RECAP: Brock Holt’s Eighth Inning Pinch-Hit Home Run Lifts #RedSox to Tight 2-1 Win over Phillies.

Fresh off a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, the Red Sox headed north for some tougher competition in the form of the 65-52 Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.

Coming off an outing in which he surrendered seven earned runs on six hits in four innings pitched in his last time out against the Toronto Blue Jays last Thursday, Rick Porcello looked much more like the Rick Porcello we saw two starts ago when he threw a complete game against the New York Yankees.

Making his 25th start of the season in this one, Porcello ended up tossing seven innings of one run ball after taking a perfect game into the fifth.

The only real costly mistake the right-hander made last night was the hit that broke up the perfecto and no-no simultaneously, a leadoff solo shot off the bat of Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins to leadoff the fifth.

A 1-1 72 MPH hanging curveball located towards the bottom of the strike zone, Hoskins did not miss in what turned out to be his 23rd homer of the season and lone run of the evening for Philadelphia.

Other than a two out single he gave up in the same inning, Porcello was perfect en route to his 15th winning decision of the season, as he set a new-season high in strikeouts with 10 on the night.

Like the typical quick worker he is, the 2016 Cy Young Award winner found himself in one three-ball count all night and never dealt with the same one batter for too long a time.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (61 strikes), Porcello was pinch-hit for in the top half of the seventh inning, which would go down as the correct decision to make in that spot.

Before that happened though, the 29-year-old added on to his fine day on the mound with a second inning double off of Phillies starter Nick Pivetta for his second two-bagger of the year.

Out of those 91 pitches thrown, Porcello relied on both of his fastballs a combined 51% of the time on Tuesday while topping out at 92.5 MPH with his four-seamer in the first inning.

Improving to 15-5 and lowering his ERA on the year to 4.04, Porcello will look to build on what has thus far been an inconsistent month in his next time out against the Cleveland Indains on Monday.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for closing out the final two frames on Tuesday night, and Heath Hembree did his part with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, which ended with this Odubel Herrera whiff.

Craig Kimbrel, on the other hand, was a different story.

Entering the ninth with a 1.071 OPS against over his last seven appearances, the flame throwing closer got his night started in a one-run game by walking the first batter he faced on six pitches.

With the help of Sandy Leon though, Kimbrel was able to secure his 36th save of the season by retiring the final three Phillies he faced to wrap up a 2-1 win for the Red Sox.

All and all, in nine total innings, Boston pitching held the Phillies to one run on two hits and one walk to go along with 13 punch outs. Not bad.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Phillies starter Nick Pivetta, who owned a 4.51 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) this season.

A right-hander in his second year in the majors, Pivetta held Boston scoreless in seven innings pitched in his only other career start against them at Citizens Bank Park last season.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, it was more of the same from Pivetta on Tuesday night, as they could only tack on one run in the six innings he appeared in.

That run, a 384 foot solo shot off the bat of Sandy Leon with one out in the third, put Boston on the board first in this one.

Although they had another opportunity to score in the inning, nothing came of it after Andrew Benintendi grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, with Pivetta out and reliever Tommy Hunter in for Philadelphia, Brock Holt came through with the biggest hit of the night.

Batting in the pitcher’s spot with one out in the inning, Holt swung away at the first pitch he saw from Hunter, a 94 MPH cutter located on the inner half of the plate, and sent it 424 feet to right field to score what ended up being the winning run.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 86-35, 10 games up in the American League East, and have won five games in a row.

From @SoxNotes: This is the first time Red Sox starting pitchers have ever recorded 10+ strikeouts and 0 walks in consecutive team games (source: ). Rick Porcello had 10 K and 0 BB tonight, after Chris Sale had 12 K and 0 BB on Sunday.

That home run from Brock Holt was his second career pinch-hit homer. The last time he did that came nearly two seasons ago against the Padres in San Diego.

Over the span of his six-game hitting streak, Holt is slashing .364/.440/.636 with two long balls and six RBI in 22 at bats.

Rick Porcello owns a 1.200 OPS this season.

Going for the quick two-game sweep later tonight, it will be Nathan Eovaldi looking for redemption in his first interleague start with the Red Sox.

In case you have forgotten, Eovaldi got his bell rung for eight runs on 10 hits in two innings last Friday against the Orioles.

