 games. With that slam, that would be all the scoring the Red Sox would need to pick up their 17th win of the season.

Some notes from this one:

Since April 11th, Mitch Moreland has raises his slugging percentage more than .350 points. His OPS now sits at 1.015.

Since April 10th, Jackie Bradley Jr. is slashing .324/.425/.559 in 40 plate appearances. He got off to a slow start, but it’s nice to see JBJ picking things up at the plate lately.

Chris Sale will be making his fifth start of the season later tonight, as he faces off against Athletics ace Sean Manaea. First pitch is the earliest its been since the Red Sox embarked on this road trip, 9:05 PM ET.

 

RECAP: Another Mookie Betts Leadoff Home Run Helps #RedSox Complete Sweep of Angels.

To be perfectly honest with you, I was expecting this Red Sox-Angels series to be a competitive one. Going into Tuesday, both teams were in the midst of impressive winning streaks, with the Red Sox at four straight and the Angels at seven. I thought the series opener, which featured David Price and Shohei Ohtani, would set the tone for what would be a close three games. Maybe the Red Sox take two out of three in Anaheim, I thought, that would be great. Well, I was completely wrong. Instead of three close games, the Red Sox blew out the Angels three nights in a row. They outscored the Angels 27-3 and never trailed at any point in the series. They entered at 13-2, and they leave at 16-2, marking the best start to a season a team has had since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers.

Eduardo Rodriguez made his third start of the season in this one, and he was fantastic. The lefty tossed six full innings, surrendering two earned runs on three hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts. His day got off to a bit of an odd start, with the home plate umpire having to leave the game after taking a foul ball off his right elbow, but the delay that took place did not appear to have any negative effect on Rodriguez. He recorded his first two K’s of the night by getting Mike Trout and Justin Upton back to back in the first.

The Angels tacked on their first run in the second. A one out walk to Andrelton Simmons lead to third baseman Zack Cozart driving him in on an RBI single two batters later. The only other real mistake Rodriguez made came later on in the fifth. With no outs and old friend Chris Young at the plate, Rodriguez tried to sneak a 94 MPH fastball by the Angels fourth outfielder, but failed, as Young took him deep to left center for his first home run with his new team. That cut the Red Sox lead at the time to one run.

By the time Rodrigurz got through his sixth and final frame, his pitch count was at a solid 104, 65 of which went for strikes. Since his horrid season debut back on the eighth of April, the native of Venezuela has been solid in his two starts, posting a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings pitched to go along with 13 K’s. It looks like he will be making his next start next Wednesday in Toronto.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen nearly tossed a perfect three innings. Heath Hembree and Carson Smith tossed a shutout inning each in the seventh and eighth, and Joe Kelly allowed one hit while striking out two to lock up the three game sweep.

Offensively, Mookie Betts got the scoring started in typical Mookie Betts fashion. On the third pitch he saw from Halos starter Nick Tropeano, Betts blasted his sixth long ball of the season over the wall in left field, putting his team up early.

Later on in the fourth, after a leadoff walk from Hanley Ramirez, JD Martinez stayed hot by ripping a double to left field, scoring Ramirez from first and picking up 15th RBI of the season. Two batters later, Rafael Devers collected his first of two RBIs on the night with a ground ball single to right that allowed Martinez to score from second.

Fast forward to the sixth, and we had Andrew Benintendi FINALLY getting his first home run of the season. On a 2-2 count, Benintendi hammered a 90 MPH fastball from Tropeano way over the wall in right field.

Three batters later, Devers collected that second RBI I mentioned earlier. He drove in JD Martinez, again, from third and put the Red Sox up by three.

After a quiet seventh, Mitch Moreland picked up his seventh RBI of the season with a sac fly that scored Hanley Ramirez from third.

With the game already in hand in the top of the ninth, Andrew Benintendi added on to his impressive night with a 2 RBI double that scored both Brock Holt and Mookie Betts to put them up 8-2.

Some notes from this one:

Mookie Betts hit his second leadoff home run in three days last night.

After a slow start to the season, Andrew Benintendi is now slashing .267/.384/.450 in 16 games. That’s a .834 OPS.

JD Martinez collected three hits last night, which marks his seventh multi-hit game of the season.

With two more RBIs last night, Rafael Devers is now tied for second in the American League in the category with 17, trailing only none other than Jed Lowrie for first place. He has 21.

Speaking of Jed Lowrie, the Red Sox will be taking on his team later tonight. That team being the Oakland Athletics, who despite being 9-10, have one of the best lineups in the AL thus far into the season.

Making his return to the rotation, Drew Pomeranz will be facing off against Athletics righty Kendall Graveman later tonight. First pitch is at 10:05 PM ET, GET PUMPED FOR DWEW.

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RECAP: Rafael Devers Delivers First Career Grand Slam as #RedSox Obliterate Angels Again.

After blowing out the Angels on Tuesday, the sizzling Red Sox essentially did the same thing last night.

Rick Porcello got the start in this middle game, and he, like David Price put together a solid performance against one of the better lineups in the American League. The right hander tossed six shutout innings, scattering six hits and six strikeouts along the way to his fourth win of the season. There were several situations where it looked like the Angels could go for a few runs, but Porcello got out, unscathed, in all of them.

