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.

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RECAP: Chris Sale Deals Against Former Team but #RedSox Get Shutout in Series Opener.

After taking two out of the three from the Detroit Tigers this past week, the Red Sox welcomed another AL Central opponent in the Chicago White Sox to town for a three game weekend set on Friday. In a pitching matchup between Dylan Covey for the White Sox and Chris Sale for the Red Sox, neither teams lineups could do much last night, as the two sides combined for one total run.

In his 14th start of the season, Sale put together a fantastic performance against his former club. Having surrendered 10 earned runs in his last 10.1 innings pitched in his last two starts, the lefty limited the White Sox to just one run in eight innings pitched last night.

Over those eight innings, Sale scattered seven hits and one walk while fanning 10 on 109 pitches, 79 of which went for strikes.

Fastball velocity has been a topic of conversation for Sale this season, but he was consistently throwing heat. Out of those 109 pitches mentioned above, 11 were clocked in at 99 MPH or higher, with the fastest coming in at 100.3 MPH on the hurler’s 69th pitch of the night in the fifth. I don’t know if the radar gun at Fenway was acting up a bit, but seeing Sale consistently reach 95+ MPH on Friday was certainly impressive stuff.

With all that said, Sale did make some mistakes last night, and the most costly of them came in the seventh. On the first pitch of the inning, White Sox catcher Kevin Smith lined a softly hit ground-rule double just in between Brock Holt and the right field wall to put a runner at second with no outs.

Two batters later, after Smith had advanced to third on a Yoan Moncada groundout, Trayce Thompson drove in the go-ahead run on a line drive single to left that was just out of Xander Bogaerts’ reach. With Smith scoring from third on the play, the only run of the night crossed the plate. Can’t put the blame on Sale for that one, more bad luck than anything.

Other than that though, Sale escaped the seventh thanks to Sandy Leon picking off Thompson at second base.

I found it a bit surprising to see him come back out for the eight, but the Florida native ended his night on a positive note by retiring the side in order in the eighth. A performance worthy of a win, but the Red Sox lineup definitely let Sale down.

Speaking of the Red Sox lineup, they managed to reach base FOUR times against a White Sox with one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball. Credit to starter Dylan Covey though, he, like Sale, was also fantastic last night.

Andrew Benintendi led off things in the first with a double to left field that almost went for a solo homer, but fell just short. Brock Holt followed that up by drawing a seven pitch walk to put runners on first and second with no outs, but nothing came of it.

Later in the fifth, a one out double off the bat of Rafael Devers created another scoring chance for the Red Sox, but nothing came of it with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Blake Swihart both striking out to end the inning.

Two innings later, a similar situation presented itself when the Red Sox chased Covey out of the game and had runners on first and second with one out after Mitch Moreland reached on a force out at second and Eduardo Nunez reached on an E5. Unfortunately, White Sox reliever Jace Fry struck out Rafael Devers and Bradley Jr. back to back and that was that.

Some notes from this one:

The Red Sox were without JD Martinez last night due to back spasms. If you remember, Martinez departed Thursday’s game against the Tigers late because of the same issue. Alex Cora said he was looking to give the Red Sox outfielder a day off anyway, and he should be back in the lineup this afternoon.

Making his second career start against the team he started his career with, Chris Sale now owns a  4.15 ERA in 13 innings pitched against the White Sox.

With the Yankees picking up a win against the New York Mets last night, the Red Sox now trail them by half a game in the American League East standings.

In the middle game of this series, it will be a pitching matchup featuring two southpaws in Carlos Rodon for the White Sox and David Price for the Red Sox. For Rodon, today will mark his first start of the season after he was placed on the 60-day disabled list on April 12th. And for Price, well, the Red Sox are undefeated in his last five starts, so that should leave you feeling pretty confident going into this afternoon’s contest. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM.

RECAP: Chris Young homers twice, Eduardo Nunez once as #RedSox complete sweep of White Sox.

