Brock Holt Reportedly Receiving Trade Interest at Winter Meetings.

On Tuesday, The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported that, along with a handful of other Red Sox, Brock Holt has been a target of other teams in potential trade talks at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

(Source $) “There’s also interest in Brock Holt again this offseason. However, Holt remains the Red Sox’ backup plan at second base in case Dustin Pedroia can’t return from knee injuries that limited him to just three games in 2018.”

As Cafardo says, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Red Sox would feel comfortable moving Holt in a potential trade.

Holt, 30, is under team control for one more season, where, according to MLB Trade Rumors, he is set to earn $3.4 million in arbitration before hitting free agency in 2019.

A member of the Red Sox since 2013 and an All-Star in 2015, the Fort Worth native slashed .277/.362/.411 to go along with seven home runs and a career high 46 RBI this past season.

Capable of playing six defensive positions, especially second base, holding on to Holt as a utility man once again makes all the sense in the world, especially when you consider Dustin Pedroia’s shaky industry as of late.

So, unless Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski is blown away by any offers within the next day or so, I would expect Holt to stay right where he is with Boston.

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RECAP: David Price Hurls Seven-Plus Masterful Innings and Steve Pearce Homers Twice as #RedSox Clinch 2018 World Series Title.

The Boston Red Sox are once again on top of the baseball world following a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday to clinch their fourth World Series title since 2004.

David Price got the start for this series-clinching Game Five on just one day of rest, and he was superb.

Making his third appearance of this 2018 Fall Classic, the left-hander limited the Dodgers to one lone run on three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over seven-plus quality innings of work.

That one run came right away in the bottom of the first, where before Price could even settle into his outing, David Freese led things off for Los Angeles by ripping a 402 home run on the very first pitch he saw.

Other than that little blip, the Dodgers threatened again in the third when JD Martinez could not locate a fly ball off the bat of Freese that resulted in a one out triple.

From that point, Price buckled down, ended the third without allowing the runner to score from third, and proceeded to retire the next 12 hitters he faced going into the eighth inning.

The Tennessee native would come back on for the eighth, but his superb night would ultimately come to an end after walking Chris Taylor on six pitches.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (58 strikes) in his final start of 2018, Price, who was caught by Christian Vazquez, relied on his four-seam fastball 37% of the time he was on the mound Sunday. He also topped out at 95.3 MPH with his two-seamer in the second inning.

In relief of Price, Joe Kelly came in with a runner on and three outs to get in the eight, and he capped off his terrific October by striking out all three Dodger hitters he faced.

And finally, in a game he was originally slated to start, Chris Sale came on to close this thing out in the ninth, and he did just that by also fanning all three hitters he faced, including a four pitch strikeout of Manny Machado to seal this World Series run in historic fashion.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, whose back was against the wall in this one.

Fresh off collecting four RBI in Game Four of Saturday, Steve Pearce immediately made his presence felt in the first inning on Sunday by blasting a one out, two-run home run to give his team an early two-run advantage.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Mookie Betts broke out of an 0-for-13 slump by mashing his first and only homer of this World Series on a 2-2 89 MPH slider from Kershaw. 3-1.

An inning later, JD Martinez also came through with his first big fly of this series that put the Red Sox ahead by three runs.

And in the eighth, Steve Pearce, who would later be named the MVP of this World Series, mashed his second home run of the night to all but guarantee a Game Five and series win for Boston’s team.

Some notes from this World Series-clinching win:

From @MLBStatoftheDay: Steve Pearce joins Babe Ruth and Ted Kluszewski as the only players 35 or older to have a multi-homer World Series game.

The Boston Red Sox have won four World Series titles in the last 15 years.

Alex Cora is the first Puerto Rican manager to win a World Series.