In four career outings at Citizens Bank Park, the newest Red Sox hurler owns a 4.57 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched.

Opposite Eovaldi will be Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez, who, like Pivetta, has only made one start against the Red Sox in his four-year career.

That start, which came back when Velazquez pitched for the Astros during part of the 2015 season, was an outing in which the California native gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings pitched in an eventual 8-3 win for Houston.

That was a long time ago though, and things have definitely changed in the last three years.

First pitch of the series finale in Philly is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RECAP: JD Martinez Comes up Clutch with Two Homer Night as #RedSox Sweep Doubleheader in Baltimore.

After taking care of business against the Orioles in a 5-0 shutout win earlier Saturday afternoon, the Red Sox were back at it at Camden Yards later in the evening to wrap up the day-night doubleheader in Baltimore.

Hector Velazquez,who hadn’t started a game since July 11th while also making just three relief appearances since July 30th, got the nod in this one, and as some may have expected, did not go deep into Saturday night’s contest.

Pitching into the third inning, the right-hander had his fair share of ups and downs, as he sat down the first three batters he faced on 11 pitches, but proceeded to allow the next three Orioles he faced to reach in the second, which led to Baltimore tacking their first run of the night on a Renato Nunez RBI double.

In in his final frame of work, the Mexico native walked Jace Peterson to lead things off, then got Jonathan Villar and Adam Jones to ground out to second and third base for the first two outs of the bottom half of the third. That is how Velazquez’s night would come to somewhat of a surprising end, all while he failed to record a single strikeout.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 41 (56% strikes), the 29-year-old certainly was not pressed in his 34th outing of the season, which makes sense when you consider that he will be returning to his role in the bullpen in the coming days.

Out of those 41 pitches thrown, Velazquez relied heavily on his sinker, changeup, and slider, as he went to those three pitches a total of 33 times. He also topped out at 92.4 MPH with his four-seam fastball, which he threw seven times, in the first inning.

In relief of Velazquez, Brandon Workman got the first call in what would be a very busy night for the Red Sox bullpen.

Workman, who was later optioned down to Triple A Pawtucket, officially closed the book on Velazquez’s night by giving up an RBI single to Trey Mancini that scored Jace Peterson, who drew a leadoff walk earlier in the inning, from second and make it a 2-0 game.

After walking the next two batters he faced in Chris Davis and Renato Nunez to load the bases, Workman escaped any further damage by getting rookie Cedric Mullins to ground into an inning-ending force out at second base.

Drew Pomeranz, making his second straight appearance as a reliever in as many days, settled things down a bit by tossing two scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth and was in line for another winning decision with the Red Sox jumping out to a 3-2 lead while the left-hander was in the game.

Unfortunately, Heath Hembree, who has been struggling as of late, messed that up by surrendering the game-tying home run to Orioles left fielder Joey Rickard with two outs in the sixth, which could have been worse had Hembree not picked off Mullins on an attempted steal of second base while Rickard was at the plate.

Joe Kelly got the call for the seventh, and he worked his way around a one out single and two out walk for his first clean relief appearance since August 8th and fourth winning decision of 2018 to make way for William Cuevas in the eighth.

Cuevas, the 26th man on Saturday’s Red Sox roster for the doubleheader, made his first appearance with the big league club in over a month, and he too worked his way around multiple base runners in a scoreless frame of work.

Finally, in the ninth, Craig Kimbrel continued to frustrate by serving up a solo shot to Trey Mancini that cut Boston’s lead down to two, but ultimately saw his team’s 84th win through to the end by notching his 34th save of the season and 100th save in a Red Sox uniform on a four pitch strikeout of Chris Davis.

All and all, Alex Cora turned to seven pitchers in total, and despite only recording four strikeouts and an unsightly eight walks, I would say things worked out for the better.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a young pitcher they have already seen multiple times this year in Baltimore’s Yefry Ramirez

Ramirez, a right-hander in his rookie season, owned a career 5.79 ERA in two previous starts against Boston coming into Saturday, but he held his own in five innings pitched last night.

Without JD Martinez, the Red Sox more than likely would not have won this game, and he got the scoring started for his team in the fourth by blasting his first of two home runs to cut the Orioles lead in half at the time.

An inning later, Dan Butler, who was starting behind the plate in the night cap, drove in his first big league run since 2014 on a sac fly that scored Eduardo Nunez, who tripled to lead off the fifth, from third and tie things up at two runs a piece.

