Red Sox trade Franklin German to White Sox for right-hander Theo Denlinger

The Red Sox have acquired minor-league right-hander Theo Denlinger from the White Sox in exchange for reliever Franklin German, the club announced earlier Friday afternoon.

Denlinger, 26, was originally selected by Chicago in the seventh round of the 2021 amateur draft out of Bradley University (Ill.). The Cuba City (Wis.) High School product signed with the club for just $10,000 and made his professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona Complex League.

Last season, Denlinger posted a 4.47 ERA and 4.18 FIP with 66 strikeouts to 21 walks in 40 relief appearances (48 1/3 innings) between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. The righty initially broke camp with the Dash and pitched to a 3.60 ERA across eight outings (10 innings) before earning a promotion in early May.

With the Barons, Denlinger forged a 4.70 ERA and 4.63 FIP to go along with 49 strikeouts to 18 walks over 32 appearances spanning 38 1/3 innings of work. He also converted five of eight save opportunities. Among the 132 pitchers who accrued 30 or more innings in the Southern League last year, Denlinger ranked 29th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.50) and 30th in strikeout rate (29.5 percent), per FanGraphs.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Denlinger features a 94-96 mph fastball with big movement and a slider that “looks good on paper” but is considered by scouts to be “very vulnerable,” according to FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen.

Denlinger, who turns 27 in July, has been assigned to Double-A Portland. He very well could wind up in the Sea Dogs bullpen with fellow 2021 draftee Taylor Broadway, who the Red Sox acquired from the White Sox as the player to be named later in the Jake Diekman/Reese McGuire trade last August.

German, on the other hand, was designated for assignment on Monday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster for lefty Richard Bleier, who they acquired from the Marlins in exchange for Matt Barnes and cash considerations.

Boston originally acquired German alongside veteran reliever Adam Ottavino in January 2021. The righty worked out of Portland’s starting rotation to begin the 2021 season, but ultimately moved to the Sea Dogs’ bullpen and found success in a relief role. hat success carried over to the 2022 campaign, as German earned a promotion to Triple-A Worcester last May.

In 32 relief appearances with the WooSox, German posted a 2.58 ERA with 46 strikeouts to 16 walks over 38 1/3 innings of work. He pitched to a miniscule 1.54 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .431 OPS against from July 6 through September 14, which resulted in him getting called up by the Red Sox three days later.

The 25-year-old got shelled for four runs while failing to record an out in his big-league debut against the Royals at Fenway Park. He then allowed runs in his next three outings before ending his season with a scoreless appearance against the Blue Jays on October 2. All told, German produced an ERA of 18.00 (eight earned runs in four innings) with four strikeouts and four walks in his first taste of big-league action.

Despite that rough showing, the Red Sox were able to find a trade partner for German, who still has three minor-league options remaining and is coming off a 2022 season in which he was named Boston’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year.

Regardless of how he pans out with the White Sox, German becomes the latest member of the 2022 Red Sox be lopped off the 40-man roster and join a new organization this winter. He joins the likes of Barnes, Darwinzon Hernandez, Connor Seabold, Eduard Bazardo, Tyler Danish, Eric Hosmer, Franchy Cordero, and Jeter Downs, among others.

(Picture of Franklin German: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign left-hander Matt Dermody to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free agent left-hander Matt Dermody to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. The deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Dermody, 32, was originally selected by the Blue Jays in the 28th round of the 2013 amateur draft out of the University of Iowa. The former Hawkeye first broke in with Toronto in September 2016 and allowed four earned runs in five appearances (three innings) out of the bullpen.

In 23 relief outings the following year, Dermody pitched to a 4.43 ERA and 6.25 FIP with 15 strikeouts to 15 walks over 22 1/3 innings of work. He was outrighted off the Jays’ 40-man roster ahead of the 2018 campaign and spent the next two seasons with the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo before electing free agency in November 2019.

While there was no Minor League Baseball in 2020 on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dermody did pitch for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Constellation Energy League in Texas. He then had his contract purchased by the Cubs that August and made his return to the big-league return the following Month.

After just one outing with the Cubs, though, Dermody was designated for assignment and subsequently outrighted. He returned to Chicago on a minors pact that winter but was let go before the start of spring training. Dermody then took his talents to Japan and spent the 2021 season with the Saitama Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball.

