Red Sox announce winners of 2022 minor-league awards: Niko Kavadas, Brayan Bello, Ceddanne Rafaela all recognized

First baseman Niko Kavadas has been named the Red Sox’ 2022 Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, the club announced Monday.

In 120 games between Low-A Salem, High-A Greenville, and Double-A Portland this season, the left-handed hitting Kavadas batted .280/.443/.547 (170 wRC+) with 25 doubles, one triple, 26 home runs, 86 RBIs, 71 runs scored, one stolen base, 102 walks, and 152 strikeouts over 515 plate appearances.

Among qualified Red Sox minor-leaguers, Kavadas ranks second in home runs, second in RBIs, first in walks, second in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, first in OPS (.990), second in isolated power (.267), and first in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Kavadas, who turns 24 next month, was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of last year’s draft out of the University of Notre Dame. He is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 30 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

For a second consecutive season, Brayan Bello has been named the Red Sox’ Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Bello, 23, posted a 2.33 ERA in 15 appearances (14 starts) and 85 innings pitched between Portland and Triple-A Worcester before making his major-league debut in early July.

The Dominican-born right-hander has since pitched to a 4.39 ERA and 2.97 FIP in 12 outings (10 starts) spanning 53 1/3 innings of work with Boston. That includes a 1.65 ERA and 2.72 FIP with 27 strikeouts to 10 walks in his last five starts (27 1/3 innings) dating back to the beginning of September. Since Bello surpassed the 50-inning mark on Sunday, he has technically graduated from his prospect status.

Like Bello, the versatile Ceddanne Rafaela was also named the Red Sox’ Minor League Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. The 22-year-old broke out in a big way in 2022 and is now considered a top-100 prospect in all of baseball.

In 116 games between Greenville and Portland this season, Rafaela saw playing time at second base, shortstop, and center field and proved capable of making highlight plays at each position. He was named Baseball America’s 2022 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year last week.

“I truly believe this: You put him in the big leagues right now, he wins the Gold Glove as an outfielder,” Red Sox infield coordinator Darren Fenster told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier recently. “He’s not there yet as an infielder, but talent-wise and with some more reps and some more polish, he has Gold Glove potential as a shortstop as well. It’s wild the talent that this kid has.”

Speaking of speedy prospects, David Hamilton has been named the Red Sox’ Baserunner of the Year. Acquired from the Brewers in the December trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee and Jackie Bradley Jr. to Boston, Hamilton stole 70 bases in 119 games with Portland this season. The 24-year-old’s 70 steals set a new franchise record for Portland and were tied for third most in the minors.

Franklin German, who began the season with Hamilton in Portland, has been named the organization’s Relief Pitcher of the Year. The 25-year-old righty posted a 2.72 ERA and 3.04 FIP with 64 strikeouts to 19 walks over 43 relief appearances (49 2/3 innings) between Portland and Worcester, prompting a big-league call-up earlier this month.

Fellow reliever Zack Kelly was the recipient of the Lou Gorman Award, given annually to “a Red Sox minor-league player who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the Major League team.” Since being recalled on August 29, Kelly has allowed just three runs over 9 2/3 innings.

Finally, infielder/outfielder Andy Lugo and right-hander Eybersson Polanco have been named the Latin Program Position Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.

Lugo, 18, batted .318/.368/.414 (114 wRC+) while leading the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Blue in total bases (91) and stolen bases (21). Polanco, 19, produced a 1.78 ERA and 2.96 FIP in 12 starts (50 2/3 innings) for the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Red. The right-hander held opponents to a .179 batting average against and did not give up a single home run.

Each of these eight award winners were selected by the Red Sox baseball operations department and minor-league roving instructors. The recipients will be honored during a pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park prior to Monday’s series opener against the Orioles.

(Picture of Niko Kavadas: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Xander Bogaerts reaches career milestone as Red Sox rack up 20 hits in 13-3 win over Royals

The Red Sox secured a series victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. After getting shut out on Saturday, Boston broke out for 20 hits in a 13-3 win over Kansas City to close out the weekend at Fenway Park.