In the sixth, with Steve Pearce at third and Martinez at second, a wild pitch from Orioles reliever Cody Carroll on ball four of Rafael Devers’ third at bat of the night allowed Pearce to come in from third. Just like that, the Red Sox had themselves a one-run lead.

A lead that would not last long though, as Baltimore answered right back with a run of their own in their half of the sixth off of Heath Hembree to re-tie the game.

Fast forward to the eighth, with Mike Wright on the mound for the Orioles, and JD Martinez essentially put this contest to bed by coming through with a clutch two-run shot to left field. 410 feet off the bat for Martinez’s second big fly of the evening and league-leading 37th of the season.

To put this thing out of reach for good, Brock Holt provided some necessary insurance in the ninth on a two out RBI single that scored Mookie Betts from second and gave the Red Sox a 6-3 lead they would not have to look back from to sweep the twin bill.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 84-35 on the season. They are also 13-2 against the Orioles.

JD Martinez drove in his 102nd, 103rd, and 104th RBI last night. In his eight-year career, the most runs he had driven in in a single season was 104 in 2017.

Craig Kimbrel has given up runs in five of his last six appearances. That is actually bad.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox will be going for the four-game sweep in Baltimore later this afternoon. Guess who is getting the start for Boston?

That’s right. Chris Sale is BACK from the 10-day disabled list after missing nearly two weeks with left shoulder inflammation as he gets the nod in the Sunday finale.

As I mentioned earlier, Brandon Workman to Pawtucket will be the corresponding roster move.

Backed up by a career 2.18 ERA in ten games (seven starts) at Oriole Park, Sale will be facing off against another lefty in Baltimore’s Alex Cobb.

Although he may not be having the greatest of seasons (5.55 ERA in 21 GS), Cobb, a Boston native himself, has seen plenty from the Red Sox over his seven-year career with Tampa Bay and Baltimore.

In two starts against them in 2018, Cobb has surrendered a total of 11 runs on 20 hits in ten innings pitched.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Sunday.

 

 

RECAP: David Price Fans 10, Tosses Gem as Jackie Bradley Jr. Homers Twice and #RedSox Blank Orioles in First Game of Doubleheader.

Just a little over 12 hours after defeating the Orioles in a barn burner of a game on Friday night, the Red Sox were back at it on Saturday afternoon in the first of a two game doubleheader at Camden Yards.

Making his 23rd start of the season, David Price remained on the recent roll he has been on with another superb day on the mound.

Tossing six scoreless frames, the left-hander scattered five hits, four of which were singles, and set a new season-high in strikeouts with exactly 10 on the afternoon. All while not walking a single batter for the sixth time in 2018.

After retiring the side in order in the first, Price did put a runner on in each of the final five innings he pitched in, but an Adam Jones double in the sixth was the closest Baltimore came to crossing the plate while the Tennessee native was working his magic.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (68 strikes), it was a bit surprising to see Price not come back out to at least begin the seventh inning, especially when you consider that the Red Sox bullpen will more than likely be turned to a lot in the second game later tonight.

That did not happen though, and Price’s day came to an end in the sixth. Out of those 94 pitches he threw, the 32-year-old, like Nathan Eovaldi on Friday, relied on his cut-fastball  37% of the time today, which resulted in six swinging strikes and 12 called strikes. He also topped out at 94.1 MPH with his four-seamer in the third inning.

Improving to 12-6 on the season, Price has now surrendered two or fewer earned runs in four consecutive starts, lowering his ERA to 3.75. He will look to build on this recent success in his next time out against the Tampa Bay Rays sometime next weekend.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen had themselves a much better time today then they did last night.

Tyler Thornburg, Ryan Brasier, and Matt Barnes combined for three perfect frames with three total punch outs to wrap up their team’s 83rd win of the season in shutout fashion.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup did not explode quite like they did against Dylan Bundy on Friday, but with the help of David Price, they still had a fairly solid day at the plate.

Facing off against Orioles rookie right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis, who has been converted from a reliever to a starter, it took a while for Boston’s bats to get rolling in this one.

By the time the lineup got to their third time around the order though, that is when things started to change for the better.

A leadoff single off the bat of Xander Bogaerts in the fifth, followed by a two-run home run from Eduardo Nunez, put the Red Sox on the board first with a 2-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with his first of two solo shots on the afternoon to make it a three run game.

