RECAP: Brian Johnson Struggles as #RedSox Drop Series Finale to White Sox in 8-0 Loss.

On a humid afternoon in Chicago where the White Sox honored legendary commentator Ken “The Hawk” Harrleson with a touching pregame ceremony, the Red Sox, a former team of Harrelson’s during his playing career, looked absolutely lifeless this afternoon.

Let’s get into where things went wrong.

Making his 12th start of the season on Sunday was Brian Johnson, who before today, had never faced the White Sox nor pitched at Guaranteed Rate Field in his three-year career.

Right from the get go, it was clear Chicago had the left-hander’s number, because they came out swinging early and they were making hard contact.

Only able to pitch into the second inning of this one, Johnson surrendered four runs, all earned, on seven hits and one walk to go along with two punch outs on the afternoon.

A pair of runs in the first on a Tim Anderson solo home run and Kevan Smith RBI single another pair of runs in the second on a two RBI double off the bat of Matt Davidson. That is how the White Sox collected all four runs off of Johnson, and his day would come to an end after giving up that Davidson two-bagger.

Facing 12 total batters, the Florida native could barely manage to record four outs before he got the hook with one out and a runner on second in favor of Bobby Poyner.

Finishing with a final low pitch count of 38 (28 strikes), Johnson relied on his four-seam fastball 50% of the time and topped out at 90.3 MPH with that same pitch in the first inning.

Falling to 4-4 with a 4.36 ERA on the season now, the 27-year-old will look to rebound from an awry start to September in his next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next weekend.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had a daunting talk on their hands in completing nearly seven innings to close this one out.

Three September call-ups, Bobby Poyner, William Cuevas, and Robby Scott combined for five-and-two-thirds innings of work, and they gave up three earned runs on six hits, which essentially put this game out of reach for the Red Sox.

Oddly enough, White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka ended up hitting a solo home run off of Cuevas in the fourth after it looked like he initially homered earlier in the same at bat, but it was ruled foul.

Despite the results, Scott, who was inserted into this contest after Cuevas had to exit due to a heat-related illness, was the only Boston hurler to not surrender a run, so credit to him for that I guess.

Hector Velazquez was last up, and he allowed one run to cross the plate on two hits in the bottom half of the eighth. He has now given up runs in six of his last seven outings dating back to the beginning of August, although three of those were starts.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar opponent in Chicago’s James Shields.

Having already faced Boston 28 previous times over his 13-year career between the Rays, Royals, Padres, and now the White Sox, Shields had himself a solid day with six scoreless frames on Sunday.

Only managing four hits and two walks off the veteran right-hander, things did not get much better once the White Sox bullpen took over in the seventh, as Boston’s lineup could scrape together just one hit in the final three frames against the likes of Caleb Frare, Juan Minaya, and Hector Santiago.

One note from this 8-0 loss: 

80% of the Red Sox’s hits on Sunday came from Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez. Blake Swihart was responsible for the other one. None of the five hits went for extra bases.

All and all, the White Sox were tough opponent for the Red Sox this year, as they came away with the season-series win at 4-3.

Leaving the Windy City with a series-split under their belts, Boston will head south to Atlanta where they will be taking on a first place Atlanta Braves team.

Getting the start in the series opener tomorrow afternoon will be Nathan Eovaldi, who is able to pitch on such short rest because of that weather-shortened outing on Friday.

In 13 career starts against the Braves, Eovaldi has posted a solid 2.82 ERA and .235 BAA over 83 innings pitched.

Opposite Eovaldi will be rookie right-hander Touki Toussaint for Atlanta, who tossed six one-run innings against the Miami Marlins in his only other big league start back on August 13th.

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

Advertisements

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez Dominates with 12 Strikeouts in First Start Back from DL as #RedSox Cruise to 6-1 Win over White Sox.

On a day where rosters expand all across Major League Baseball, the Red Sox welcomed a total of eight players from both Triple A Pawtucket and the 10-day disabled list to increase their roster size up to 33.

Yes, Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, and Christian Vazquez were all activated from the disabled list on Saturday, while Sam Travis, Tzu-Wei Lin, Robby Scott, Bobby Poyner, and William Cuevas were all recalled from the PawSox.

Getting the starting nod in last night’s contest was none other than Rodriguez himself, and his battery mate for his first big league in-game action in exactly seven weeks was none other than Christian Vazquez, who caught E-Rod in one of his rehab starts in Portland.