Dermody leveraged his performance in Japan into another minor-league deal with the Cubs last February. The lefty posted a 3.74 ERA with 70 strikeouts to 18 walks in 20 appearances (13 starts) spanning 79 1/3 innings pitched for Triple-A Iowa before getting called up in early August. He appeared in one game for Chicago before being granted his release so that he could sign with the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization.

In eight starts for the Dinos, Dermody forged a 4.54 ERA and 3.92 FIP to go along with 37 strikeouts to 13 walks across 39 2/3 innings. Rather than pursuing other opportunities in South Korea, Dermody has apparently decided to return to affiliated ball in the United States.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, Dermody possesses a diverse pitch mix. In his lone outing for the Cubs against the Cardinals last summer, the southpaw threw seven four-seam fastballs, seven sliders, six changeups, four sinkers, and two curveballs. He averaged 92.4 mph with his four-seamer and induced three total swings-and-misses, per Baseball Savant.

Dermody, who turns 33 in July, has two minor-league options remaining and can provide the Red Sox with some flexibility in that respect if he makes the team out of spring training. That being said, it remains to be seen if Boston views Dermody as a starter or as a reliever moving forward.

After trading Josh Taylor to the Royals for infielder Adalberto Mondesi earlier Tuesday, the Red Sox currently only have one left-handed reliever with past major-league experience on their 40-man roster in Joely Rodriguez. Beyond that, Boston signed left-hander Ryan Sherriff to a minor-league deal over the weekend that comes with an invite to big-league spring training. Fellow southpaw and non-roster invitee Oddanier Mosqueda is also expected to be in the mix for a bullpen spot once camp begins next month.

(Picture of Matt Dermody: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox first baseman Eric Hosmer agrees to deal with Cubs, per report

Former Red Sox first baseman Eric Hosmer has agreed to a one-year contract with the Cubs, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. Jon Heyman of The New York Post first reported that the two sides were close to a deal on Tuesday night.

Hosmer, 33, was released by the Red Sox on December 22 after being designated for assignment six days prior. The decision to designate Hosmer served two purposes as it cleared a 40-man roster spot for newly-acquired reliever Wyatt Mills and served as a vote of confidence for rookie first baseman Triston Casas heading into 2023.

“Our roster isn’t complete yet, but as we build our club, we feel it’s important to give Triston a clear lane, and that carrying two left-handed hitting first basemen would leave us short in other areas,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo last month. “Given that, it’s important to do right by Eric and give him time to find his next opportunity. We knew when we first got him that this day would come at some point, and wanted to make sure we treated him right.”

Boston acquired Hosmer (as well as minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson) from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome in early August. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s contract down to the major-league minimum.

Hosmer was brought in to provide the Red Sox with some stability at first base but was limited to just 14 games with the club due to a bout with low back inflammation that required a lengthy stint on the injured list. While Hosmer was sidelined, Casas was called up from Triple-A Worcester and played well in his first taste of big-league action.

Casas’ performance down the stretch allowed for the Red Sox to move on from Hosmer without any real hesitation. Boston made an attempt to trade the Boras Corp. client while he was on waivers, but that never came to fruition and he was instead released.

In his 14 games with the Red Sox, Hosmer went 11-for-45 (.245) with three doubles and four RBIs. Between San Diego and Boston last year, the former Royals All-Star batted .268/.334/.382 with 19 doubles, eight home runs, 44 runs driven in, 38 runs scored, 37 walks, and 64 strikeouts across 104 games spanning 419 total trips to the plate.

Hosmer, who does not turn 34 until October, reportedly drew interest from the Marlins and Orioles in free agency before ultimately agreeing to sign with the Cubs. Chicago will only be responsible for paying Hosmer the league minimum in 2023 since the Padres are still on the hook for the remaining three years and $39 million of the eight-year, $144 million contract he originally signed in February 2018.

With all that being said, Hosmer becomes the latest member of the 2022 Red Sox to sign elsewhere as a free agent this winter. He joins the likes of Matt Strahm (Phillies), Xander Bogaerts (Padres), J.D. Martinez (Dodgers), Rich Hill (Pirates), and Nathan Eovaldi (Rangers). Michael Wacha remains unsigned, though his market could soon be heating up.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Red Sox targeted José Abreu in free agency before veteran slugger signed with Astros, per report

The Red Sox apparently made an attempt to sign Jose Abreu before the veteran slugger inked a three-year deal with the Astros earlier this week.

Around the same time Abreu was introduced to the Houston media at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, Jon Heyman of The New York Post reported that the soon-to-be 36-year-old first base baseman and designated hitter was “Boston’s No. 1 outside target” in free agency.