From @SoxNotes: David Price’s last 3 starts:
ALCS Game 5 at HOU – 6.0 IP, 0 R, 3-for-21
WS Game 2 vs. LAD – 6.0 IP, 2 R, 3-for-20
WS Game 5 at LAD – 7.0 IP, 1 R, 3-for-23
Totals: 1.42 ERA, .141 opponent AVG

From @BusterOlney: ELIAS: If the Red Sox win, David Price will have clinched two consecutive series against Cy Young winners – Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw – in the same postseason. That’s never been done before.

What a year, and what a way to cap it off.

The 2018 Boston Red Sox are one of the greatest baseball teams of all time. There is no doubt about that.

World. Series. Champions.

Steve Pearce is your MVP of the series.

RECAP: #RedSox Bounce Back and Score Nine Unanswered Runs en Route to Game Four Win over Dodgers, Stand One Victory Away from World Series Title.

After losing in demoralizing fashion in Game Three of the World Series on Friday night, the Red Sox bounced back less than 24 hours later with a pivotal, come from behind win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in nine innings on Saturday.

Learning he was going to start in this game hours before first pitch, Eduardo Rodriguez, who had already appeared in this series as a reliever, Eduardo Rodriguez put together a solid performance in this one up until the sixth.

Pitching into the sixth inning, the left-hander surrendered four earned runs on four hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts on the night.

Retiring 15 of the first 18 hitters he faced, things were looking great for Rodriguez until he plunked David Freese to lead off the bottom half of the sixth.

With his pitch count steadily rising, it seemed as though the Venezuela native’s evening was about to come to a close, but even after giving up a one out double to Justin Turner, intentionally putting Manny Machado on to load the bases, he remained in the game.

The sixth inning could have come to a close with Cody Bellinger grounding into a potential 3-2-3 double play, but instead, Christian Vazquez made a poor throw back to first, and Turner came into score as a result. 1-0 Los Angeles.

Just a few moments after that transpired, with runners on the corners, Rodriguez still remained in the game to face the right-handed Yasiel Puig, who made the most of the opportunity by blasting a 439 foot three-run home run much to Rodriguez’s disdain.

That would put the Dodgers up 4-0 and also put an end to Rodriguez’s night. It will be lost in the numbers, but given the circumstances, the 25-year-old gave the Red Sox what they needed.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 93 (59 strikes), the former international free agent, who was caught by Christian Vazquez, relied on his four-seam fastball 45% of the time on Saturday and topped out at 96.5 MPH with the same pitch in the first inning. If this series were head back to Boston, that is when I would expect to see Rodriguez out of the bullpen again.

I would have more to say about Alex Cora’s decision to stick with Rodriguez in the sixth, but given how things worked out later on, I’ll give him a pass for now.

Anyway, in relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not stretched thin in this one, as they were only responsible for the final 3.1 innings to close this thing out.

Matt Barnes entered with the bases empty in the sixth, and he worked his way around a two out walk to end the inning with a strikeout of Austin Barnes.

Joe Kelly was next up for the fourth time in the last five days, and he shined while scattering three hits and three strikeouts over two scoreless frames of work to eventually pick up the winning decision.

Finally, Craig Kimbrel came on in the ninth with a fresh five-run lead to work with, and he trimmed that down to two on the way to securing the Game Four victory for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill, who they were seeing for the first time in this series.

A native of Milton, Massachusetts, Hill, like Game Three starter Walker Buehler, had his way with the Boston bats early on.

No one could really couldn’t get anything going up until the seventh inning, when Chris Sale decided to light a fire under their bellies in the visitors dugout.

Coincidence or not, the bats got rolling after that, and it all started with a leadoff walk drawn by Xander Bogaerts.

Four batters and two separate pitching changes later, Mitch Moreland came on for his first at bat of the night pinch-hitting for Matt Barnes.

With Ryan Madson, a pitcher Boston had success against at Fenway Park, on the mound for Los Angeles, Moreland did not waste any time screwing around, and promptly mashed a three-run home run on the first pitch he saw.

4-3 Dodgers on that 437 foot blast from Moreland.