In what was his 20th start of the season, the left-hander looked as though he had not missed a beat on Saturday, as he tossed nearly six innings of one run ball while scattering three hits and one walk to go along with a season-high 12 strikeouts.

For never pitching against the White Sox on the road before, Rodriguez began his night by fanning 11 of the first 12 hitters he faced while taking a perfect game into the fifth inning.

After giving up a leadoff single to Matt Davidson and a seven pitch walk to Ryan LaMarre in an otherwise clean fifth, the 25-year old’s evening would come to an end an inning later when Nicky Delmonico ripped a two out RBI double to score Adam Engel from first for Chicago’s lone run.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (60 strikes), Rodriguez would depart from this one with two outs and a runner on second.

Out of those 90 pitches, the Venezuela native turned to his four-seam fastball 44% of the time he was on the mound on Saturday. He topped out at 96.1 MPH with that same pitch in the second inning.

Improving to 12-3 and lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.34, Rodriguez’s scoreless innings streak did ultimately come to an end at 24.2, but regardless of that, Alex Cora and the Red Sox have to be encouraged with what they saw from their young lefty in his first meaningful start in over a month.

He’ll look to build on this dominant performance in his next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final 10 outs last night, and Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, and Joe Kelly dealt with the White Sox bats in decently short order to secure their team’s 94th win of the year.

For Barnes, a nice bounce back after surrendering seven earned runs in his previous four appearances.

And for the Red Sox pitching staff as a whole, well, they faced 32 total batters on Saturday and struck out 18 of them. Not bad.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against arguably the best starting pitcher the White Sox have to offer in Carlos Rodon.

A left-hander like Rodriguez, Rodon made his 2018 debut against Boston on June 9th, where he surrendered four runs (two earned) over six innings in a losing effort.

Unlike Friday night, when they were held to one run, the Red Sox were able to score multiple runs last night, and it started with a solo home run off the bat of Eduardo Nunez in the fifth.

An absolute line drive of a long ball, Nunez’s 10th of the season had a launch angle of 19 degrees.

Three batters later, Jackie Bradley Jr. took the first pitch he saw from Rodon, a 84 MPH, slider, and sent it 402 feet to right field to make it a 2-0 game.

Fast forward to the seventh, an inning that has treated the Red Sox quite nicely these past few days, and Christian Vazquez led things off by drawing an eight pitch walk.

After a Jackie Bradley Jr. fly out, Mookie Betts was able to advance Vazquez all the way to third on his 39th double of the year.

With runners in scoring position, Andrew Benintendi appeared to ground into a 1-3 put out for the second out of the frame, but an ugly throw from Carlos Rodon that got over the first baseman’s head allowed Vazquez to easily score from third to make it a 3-1 game.

Just a few moments after that all went down, Steve Pearce put an end to Rodon’s night by ripping a one out single to left field to plate Mookie Betts and advance Benintendi to third.

Following a pitching change that saw rookie Ryan Burr take over for Rodon, JD Martinez tacked on another insurance run and added on to his league-leading RBI count by singling to center and scoring Benintendi from third. Martinez now has 115 RBI on the season.

Finally, in the eighth, just for fun, Ian Kinsler went ahead and launched his first home run in a Red Sox uniform on a rocket sent to the White Sox bullpen. 6-1.

Some notes from this 6-1 win: 

The Red Sox won their 94th game of the 2018 season on Saturday night. That is more than they had in both 2016 and 2017 and there are still 25 games left.

Over his last 10 appearances, Joe Kelly has posted a 0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings of work.

In his last five games, Ian Kinsler is batting .474 with one home run and three RBI.

With hits in eight of his last 10 games, Mookie Betts owns a 1.061 OPS with two homers and six runs driven in since August 22nd.

JD Martinez has 9 RBI in his last 10 games. Like I mentioned above, his 115 RBI on the year is the most in all of baseball.

Going for the series win later this afternoon, it will be Brian Johnson getting the start for the Red Sox in the Windy City finale.

Now, Johnson has neither pitched at Gauranteed Rate Field nor against the White Sox in his three-year career, but he did post a 5.27 ERA in six appearances (five starts) over 27.1 innings pitched in August.

Opposite Johnson will be veteran right-hander James Shields for Chicago, who owns a 4.54 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 29 games, 28 of which are starts, in what is his 13th year in the big leagues.

Known mostly for his time with the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals, “Big Game James” has faced off against the Red Sox 28 times in his career, and is 9-14 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in those starts.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 2:10 PM ET.