According to Heyman, the Red Sox met with Abreu as soon as he officially hit the open market earlier this month. The former White Sox star would have been a logical fit for the Sox and drew interest from other clubs — such as the Padres and Guardians — as well. But he ultimately landed with the Astros on a three-year, $58.5 million contract.

It seems as though the Red Sox were not willing to go as far as the Astros, who will be giving Abreu $19.5 million per year through his age-38 campaign. This is not the first time Boston has been outbid for Abreu’s services, either.

Before he first signed with the White Sox as an international free agent coming out of Cuba in 2013, the Red Sox made a push for Abreu but instead came up short. In nine seasons on the South Side of Chicago, the right-handed hitter won American League Rookie of the Year, made three All-Star teams, won three Silver Slugger Awards, and was named AL MVP in 2020.

Abreu’s numbers were down from where they typically were this past season, but the Cienfuegos native still batted .304/.378/.446 with 40 doubles, 15 home runs, 75 RBIs, 85 runs scored, 62 walks, and 110 strikeouts over 157 games (679 plate appearances) in 2022. He ranked in the 93rd percentile of MLB in average exit velocity (92.2 mph) and the 97th percentile in hard-hit rate (51.8 mph), per Baseball Savant.

Since the White Sox did not extend Abreu a qualifying offer, the Red Sox could have signed him without forfeiting any signing bonus money or draft-pick compensation. It remains to be seen how aggressive Boston was in its pursuit of Abreu, but Houston certainly represents an attractive destination for any sought-after free agent.

The Astros are only weeks removed from their second World Series title in six seasons and have shown a willingness to spend under owner Jim Crane, who has seemingly taken over as the team’s general manager following the firing of James Click.

Abreu was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive a two-year, $40 million deal in free agency this winter. The $58.5 million he will be getting from the Astros obviously exceeds that, and he will also be seeing more of that money than he would elsewhere since there is no state income tax in Texas.

Had he landed with the Red Sox, Abreu could have taken over as Boston’s next designated hitter while also spelling the left-handed hitting Triston Casas at first base on occasion. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will now have to look elsewhere for offensive additions.

J.D. Martinez, who spent the last five seasons in Boston, remains a free agent. While a reunion between the two sides still seems unlikely, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox could look to bring Martinez back at a lower salary depending on how the rest of the offseason pans out.

Beyond Martinez, the Sox could explore deals with the likes of Josh Bell, Mitch Haniger, and Trey Mancini if they intend on scouring the free agent market for a potential designated hitter.

(Picture of Jose Abreu: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign former Cubs outfielder Narciso Crook to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free agent outfielder Narciso Crook to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, per the team’s transactions log on MLB.com. It’s unclear if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training, but Crook has been assigned to Triple-A Worcester.

Crook, 27, made his big-league debut for the Cubs over the summer. In just four games (including three against the Red Sox from July 1-3) with Chicago, the right-handed hitter went 2-for-8 (.250) with one double, two RBIs, one run scored, zero walks, and three strikeouts. He was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on July 4 and was later outrighted off the Cubs’ 40-man roster after the season ended.

As a veteran of eight minor-league seasons, Crook had the right to elect free agency, which he did two weeks before officially landing with the Red Sox on Tuesday.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Crook was originally selected by the Reds in the 23rd round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Rowan College of South Jersey. He spent the first seven seasons of his professional career in Cincinnati’s farm system and was once touted as a top-30 prospect within the organization before reaching minor-league free agency for the first time last November.

Crook ultimately spent the majority of the 2022 season in the minors but made the most of it, as he batted .260/.345/.492 with 21 doubles, three triples, 19 home runs, 67 runs driven in, 61 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 36 walks, and 124 strikeouts across 101 games (409 plate appearances) with the Iowa Cubs.

Between the major- and minor-leagues, Crook has experience at all three outfield positions. The majority of Crook’s playing at Triple-A this year time came in right field, though the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder also logged 77 innings at first base.

Crook, who does not turn 28 until next July, figures to start the 2023 season with the WooSox. He should provide Boston with experienced depth in an outfield mix that currently consists of Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez, Rob Refsnyder, and Jarren Duran.

In addition to Crook, the Red Sox also signed left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez to a one-year major-league deal that comes with a club option for 2024 on Wednesday.

(Picture of Narciso Crook: Matt Dirksen/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire relief prospect Taylor Broadway from White Sox to complete Jake Diekman/Reese McGuire trade

When the Red Sox acquired catcher Reese McGuire from the White Sox in exchange for veteran reliever Jake Diekman earlier this month, they also ensured they would be receiving a player to be named later or cash considerations in the deal.