In the sixth, Xander Bogaerts was at it again, as he scored all the way from second on a stolen base and an E5 committed by Renato Nunez with Brock Holt at the plate. 4-0.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, and Jackie Bradley Jr. capped off his fine day at the plate by launching his 11th big fly of the season to put his team’s fifth and final run on the board.

Only nine total hits for the Red Sox this afternoon, which is something when you consider the 16 knocks they piled up on Friday, but I would be lying if I said I did not have an enjoyable time watching this shutout victory.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a 1/5 day at the plate today.

Xander Bogaerts’s right hand is looking just fine after a three-hit game today.

Since the beginning of July, Jackie Bradley Jr. has lifted his OPS from .616 all the way up to .691 in his last 31 games played.

With game two a little under two hours away, let’s take a look at tonight’s starting lineup for Boston.

Both Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland are out of the lineup with Rafael Devers starting at third, Eduardo Nunez DHing, and Dan Butler starting behind the plate.

Baltimore’s starter for the night-cap, rookie Yefry Ramirez, has held his own in two previous outings against the Red Sox this season.

Hector Velazquez, who has both started and came out of the bullpen for Boston in his two seasons with the club, will get the starting nod tonight.

First pitch of the second game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.

Also, this better get you pumped up.

RECAP: Mookie Betts Stays Hot and JD Martinez Reaches 100 RBI Mark as #RedSox Outslug Orioles in 19-12 Win.

In a game that took over four hours to complete and saw 31 total runs cross the plate, it was the Red Sox, with no help from their pitching staff, who came away with a series opening win against a last place Baltimore Orioles team in wild fashion.

Making his third start with Boston since being traded from Tampa Bay on July 25th, Nathan Eovaldi actually struggled. Wow.

He entered Friday having not given up a single run in 15 innings pitched with his new club, but also a career 6.10 ERA in two prior starts at Camden Yards, and the latter prevailed last night.

Pitching into just the third inning of this one, the right-hander got hit hard by the lowly O’s for EIGHT runs, four of which were earned, on 10 hits and two walks.

Most surprisingly, Eovaldi failed to strike out a single one of the 20 batters he faced on the night.

Control was also an issue for the Houston native in his 12th outing of the year, as he only threw strikes 59% of the time on Friday. Compare that to a 73% strike rate in his previous two starts, both of which were starts that allowed Eovaldi to work at a decently quick pace, something he really could not accomplish yesterday.

I don’t think it is that big of a deal, but it is worth mentioning that Dan Butler, not Sandy Leon, who was behind the plate in his previous two appearances, caught Eovaldi. There were times when pitcher and catcher were not on the same page in terms of what to throw, and perhaps that’s what led to a rough evening for Eovaldi.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (42 strikes), the 28 year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball 35 times and topped out at 99 MPH with his four-seamer in the first inning. Eovaldi will look to rebound from this disastrous start and maintain his previous stellar form in his next time out against his former club in the Tampa Bay Rays next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen too had themselves a rough night.

  • Brandon Workman cleaned up the mess left behind by Eovaldi in the third thanks to a pick off from Dan Butler to catch Tim Beckham stealing second and also tossed a scoreless fourth.
  • Drew Pomeranz, yes that Drew Pomeranz, made his first appearance out of the Red Sox bullpen since being demoted on Thursday afternoon and actually looked okay in a clean fifth. He would eventually pick up his second winning decision of the season later on.
  • Heath Hembree got knocked around for two runs on three hits and a walk in an abysmal sixth inning of work that saw the Red Sox lead shrink from three runs to one run.
  • Shoutout to Ryan Brasier, because he was the only reliever out of Boston’s ‘pen who managed to retire all three batters he faced in a shutdown seventh inning.
  • Matt Barnes gave up a solo homer to Mark Trumbo to cut his team’s lead to eight runs, but otherwise sat down three of the four batters he faced in the eighth.
  • And finally, despite giving up a run on two base knocks, Joe Kelly closed things down in the ninth to secure win number 82 for the Red Sox.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup certainly had themselves a night to remember, as they set a new season-high in runs scored with 19 of them on the evening.

Matched up against Baltimore’s ace in right-hander Dylan Bundy, who got hit hard by Boston in a game that ended up not counting because of weather late last month, the top and middle parts of the lineup got the scoring started right away to kick off the weekend.