Matched up against Kris Bubic to kick off Sunday’s series finale, the Sox got off to a quick start offensively. On the heels of back-to-back singles from Tommy Pham and Rafael Devers to lead off the first inning, Xander Bogaerts followed by ripping a game-tying double off the Green Monster to knot the score at 1-1.

An inning later, Enrique Hernandez drew a leadoff walk and immediately advanced to second base on a line-drive single off the bat of Yu Chang. Both runners moved up an additional 90 feet on a successful sacrifice bunt laid down by Reese McGuire. Pham then plated Hernandez from third on a sacrifice fly to center field.

Boston began to pull away in the third on a pair of sacrifice flies from Rob Refsnyder and Christian Arroyo. Hernandez and Chang each drew two-out walks before McGuire scored Hernandez on a groundball single through the right side of the infield.

That sequence of events gave the Red Sox a 5-2 lead going into the fourth. To that point, Nick Pivetta had already allowed two runs — both of which came within the first two innings.

Pivetta, making his 30th start of the season for Boston, managed to keep the Royals off the board in the third and fourth before serving up a solo shot to the dangerous Salvador Perez with one out in the fifth. The right-hander ended his day by retiring two of the final three batters he faced.

So, over five innings of work in total, Pivetta surrendered three earned runs on seven hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts on 97 pitches (66 strikes). The 29-year-old was able to pick up his 10th win of the season, though his ERA did rise to 4.35.

Shortly after Pivetta had recorded the final out in the top of the fifth, the Red Sox lineup got back to work in the bottom half. Arroyo, McGuire, and Pham each reached to fill the bases with two outs for Devers. Devers, in turn, greeted new Royals reliever Anthony Misiewicz by swatting a two-run single to right field to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

With two outs in the sixth inning, Boston plated four additional runs on back-to-back-to-back-to-back RBI knocks from Hernandez, Chang, McGuire, and Pham. Pham and Devers drove in two more runs in the eighth to give the Red Sox a commanding 13-3 lead.

Out of the Boston bullpen, four relievers combined for four scoreless frames. Kaleb Ort walked and struck out two in the sixth, John Schreiber walked and struck out in the seventh, Matt Strahm struck out the side in the eighth, and Matt Barnes stranded one base runner in the ninth to put the finishing touches on a blowout win.

In terms of offensive production, Pham went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk, Devers went 4-for-6 with three RBIs, Bogaerts went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, J.D. Martinez went 2-for-4 with his 40th double of the season and two runs scored, Hernandez went 2-for-4 with an RBI, two walks, and four runs scored, Chang went 2-for-3 with an RBI, two walks, and one run scored, and McGuire went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

With his first-inning double, Bogaerts collected the 1,400th hit of his big-league career. The 29-year-old shortstop becomes just the fourth player in Red Sox history to reach 1,400 hits before turning 30, joining the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Bobby Doerr, and Jim Rice.

Next up: On to Cincinnati

The Red Sox will enjoy an off-day on Monday as they prepare to travel to Cincinnati for a quick two-game series against the Reds. Rookie right-hander Brayan Bello is slated to start Tuesday’s opener opposite left-hander Nick Lodolo.

First pitch from Great American Ballpark is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox commit 3 costly errors in 5-3 loss to Yankees

The Red Sox committed three errors and were swept by the Yankees on Wednesday night. Boston fell to New York by a final score of 5-3 at Fenway Park to drop to 69-74 on the season and 20-42 against American League East opponents.

Brayan Bello, making his eighth start of the year for the Sox, was the victim of poor defense behind him. The rookie right-hander immersed himself into the rivalry by allowing three unearned runs on six hits and just one walk to go along with six strikeouts over five solid innings of work.