That player to be named later was revealed on Tuesday night, as Boston announced it has acquired minor-league right-hander Taylor Broadway from Chicago to complete the McGuire/Diekman trade from Aug. 1.

Broadway, 25, was originally selected by the White Sox in the sixth round of the 2021 amateur draft out of the University of Mississippi. After beginning his collegiate career at Tyler Junior College, the righty transferred to Ole Miss as a sophomore and spent three seasons in Oxford.

As a senior, Broadway emerged as one of the top relievers in the Southeastern Conference by posting a 3.44 ERA and notching 16 saves in 30 appearances for the Rebels. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound hurler was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 370 prospect heading into last year’s draft and ultimately signed with Chicago for $30,000.

In the midst of his first full professional season, Broadway has pitched to a 5.02 ERA — but much more respectable 3.57 FIP — with 77 strikeouts to just 16 walks over 40 relief appearances spanning 52 innings of work between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. Thirty-seven of those appearances came with Birmingham, though, and the Oviedo, Fla. native will now report to Double-A Portland.

According to Baseball America, Broadway “throws a fastball in the 91-95 mph range that has been up to 97 with good riding life and mixes in two distinct breaking balls. His slider is a hard pitch in the upper 80s with impressive vertical bite and his curveball is a bit slower but still in the lower 80s with a bit of a bigger shape.”

With the Sea Dogs, Broadway will join fellow 2021 draftees Alex Binelas and Niko Kavadas.

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

Red Sox acquire Reese McGuire from White Sox in exchange for Jake Diekman

The Red Sox have acquired catcher Reese McGuire and a player to be named later or cash considerations from the White Sox in exchange for left-hander Jake Diekman, the club announced Monday evening.

On the eve of the trade deadline, the Sox have parted ways with one of their highest-paid relievers in order to bolster their catching depth in the wake of reportedly trading Christian Vazquez to the Astros.

Diekman, 35, was just four-plus months into his Red Sox tenure after signing a two-year, $8 million deal with Boston that also included a $4 million team option for 2024 back in March.

In 44 relief appearances for the Sox, Diekman posted a 4.23 ERA and 4.97 FIP with 50 strikeouts to an unsettling 30 walks over 38 1/3 innings of work. The native Nebraskan proved effective when he had command of the strike zone, but that often was not the case.

According to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, the White Sox will pay the remainder of Diekman’s salary through 2023. So the Red Sox will be off the hook for $4 million in terms of average annual value next season.

McGuire, meanwhile, is a former first-round draft pick of the Pirates who broke in with the Blue Jays in 2018 and spent the first four seasons of his major-league career in Toronto. He was dealt to the White Sox in exchange for fellow backstop Zack Collins back in April.

On the south side of Chicago, the left-handed hitting 27-year-old batted .225/.261/.285 with nine doubles, 10 RBIs, 12 runs scored, six walks, and 33 strikeouts over 53 games (166 plate appearances). He also threw out 11 of a possible 36 base stealers while splitting time behind the plate with Yasmani Grandal and Seby Zavala.

A Seattle-area native, McGuire is earning $722,400 this season and is slated to become eligible for arbitration for the first time next year. He is therefore under club control through the end of the 2025 campaign.

(Picture of Reese McGuire: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Red Sox play sloppy defense, go 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position in 3-1 loss to Cubs

Sloppy defense and a lack of scoring opportunities is what did the Red Sox in on Saturday night, as they dropped their second straight to the Cubs by a final score of 3-1 at Wrigley Field.

Cubs starter Alec Mills threw just seven pitches and faced two batters in the first inning before leaving the game with lower back pain. He was relieved by Mark Leiter Jr., who allowed just one run over 5 1/3 impressive innings on short notice.

That lone Red Sox run came in the sixth inning, when after Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled and Jarren Duran singled to put runners at the corners with no outs, Rafael Devers grounded into a run-scoring, 1-4-3 double play.

At that point, Boston was trailing Chicago by just one run at 2-1. Josh Winckowski, making his fifth start of the season for the Sox, had gotten tagged for two runs in the bottom of the second inning.

After retiring the side in order in the first, Winckowski gave up a leadoff single to Patrick Wisdom, who then took second base on a Devers throwing error. The very next batter, Nico Hoerner, attempted to move Wisdom over to third by laying a bunt. Winckowski fielded said bunt, but air-mailed his throw to first base, which allowed Wisdom to score the game’s first run. Hoerner moved up to second on Winckowski’s error and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Narciso Crook to make it a 2-o game.