Beginning the first by drawing a leadoff walk on four straight balls, Mookie Betts, along with JD Martinez, would come around to score two of the first three Red Sox runs on a two out three-run blast off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. His 17th of the season.

Fast forward to the fourth and trailing 8-3 all of a sudden, Brock Holt got things back on track by drawing a one out walk and would come around to score two batters later on a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI triple. A passed ball with Mookie Betts at the plate allowed Bradley to score from third, and just like that, it was a three-run game.

Two innings later, a leadoff home run from a surging Holt cut the Orioles lead to two, and that was just the tip of the iceberg in what turned out to be a six run sixth for Boston.

Highlighted by a sac fly from Mitch Moreland that made it a one-run game, two bases loaded walks that saw the tying and go-ahead runs cross the plate, and a two RBI knock from Holt, the Red Sox found themselves with a brand new three run lead they would not have to look back from. All while the Orioles ran through three different pitchers in the inning.

In the seventh, with Donnie Hart still on the mound for Baltimore, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Mitch Moreland all reached base safely before a single out was recorded.

Benintendi, with runners on first and third, essentially put this game on ice by mashing his 15th big fly of the season, another three-run shot that gave his team a commanding 14-10 lead.

To wrap up the wild night filled with plenty of scoring, a pair of multi-RBI base hits from Mookie Betts and JD Martinez gave the Red Sox their 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th and final run of the contest.

For Betts, a bases-clearing double, his 32nd, saw Holt, Steve Pearce, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all score to up his RBI total to 62 on the season.

And for JD, a two RBI single that scored both Betts and Andrew Benintendi put his season RBI total over 100 at 101 to be exact. The first player to accomplish the feat this season.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: Tonight’s 19-12 win marks the most runs the Red Sox have scored against the Orioles since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954. It had been 24 years since the Sox scored 19+ runs in any road game (4/12/94 at KC, W 22-11).

Mookie Betts has reached base 10 times in his last 11 plate appearances.

One day after Betts hit for the cycle in Toronto, Jackie Bradley Jr. finished a home run shy in four at bats last night.

JD Martinez has driven in 101 runs in 109 games played.

Entering Friday in a 2/24 slump at the plate, Brock Holt went 3/4 last night with his first home run since April 17th. He also got a hug from JD Martinez.

Faced with a double-header that starts this afternoon, it will be David Price getting the start for the Red Sox in the first of two games on what looks to be a rainy day in Baltimore.

Opposite Price will be rookie right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis for the Orioles, who has both started and pitched out of the bullpen in four games with Baltimore this season.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Saturday.

As for the second game, another rookie in Yefry Ramirez will get the start for the Orioles.

Alex Cora has yet to make a decision on who will start for Boston. RHP William Cuevas has been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket and will represent the 26th man on the Red Sox roster for this today’s twin bill at Camden Yards. He, or Hector Velazquez, are realistic options to get the nod in the night-cap.

RECAP: Blake Swihart Walks It off for #RedSox in Extra Innings Win over Phillies.

Playing in their first interleague series since sweeping the Washington Nationals earlier this month, the Red Sox came into the week fresh off three straight wins and a quick two-game set against a first place Philadelphia Phillies team next up on the schedule.

David Price, who has big game experience pitching against the Phils during his rookie year in the 2008 World Series, made his 21st start of the season last night and extended what has been a near-dominant run for Red Sox starters.

In a full eight innings pitched, the lefty held Philadelphia to just one run while scattering eight and hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

Things did not appear as though they were going to go as smoothly as they did for Price early on, as he surrendered five hits and that one run within the first three innings. But, with the help of some careless Phillies base running…

the Tennessee native settled down with a stretch of nine straight retired batters from the top of the third all the way to the sixth.

After escaping two more respective jams and stranding multiple runners on base in the sixth and eighth innings of this one, Price’s night would come to an end with his pitch count reaching 97.

Out of those 97 pitches (66 strikes), the 32 year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball the most on Monday, as he went to it nearly 31% of the time while also topping out at 93.3 MPH with his two-seamer in the third inning.

Unable to pick up the win due to this game going 13 innings, Price will look to carry over this recent success into August, where he is slated to make his next start against the New York Yankees this upcoming Sunday. *gulps*

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen did a fantastic job of limiting what the Phillies could do at the plate, and that prevented them from scoring the go-ahead run at any time last night.