All three of those runs came in the top of the fifth. Bello fanned Jose Trevino to begin the inning, but Aaron Hicks followed by reaching on a fielding error committed by Xander Bogaerts. Hicks moved up to second base on an Aaron Judge single before Giancarlo Stanton struck out swinging.

With two outs and runners on first and second, Gleyber Torres ripped a line drive to Alex Verdugo in right field. Verdugo attempted to gun down Hicks at home plate, but instead made an inaccurate throw that got past cutoff man Christian Arroyo and rolled to catcher Connor Wong.

As Hicks crossed the plate, Wong tried to get Torres caught in a rundown between first and second base. He instead made a poor throw that Arroyo had no chance of getting to and wound up in right field.

While Judge had already scored, Torres was on his horse and scored on a head-first slide to complete a Little League three-run home run that gave the Yankees a 3-0 plate.

Bello got through the rest of the fifth unscathed, but the damage had already been done. The 23-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 98 (59 strikes) and induced 14 swings-and-misses. He was the tough-luck loser on Wednesday, though he did lower his ERA on the season down to 5.10.

Shortly after Bello’s night came to an end, the Red Sox got one of those three runs back in their half of the fifth. Rob Refsnyder led off with a hard-hit single off Yankees starter Nestor Cortes. He then scored all the way from first on a two-out RBI double from Wong.

Trailing by two runs going into the sixth inning, Red Sox manager Alex Cora called upon Zack Kelly out of the Boston bullpen. Kelly issued a leadoff walk to Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who promptly stole second base and scored from second on an RBI double off the bat of Trevino.

Following shutdown innings from Kaleb Ort and Eduard Bazardo, the pinch-hitting Reese McGuire led off the bottom of the eighth with a groundball single off Jonathan Loaisiga. Tommy Pham followed with a single of his own to put runners at first and second for Verdugo.

Verdugo grounded into a force out at third base, but Bogaerts filled the bases by blooping a single to right field. Pham then scored from third on a Rafael Devers groundball that got through the legs of Yankees first baseman Marwin Gonzalez.

The bases were still loaded with one out for J.D. Martinez, who seemingly drove in Verdugo by beating out a 6-4-3 double play. New York challenged the ruling on the field, however, and it turns out Martinez’s left foot missed the first-bag completely. The call on the field was overturned, meaning the inning ended without Boston tacking on additional run.

Ryan Brasier allowed one unearned run in the ninth on an Abraham Almonte fielding error in center field. Almonte, who had pinch-hit for Refsnyder in the seventh, led off the bottom of the inning with a line-drive double. He moved up to third and then scored on an Enrique Hernandez groundout. McGuire struck out against Clay Holmes to end it.

All told, the Red Sox went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left six men on base as a team.

Next up: A weekend with the Royals

The Red Sox will have the day off on Thursday before welcoming the Royals into town for a three-game weekend series. Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha will get the start for Boston in Friday’s opener while fellow righty Jonathan Heasley will take the mound for Kansas City.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN

(Picture of Connor Wong: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Brayan Bello runs into sixth-inning trouble as Red Sox drop opener to Orioles, 3-2

The Red Sox were unable to put end to their three-game losing streak with a series-opening win over the Orioles on Friday night. Boston fell to Baltimore by a final score of 3-2 at Camden Yards to drop to 67-72 on the season.

Matched up against O’s starter Austin Voth to begin things on Friday, the Sox left a runner on base in each of the first two innings before getting on the board in the third.

Connor Wong led off with a hard-hit double and it seemed as though Boston was about to squander another scoring chance after Tommy Pham struck out and Alex Verdugo lined out. But Xander Bogaerts kept the inning alive by cranking a two-run home run 379 over the shallow fence in right field.

Bogaerts’ 13th home run of the season gave the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead. Brayan Bello, meanwhile, was in the midst of his seventh start of the year for Boston.

The rookie right-hander wound up allowing three earned runs on three hits and four walks to go along with seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work, though he pitched better than that line indicates.