RECAP: #RedSox Winning Streak Comes to an End at Three in Rain-Filled 6-1 Loss to White Sox.

In the second of a four-game set against the Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox were looking to win their fourth straight game for the first time since August 12th on a rainy Friday night.

Making his 17th start of the season last night was Nathan Eovaldi, who entered the day with a 7.41 ERA over his last four starts and a 3.52 ERA in two career appearances (one start) at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Only able to pitch into the third inning of this one because of a lengthy weather delay, the right-hander’s struggles continued, as he got shelled for three earned runs on three hits and zero walks while recording six total outs.

Unable to strike out any of the 10 batters he faced on the night, the White Sox collected all three runs they scored off of Eovaldi in the bottom of the first. The first of which came on an Avisail Garcia RBI single, while the other two came off the bat of former Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada on his 17th home run of the season.

After holding Chicago scoreless in the second, the Texas native came back out for his third inning of work with his team in a 3-0 hole, but in the middle of the first at bat, the rain really started to pour, and that is when Crew chief Ted Barrett decided it was time to bring out the tarp.

With the rain delay officially lasting more than two hours, Eovaldi’s, along with White Sox starter Michael Kopech’s night, would come to a rather quick conclusion.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 35 (22 strikes), it was pretty obvious that the adjustments Eovaldi made with his landing foot, at the discretion of Pedro Martinez, these past few days did not come with the results he was necessarily looking for.

Out of those 35 pitches thrown, the 28-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 53% of the time he was on the mound Friday. He also topped out at 100.8 MPH with the same pitch in the first inning.

Although this particular outing was on the short side, let’s go ahead and take a look at how Eovaldi has been performing since he tossed eight scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on August 4th.

4 GS, 0-3, 8.05 ERA, 19 IP, 38 H, 24 R (17 ER), 3 BB, 12 K, 3 HR. Not great.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen would be turned to rather early once again on Friday night, and it was Drew Pomeranz who got the first call coming out of the rain delay.

Having only appeared in one game over the last week, the left-hander put in some solid relief work, as he scattered seven hits and six strikeouts over four scoreless frames. He also received some defensive help from the Red Sox outfield.

Next out of the ‘pen was Tyler Thornburg, who entered this contest with his team trailing by just three runs, but by the time he left, that deficit had increased to six after Matt Davidson launched a two out, three-run home run to left center field.

Thornburg was able to end the seventh inning, but that home run was essentially the final nail in the coffin for Boston.

Finally, just trying to keep his team within the five runs they were trailing by, Brandon Workman retired three of the four batters he faced in a scoreless eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another young right-hander for Chicago in the form of rookie Michael Kopech.

Kopech, a former Red Sox prospect who was part of the Chris Sale trade in 2016, received the call up to the majors on August 21st and is ranked as the top pitching prospect in the White Sox organization.

Making just his third career start on Friday, Kopech was up against his toughest opponent yet, and it showed early, as he hit the first batter he faced in Mookie Betts, then followed that up by walking Andrew Benintendi.

Thanks to some poor base running on Betts’ part though, the Texas native was able to get out of the first unharmed.

After working his way around a two out double from Ian Kinsler and a Sandy Leon HBP in the second, Kopech would be unable to resume his outing because of that two-hour rain delay.

For Kopech, out of the three starts he has made this season, two, both of which came at home, have been shortened due to weather.

Following the delay, Dylan Covey, who was part of the White Sox rotation the last time the Red Sox saw him, went out and pitched three scoreless innings of relief from the third until the middle of the sixth.

In fact, the only scoring Boston could manage in this one came in the eighth, when Andrew Benintendi mashed his 16th homer of the year off of Juan Minaya to make it a 6-1 game, which would go on to be the final score.

Some notes from this 6-1 loss:

From @RedSoxStats: Covey vs Red Sox this year 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K

Covey vs everyone else 87 IP, 70 R, 41 BB, 60 K, 6.18 ERA, 1.63 WHIP

Xander Bogaerts received his first ejection last night, as he was tossed in the top of the eighth for arguing balls and strikes. Rick Porcello was also ejected.

Since moving to the bullpen, Drew Pomeranz owns a 2.93 ERA in his last 15.1 innings pitched.

Tyler Thornburg, on the other hand, has given up five earned runs in his last five innings pitched.

Finishing August with a 18-9 record, the Red Sox will look to get back on track and guarantee a series split later tonight, as Eduardo Rodriguez will make his long-awaited return to the rotation and make his 20th start of the season.