An inning later, another Red Sox first baseman struck for a home run, as Steve Pearce took one deep off of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to knot this game up at four runs a piece.

In the ninth, looking for some insurance, Brock Holt ended up being the catalyst of a five-run inning by ripping a one out double off of Dodgers reliever Dylan Floro.

Hitting in Sandy Leon’s spot in the order, Rafael Devers came up to bat next, and as he has done so much this October, delivered with yet another clutch RBI on a single to center field that allowed Holt to score from second and put his team up 5-4.

They would not stop there, though.

Nope, Steve Pearce got another chance with the bases loaded, two outs, and Kenta Maeda on the mound for Los Angeles, and he came through yet again with a bases-clearing three RBI double to all but put this contest out of reach.

In case it was not enough, Xander Bogaerts was responsible for the final RBI of the night on an RBI single that plated Pearce from second and made it a 9-4 game, which is all the Red Sox would need to pick up their first win of the year at Dodger Stadium.

Some notes from this 9-6 victory:

From @SoxNotes: The 2018 Red Sox are the 3rd team ever to hit multiple pinch-hit home runs in a single World Series, joining the 1975 Red Sox and 1959 Dodgers.

From @MLBStatoftheDay: The Red Sox have scored 17 of their 23 runs in this World Series with two outs.

From @MLBStatoftheDay: Steve Pearce is the third Red Sox player ever to homer and drive in four runs in a single World Series game (Yastrzemski, 1967; Ortiz, 2004).

In 10 postseason games this year, Rafael Devers has collected nine RBI.

A quote from Devers about Chris Sale’s in-game speech:

With the opportunity to clinch their fourth World Series title Sunday, it will be David Price, not Chris Sale, getting the start for Boston in Game Five.

Alex Cora made that announcement following his post game press conference.

In two career starts at Dodger Stadium, Price is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA over 12 innings pitched. The Red Sox have won the last three postseason games the left-hander has started in.

Opposite Price will be another left-hander in the form of Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who served up five earned runs on seven hits in four-plus innings pitched in his Game One start back on October 23rd.

Do they end it tonight or does this series head back to Boston? First pitch of Game Five of the 2018 World Series is scheduled for 8:09 PM ET on FOX.

 

RECAP: Brock Holt Hits for First Postseason Cycle in MLB History as #RedSox Go off for 16 Runs in Blowout Game Three Win over Yankees.

After momentarily losing home field advantage in a disappointing 6-2 loss at the hands of the Yankees at Fenway Park on Saturday night, the Red Sox headed down to the Bronx and looked to get back on track in the first of two at Yankee Stadium.

Making his postseason debut for Boston  last night was Nathan Eovaldi, who was originally slated to be the starter for Game Four. But, given the rate of success the hurler has had against a former club of his since he joined the Red Sox in July, Alex Cora made the first of many right decisions by moving Eovaldi up to pitch on Monday.

Tossing seven full innings this one, the right-hander surrendered just one earned run on five hits, all singles, and no walks to go along with five strikeouts on the mist-filled night.

That lone run for New York came in their half of the fourth inning, when with no outs and runners on the corners, Didi Gregorius grounded into an RBI force out at second base that plated Luke Voit from third.

Other than that though, Eovaldi get the job done by consistently hitting 100 MPH with his fastball and limiting the quantity of traffic base paths.

Retiring nine of the final 10 hitters he faced, the Texas native’s night would come to a positive end after he got Gleyber Torres to ground into a 4-3 putout to retire the side in the seventh.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 97 (72 strikes) with Christian Vazquez behind the plate, Eovaldi threw 46 four-seam fastballs, 30 cutters, 14 sliders, five splitters, and two curveballs, which induced 17 total swings and misses from Yankee hitters. He also topped out at 101 MPH with that four-seamer in the second inning while reaching 100 MPH seven times.