Thanks to some poor baserunning decisions from Cedric Mullins, Bello faced the minimum without giving up a run through his first four frames. After walking a pair in a scoreless bottom of the fifth, Bello ran into more substantial trouble in the sixth.

Mullins was at the root of it, as he reached base via a one-out single. Bello then issued back-to-back walks to Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander to load the bases. That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to emerge from the visitor’s dugout and give Bello the hook in favor of fellow righty Kaleb Ort.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (49 strikes), Bello induced a total of 17 swings-and-misses while mixing in 30 four-seam fastballs, 22 changeups, 21 sliders, and 14 sinkers. The 23-year-old hurler averaged 96.4 mph with his four-seamer. He was charged with his fifth loss of the season as his ERA rose to 5.79.

Ort officially closed the book on Bello’s night, but not in a good way. He allowed all three runners he inherited to score on a wild pitch and a two-run single off the bat of Gunnar Henderson. Ort got through the rest of the sixth unscathed, though the damage had already been done.

Going from a two-run lead to a one-run deficit, the Sox threatened to score in their half of the seventh. After Verdugo drew a two-out walk and advanced to second base on a Bogaerts single, the potential tying run was just 180 feet away for Rafael Devers. Devers, however, could not come through against Orioles reliever Cionel Perez, as he popped out to shallow left field.

Following a scoreless bottom of the seventh from Zack Kelly, J.D. Martinez reached base in the eighth on a out-single. Rob Refsnyder pinch-ran for Martinez and moved up to second on a Triston Casas groundout. He then advanced to third after Enrique Hernandez reached on a fielding error. But Dillon Tate, who committed the error, got the pinch-hitting Reese McGuire to strike out swinging to strand Refsnyder at third base.

Matt Barnes put up another zero in the eighth to keep the deficit at one going into the ninth. Verdugo got the tying run on base by beating out a one-out infield single. Bogaerts then grounded into a routine 6-4-3 double play to end it.

With the loss, the Red Sox are now 5-8 against the Orioles and 18-40 against divisional opponents on the season. They went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Friday and left 10 runners on base as a team.

Martinez’s milestone

With his second-inning single, J.D. Martinez recorded the 1,500th hit of his big-league career. Martinez, who went 2-for-3 with a walk on Friday, currently ranks 22nd among the active major-league leaders in hits.

Next up: Wacha vs. Lyles

The Red Sox will look to put an end to their four-game losing streak on Saturday. Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston while fellow righty Jordan Lyles is expected to do the same for Orioles.

First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Red Sox waste scoring chances, muster just 6 hits in 1-0 shutout loss to Rays

The Red Sox were unable to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays on Wednesday night. Boston fell to Tampa Bay a final score of 1-0 at Tropicana Field to drop to 67-71 on the season.

Nick Pivetta was anything but crisp in his 28th start of the year for the Sox. While showing no ill effects from the left calf contusion he sustained in his last time out, the right-hander grinded through five innings in which he allowed one run on two hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.

After taking a no-hit bid into the fifth inning, Pivetta surrendered a leadoff double to Francisco Mejia. Mejia then advanced to third on a Ji-Man Choi groundout before Taylor Walls drove him in on a softly-hit infield single.

That would prove to be all the scoring the Rays would need. Pivetta, who threw 101 pitches (54 strikes), faced 20 batters on Wednesday; 12 of them worked the count full. The 29-year-old hurler was charged with his 11th loss of the season, though he did lower his ERA to 4.29.

In relief of Pivetta, John Schreiber, Matt Strahm, and Zack Kelly combined for three scoreless frames out of the bullpen to give the Red Sox one last chance going into the top half of the ninth.

To that point in the contest, a Boston lineup that did not feature Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers had already blown its fair share of scoring opportunities.

Enrique Hernandez, for instance, began the game with a leadoff double off Rays starter Jeffrey Springs. He was stranded at second base. Three innings later, Trevor Story reached base via a one-out single off Yonny Chirinos. He moved up to second after J.D. Martinez drew a six-pitch walk but was stranded there after Christian Arroyo and Rob Refsnyder both punched out.