Before spraining his right ankle against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 14th, Rodriguez had not surrendered a run in his last 19 innings pitched. He has never appeared in a game at Guaranteed Rate Field, but does own a 3.75 ERA over two career starts against the White Sox.

Opposite Rodriguez will be another southpaw in Chicago’s Carlos Rodon, who made his first start of the 2018 season against Boston back on June 9th.

Since that time, Rodon as arguably been the White Sox’s best starter, as he has posted a 2.70 ERA and .178 BAA in 14 starts this year.

First pitch of the third game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET, weather permitting.

Looking at How Former #RedSox Prospect Michael Kopech Got to Where He Is Today.

The Red Sox are currently in Chicago taking on a 53-81 rebuilding White Sox team.

Despite the poor record, the White Sox do have some players worth watching, including tonight’s starting pitcher, Michael Kopech.

A former Red Sox prospect himself, Kopech may be mostly known for being part of the trade that sent ace left-hander Chris Sale to Boston, but I thought I would highlight some moments from his young career that saw him make his big league debut just a few weeks ago.

Selected by the Red Sox with the 33rd overall pick in the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Mount Pleasant High School in Texas, Kopech forgoed his commitment to the University of Arizona and signed with Boston for a $1,500,000 bonus on June 17th.

Assigned to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox for his first professional season, the right-hander posted a 4.61 ERA and .216 BAA in eight starts and 13.2 innings pitched en route to a league title.

In 2015, Kopech made headlines for testing positive for Oxilofrine, a banned substance that violates the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Receiving a 50 game suspension because of the failed drug test on July 16th, the Texas native still posted a 2.65 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) over 65 innings pitched with the South Atlantic League’s Greenville Drive.

Less than a year later, Kopech’s name once again came up in the news, and not for positive reasons, as he got in an altercation with a teammate during spring training and ended up breaking his right hand.

Missing over four months of action because of the fractured throwing hand, the now 22-year-old made 12 starts between Low A Lowell and High A Salem while posting a 2.08 ERA to go along with 86 strikeouts in only 56.1 innings pitched.

That would end up being Kopech’s last season in the Red Sox organization, and he worked his way up to becoming the team’s best right-handed pitching prospect before he was traded on December 6th, 2016.

Along with top prospect Yoan Moncada, 24th ranked prospect Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz, Kopech was part of a blockbuster deal that ultimately landed the Red Sox the best left-hander in the game in Chris Sale from the White Sox.

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, not only was Kopech named the team’s best overall pitching prospect, he also made an appearance in the 2017 All-Star Futures Game in Miami, where he tossed a scoreless third inning.

On the 2017 campaign as a whole, the former first round pick posted a 2.88 ERA in 134.1 innings pitched between Double A Birmingham and Triple A Charlotte while being named the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher.

Entering this season as Chicago’s top pitching prospect once again, Kopech made 24 starts with the Charlotte Knights where he struck out 170 batters in 126.1 innings pitched before getting promoted to the White Sox.

Getting the call up on August 21st, the right-hander’s debut was shorter than expected due to a rain delay, but he struck out four Twins while scattering three hits over two scoreless innings of work.

Five days later, Kopech was back at it again, this time against the Detroit Tigers, where he pitched six innings of one-run ball to go along with another four punch outs and his first big league win.

And that is where things stand today.

Michael Kopech will be making his third career start Friday night, and it will come against the toughest opponent he has yet to face in the Boston Red Sox.

First pitch of tonight’s game is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Mookie Betts Leads Comeback Effort as #RedSox Take Opener from White Sox in Third Straight Win.

After exploding for 14 runs to complete the two-game sweep of the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night, the Red Sox headed to the Windy City to embark on yet another road trip.

Getting the start in the series opener was Rick Porcello, who has faced the  53-80 White Sox plenty of times over his 10-year career, and entered Thursday with a 3.57 ERA in 11 career starts at Guaranteed Rate Field.

In what was his 28th start of 2018, the right-hander wrapped up his month of August with another shaky outing.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, Porcello surrendered four earned runs on eight hits and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

All four of those White Sox runs crossed the plate within the first two frames of this one, as an Avisail Garcia two-run home run and Matt Davidson RBI single in the first followed by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Garcia to score Yolmer Sanchez in the second gave Chicago an early three-run advantage.