Despite those shaky results early on, Winckowski ultimately settled into his outing. The right-hander allowed just the two runs (one earned) on six hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over six solid innings of work. Of the 94 pitches he threw, 63 went for strikes.

Dating back to June 15, Winckowski owns an ERA of 1.96 in his last four starts. On the season as a whole, the 24-year-old hurler has posted a 3.12 ERA.

In relief of Winckowski, Ryan Brasier received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora and he needed just 14 pitches to face the minimum in a scoreless bottom of the seventh.

Tanner Houck made his first appearance since last Sunday in the eighth and gave up a one-out single to Wilson Contreras. Contreras was pinch-ran for by Nelson Velazquez, who promptly stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored from third on an RBI single off the bat of Wisdom.

Taking a 3-1 lead into the ninth, the Cubs had already received a stellar effort out of their bullpen. Duran led off the top of the ninth with a double off veteran closer David Robertson. He then stole third base but was stranded there after Devers and J.D. Martinez struck out, Xander Bogaerts drew a walk, and Alex Verdugo lined out to center field to end the game with a final score of 3-1.

With the loss, the Red Sox have dropped four of their last five contests to fall to 43-35 on the season. They have already lost their last two series and are now at risk of getting swept for the first time since May 5-9 when they did so against the White Sox.

Next up: Seabold vs. Thompson

In order to avoid a second straight sweep, the Red Sox will activate and send rookie right-hander Connor Seabold to the mound in Sunday’s series finale. The Cubs will counter with fellow righty Keegan Thompson.

First pitch from Wrigley Field is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox blow 4-run lead, drop opener to Cubs, 6-5, as Rich Hill exits due to knee sprain

To kick off their first trip to Wrigley Field since 2012, the Red Sox blew a four-run lead and ultimately fell to the Cubs by a final score of 5-6 on Friday afternoon. Boston has now lost three of its last four games to drop to 43-34 on the season.

Four of the Sox’ first five runs came within the first two innings of Friday’s contest. Matched up against Cubs starter Adrian Sampson, Jarren Duran led the game off by crushing the very first pitch he saw 417 feet to dead center field for his first home run of the year.

An inning later, Trevor Story, Franchy Cordero, and Christian Vazquez all reached base with no outs to leave them loaded for Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley Jr., in turn, laced a bases-clearing, three-run double to the right-center field gap to give his side an early 4-0 lead.

That put Rich Hill, who had already tossed a scoreless first inning, in a pretty encouraging position. Making his 15th start of the season for Boston, Hill got through four innings without giving up a run but ran into some trouble in the fifth.

The veteran left-hander issued a leadoff walk to P.J. Higgins that was immediately followed by a run-scoring triple off the bat of Nelson Velazquez. One batter later, Velazquez scored on an RBI groundout from Christopher Morel.

Hill then issued another free pass to Wilson Contreras, and it was during that plate appearance when he felt his left knee pop. Despite that feeling, Hill stayed in and pitched. But he proceeded to load the bases on a single and hit batsman. That prompted the Red Sox to have Hill leave the game due to what they later diagnosed as a left knee sprain.

Tyler Danish had already been warming up in the Boston bullpen, and so he was called upon to take over for the injured starter. Danish officially closed the book on Hill’s outing by walking in a run that cut Chicago’s deficit to 4-3. He then got Alfonso Rivas to fly out to avoid any further damage.

Hill’s final line (3 earned runs on three hits, four walks, one hit batsman, and three strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings) was not indicative of how well he pitched. It remains to be seen if the 42-year-old will require a trip to the injured list on account of his sprained knee.

While they saw their lead trimmed down to just one run, the Sox did respond in their half of the sixth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Duran ripped a single to center field that plated Story. Vazquez also attempted to score on the play but was instead gunned down at home by Rafael Ortega. And so the Red Sox had to settle for a 5-3 lead, which evidently did not last long.

That being the case because after quickly recording the first two outs of the bottom of the sixth, Hansel Robles walked Simmons and then served up a game-tying, two-run home run to Christopher Morel. Robles remained in the game and loaded the bases before getting the hook in favor of Jake Diekman.

Diekman proceeded to spike a wild pitch in the dirt that got past Vazquez and allowed Contreras to score from third to give the Cubs their first lead of the day at 6-5.