In the fifth, back-to-back singles from Hernandez and Tommy Pham put runners at first and second with two outs for Alex Verdugo, who grounded out to shortstop. Arroyo reached scoring position with a two-out double in the sixth, but Refsnyder followed by striking out for a second time.

Boston’s best chance undoubtedly came in the eighth inning, when Pham singled and Verdugo drew a four-pitch walk to lead things off against Jason Adam. Pham moved up to third base when Story grounded into a fielder’s choice. Story then stole second base, putting the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

With only one out in the inning, Adam battled back by getting Martinez to fly out and Arroyo to ground out to extinguish the threat. Pete Fairbanks then fanned two and worked his way around a Triston Casas walk in the ninth to seal a 1-0 defeat for the Red Sox.

All told, Boston went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left 10 men on base as a team. Hernandez and Pham accounted for four of their side’s six hits. Story and Arroyo were responsible for the other two.

Wednesday’s loss marks the first time the Red Sox have been shut out since May 30, when the Orioles blanked them, 10-0 at Fenway Park. So they went 87 straight games without getting shut out, which had been the longest active streak in Major League baseball.

The Red Sox are now 4-12 against the Rays and 18-39 against divisional opponents this season. They lost their final nine games at Tropicana Field after first beating Tampa Bay on their own turf on April 22.

Next up: On to Baltimore

The Red Sox will have an off day on Thursday as they travel to Baltimore ahead of a three-game weekend series against the Orioles. Rookie right-hander Brayan Bello is slated to start Friday’s series opener for Boston while fellow righty Austin Voth is lined up to do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Tommy Pham: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Brayan Bello tosses 6 scoreless innings to earn first major-league win as Red Sox defeat Rangers, 5-3

The Red Sox extended their winning streak to four straight on Saturday afternoon by taking their third straight from the Rangers. Boston held on for a 5-3 victory over Texas at Fenway Park to move within two games of .500 by improving to 66-68 on the season.

Brayan Bello got the start for the Sox and wound up putting together the best outing of his young career so far. The rookie right-hander scattered just three hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work.

Boston provided Bello with an early lead, which certainly didn’t hurt. After Xander Bogaerts reached base with two outs in the bottom of the first, Rafael Devers drove him in with a 337-foot RBI double to left field off Rangers starter Dennis Santana.

Bello continued to roll by keeping Texas off the board through the middle of the fifth. In the bottom half of the frame, Enrique Hernandez and Alex Verdugo each drew a pair of walks off reliever Brock Burke. Burke then balked, allowing both runners to advance an additional 90 feet. With only one out and two runners in scoring position, Bogaerts ripped a chopper to the left side of the infield.

Hernandez took off as soon as contact was made. Rangers shortstop Corey Seager attempted to gun down his former teammate at home plate. But his throw was mishandled by catcher Meibrys Viloria, allowing Hernandez to score on a missed catching error. Verdugo also moved up to third on the play, then scored the second run of the inning when Devers beat out a potential inning-ending double play.

Taking a 3-0 lead into the sixth, Bello ended his day by retiring the final three batters he faced. The 23-year-old hurler threw 88 pitches (60 strikes) and induced nine swings-and-misses en route to picking up his first big-league win.

In relief of Bello, Red Sox manager Alex Cora first turned to Garrett Whitlock out of the bullpen. Whitlock responded by stranding one base runner in an otherwise clean top half of the seventh. A half-inning later, Boston yet again took advantage of sloppy defense from Texas.

Bogaerts reached via a one-out single off Koehi Arihara. Devers followed with a single of his own, but Bogaerts was able to go from first to third on an Adolis Garcia fielding error. He then scored from third on a J.D. Martinez grounder that was misplayed by third baseman Ezequiel Duran. Trevor Story promptly drove in Devers on an opposite field double, making it a 5-0 contest in favor of the Sox.