Not too shabby for a postseason debut if you ask me. As for whether Eovaldi will pitch again in this division series, I believe that is dependent on how long it continues. He obviously would not be available for Tuesday’s game, but I could see him coming out of the bullpen if needed for a potential Game Five on Thursday.

Speaking of the Red Sox bullpen, Alex Cora needed to turn to just two pitchers in relief of Eovaldi on Monday night with the game already well out of reach for the Yankees.

Both Heath Hembree and Eduardo Rodriguez worked a scoreless frame each in the eighth and ninth to wrap this blowout win up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees ace right-hander Luis Severino, and they had some fresh faces in their who made their presence felt.

Brock Holt, Christian Vazquez, Rafael Devers, and Steve Pearce, all of whom had four total at bats between them prior to Monday, all made their presence felt in this one.

Starting the scoring right away in the second, a Rafael Devers leadoff single would later result in Boston’s first of many runs on the night on a two out infield RBI single off the bat of Christian Vazquez.

An inning later, back-to-back singled from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi led to JD Martinez notching his fourth RBI of this postseason on a sac fly to left field.

Two batters and one Xander Bogaerts single later, Rafael Devers gave his team a three-run advantage by driving in Benintendi from third on an RBI ground out to second.

In the fourth, the Red Sox would chase Severino from this game without recording an out by loading the bases on a pair of singles from Brock Holt and Christian Vazquez followed by a four pitch walk of Jackie Bradley Jr.

With Lance Lynn taking over in place of Severino and the Red Sox lineup turning over, Mookie Betts took advantage of the opportunity in front of him and finally drove in his first postseason RBI by taking another four pitch, run-scoring walk. 4-0.

A few moments after that, Andrew Benintendi essentially put this game on ice early by unloading the bases on a hard hit, three RBI double down the right field line to put his club up 7-0.

The Red Sox would not stop there though, as the Yankees swapped pitchers once again and both Steve Pearce and Brock Holt plated three more runs on consecutive RBI base knocks off of Chad Green before the top half of the frame finally came to an end.

In total, Boston sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth inning and came away with SEVEN runs. All while the Yankees burned through their bullpen.

Fast forward all the way to seventh now, with Jonathan Holder on the mound for New York, and JD Martinez struck once again with his second RBI of the night on a line drive single up the middle that scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from second and made it an 11-1 contest.

Another inning later, Brock Holt and Mookie Betts made their presence felt with two more run-scoring hits, Holt’s an RBI double and Betts’ an RBI single, while Ian Kinsler also came around to score from third on a wild pitch from Yanks reliever Stephen Tarpley. 14-1.

Finally, in the ninth, after Ian Kinsler drew a two out walk with Austin Romine, a CATCHER, taking over pitching duties for New York, Brock Holt came to the plate for the sixth time with a chance to make history.

Never before has a major leaguer hit for the natural cycle in a postseason game, and having already collected a single, double, and triple prior to his final AB, Holt certainly made the most of a historic opportunity.

On the very first pitch he saw from Romine, a 79 MPH slider towards the bottom of the strike zone, the Red Sox super utility man swung away and sent that ball 355 feet down the right field line. History made and mission accomplished.

Some notes from this 16-1 win:

From @SoxNotes: This is the 7th game in Red Sox postseason history in which every member of Boston’s starting lineup recorded at least 1 hit. Three of those games have been at Yankee Stadium (also 2003 ALCS Game 6 and 2004 ALCS Game 7).

This is the most runs the Red Sox have ever scored in a postseason game on the road. The previous record was 12 (1999 ALDS Game 5 at Cleveland).

From @MLBStatoftheDay: Boston’s 16-1 win is the largest margin of victory in any Red Sox-Yankees postseason game ever.

With this series now at 2-1 in favor of Boston, the Red Sox will look to end things later tonight with Rick Porcello on the bump.

Originally slated to start Game Three, Porcello recorded two outs in his only other appearance in this series on Friday.