What a Sunday it was. Got to Fenway early, saw Chris Sale toss a bullpen, and walked all across the park. I’ve been to six games this year, and I’ve seen six different starting pitchers, which is a first. I also got to see Yoan Moncada for the first time on Sunday, which was great as well. Doug Fister made the start, coming off his best start in a Red Sox uniform last Monday. After a 1-2-3 first inning, Fister had a much more difficult time in the second, where the White Sox got four straight hits to start the inning and scored three times by the time the third out was recorded. It was discouraging at the time since Fister just gave up the lead, but he was solid from the fourth on. With one out and a runner on first, Fister was removed and greeted with a standing ovation for his performance. Addison Reed came in to the game, and ended the inning while striking out one. Matt Barnes pitched a shutout eighth, and Craig Kimbrel notched his 27th save of the season while pitching a scoreless ninth. So, the bullpen has looked great lately and Doug Fister definitely earned another start.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox offense got things started early. Eduardo Nunez and Chris Young both hit solo home runs in the first. In the third, Chris Young did it again with an RBI double, scoring Andrew Benintendi and tying the game. After not scoring in the fourth, Chris Young did it AGAIN with a three-run home run, scoring Sandy Leon and Benintendi, untying the game, and securing the win.

The Red Sox finish the home stand with a 7-2 record, including six in a row. After a day off on Monday, Chris Sale makes the start in Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Also… last loss was about a week agoooooo.

63 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: JBJ and Andrew Benintendi both go deep as #RedSox win fifth straight.

The Red Sox have not lost a game since Sunday, which was the last time Drew Pomeranz made a start. On Saturday night, Pomeranz put together another solid performance against an AL Central team. After a leadoff home run, Pomeranz did not allow anything, scattering seven hits and a walk over 6.1 IP while striking out eight. There were times where it looked like the White Sox could score a few, but Pomeranz got out of everything until the seventh, when Blaine Boyer came in with one out in the inning. Boyer finished the inning with a double play, then faced the minimum in the eighth with the help of Andrew Benintendi and Brock Holt. With a three run lead in the ninth, Craig Kimbrel entered the game and was absolutely electric.

So, he hit a guy, did this, struck out two, and got the save, his 26th of the season. Back to Pomeranz, he got his eleventh win, lowered his ERA to 3.36, and looks like a legit number two guy in this rotation.

The lineup only produced five hits on Saturday, but that’s all it takes sometimes to beat bad teams like the White Sox. Old friend James Shields was on the bump for the ChiSox, and he was not all that bad. Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. both hit two-run home runs in the first two innings, giving the Red Sox a 4-0 lead and all they needed to secure the win.

Unfortunately, the Yankees won last night so the division lead remains at three. Still, five straight wins is great, and Doug Fister will look to finish the week undefeated against the White Sox today. I’ll be at Fenway, so I’m excited for it.

62 down, ? to go. 

 

RECAP: Mitch Moreland delivers walk-off home run as #RedSox win fourth straight.

The day after the Red Sox scored nine runs, I was expecting more than three on Friday night. Eduardo Rodriguez made the start, and he looked as good as he has since he returned from the disabled list last month. He ran into some trouble in the fourth, allowing two runs to score, but he limited the damage after that. Finishing with a final line of 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB’s and 5 K’s, Erod will look to maintain this level of success next time out against the Rays or Yankees. In relief, the bullpen was not perfect, but they did not allow a single run again. Addison Reed, Matt Barnes, Craig Kimbrel, Brandon Workman, and Heath Hembree combined to pitch five shutout innings, striking out seven in the process. It looked like Kimbrel was going to give the White Sox the lead in the ninth, but a great play by Christian Vazquez and 100 MPH heat from Kimbrel kept that from happening. It also looked like the White Sox could have taken the lead in the eleventh, but a great effort from both Hembree and Rafael Devers kept that from happening.

Scoring wise, not a lot was going on for the Red Sox against Carlos Rodon. Chris Young drove in Devers in the fifth and Eduardo Nunez left the yard in the sixth, but that’s all they could get off Rodon. It wasn’t until the eleventh when the Red Sox scored again, when Mitch Moreland, who was a defensive replacement, blasted one over the Monster with two outs, giving his team their fourth straight win.

I believe out of their last nine wins, five have been walk-offs, which creates a unique vibe with this team. The funny thing is, the guy who gave up the winning run’s last name is Bummer, so you could say that it was a real bummer for the White Sox last night. The Yankees also lost last night, and they have lost four in a row, giving the Red Sox a three game lead in the division.

Drew Pomeranz is on the mound tonight with the opportunity to take this series before it’s even over.

61 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Despite Rick Porcello’s awful start, #RedSox win third consecutive game.