Whitlock came back out for the eighth and surrendered hits to three of the first four batters he faced, including a two-run home run from Marcus Semien and a solo blast off the bat of Nathaniel Lowe. Those two big swings cut Boston’s lead from five runs down to two.

Looking to protect that lead in the ninth, Matt Barnes loaded the bases while only managing to record the first out of the inning. That prompted Cora to pull Barnes in favor of John Schreiber, who fanned Semien on three pitches before getting Seager to ground out to end it. As a result, Schreiber notched his fifth save of the year.

Next up: Going for the sweep

The Red Sox will go for a four-game sweep over the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Kutter Crawford was originally supposed to start the series finale for Boston, but has since been scratched due to a sore shoulder. Fellow righty Josh Winckowski, who is currently on the taxi squad, is a likely candidate to start in his place. For Texas, it will be right-hander Dane Dunning taking the mound.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Brayan Bello runs out of gas in fifth inning as Red Sox drop opener to Twins, 4-2

The Red Sox opened a three-game series against the Twins on Monday by losing their second straight game. Boston fell to Minnesota by a final score of 4-2 at Target Field to drop to 62-67 on the season.

Matched up against Dylan Bunday to begin things on Monday, the Sox got on the board first in their half of the third inning. Tommy Pham reached base via a one-out single and promptly scored all the way from first on an Alex Verdugo RBI double that traveled 341 feet to left field.

Verdugo moved up to third on a Xander Bogaerts single and had the chance to tag up when Rafael Devers lined out to Max Kepler in right field. But he remained at third base and was stranded there after J.D. Martinez struck out swinging.

An inning later, Trevor Story drew a leadoff walk off Bundy and quickly went from first to third on a Franchy Cordero single that had an exit velocity of 112.7 mph. Cordero, like Story, moved up to third on another one-out double from Reese McGuire. But Pham grounded out Verdugo punched out, meaning the Sox would have to settle for one run yet again.

That would prove to be costly for Brayan Bello, who was making his fifth start and seventh overall appearance of the season for Boston. The rookie right-hander pitched well out of the gate, tossing three consecutive scoreless frames before running into some trouble in the latter half of the fourth.

Bello put himself in a tough spot when he allowed each of the first three batters he faced in the inning to reach base. He then gave up a sacrifice fly to Jake Cave, but managed to limit the damage in the fourth to just the one run despite throwing 29 pitches.

The same cannot be said about the fifth inning. After the Sox left runners on the corners in the top half, Bello issued back-to-back walks to begin the bottom half. That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to give Bello the hook in favor of Matt Strahm.

Strahm, in turn, got Kepler to ground out to McGuire before yielding a bases-filling walk to Jose Miranda and striking out the pinch-hitting Kyle Garlick on six pitches. With the right-handed hitting Gio Urshela due to hit next for Minnesota, Cora swapped Strahm for John Schreiber.

Urshela won the righty-on-righty battle, as he connected on a 3-2, 83.1 mph slider from Schreiber and roped a bases-clearing, three-run double to the right field corner. That gave the Twins their first lead of the night at 4-2 and that is where the score would stay.

Bello was charged with three of those runs while Strahm was tagged for one. For Bello, the 23-year-old wound up allowing three earned runs on five hits, three walks, and two strikeouts over four-plus innings of work. He threw 84 pitches (51 strikes) in the process of raising his ERA on the season to 7.27. The Red Sox have yet to win a game he has pitched in.

Following that disastrous fifth inning, the Twins bullpen took over by limiting Red Sox hitters to one hit — a single — over the final 4 1/3 frames of Monday’s loss.

On the flip side, the two relievers Boston called up to take the place of Austin Davis and Hirokazu Sawamura pitched relatively well. Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort have grown accustomed to following one another out of the bullpen in Worcester. On Monday, they got to experience that for the first time at the major-league level.