Opposite Porcello will be veteran left-hander CC Sabathia for the Yankees, who owns a 3.29 ERA over 18 postseason games (17 games started) since he joined New York prior the 2009 season.

First pitch of Game Four is scheduled for 8:07 PM ET Tuesday on TBS.

 

#RedSox Set 25-Man Roster for Upcoming ALDS.

There you have it. The ALDS roster is officially set. The Red Sox are going with 14 position players compared to just 11 pitchers.

Given the history of their starters in the postseason, mixed in with the struggles the bullpen has had THIS season, that may be a bold strategy. We’ll have to wait and see if it pays off for them.

Exactly one week ago, I gave my predictions for what I thought this ALDS roster was going to look like, and not to brag, but I got 24/25 correct.

The only player I did not have on my unofficial roster was Joe Kelly, who is seemingly taking the place of Bobby Poyner in this series’ Red Sox bullpen.

I find that particularly interesting. Not only did Kelly struggle in the month of September (8.31 ERA in 8.1 IP), but Poyner, who is in his rookie season, is probably the best situation left-handed reliever the Red Sox have to offer.

With that in mind, I’m curious to see how Alex Cora manages Eduardo Rodriguez out of the ‘pen. As the only southpaw who will not be starting a game in this series, will E-Rod be used in long relief, or will he be used to get one specific hitter out?

It is worth mentioning that the Yankee lineup is right-handed heavy, so maybe I just answered my own question as to why Poyner did not make this roster.

Any who, the rest of the roster is what you would expect from this Red Sox team. Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Nathan Eovaldi make up the starting rotation.

Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Craig Kimbrel make up the heart of the Red Sox bullpen.

Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, and Blake Swihart make up the catchers, although Swihart will probably be primarily used as a pinch runner off the bench.

From left to right, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Ian Kinsler, and Steve Pearce represent the infield. While guys like Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt, and Mitch Moreland should see their fair share of playing time as well.

And finally, one of the best position groups in the American League remains unchanged, as Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts will be manning the outfield, while JD Martinez will serve as the designated hitter.

It’s a lefty vs. lefty pitching matchup for Game One of the ALDS on Friday night at Fenway Park.

For New York, JA Happ gets the nod for his fourth career postseason start. And for Boston, it will be none other than Chris Sale, who is starting the ALDS opener for the second straight year.

First pitch of the first game of the series is scheduled for 7:32 PM ET on TBS later tonight. Time to do damage.

RECAP: #RedSox End Regular Season with 10-2 Thrashing of Yankees to Reach 108 Wins.

Looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak of the entire season on Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox closed out their 2018 campaign on a high note with a blowout win over the New York Yankees.

Making his 33rd and final start of the regular season, Rick Porcello was not on the mound all that long in this one, but he was effective.

Tossing two scoreless innings, the right-hander allowed just one of the seven batters he faced to reach base on a walk to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the afternoon.

Finishing with an official final pitch count of 40 (22 strikes), Porcello also headed to the Red Sox bullpen in the third and put in some additional work out there for a bit.

On the season as a whole, here’s what the New Jersey native’s final numbers look like:

33 GS, 17-7, 4.28 ERA, 191.1 IP, 190 K, 1.18 WHIP

According to Alex Cora, Porcello will “most likely” start game three of the ALDS for Boston on the road a week from Monday.

In relief of Rick Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final seven innings of Sunday’s contest, and the only real blunder committed came in the top half of the fourth inning, when the Yankees tacked on their only two runs of the day on a Luke Voit two-run homer off of left-hander Bobby Poyner.

Other than that, it was a solid combined effort. More notable, Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, and Ryan Brasier allowed just one total hit and one walk over three scoreless frames of work.

To close this thing out, Craig Kimbrel came on in a nonsave opportunity, and he struck out the side to lock up his team’s 108th win of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Luis Cessa on this final day of the regular season, and they got to him for one run on three straight hits before a single out was recorded in the bottom of the first.

