RECAP: The #RedSox Opened up a Six-Game Homestand on Friday by Unloading 14 Runs Against the Mariners.

Coming off a long road trip in which they averaged 4.2 runs scored per game, the Red Sox opened up a three-game weekend series against the Seattle Mariners in eventful fashion last night. The weirdest part of this game was that Steven Wright had his worst start of the season and they still found a way to win.

Having just gotten swept by the Yankees in New York, the Mariners came into Boston looking to get off to a quick start offensively. And with Steven Wright on the mound making his fourth start of the season on Friday, they did just that.

Yup, the knuckleballer, who in his last time out against the Mariners this past Saturday tossed seven one run innings in a losing effort, got rocked for the first time this season. Right from the get go, the Mariners were on top of Wright and his knuckleball, as they pounced for four runs in the first on two home runs, two in the second, and four again in the fourth with another home run mixed in there before the righty departed with two outs in the inning.

In those 4.2 frames of work, Wright got hit ten times for TEN earned runs. For the Mariners, Nelson Cruz was the main enforcer here. Old friend Denard Span was once again a bit of a headache, but by the time this thing reached the middle of the fourth inning, Cruz had already driven in SEVEN of his teams 10 runs, six of which came on two moon shots off of Wright.

The life of a knuckleballer, huh? One start you look like a magician, the next you look like absolute trash. Steven Wright’s ERA inflated from 1.23 all the way up to 3.38 after this stinker of a start, but he would not be pinned with the losing decision.

Nope, thanks to 5.2 scoreless frames of relief from the Red Sox bullpen and an explosion of runs from the lineup, the California native did not factor into the decision. Finishing with 59 pitches on the evening, Wright went to his knuckler 54 times and only got 4 swings and missed out of it. He’ll look to rebound next time out against the LA Angels on Thursday.

As I just mentioned, the Red Sox bullpen was nails last night. Starting in the top half of the fifth with two outs and a five run deficit, Brian Johnson, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel combined to toss over five shutdown innings while holding the Mariners to four hits and one walk.

For Barnes, this was his second straight scoreless appearance since giving up two runs in Seattle last Friday night. He struck out the side in the seventh. And for Kimbrel, who had not made an appearance since June 14th, he struck out one while tossing a scoreless ninth inning to wrap this crazy game up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup went off for the second day in a row. They tallied nine runs in Minnesota on Thursday, and they added on that by plating 14 runs on 20 hits last night. Eight players finished the game with at least one run driven in. Let’s get to it.

Already trailing by four runs in the bottom of the first, the Red Sox made the most of their first at bats in this one.

Facing off against a pitcher who had just shut them out less than a week ago in M’s righty Wade LeBlanc, the top of the lineup got things started right away by recording four straight hits. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi set the table by hitting back to back singles, and JD Martinez and Mitch Moreland followed that up with a pair of RBI knocks to make it a 4-2 game.

Two batters later, a Brock Holt RBI single, a Rafael Devers RBI groundout, and a Christian Vazquez RBI double plated another three runs, and just like that, the Red Sox were up by a run going into the second inning.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth, after the Mariners had gone up big again, Devers came through by cutting the Red Sox deficit to four with another RBI, this one coming on a single to score Mitch Moreland from third, making it a 10-6 ballgame.

An inning later is where things got really interesting. Similar to Thursday, when the Red Sox scored seven of their nine runs over the last three innings in Minnesota, they struck for eight runs in their last three innings with at bats on Friday as well.

Starting in the sixth, with LeBlanc now out of the contest and Mariners reliever Nick Vincent in, a two out walk of Andrew Benintendi led to another pitching change. So with James Pazos in the game now and Benintendi over at first, JD Martinez ended his homerless streak of at bats at 30 by mashing a 427 foot two-run shot to dead center. His 23rd big fly of the season.

The third run of the inning came around to score when Xander Bogaerts drove in Mitch Moreland on another RBI single to make it a one run game going into the seventh.

Trailing by one run now, two singles from Rafael Devers and a Mookie Betts walk loaded the bases for Andrew Benintendi. With Juan Nicasio on the mound for the Mariners, Benintendi ripped his second hit of the day, a single, to score Devers from third to tie the game and reload the bases for JD Martinez. With three hits on the day already, the Red Sox slugger collected his fourth and fifth RBI of the night by grounding a single up the middle to score Swihart and Betts. 12-10.