Tossing a combined five scoreless frames, Tyler Thornburg, Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree, Joe Kelly, and finally Hector Velazquez, who picked up the win to improve to 7-0 on the season, were all part in a fine effort in the eventual 75th win of the year for the Red Sox.

My biggest takeaways here were how Thornburg continued to impress, as his scoreless appearance streak now stands at six, and how Joe Kelly worked his way around a two out walk in the twelfth to avoid any damage. Hembree was also solid.

On the other side of things, I have to start off by tipping my cap to Phillies starter Aaron Nola. Similar to what Tyler Gibson did on Thursday night for the Twins, Nola mostly had his away against a dangerous Boston lineup.

Had it not been for a Jackie Bradley Jr. single and an Eduardo Nunez RBI triple that should have been caught in center field in the bottom of the fifth, Nola more than likely would have held the Red Sox scoreless in the eight frames he pitched in. He’s that good.

Anyway, we’ll pick this thing up in the 13th inning, when with one out, Eduardo Nunez at second, and Philadelphia reliever Luis Garcia on the mound, Blake Swihart had the chance to send everyone home happy.

Stepping up to the plate for the second time that night after pinch-hitting for Sandy Leon in the tenth, Swihart swung at the first pitch he saw from Garcia, a 99 MPH fastball right over the heart of the plate, and launched a scorching 106 MPH ground-rule double into the Red Sox bullpen, driving in Nunez from second and ensuring his team’s second walk-off win in the last four days with the 2-1 victory.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: Including tonight, Red Sox starting pitchers have a 1.41 ERA in their last 12 games. According to , that is the club’s lowest starting pitcher ERA over any 12-game span since 1933 (1.31 from 7/20-8/3).

Extending his hitting streak to 10 games with that walk-off double, Blake Swihart is slashing .429/.484/.679 over that span with one home run and three RBI.

In his last five games, Eduardo Nunez owns an OPS of 1.213.

At 75-33, the Red Sox are 42 games over .500. Absurd.

Going for the quick two-game sweep later tonight, it will be Drew Pomeranz getting the start for the Red Sox. He’ll be matched up against fairly new Phillie Jake Arrieta.

Known for his time spent with the Chicago Cubs, Arrieta owns a 3.45 ERA in 20 starts in his first year in Philadelphia.

Last season, when the Cubs were at Fenway in April, this same pitching matchup took hold for a game on April 28th. I remember because I was there.

Surprisingly, Pomeranz outpitched Arrieta in what turned out to be a close 5-4 win for the Red Sox.

Regardless of that, first pitch of the second and final game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET tonight. Could be Pomeranz’s last start for a while if he continues to struggle.

Also, the Red Sox traded for Ian Kinsler last night. You can read about him here. The trade deadline is at 4 PM ET today.

RECAP: Nathan Eovaldi Twirls Gem in Debut as #RedSox Take Series from Twins with 3-0 Win.

On Wednesday, July 25th, it was announced that the Red Sox had acquired Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since he was slated to start for the Rays that day, Eovaldi took in a bullpen session when he arrived in Boston on Thursday morning and was then scheduled to make his first start in a Red Sox uniform on Sunday against the Minnesota Twins.

Having faced the Twins in his second to last start as a Ray and getting lit up for eight earned runs on nine hits back on July 13th, Eovaldi looked more like himself on the Fenway Park mound this afternoon.

In an efficient seven innings pitched, the right-hander held the Twins scoreless while scattering just four hits and zero free passes to go along with five strikeouts.

While he was on the mound, the closest a Twins hitter came to scoring was on a Eddie Rosario double in the first inning. Other than that, it was just singles for Minnesota off of Eovaldi.

The Twins could have made things interesting in the third, but a catch of the year candidate from Jackie Bradley Jr. off a Bobby Wilson fly ball prevented that from happening.

According to Statcast, Bradley Jr. added to his best defensive center fielder in baseball case by covering 78 feet to make a catch that he had a 42% chance of getting to for the first out of the inning.

What was even more impressive about this outing for Eovaldi is how efficient he was and the pace at which he worked out.

Starting out the first two innings by needing 20 and 13 pitches respectively, here is what the 28 year-old’s pitch numbers look like over the last five frames he appeared in: 8, 9, 9, 9, and 14 to reach a total of 82 on the day.