Fortunately, Porcello settled down a bit, and despite still dealing with a solid amount of traffic on the base paths, held the White Sox scoreless over the final three-plus frames he pitched in.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (63 strikes), the New Jersey native saved his best for last by retiring the side in order in the fifth, which probably should have been his final frame of work.

Instead, he came back out for the bottom half of the sixth, walked Matt Davidson on eight pitches, the last three of which were all balls, and that is how is night would come to a conclusion. Given the fact the Red Sox were still trailing at this point in the contest, I probably would have started the sixth with Brandon Workman. That’s just me though.

Out of those 95 pitches, the 29-year-old relied heavily on his two-seam fastball, as he threw it 39% of the time he was on the mound on Thursday. He also topped out at 93.6 MPH with his other fastball, the four-seamer, in the second inning.

Unable to pick up the winning decision while his ERA jumped up to 4.27 on the season, let’s go ahead and look back at Rick Porcello’s August:

6 GS, 2-3, 5.11 ERA, 37 IP, 29 H, 21 ER, 8 HR, 9 BB, 45 K.

Those numbers include two starts against the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies in which Porcello combined to give up two earned runs over 16 innings pitched. He’ll look to get back on a more consistent track in his next time out, which should come against the Atlanta Braves next week.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen held the White Sox in order in four scoreless frames of work.

Yup, Brandon Workman, Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier, who picked up the win, and Heath Hembree combined to give up just two hits while fanning five en route to their team’s 92nd win of the season.

Shoutout to Xander Bogaerts for some great defense over at shortstop as well.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against young White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, who had never faced Boston in his three-year career between Washington and Chicago before Thursday.

A former 2012 first round draft pick who was part of the trade that sent Adam Eaton to the Nationals, Giolito, 24, has not been outstanding in any means in his first full season as a big league hurler, but he impressed last night.

Holding the Red Sox hitless through four scoreless innings, it was not until Ian Kinsler singled with two outs in the fifth when the potential no-hitter came to an end.

Still, Giolito remained in the game up until the point when he walked Brock Holt with one out in the seventh. That is how his night would end and that is where things really started to turn around quickly for Boston.

With one out, one runner on, and Jeanmar Gomez now on the mound for the White Sox, an Ian Kinsler put runners on the corners for Blake Swihart, pinch-hitting for Sandy Leon.

In a similar role on Wednesday, Swihart came through with a big pinch hit, and he did the same last night, as he drove in Holt from third on an RBI to right center field. 4-1.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was up next, and he cut into the White Sox lead some more by driving in Kinsler from third on a sacrifice fly to center field. 4-2.

Back to the top of the order now came Mookie Betts, who had only faced Gomez three times in his career prior to Thursday, yet came away with arguably the clutchest hit of the contest.

On a 1-1 92 MPH slider, Betts launched his 29th home run of the season 373 feet to the left field seats to knot things up at four runs a piece.

Fast forward to the ninth, still in a 4-4 game, with one out and runners on first and second, Jackie Bradley Jr. played hero, as his RBI single off of White Sox reliever Thyago Vieria plated to the go-ahead run in the form of Ian Kinsler, but that was just the beginning.

In fact, three more runs would come around to score in the top half of the ninth, one on an Andrew Benintendi RBI single to add on some extra insurance, and the next two coming courtesy of JD Martinez, who put this game on ice with his 39th big fly of the season.

Some notes from this 9-4 win: 

During the seventh inning of their last two games, the Red Sox have scored 15 total runs.

Over his last four games, Mookie Betts is batting .583 with two home runs and six RBI. So much for that slump.

In only 127 games this season, JD Martinez has hit 39 home runs and driven in 114 runs. We’re not even in September yet.

Ian Kinsler recorded his second three-hit game in a Red Sox uniform on Thursday. He is also batting .583 in his last three games.

Blake Swihart is slashing .304/.333/.391 with six RBI in his last 10 games. Probably time for him to start getting more regular playing time behind the plate.

Joe Kelly has now gone seven straight relief appearances without giving up a run.

Looking to guarantee a series split later tonight, it will be Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for the Red Sox.

Over his last four starts, Eovaldi owns a 7.41 ERA in only 17 innings pitched. That is not great, but with some help from Pedro Martinez, it would not be surprising if Eovaldi bounced back with a solid outing against a team he has not seen much of over his career.

Opposite Eovaldi will be rookie right-hander Michael Kopech for the White Sox, who was once part of the Red Sox organization himself.

Traded to Chicago along with current second baseman Yoan Moncada among others for Chris Sale back in December 2016, Kopech was recently called up on August 21st.