Kelly, making his big-league debut, needed just 18 pitches (10 strikes) to face the minimum in a scoreless sixth inning. The 27-year-old struck out the first two batters he faced before giving up a two-out single to Luis Arraez. But that was quicky negated after Arraez was gunned down at second base by McGuire.

Ort, meanwhile, scattered two walks and two strikeouts over two scoreless innings of work to keep the deficit at two runs. It proved to be for naught, though, as Twins closer Jorge Lopez made quick work of the Sox in the ninth to end it.

All told, the Red Sox went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base as a team. At 62-67, they now sit eight games back of the Blue Jays for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Crawford vs. Archer

The Red Sox will look to bounce back against the Twins on Tuesday night. Kutter Crawford is expected to start for Boston while fellow right-hander Chris Archer is slated to do the same for Minnesota.

First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 7:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: David Berding/Getty Images)

Brayan Bello tosses 5 solid innings and Franchy Cordero homers, but Red Sox squander multiple scoring opportunities in 3-2 loss to Blue Jays

The shorthanded Red Sox fell to the Blue Jays by a final score of 3-2 in 10 innings at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. With the loss, Boston drops to 60-64 on the season and a measly 3-12 against Toronto.

In similar fashion to Tuesday night, the Sox jumped out to an early lead on Wednesday. While matched up against Jays starter Jose Berrios, Enrique Hernandez led off the second inning by drawing a six-pitch walk. Franchy Cordero followed by crushing a two-run home run over the Green Monster.

Cordero’s sixth home run of the season traveled 350 feet and left his bat at 98.7 mph. It also gave the Red Sox — and Brayan Bello — a 2-0 lead through the first two innings of play.

Bello, making his first start for Boston since suffering a left groin strain earlier this month, allowed two earned runs on six hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts over five solid innings of work.

Both of those runs came in the final two innings of his start. After facing the minimum through three scoreless frames, the rookie right-hander began to run into trouble in the fourth when he issued a leadoff single to George Springer and a five-pitch walk to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

After Lourdes Gurriel Jr. grounded into a force out that put runners on the corners, Alejandro Kirk drove in Springer with a hard-hit RBI single to left field. Bello got through the rest of the fourth unscathed with a pair of strikeouts. In the fifth, Whit Merrifield and Springer each reached base to put runners at first and second with two outs.

Following a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Bush, Bello proceeded to surrender another RBI single to Guerrero Jr. that got past a sprawling Hernandez in shallow right field. The Blue Jays knotted things up at 2-2 on Guerrero Jr.’s base hit and Bello’s night came to an end after he recorded the final out of the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 65 (46 strikes), Bello induced 13 swings-and-misses while mixing in his sinker, changeup, four-seam fastball, and slider. The 23-year-old hurler topped out at 98.7 mph with his four-seamer. He did not factor into Wednesday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA on the season by more than one full run.

In relief of Bello, Matt Barnes scattered two hits and struck out one in a scoreless sixth inning. Garrett Whitlock followed by retiring six of the seven batters he faced across two more scoreless frames.

The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, had been completely shut down since Cordero went deep in the second inning. Berrios was able to settle into a groove and wound up striking out six in the process of twirling four shutout frames from the middle of the third inning on.

With Yimi Garcia taking over for Berrios out of the Blue Jays bullpen in the bottom of seventh, the Sox threatened by loading the bases with two outs. But Rob Refsnyder lined out to Jackie Bradley Jr. to extinguish that threat.

The same thing happened in the eighth. With two outs and the bases loaded following an intentional walk of Cordero, Anthony Bass proceeded to strike out starting shortstop Bobby Dalbec on three pitches.

With things still tied up at 2-2, Reese McGuire led off the ninth inning with a sharply-hit single. Jarren Duran proceeded to ground into 4-6-3 double play before Refsnyder grounded out to short.

Ryan Brasier took over for Whitlock in the 10th and allowed the automatic runner (Bradley Jr.) to score when he gave up a leadoff double to Springer that bounced off the Green Monster.