Two batters later, with Eduardo Nunez in the game pinch-hitting for Xander Bogaerts, two straight wild pitches from new pitcher Nick Rumbelow allowed Andrew Benintendi to score from third and allowed JD Martinez to advance from second to third.

To cap off a wild night of scoring, Eduardo Nunez collected his 17th RBI of the season by lining a single to center field to drive in Martinez for his teams 14th run of the night. That’s all the support the bullpen would need to secure win number 51.

Some notes from this W:

14 runs tied a season-high for the Red Sox. The only time they have scored as many runs this season came back on April 10th against the Yankees. The 20 hits did mark a new season-high.

Xander Bogaerts had to leave this game in the seventh inning after spraining his left index finger on an awkward slide into second base on a swiped bag in the sixth. He will not be in the lineup tonight.

After only hitting one home run and driving in one run on the road trip, JD Martinez came through with FIVE RBI on four hits last night.

Everyone in the Red Sox lineup, including Eduardo Nunez, reached base at least once. In total, the Red Sox went 20/43 with one home run and 13 RBI last night.

Looking to pick up the series win later tonight, it will be Eduardo Rodriguez making the start for Boston. He’ll be matched up against Mariners righty Mike Leake in the same pitching matchup we saw this past Sunday. The Red Sox had their way with Leake in that one, and they’ll look to do the same on Saturday. Going for his team-leading 10th winning decision of the season, Rodriguez owns a career 2.66 ERA in four starts against Seattle. With that in mind, first pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET on FOX.

 

 

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RECAP: Steven Wright Extends Scoreless Innings Streak as #RedSox Take Opener from Orioles in Extras.

Coming off a 3-3 homestand against the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox embarked on a 10 game road trip with the first stop coming in Baltimore. Facing off against a 19-45 Orioles team, Steven Wright and the Red Sox bullpen gave up absolutely nothing in a twelve inning win.

Making his second start of the season, Wright extended his scoreless inning streak to 23.2 in a solid effort last night. Pitching into the seventh inning, the knuckleballer scattered four hits and three walks while fanning five.

It was not until his final frame of work when Wright finally ran into a bit of trouble, and that happened when he allowed three consecutive Orioles to reach base, which loaded the bases with two outs to end his night. With his pitch count at 93 (58 strikes), Alex Cora turned to Joe Kelly to get the most crucial out of the game.

Adam Jones, who had already reached base twice up to this point, had been a career .250 hitter when facing Kelly, but those numbers got a little worse because the Red Sox flamethrower got Jones to strikeout on five pitches to end the inning, thus killing any shot at an Orioles rally.

From the bottom half of the eighth on, the Red Sox bullpen continued to shut down the Orioles lineup. Kelly, Brian Johnson, Brandon Workman, and Heath Hembree combined to toss 4.1 scoreless frames while limiting the O’s to just one hit and three walks.

Combine that with the Red Sox finally tacking on a pair of runs in the top half of the 12th, and Craig Kimbrel was all set up to notch his 21st save of the season. The closer led things off by questionably walking Craig Gentry, but bounced back by striking out the next three batters he faced on 15 pitches. Ballgame over.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup got Mookie Betts back for the first time in over two weeks, but could not do much against Orioles pitching either. In fact, their ace, Dylan Bundy, had arguably his best start of the season against one of the better run producing teams in the American League.

Oh, they had their chances, but those did not come until late in this one. Up until the start of the 11th inning, the Red Sox sent more than three batters to the plate just five times last night and that did not translate in to any runs scored.

If you fast forward to that 11th inning, you’ll realize that Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and JD Martinez loaded the bases with two outs for Mitch Moreland. With Orioles reliever Mychal Givens, on the bump, Moreland got ahead and had a 3-0 count to his advantage. After taking the next two pitches for strikes to fill the count, the Red Sox first baseman could not keep up with a 96 MPH fastball from Givens and struck out while simultaneously leaving the bases loaded.

Luckily though, a similar situation presented itself in the 12th when, with Givens still on the mound, a single and a double from Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers and a Eduardo Nunez HBP loaded the bases with no outs this time.

Celebrating his 30th birthday, Brock Holt was due up next, and he came through with a 296 foot sacrifice fly to center field.