After a rain out on Wednesday, the Red Sox welcomed the Chicago White Sox into town for a four-game series. This was a series I usually looked forward to because of Chris Sale, but now he is on the Red Sox. He was actually supposed to see him pitch on Sunday, but John Farrell switched around the rotation so Sale can pitch against the Yankees more. Even though the White Sox are one of the worst teams in baseball, I was still looking forward to seeing Yoan Moncada, who was one of my favorite Red Sox prospects before he got traded last December.

Anyway, Rick Porcello was on the mound against former Red Sox prospect Miguel Gonzalez, and both were pretty terrible. Porcello could only make it through 5.1 innings while surrendering five earned runs on seven hits, including a two-run home run to Nicky Delmonico in the third inning. This was after he was given a 4-0 lead and then a 7-2 lead to work with, too. This start was certainly discouraging, given the fact that Porcello had a great month of July. You’d figure a team like the White Sox wouldn’t give him much trouble, but here we are talking about how bad his start was. The bullpen did pick him up though, as Fernando Abad, Heath Hembree, Addison Reed, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Workman combined to pitch 3.2 perfect innings while striking out four. It was only a three-run game when Porcello left, so the effort from the bullpen was definitely a boost.

On the other side of things, all nine guys in the starting lineup recorded at least one base hit, and six of nine drove in at least one run. Eduardo Nunez continued his great play by driving in the first run of the game in the first. Hanley Ramirez then drove in Nunez on a double, and Rafael Devers hit his third home run of the season to conclude the scoring in the first.

In the second, Mookie Betts drove in Christian Vazquez along with himself on a two-run home run, his eighteenth on the year. Hanley Ramirez then collected his second RBI of the game, scoring Andrew Benintendi from second on an infield single. This was a great play to watch, the awareness of Andrew Benintendi was off the charts, scoring from second on an INFIELD single. After that, the bats would go silent until the fifth, when Mitch Moreland scored on a Benintendi RBI single. The last run of the game crossed the plate in the sixth, when Moreland drove in Xander Bogaerts on his twenty-third double of the season, giving the Red Sox a 9-5 lead and securing the win.

Red Sox have won three in a row, Yankees have lost three in a row, so the lead in the division stands at two. Eduardo Rodriguez is on the bump today, and he’s looking to rebound from a rough start against the Royals.

60 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz pitches seven quality innings; #RedSox take series with 4-1 win.

After his awful start in Oakland and an argument with the manager, things weren’t looking all that great for Drew Pomeranz. Ever since he came here last July, it’s been a disappointing experience, riddled with mediocre and pretty bad starts. But, over his past two starts against the Rangers and White Sox, Pomeranz has looked like the guy that made the NL All Star team last season. The 28 year-old southpaw pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season Wednesday night, going a total of seven innings while scattering seven hits, surrendering one run, and striking out eight. Over his last two outings, Pomeranz has pitched 13 innings, given up 11 hits, 3 earned runs, only walked one batter, all while striking out 19 total batters. With a healthy David Price returning to the rotation along with this version of Drew Pomeranz, this rotation has the potential to be lethal, one of the best in baseball. The Red Sox bullpen didn’t need to do much last night, as Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel finished the White Sox off. Barnes got them in the eighth, and Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth, picking up his fifteenth save of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox bats couldn’t do anything against journeyman starter Mike Pelfrey Wednesday night. Through the first five innings, the Red Sox reached base a total of four times, that’s it. Apparently Pelfrey has awful numbers when he faces a lineup for a third time, so the White Sox took him out after five. That decision really benefited the Red Sox, as they scored all four of their runs in the sixth. After loading the bases with only one out, Josh Rutledge got his chance to give his team the lead. Unfortunately, he grounded out to short, but the double play was avoided thanks to Rutledge’s speed, and that tied the game at 1. Pablo Sandoval would be next, and he drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single. After getting the lead, Christian Vazquez almost immediately increased that lead, driving in Rutledge and Sandoval on a double to left center. That would conclude the scoring for the Red Sox in Chicago. I mean, it’s not all that encouraging that the Red Sox could only score in one inning, but I’ll take it, especially since they took two out of three from the White Sox.

Next up, the Orioles in Baltimore. Four games against a team that just had an awful May. ERod, Porcello, Price, and Sale are all expected to pitch, so I think 3 out of 4 would be a nice goal to reach.

29 down, ? to go.