For instance, the Angels loaded the bases with one out in the first after the Red Sox had just picked up their first run of the game. In response to this, Porcello struck out Kole Calhoun and Zack Cozart back to back to end the inning with his team still in the lead.

Later in the third, the Angels were threatening again with runners on first and second with no outs. This time, Porcello responded by retiring the 3-4-5 hitters in order on nine pitches.

When his day ended after getting the last out of the sixth, Porcello finished with 101 pitches on the night, 71 of which went for strikes. His ERA on the year now sits at a solid 1.40.

With three more innings to work with, the Red Sox bullpen continued and finished the shutout. Carson Smith got the call for the seventh, he walked one and struck out one while tossing a scoreless frame. Marcus Walden would be responsible for the eighth, he struck out one while holding the Angels scoreless. And to wrap things up, Craig Kimbrel, who hadn’t made an appearance since April 15th, retired the side in the ninth on 10 pitches, guaranteeing the shutout and the series win.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup followed up their six home run game on Tuesday by tacking on another nine runs last night. Once again, the lineup chased the starter for the Angels out of the game early, as Tyler Skaggs’ day was over in just the fifth inning.

Mitch Moreland got the scoring started in the first. With Hanley Ramirez on second after doubling to center, Moreland drove in him on an RBI single, his first of four on the night.

Later on in the third, the Red Sox got to Skaggs five times to up their lead to six runs. After the top third of the order began the inning by loading the bases, Moreland drove Mookie Betts in from third on a single left field. With the bases still loaded, Rafael Devers built on his solo home run from Tuesday night and mashed a bases clearing grand slam to right field. All of the sudden, the Red Sox were up big for the second straight night.

Fast forward to the seventh, and JD Martinez went deep for his fourth long ball of the season, as he took advantage of a 2-0 count and mashed an 87 MPH slider from Angels reliever Blake Wood and sent it over the right field wall. 7-0.

With the game already in hand in the ninth and JD Martinez at first, Mitch Moreland decided he was not done yet and for the first time this season, Mitchy Four Bags went big fly to right field, giving the Red Sox their eighth and ninth runs of the contest.

Some notes from this one:

Despite not hitting a home run or collecting an RBI, Mookie Betts still recorded two hits last night. His OPS now is currently sitting at a hefty 1.249

Since the Red Sox played their first game at Fenway Park back on April 5th, JD Martinez has put up a slash line of .364/.375/.727 to go along with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 11 games played. That translated to an OPS of 1.102. And I imagine as the weather gets nicer, Martinez will ony get better.

At the beginning of the season, I did not think Mitch Moreland had a defined role with this current team. He started the year on the bench and did not run into regular playing time for a few weeks. Since April 8th though, Moreland has an OBP of .577 and a .818 SLG in 26 plate appearances.

With the series finale later tonight, the Red Sox will be going for their seventh straight win before heading up north to Oakland for the weekend. Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start tonight against Halos righty Nick Tropeano. First pitch is once again at 10:07 PM ET.

RECAP: #RedSox Put on Home Run Derby in Anaheim; Destroy Angels 10-1.

As the Red Sox were kicking off their nine game road trip, there was a lot of hype going into last night’s game against the Angels. Shohei Ohtani, the two-way phenom from Japan, was supposed to pitch on Sunday in Kansas City, but bad weather postponed that game, and his start got moved back to Tuesday. It also just so happens that the starter for the Red Sox, David Price, had his start moved back as well. So, there we had it. David Price facing off against Shohei Ohtani in a matchup between the two best teams in the American League at this point in the season.

Luckily for us, David Price held up his end of the bargain last night, unlike Ohtani. The left hander put together a solid five inning performance, allowing just one run on three hits while walking four and striking out six. Those four walks are less than ideal, but only one was costly. That being a leadoff walk to Angels catcher Martin Maldonado in the third inning, who would later score from third on an Albert Pujols RBI single. Other than that, Price and the Red Sox bullpen were nearly perfect as a whole.

The native of Tennessee finished the night with 78 pitches, 49 of which went for strikes. It has not been announced yet, but I’m assuming he will be making his next start in Oakland on Sunday.

Once Price left after the fifth, Brian Johnson got the call for the bottom half of the sixth inning. Johnson, who was supposed to start Monday against the Orioles, provided three innings of quality work. Over that span, the Angels reached base four times, once on a fielding error, and struck out three times. I would think Johnson could have gone one more inning at 43 pitches, but it was Marcus Walden who closed this thing out in the ninth. He retired the side with nine pitches, thus giving his team the series opening win on the road.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup put on a Sho. They scored ten times, hit six home runs, and chased Shohei Ohtani from the game after just two innings with the help of a blister on his throwing hand.

Ohtani has received plenty of hype from his two starts this season, but those were both against the Oakland Athletics. Last night, Mookie Betts introduced himself by blasting a solo home run in the first at bat of the game.

That would not be the only damage Betts did, as he would go on to homer two more times and finish the game without recording a single out. More on that later, for now, let’s get to the second inning.