That allowed Bogaerts to score from third with plenty of time to spare while Devers and Nunez advanced into scoring position at the same time.

Now, to add on some insurance, Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered with a sacrifice fly of his own. This one scored Devers from third to put the Red Sox up by two, which is all Craig Kimbrel would need in the bottom half of the inning.

Some notes from this win:

Mookie Betts went 1/5 with a single in his return to the Red Sox lineup last night. He was taken out of the game in the middle of the 11th for precautionary reasons.

Rafael Devers accounted for his teams only extra base hit on the night when he hit his 14th double in the 12th. He made a handful of great plays at third base as well.

In four appearances this season, Brandon Workman has yet to give up a run and has only surrendered two hits and one walk in 4.1 innings pitched.

Happy belated birthday to Brock Holt. Position player of the game IMHO.

With the series opener in the books, Eduardo Rodriguez will toe the rubber for the Red Sox in the middle game of this three game set later tonight. He will be matched up against righty David Hess for the Orioles, who, in his last start against Boston on May 20th, gave up five runs in less than five innings pitched. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM once again.

 

 

RECAP: Mookie Betts and Brock Holt Drive in All Four Runs for #RedSox as Losing Streak Comes to an End.

Finally, the three game losing streak is behind us. That’s right, the Red Sox won a baseball game last night, and although they did not do it in convincing fashion, it was a solid victory regardless.

Making his fourth start of the season, Eduardo Rodriguez put together a solid performance on the mound in Toronto. In 6 2/3 innings pitched, the lefty surrendered three runs on six hits and a walk, striking out three along the way.

Rodriguez ran into some trouble here and there throughout his start, but he limited the damage. The biggest mistake he made last night came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Jays third baseman Yangervis Solarte mashed a leadoff home run on the first pitch he saw. That put the Blue Jays up 3-2 at the time, but the Red Sox responded with two runs of their own an inning later, which ultimately led to the native of Venezuela picking up his third win of the season. By the time he got the hook with two outs in the seventh, Rodriguez was at 106 pitches, 66 of which went for strikes. He’ll be looking for his fourth next week against the Kansas City Royals.

In relief of ERod, Heath Hembree came on to finish things in the seventh and he struck out the only batter he faced. Joe Kelly tossed a scoreless eighth after that, and Craig Kimbrel rebounded from Tuesday night by picking up his sixth save of the season in a perfect inning of work. I think it’s safe to say the Red Sox bullpen is solid.

Offensively, Mookie Betts got the scoring started in the top of the first. On the third pitch of the game from Aaron Sanchez, Betts belted his seventh long ball of the year 402 feet over the wall in right field.

That leadoff home run from Betts marks his third of the season already and the 14th of his career. No other player in the history of the Red Sox has had more than 10. Betts would get in some more action later, but not before Brock Holt got involved in the fifth inning.

After Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian  Vazquez led the inning off with a pair of walks, Holt extended his hitting streak up to eight games with an RBI double to center field.

Off the bat, it looked like that ball could have been caught, but a slip up from left fielder Steve Pearce while he was pursuing the fly ball prevented that from happening. With Jackie Bradley Jr. scoring on the play, the Red Sox went up by a run for a half inning.

Since his eight game hitting streak began on April 14th, Holt is slashing .455/.455/.697 with one home run and six RBIs to go along with two straight three hit games. It’s been great to see Holt playing this way recently, especially with Xander Bogaerts still on the disabled list. If he keeps playing like this, I’ll be interested to see how Alex Cora works him into the lineup after Bogaerts returns this weekend.

Anyway, to put an exclamation point on this one, Mookie Betts delivered the biggest hit of the night in the seventh inning. Trailing by one with one out in the inning and a runner at first, Betts went yard for the second time, this time against Danny Barnes. (fast forward to :30 if you don’t want to see the first one again)

That 366 foot shot was Betts’ eighth of the season, and it put the Red Sox up 4-3, all but guaranteeing the team their 18th win in 23 games. Betts also owns an OPS of 1.192 after last night’s spectacle, best among American League outfielders.

After splitting the first two games of the series, it will be Chris Sale looking to go home with the series win later tonight. In the three starts he made at Rogers Centre last season, the lefty averaged 1.6 K’s per inning while maintaining an ERA of 0.00 in 22 innings pitched. He’ll be matched up against Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 PM ET.