While Brasier limited the damage to one run, the Red Sox failed to respond in the latter half of the 10th. Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano did not allow Refsnyder to advance past second base by retiring Alex Verdugo and J.D. Martinez for the first two outs of the inning. He then intentionally walked Rafael Devers before fanning Hernandez on five pitches to end it.

All told, the Red Sox went 0-8 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday. They left 10 runners on base as a team.

Next up: Crawford vs. Gausman in series finale

The Red Sox will look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays on Thursday night. Kutter Crawford will get the start for Boston while fellow right-hander Kevin Gausman will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Brayan Bello from injured list, option Josh Winckowski to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have reinstated right-hander Brayan Bello from the 15-day injured list, the club announced Wednesday. In a corresponding move, fellow righty Josh Winckowski was optioned to Triple-A Worcester following Tuesday night’s loss to the Blue Jays.

Bello will make his fourth start and sixth overall appearance of the season against Toronto on Wednesday. The 23-year-old returns to the big-league club after missing the last three weeks with a left groin strain he originally sustained while pitching in relief of Rich Hill in Houston on August 3.

In two rehab starts between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester last week, Bello allowed two earned runs on six hits and two walks to go along with 11 strikeouts over eight combined innings.

Regarded by Baseball America as the top pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system, Bello made his major-league debut on July 6. Since then, the Dominican-born hurler has posted an 8.47 ERA — but much more respectable 3.65 FIP — with 15 strikeouts to 11 walks across 17 total innings of work.

Bello will effectively take Nathan Eovaldi’s spot in the Sox’ starting rotation for the time being, as Eovaldi was placed on the 15-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation on Tuesday.

Winckowski, who started in place of Eovaldi in Tuesday’s 9-3 loss to the Jays, surrendered six earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old now owns an ERA of 7.86 and a FIP of 6.42 over six starts (26 1/3 innings) for Boston since returning from a bout with COVID-19 on July 26.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox have No. 11 farm system in MLB, per Baseball America’s latest rankings

The Red Sox have the No. 11 farm system in Major League Baseball, according to Baseball America’s midseason organization talent rankings.

Ranking behind the likes of the Orioles, Dodgers, Guardians Diamondbacks, Reds, Rangers, Cardinals, Mets, Pirates, and Rockies, the Sox are exactly where they stood prior to Opening Day.

In their most-recent top 100 prospects rankings, Baseball America placed three Boston minor-leaguers within its top 30. Shortstop Marcelo Mayer leads the pack at No. 12, while right-hander Brayan Bello and first baseman Triston Casas follow at No. 21 and No. 28, respectively.

Ceddanne Rafaela, who is in the midst of a breakout season and represented the Red Sox at the All-Star Futures Game in Los Angeles, entered Baseball America’s top 100 last month and is currently regarded as the 82nd-ranked prospect in the game.

Nick Yorke, Boston’s first-round draft selection in 2020, was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 31 prospect in baseball coming into the 2022 season but has since fallen off the list completely. He is, however, batting .294/.342/.529 (127 wRC+) in his last eight games with High-A Greenville.

Baseball America notes that Mayer “looks even more like the potential star many pegged him as in the 2021 draft,” while adding that Rafaela’s breakout “has lessened the blow” of Yorke falling off the top 100.

Beyond Mayer, Bello, Casas, Rafaela, and Yorke, “there is solid depth throughout the Red Sox system, but a majority of the upside lies among a group of teenagers in rookie ball.”

Some of those teenagers in rookie ball would include Dominican outfielder Miguel Bleis, 2022 draft selections Mikey Romero, Cutter Coffey, and Roman Anthony, right-hander Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz, and shortstops Freili Encarnacion and Luis Ravelo.

Though he is no longer in rookie ball, Blaze Jordan does not turn 20 until December and is ranked by Baseball America as the top power hitter and No. 10 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer and Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)