After a Mitch Moreland RBI double put Boston up 2-0, Cessa’s day would come to an abrupt end following an awkward collision at first base with Eduardo Nunez, which would result in JD Martinez coming in to score from third.

Veteran reliever David Robertson would come in relief of Cessa, and he allowed an inherited runner to score on an Ian Kinsler RBI groundout from Ian Kinsler, which wrapped up an impressive four-run first inning for the Red Sox.

An inning later, an RBI double from Brock Holt and a two-run home run off the bat of Xander Bogaerts, his 23rd of the season, gave his team an early seven-run advantage.

Fast forward to the fourth, and JD Martinez ended his first regular season in a Red Sox uniform in historic fashion, as he launched a one out, three-run run home run deep to Center field to make it a 10-2 game, all but guaranteeing a win.

The importance of that big fly though, is the fact that it was Martinez’s 43rd of the year, which is the most home runs any player has ever hit in his first season with the Red Sox.

Some other notes from this 10-2 win:

Following a season in which he hit .346, Mookie Betts has won his first league batting title, as he led all hitters, AL and NL, in batting average. JD Martinez finished second with a .330 batting average on the season.

From @SoxNotes: J.D. Martinez will finish his season batting .330 with 43 HR and 130 RBI. The only other Red Sox ever to hit at least .330 with 40+ HR and 130+ RBI are Ted Williams (1949) and Jimmie Foxx (1936, ’38). The last major leaguer to do that was Miguel Cabrera (2013).

In his last 30 games, Jackie Bradley slashed .281/.352/.458 with two home runs and 11 RBI. I think this is the year he finally gets that Gold Glove.

In his sixth season with the Red Sox, Brock Holt posted career highs in RBI (46), OBP (.362), SLG (.411), and OPS (.774). He also tied a career-high in home runs with seven.

Mookie Betts should probably win American League MVP.

So, there you have it on another successful regular season. 108-54 record (.667 WIN%), AL East Champs, and best record in all of baseball. Now comes the fun part. The postseason, which rightfully so, has Red Sox fans a bit concerned based on how the team has performed in the ALDS the last two years.

But, before we got too worked up about that, who the Red Sox play in the ALDS this year is all dependent on who comes out of the American League Wildcard game between the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees this Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

So, until then, I’ll leave you all with this. 11 wins away.

 

 

RECAP: A Pair of First Career Home Runs from Sam Travis and Tzu-Wei Lin Power #RedSox to 7-5 Win over Indians for 105th Victory of Season.

After clinching  and celebrating their third straight American League East title with an 11-6 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday night, the Red Sox headed to Cleveland looking to make more history in their last road series of the regular season against an Indians team that clinched their division weeks ago.

Making his 26th start of the season in and third since returning from the disabled list on September 11th in this series opener was Chris Sale.

Entering Friday with a lifetime 4.63 ERA in 14 career outings at Progressive Field, the left-hander’s night, although on the short side, went decently well.

Pitching into the fourth inning of this one, Sale held the Indians to two runs on five hits, one of which was a home run, and zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

Facing 15 total batters, the Florida native really did not run into any trouble until that bottom half of the fourth, when with one out and the bases empty, newest Indian Josh Donaldson unloaded on a 2-1 95 MPH fastball and pulled it 396 feet into the left field bleachers.

That was followed up by a Yandy Diaz single, and that is how Sale’s night would come to a conclusion, at least on the field of play.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (48 strikes) the most he has thrown since returning from the DL, the 29-year-old turned to his four-seam seam fastball 25 times on the evening, and topped out at 95.7 MPH with that same pitch in the third inning.

Unable to pick up the winning decision due to the length of last night’s start, Sale will take his square 2.00 ERA into his final start of the regular season in his next time out, which will come against the Baltimore Orioles this Wednesday at night at Fenway Park. Expect the ace to ramp it up to somewhere around 85 pitches in that one.