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: 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: The #RedSox Lost to the Yankees in Eventful Fashion Last Night.

Last night really felt like a throwback. Red Sox, Yankees, cold weather, Fenway Park, bench clearing brawl, four-hour game. I would expect that in 2004, but in 2018, not really.

Right from the get go, the Red Sox were trailing in this game. Making his third start of the season, David Price allowed the Yankees to score four times in the top of the first. Half of those runs  were scored on a two-run home run off the bat of Gary Sanchez. As it turns out, the first inning is all the action Price would see in this one. The lefty had to take an early exit because of “sensations” he was feeling in his left hand. He said his arm felt great, but his hand did not. From what I’ve heard, Price plans on making his next start against the Orioles on Patriots Day.

On short notice, Alex Cora turned to another lefty in the second, that being Bobby Poyner. After allowing two to reach and retiring the side, Poyner got rocked in the third inning. Three straight hits put the Yankees up by four again, and then we had some good old-fashioned mayhem.

Shades of the Manny Machado incident with Dustin Pedroia last season in Baltimore. Although I don’t think Tyler Austin intended on injuring Brock Holt, it was a pretty careless move by him. I understand why Holt took offense to it. I mean, there’s no reason to do something like that if you’re not trying to start something. What’s worse is the Red Sox could not get a double play out of this after it was reviewed.

Fast forward to the top of the seventh inning and we had even more drama. After scoring two more runs in the sixth, the Yankees entered the inning with a 10-6 lead. Joe Kelly was on the mound, and after he got the first batter he faced to ground out, Tyler Austin was up next. After swinging at the first pitch he saw, Austin took two straight balls, one which came close to hitting him. On the very next pitch, madness…

Gotta love the way Kelly handled this. Compared to the Manny Machado situation last year, I believe this was handled much better. No head shots, solid shot to the ribs, full on madness. Christian Vazquez probably should have restrained Tyler Austin from getting to the mound, but we got this glorious moment out of it:

Joe Kelly, man. He’s a bit of an odd ball, but he’s our odd ball.

In the aftermath of all this, Brian Johnson came in for Kelly with one out in the seventh. Working on zero days rest, I was thoroughly impressed with the outing the lefty put together. He allowed just one hit over 1.2 innings of work while fanning three, keeping his team in the game in the late stages.

Speaking of impressive outings, Carson Smith, like Johnson, kept the Red Sox in the game late. He tossed a scoreless top of the ninth, walking one and striking out one along the way.

Offensively, seven runs was not enough for the Red Sox to pick up their tenth straight win. Like I said, they were down by four right from the start, and although they got to Masahiro Tanaka and chipped away at the deficit more than once, they could not catch up.

Hanley Ramirez got things started in the home half of the first, as he blasted his second home run of the year over the Green Monster to make it a 4-1 game.

After going scoreless the next three innings, the Red Sox lineup erupted for five runs in the fifth. A Mookie Betts RBI double scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from second with one out in the inning, Yankees lead down to six. Two batters later and the bases loaded, JD Martinez entered himself into this rivalry with a huge hit. On the first pitch he saw from Tanaka, Martinez took a 89 mile per hour splitter and launched it over the center field wall.

Third grand slam for the Red Sox as a team this season. Just a reminder, they hit NONE in 2017. All of the sudden, we had ourselves a new ball game. Red Sox down 8-6 going into the sixth, things were looking up. Unfortunately, the Yankees knocked on two more runs to make it a four run game.

Moving ahead to the bottom half of the ninth, the Red Sox were down to their last three outs against Aroldis Chapman, a pitcher who has struggled at Fenway Park in the past. Two straight hits from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez put runners on second and third with no outs. Pinch hitting for Brock Holt, Sandy Leon failed to score either run and popped out to right field. After Mookie Betts struck out on six pitches, a wild pitch with Rafael Devers at the plate allowed Bradley to score from third and cut the deficit to three runs. Unlike last season, Devers could not catch up to Chapman’s fastball, as he struck out to end the game.

Unfortunate result, but a very memorable game. I doubt anything will transpire tonight, but I’m looking forward to what these two teams have in store for the rest of the season.

Rick Porcello gets the ball against Sonny Gray in the rubber match later tonight. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.