Ranked as the White Sox’s best pitching prospect, the former 2014 first round draft pick owns a 1.13 ERA in eight innings pitched over his first two career starts, the first of which was shortened due to rain.

Known for the speed of his four-seam fastball, a pitch he throws nearly 70% of the time, according to Statcast, this Red Sox lineup will undoubtedly be the toughest opponent Kopech has faced in his very young career.

I, for one, am very excited to see how it goes down.

First pitch of the second game of the series is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eduardo Rodriguez Officially Set to Rejoin #RedSox Rotation in Chicago This Weekend.

Earlier today, I wrote about how Eduardo Rodriguez looked great in his second rehab start in Portland and how his return to the Red Sox rotation in the coming days was imminent.

Well, now we have confirmation from Red Sox manager Alex Cora himself that Rodriguez will be starting against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field this Saturday.

So, there you have it. After spraining his right ankle on July 14th, it will have taken the left-hander exactly seven weeks to return to a big league mound once we reach Saturday.

In his career against the White Sox, both of which have come at Fenway Park, Rodriguez owns a 3.75 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in a total of 12 innings pitched.

Opposite of the Venezuela native on Saturday will be another left-hander in Chicago’s Carlos Rodon, who has surrendered two runs or fewer in 11 of his 14 starts this season.

Some other Red Sox injury-related news:

RECAP: JD Martinez’s Two-Run Home Run Powers #RedSox to 4-2 Win over White Sox.

Less than 24 hours after dropping the opening game of this three game series against the lowly Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox were right back out there this afternoon, with JD Martinez in the lineup, which unlike Friday night, proved to be the difference maker.

Before that though, David Price toed the rubber for his 13th start of the season. Coming in on a bit of a roll as of late, Price did not have the best of first innings. In fact, the first three batters he faced all reached base, which led to the first run of the game coming on a Jose Abreu RBI double. Two batters later, the second White Sox run crossed the plate on an RBI groundout off the bat of catcher Kevan Smith. And just like that, the Red Sox found themselves in a hole before even taking their first at bats.

Thankfully, Price settled in once he retired the side in the first by punching out old friend Yoan Moncada on four pitches.

From the start of the second inning to the conclusion of the top half of the sixth, the lefty held the White Sox scoreless while scattering three hits and two walks in five frames of work. In total, the Tennessee native recorded six strikeouts on only 86 pitches (56 strikes) en route to his seventh winning decision of the season.

In relief of Price, three Red Sox relievers tossed a scoreless inning each. Joe Kelly retired the side in order in the seventh, Matt Barnes extended his scoreless appearance streak to 12 in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel, who had not pitched since June 2nd, picked up his 20th save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth with some help from Andrew Benintendi.

 

On the other side of things, the Red Sox actually scored some runs against the White Sox today. Shocking I know.

Facing off against lefty Carlos Rodon, Andrew Benintendi got things started by drawing a six pitch walk. Two batters later, after Xander Bogaerts reached base on a fielding error, JD Martinez made his return to the Red Sox lineup after a one game absence by grounding into what should have been a double play. Instead a bad throw from White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada got away from Jose Abreu and allowed Martinez to reach safely while also scoring Benintendi from second. No RBI for Martinez, but still an impactful at bat to cut the deficit in half early.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr., batting out of the nine-hole, mashed his first home run in nearly two months to knot this thing up at two. 414 feet, 105.7 MPH off the bat.

Fast forward to the fifth, and after Xander Bogaerts led the inning off by reaching first on a fielding error, JD Martinez pretty much put this game away with a go-ahead, two-run shot for his league leading 21st big fly of the season.

Another vintage opposite field blast for Martinez, he sent that 85 MPH changeup from Rodon 391 feet into the Red Sox bullpen to make it a 4-2 game. The Red Sox would not have to look back.

Some notes from this win:

On that home run from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second inning, it was the outfielders’s first extra-base hit against a left-handed pitcher this season. (@SmittyOnMLB)

Since the start of May, JD Martinez has hit 16 home runs in 35 games. Over that span, he is averaging just over eight at bats per home run.

The Red Sox are undefeated in David Price’s last six starts. In those six outings, Price owns a 2.91 ERA in 37.1 innings pitched.

With the series coming to an end tomorrow afternoon, the White Sox will send young righty Reynaldo Lopez to the hill. He will be matched up against another righty in Rick Porcello for the Red Sox. First pitch of the finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM and both teams will be looking to pick up the series win.