From that point forward, Hirokazu Sawamura pitched admirably out of the Boston ‘pen, but so did Scott Effross, Chris Martin, and David Robertson for Chicago.

Red Sox hitters reached base just one time over the final three innings of Friday’s loss. After Martin stranded Alex Verdugo by striking out the side in the eighth, Robertson slammed the door in the ninth and earned his 10th save of the season by doing so.

All told, the Sox lineup went a collective 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base as a team. The Sox bullpen, meanwhile, allowed six walks in just 3 1/3 innings of work.

Next up: Winckowski vs. Mills

As the Red Sox look to avoid their second straight series loss, they will turn to rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski to get the start on Saturday night. The Cubs will counter with fellow righty Alec Mills.

First pitch from Wrigley Field is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. eastern time on FOX.

(Picture of Rich Hill:  Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Trevor Story homers again as Red Sox earn fourth straight series victory with convincing 16-7 win over White Sox

The Red Sox won their fourth straight series on Thursday with a 16-7 victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Boston ends its brief three-game road trip by improving to 21-23 on the season.

Matched up against Dallas Keuchel out of the gate, Enrique Hernandez kicked things off with yet another leadoff home run that gave the Sox a 1-0 lead right away in the first inning. A Rafael Devers double and J.D. Martinez single then put runners on the corners for Trevor Story, who got his productive night at the plate started with an RBI single. Alex Verdugo followed with a run-scoring double that plated Martinez and made it a 3-0 game before Chicago even had a chance to step up to the plate.

An inning later, another Devers double and walk drawn by Martinez put two runners on for Story, who proceeded to deposit a Keuchel cutter 363 feet over the left field fence for a three-run blast. Story’s ninth home run of the season, which had an exit velocity of 102.1 mph, put the Red Sox up 6-0 early on.

On the other side of things, Michael Wacha was making his seventh start of the season for Boston. The veteran right-hander retired six of the first seven batters he faced before running into some trouble in the bottom half of the third.

There, three straight singles to lead off the inning filled the bases for Andrew Vaughn, who came through with a three-run double off Wacha that cut the White Sox’ deficit in half.

Wacha got through the rest of the third unscathed and faced the minimum in the fourth. But after Boston got one of those runs back on a Verdugo RBI double in the top of the fifth, he gave up two more when he served up a two-run homer to Vaughn in the latter half. Vaughn would be the last batter Wacha would face.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 88 (58 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler wound up allowing five earned runs on seven hits, no walks, and two strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work. His ERA on the season rose from 1.76 to 2.83.

In relief of Wacha, John Schreiber got the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Schreiber ended things in the fifth before retiring the side in order in the sixth.

A half-inning later, the Red Sox pushed across two more runs on a pair of RBI singles from Christian Vazquez and Christian Arroyo. After Tyler Danish put up a zero in the latter half of the seventh, Boston continued its offensive onslaught in a five-run top of the eighth. Verdugo, Vazquez, and Bobby Dalbec each drove in a run on back-to-back-to-back RBI base hits. Vazquez and Dalbec scored themselves when Jackie Bradley Jr. (pinch-hitting for Arroyo) reached base on a fielding error.

Matt Barnes was dispatched for the bottom of the eighth and immediately struck out the first batter he faced in A.J. Pollock. The righty then walked four straight, thus allowing the White Sox to score another run, before being pulled in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura. Only nine of the 27 pitches Barnes threw went for strikes.

Sawamura, meanwhile, allowed one of the runners he inherited to score on a sacrifice fly from Leury Garcia before escaping the jam by fanning Adam Engel on four pitches.

Fast forward to the ninth, Kevin Plaweci, who previously replaced Story, crushed his first home run of the season — a two-run shot — off a position player in Josh Harrison. That it was Plawecki’s first homer of the year is interesting when you consider the fact that he has been the only position player to pitch for the Red Sox to this point.

From there, Austin Davis closed things out with a scoreless frame in the bottom of the ninth to secure a 16-7 blowout win for the Red Sox before they head back home.

All told, the Boston lineup went 10-for-24 with runners in scoring position on Thursday. Devers and Story each had two hits, Martinez and Vazquez had three, and Verdugo went 4-for-5 with three RBIs.

Next up: Back to Boston

The Red Sox will board a flight back to Boston and open up a unique five-game series against the Orioles beginning Friday night. Garrett Whitlock is slated to get the ball in the opener opposite fellow right-hander Kyle Bradish. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on Apple TV+.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)