In total, about 77% of those 82 pitches from Eovaldi went for strikes and he topped out at 98.9 MPH with his four-seam fastball in the seventh inning.

Despite such a low pitch count, Alex Cora took a more cautious route by turning to the bullpen for the remainder of today’s contest.

Picking up the win in your first start with a new team is certainly a great first step, and Eovaldi will look to build on this success outing in his next time out against the New York Yankees on Friday.

In relief of Eovaldi, Matt Barnes got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he worked his way around a leadoff walk to toss a scoreless frame in the eighth.

With his team up by three runs, Craig Kimbrel made his first appearance since blowing the save on Friday night, and he rebounded by notching his 33rd save of the season with a strikeout and a game-ending double play to secure the win.

On the other side of things, JD Martinez was responsible for all three runs the Red Sox scored on Sunday.

Facing off against Minnesota’s ace in righty Jose Berrios, Boston certainly had multiple chances to pile on the runs early, as they loaded the bases three times in the first four innings, but could only came away with three total runs.

Opening up the scoring in the second, with two outs and the bases loaded, JD Martinez drove in his first two runs of the day on a hard hit double to left, scoring both Brock Holt and Mookie Betts to put the Red Sox on the board first.

Two innings later, Martinez struck again, this time for one run, on another hard hit RBI single to drive in Andrew Benintendi, who had doubled off of Berrios minutes before, from second for his team’s third and final run of the contest.

Some notes from this shutout win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox own MLB’s best record (74-33, .692). They are as many as 41 games above .500 for the first time since 1946, when they entered play on September 28 with a 104-48 record.

Blake Swihart started at third base for the first time in his career today. Not only did he extend his hitting streak to nine games with a 2/4 day at the plate, but he also had a nice day patrolling the hot corner.

Going into the week fresh off three straight wins, the Red Sox will welcome the first place Philadelphia Phillies into town for a quick two-game set that starts tomorrow.

Starting for the Phillies will be right-hander Aaron Nola, a former first round pick out of Louisiana State University who owns a 2.42 ERA in 21 starts this season and has never faced the Red Sox in his four-year career.

He’ll be matched up against another SEC guy in Vanderbilt alum David Price for Boston.

Coming off 6.1 scoreless innings against the Tigers in Detroit, Price has had struggles against the Phillies over three career starts in his career, but he’ll look to reverse that trend on Monday.

First pitch of the series opener is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET at Fenway Park.

 

RECAP: Kyle Gibson Outduels Brian Johnson as #RedSox Drop Series Opener to Twins in 2-1 Loss.

Coming off a five-game road trip in which lousy weather followed them from Detroit the Baltimore, the Red Sox headed home for the first time since the All-Star break to welcome the 47-53 Minnesota Twins into town. After their game against the Orioles got rained out in the second inning on Wednesday night, one might have expected the team to come out firing against the Twins on Thursday, but that simply was not the case.

In what might be his last start for the forseeable future with RHP Nathan Eovaldi being added to the 25-man roster earlier in the day, Brian Johnson made his sixth start of the year in this one, and he was solid yet again.

Pitching nearly six full innings, the lefty held the Twins scoreless while scattering four hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts, something he has done in three straight starts.

Despite the goose egg in runs allowed, Johnson certainly was far from perfect and found himself working around a healthy amount of traffic in the first and last innings he appeared in.

The first lot of traffic on the base paths came in the first, as two of the first three Twins the Florida native faced in this game reached base on singles.

With runners on first and second, another single off the bat of Eduardo Escobar to center field looked like it was going to be good enough to score Joe Mauer from second for the first run of the evening. Luckily for the Red Sox, a cannon from Jackie Bradley Jr. to nab the Twins third baseman at the plate put a temporary hold on any immediate danger.

Two batters later though, the bases were loaded for the Twins after DH Mitch Garver had a drawn a seven pitch walk.

Faced with yet another tough spot early on, Johnson buckled down by striking out the next batter he faced in Robbie Grossman on another seven pitches to escape the jam and send this thing to the middle half of the first.

Including the strikeout of Grossman, the 27-year old starter/reliever hybrid went on to retire 14 straight Twins hitters from the first all the way to the top half of the sixth.

Once Eddie Rosario broke that streak by drawing a five pitch walk, Johnson’s night would soon come to an end, but not before a wild sequence took hold on a Brian Dozier single.