In relief of Sale, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen with one out and one on in the fourth, and he officially closed the book on the starter’s night by serving up a two-run homer to Indians catcher Yan Gomes that gave Cleveland a 3-1 advantage.

From the middle of the fifth inning on, Bobby Poyner, Matt Barnes, Drew Pomeranz, Brandon Workman, Hector Velazquez, and Robby Scott combined to toss four innings of two-run ball to set up Craig Kimbrel for the save in the ninth.

Working for the second time in as many days with a two run lead to protect, the Red Sox closer sat down all three batters he faced to notch his 42nd save and secure his team’s 105th win of the season.

All and all, not including Sale, Alex Cora turned to EIGHT total relievers on Friday night. Matt Barnes also made his first appearance out of the bullpen in over two weeks and picked up his sixth win of the year with a scoreless sixth inning of work.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer, who was making his first start since August 11th after fracturing his right fibula.

Before we get into this, I just want you to go ahead and take a look at Friday’s lineup to get an idea of what the expectations were going into this one.

  1. Tzu-Wei Lin, CF
  2. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. JD Martinez, DH
  5. Steve Pearce, 1B
  6. Brock Holt, SS
  7. Blake Swihart, RF
  8. Sam Travis, LF
  9. Sandy Leon, C

As you can see, not exactly what the ALDS lineup is going to look like. It makes sense given the fact most of the everyday guys were a bit hung over from the postgame festivites on Thursday to go along with an early morning flight to Cleveland.

Anyway, Bauer, like Sale, was on a pitch cap, and he only made it into the second inning before getting the hook in favor of Matt Olson, who finished the frame without surrendering a run.

That made way for RHP Shane Bieber to begin the top half of the third, and Sam Travis greeted him right away by launching his first ever big league home run to put Boston on the board first.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Bieber still on the hill for Cleveland, and Rafael Devers stayed hot by mashing a two out solo homer good for his 18th of the season to cut the Indians lead to two.

An inning later, two straight one out hits set up Sam Travis in another prime run scoring opportunity, and he delivered by drilling a two RBI double to right center that plated both Brock Holt and Blake Swihart to tie this contest up at four runs each.

A few moments later, leadoff man Tzu-Wei Lin drove in Travis, who represented the go-ahead run, on a hard hit infield single that deflected off of Bieber’s heel and could not be fielded in time. 5-4 game.

Following a Brandon Phillips single and a pitching change that saw right-hander Neil Ramirez take over for Bieber, Rafael Devers came through once again by lining a run-scoring single to left field that allowed Lin to come in from third and give his team a two-run edge.

After the Indians bounced back with a run of their own in their half of the seventh, Tzu-Wei Lin essentially put this game on ice by demolishing his first career big fly off of Dan Otero with one out in the top of the ninth.

A 396 foot shot to right field that put the Red Sox up 7-5, which would go on to be the final score in their 105th win of the season, in case you missed that the first time.

Some notes from this 7-5 win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox improve to 105-49, tying the franchise’s all-time single-season wins record (105-47 in 1912). Their magic number to clinch MLB’s best record is 1.

In the month of September, Craig Kimbrel is 5/5 in save opportunities over eight relief appearances. He has not allowed a single run to score in that span.

Rafael Devers is 6/16 (.375) in his last four games.

Dating back to September 9th, Brock Holt is slashing .455/.520/.909 with three home runs and eight RBI.

Since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket on September 1st, Tzu-Wei Lin owns an OPS of 1.200.

Going for a record-setting 106th win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the starting nod for Boston.

Over the course of his 10-year career, Porcello has pitched at Progressive Field 12 times, where he owns a 2.84 ERA over 73 innings pitched.

Opposite Porcello will be another Indians right-hander in Mike Clevinger, who has seemingly emerged as one of the more underrated hurlers in the American League thanks to a breakout season in which he has posted a 3.06 ERA over a span of 30 starts with Cleveland.

First pitch of the middle game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Saturday. Time to make some history.