A Brock Holt RBI single and an Andrew Benintendi sac fly put the Red Sox up by three early, and that would spell the end for Shohei Ohtani’s night since his pitch count was already up at 66 by the time he got out of the second. The very next inning is when things really got out of hand.

After Angels reliever Luke Bard, brother of Daniel, got the first two outs of the inning while giving up a single to JD Martinez, it was the surging Jackie Bradley Jr. who got the three home runs fun started.  With the count at 2-1, Bradley tattooed an 84 MPH slider 440 feet into the center field bleachers for his first long ball of the season.

After a Christian Vazquez walk, Brock Holt decided he wanted to hit his first home run as well. He made it a 7-1 game by driving a 3-2 fastball over the wall in center field.

Back to the top of the lineup, Mookie Betts mashed his second of three on the night by taking another slider and catapulting it over the left field wall again. 8-1.

A Rafael Devers solo blast in the next inning put the Red Sox up by eight, and that would be all the scoring they would do until the eighth. Can you guess who scored the tenth and final run of the night?

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If you guessed Mookie Betts, you would be correct! The Red Sox leadoff hitter capped off his big night by going yard for the third time. At just 25 years old, Betts has already accomplished that feat THREE times in his young career. The only other player in Red Sox history who has done that is none other than Ted Williams.

If all this information was a bit too much to handle, here are a couple of videos recapping all the action:

At 14-2, this Red Sox team is one of the most exciting in all of baseball. They can score runs in bunches, hang with the best pitching staffs in the game, and have the ability to never be out of a game they are losing.

Rick Porcello will look to build on a successful Game One, as he gets the start against Halos lefty Tyler Skaggs later tonight. First pitch is at 10:07 PM ET. Hope you can stay up for it.

 

RECAP: Benintendi, Lin, and Moreland Account for Eight Hits as #RedSox Squeak by Orioles in 3-1 Win.

Going for their fifth straight series win, the Boston Red Sox took care of business against the Baltimore Orioles on Jackie Robinson Day. In the third installment of this four-game series, it was a battle of aces at a chilly Fenway Park today. Chris Sale, making his fourth start of the season, was matched up against the best starting pitcher on the Orioles roster, Dylan Bundy.

Although he was effective, Sale’s pitch count limited him to just five innings pitched. In that span, the left hander out of Florida allowed just one run on two hits and two walks while fanning eight. Both hits and that one run came across the plate for the Orioles on a Manny Machado RBI double in the first. After that, Sale was nearly perfect, as he recorded seven of his eight strikeouts over the next four innings he appeared in. With his pitch count already at 93 through five innings, Sale’s day come to an end.

Through his first four starts of the season, I have to say that I respect the approach the Red Sox have had with Chris Sale so far. He has yet to throw more than six innings or 93 pitches in any start. Conserving him, along with the rest of the rotation, could prove to be beneficial later in the season and into the postseason as well.

Anyway, it was Heath Hembree who got the call for the top half of the sixth. While he did give up a leadoff single to Craig Gentry, Hembree settled down by retiring the next six batters he faced in the sixth and later on in the seventh. After that, Matt Barnes, who was doing his best to stay warm, tossed a nearly clean eighth inning, as he walked one and struck out two to make way for Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.

The flamethrower got Adam Jones to line out to right for the first out of the inning. Then he proceeded to strike out the next two batters he faced on 13 pitches, ending the game and collecting his fifth save of the season. So far in 2018, Kimbrel has yet to allow a run in seven innings pitched, striking out 10 along the way to go with just four walks.

On the other side of things, Dylan Bundy was able to hold the Red Sox lineup in check for a little while. It wasn’t until the fifth inning when they broke through for their first run of the game. That happened after Jackie Bradley Jr. reached first after grounding into a force out and stole second with Andrew Benintendi at the plate. On a 1-1 count, Benintendi took a 91 MPH fastball from Bundy and ripped it down the right field line for a triple that scored Bradley from second in the process and tied the game at one.

With Bundy still on the mound in the sixth, the Red Sox struck for two more runs. The go-ahead run came across with Rafael Devers at the plate and no outs in the inning. With JD Martinez already at third, a ball that got away from Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph gave Martinez just enough time to score and give the Red Sox a one run lead.

Two batters later, Tzu-Wei Lin drove in Mitch Moreland from third on hard hit ground-rule double to give the Red Sox their third and final run of the day.

Speaking of Lin and Moreland, the both of them put together an impressive day at the plate. Combined, they went 5-for-9 with one RBI hitting in the fourth and ninth spots in the lineup. Andrew Benintendi racked up three hits and an RBI himself.

Not the most effective day at the plate, but that’s understandable given just how poor the conditions were in Boston today.

Unfortunately, there will be no game tomorrow. This tweet just popped up on my timeline and I am now bummed out.

Morning baseball on Patriots Day is hard to beat. I guess we will have to wait until May 17th to see if the Red Sox can finish the sweep.

With that in mind, the next game the Red Sox will play will be in Anaheim to take on the red-hot Angels. David Price will get the start for the opener on Tuesday, and he’ll be facing off against Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani. First pitch is scheduled for 10:07 PM ET.