As can be seen in the video, Jackie Bradley Jr. gets this ball in as soon as possible to try to nab Eddie Rosario at third.

That did not pan out, and neither did Rafael Devers’ throw to Brock Holt at second to catch Dozier advancing to second.

What did work out here was someone on the left side of the infield communicating to Holt that Rosario was headed towards home.

After recovering from the attempted tag out of Dozier, the Red Sox utility man got up quickly, turned, and darted a near-perfect throw to Blake Swihart to get the out at the plate and prevent the Twins from getting on the board. A very well executed 8-5-4-2 play on the second out of the inning.

Following another walk of Eduardo Escobar, Johnson’s eventful night came to an end with the chance to get the win, as he was replaced in favor of Heath Hembree.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (53 strikes), the former Florida Gator relied on his four-seam fastball 43% of the time while on the mound on Thursday and topped out at 91 MPH with it on his 67th pitch of the contest.

In terms of innings pitched, 5.2, this is the deepest Johnson has pitched into an outing since he tossed six one-run innings in his first start of the season back on April 2nd against the Miami Marlins.

Lowering his ERA to 3.45 and WHIP to 1.33, the left-hander came away with a no-decision on Thursday, and as I had already mentioned, will return to the bullpen within the next few days.

In relief of Johnson, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the sixth and retired the lone batter he faced in the inning.

Coming back out for a second frame of work with a one run lead to protect, the South Carolina native served up two straight hits to start out the seventh.

After a GDIP off the bat of Ehire Adrianza tied the game at one run a piece, Hembree gave up his third hit of the inning against the last batter he saw.

Matt Barnes came in to clean the mess that Hembree had made with two outs, ended the inning by striking out Joe Mauer, but surrendered the go-ahead run on a two out Mitch Garver RBI double in the eighth. Charged with his third loss of the season, last night marked the first time since July 12th in which Barnes had given up an earned run.

From that point on, Ryan Brasier continued his run of quality relief work with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to keep his team within striking distance, which nearly worked out for them.

On the other side of things, Twins starter Kyle Gibson was DEALING last night. He needed 120 pitches to get through eight innings, but he was excellent.

The only run the Red Sox could muster in this one came in the second, when, with one out and Blake Swihart at third and Jackie Bradley at first, Mookie Betts grounded out to short, which allowed Swihart to easily score from third.

However, on the throw from shortstop to first base, Bradley tried to advance all the way from first to third on a pretty agressive move and ultimately paid the price for it, as he was tagged out to end the inning thanks to a fine throw from Joe Mauer. Betts did come away with an RBI, but that was all the scoring the team could come up with.

I mean, they certainly had their plethora of opportunities, like loading the bases on multiple occasions in the first and ninth innings, but had nothing to show for it.

Speaking of the ninth inning, I need to know why Mitch Moreland was not pinch-hitting for Jackie Bradley Jr. in that spot.

Bases loaded, one run game, two outs, Twins closer Fernando Rodney on the mound, a pitcher Moreland has hit at a .600 clip over his career, and he is nowhere to be found.

Alex Cora said after the game that there was no reason in particular why Moreland did not come on to hit for Bradley. It was just a matter of the team being in favor of the way the lineup was matched up against Rodney.

And ultimately, that decision did not pan out. As the Red Sox center fielder, fresh off making two fantastic plays with his glove, fanned for second time to wrap this frustrating 2-1 loss up.

Some notes from this one:

In 14 at bats this month, Blake Swihart is slashing .417/.500/.625 with one home run and two RBI to go along with a current eight game hitting streak as well.

Since joining the big league club on July 28th, Ryan Brasier owns an ERA of 0.00 in eight innings pitched. With the recent struggles from the bullpen, perhaps it’s time to give Brasier some more high leverage opportunities.

This is just my opinion, but the Red Sox should probably upgrade their bullpen.

Dropping two consecutive games for the first time since June 19-20 against these Twins, the Red Sox will look to even things back up tomorrow to kick off what should be a fun weekend for the team. Chris Sale gets the ball for the Friday start and he will be matched up against veteran righty Lance Lynn for Minnesota.

In his only other start against the Twins this season, Sale struck out 11 batters in seven innings pitched back on that June 19th game at Target Field.

First pitch of the second game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Friday.