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: Chris Sale Dazzles in Return from DL as #RedSox Complete Four-Game Sweep of Orioles in Three Days.

Less than 24 hours after sweeping the Orioles in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox were looking for the real four-game sweep this afternoon to head into an off day on a positive note.

Making his 23rd start of the season and first since July 27th due to a 10-day disabled list stint caused by left shoulder inflammation, Chris Sale picked off right where he left off and flat dominated at Camden Yards on Sunday.

Granted, it was against a last place Orioles team, but still, for not pitching in a big league game for over two weeks, Sale really did pick up right where he left off in this one.

Pitching five complete frames, the left-hander held Baltimore scoreless on one hit, a single, while not walking a single batter on the afternoon.

The most incredible part of this Sale start, at least for me, had to be the number of strikeouts.

As he faced 16 total Orioles through those five scoreless innings, Sale managed to punch out 12(!!!). 12! In five innings! That’s 80% of the outs he recorded. All done with just 68 pitches. Truly surreal.

Out of those 68 pitches thrown, 48 of which were strikes, the Florida native induced 15 total swings and misses on the day.while

Relying on his four-seam fastball 31 times, the seven-time All Star topped out at 99.7 MPH with it in the third inning. Another sign that Sale’s left shoulder is feeling quite fine.

Alex Cora made it clear following the game that Sale was going to be limited to 75 pitches no matter what happened. And given the fact he completed five innings in such a convincing fashion with those 68 pitches, it makes sense why they did not want to put him back out there only to have him not finish the sixth.

It’s also worth noting that this was the 29-year-old’s first in-game action this month, so easing him back into things isn’t such a bad plan either.

Regardless, Sale maintained the stellar form he has put on display time in and time out this season, and because of that, he increased his scoreless innings streak up to 28 dating back to July 6th.

Including today, Sale owns a nice 0.69 ERA over his last 10 starts with 109 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched over that span. He has not given up a home run in a start since the first day of June.

As he improved to 12-4 on the season, the lanky lefty will look to build on an impressive return to the rotation in his next time out, which should come sometime next week against either the Tampa Bay Rays or Cleveland Indians, depending on how the upcoming off days impact pitching matchups.

In relief of Sale, the Red bullpen was once gain turned to at a rather early spot starting in the sixth inning.

  • Tyler Thornburg entered in a 2-0 game and retired the first two batters he faced, but followed that up by loading the bases on a single and two walks in a frame he was unable to finish. Out of the 24 pitches Thornburg threw, 10 went for strikes. That is not good.
  • Ryan Brasier would have to come on and attempt to get out of the jam Thornburg had created, and he managed by getting Trey Mancini to strikeout in a nerve-wracking seven pitch at bat that ended the inning and left the bases juiced.
  • Brian Johnson, despite moving up to the rotation earlier in the week, got the call for the seventh, and he needed just 16 pitches to work his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise scoreless frame of work.
  • Matt Barnes’ August struggles continued in the eighth, as he allowed three of the first four Orioles he faced to reach and load the bases in a two-run game. Fortunately, after surrendering Baltimore’s lone run on a Trey Mancini sacrifice fly, the UCONN product buckled down and fanned Tim Beckham on four pitches to retire the side.
  • Finally, Craig Kimbrel came on for the save in the ninth with a brand new three run lead to work with. He too continued some recent struggles by allowing the tying run to come to the plate with runners on first and second, but struck out the final pair of Orioles hitters he faced to notch his 35th save and secure his team’s 85th win of 2018.

So, over the past three days/four games, Red Sox relievers has been responsible for 19.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen en route to the four-game sweep. Having two off days in the next four days will certainly come in handy to get those guys some rest.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles RHP Alex Cobb.

Despite the rough first year he has had in Baltimore, Cobb was certainly more reminiscent of his days with the Tampa Bay Rays in one of his better outings of the season on Sunday.

Starting the scoring right away in the top half of the first was none other than Steve Pearce, who greeted Cobb by mashing a solo shot to left field to give the Red Sox an early advantage. Yet another big fly off a former team for Pearce, his 10th of the year.

Fast forward to the fourth, and a leadoff double off the bat of Brock Holt would turn into Boston second’s run of the afternoon thanks to a fielding error in right field on a JD Martinez single. Despite Holt coming in to score on the E9 committed by Adam Jones, Martinez was not credited with an RBI on the play.

Five innings later and going into the ninth with a one-run lead, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts provided some late game insurance with a pair of RBI base knocks.

Bradley Jr. drove in Eduardo Nunez, who technically got the rally started with a leadoff single off of O’s reliever Mychal Givens, from second to make it a 3-1 game.

In the very next at bat, Mookie Betts, in a 2-0 hitter’s count, ripped an RBI double off of Givens to score Bradley Jr. all the way from first and extend his hitting streak to eight games.

4-1 on Betts’ 63rd RBI of the season, which would turn out to be the final score in favor of the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox’ 85 wins are their most ever through 120 games. They are 50 games above .500 for the first time since 1946.

Another one from @SoxNotes: Chris Sale has a 0.20 ERA in his last 7 starts (44.0 IP, 1 R). According to , that is the lowest ERA by a Red Sox pitcher over any 7-start span since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. In those 7 starts, Sale has 79 K and 6 BB.

At 85-35, the Red Sox will head to Philadelphia via train for a quick two-game set against the Phillies that begins on Tuesday.

Rick Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi will get the starting nod for Boston in those two interleague contests, as they will be matched up against RHPs Nick Pivetta and Vince Velazquez in that order.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET on Tuesday.

 

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: Five-Run Tenth Inning Rally in Toronto Leads #RedSox to 80th Win of Season.

Coming off a weekend in which they swept the New York Yankees in four games, the Red Sox headed north of the border to Toronto on the first leg of a three-city, nine game road trip looking to become the first team in the majors to reach 80 wins, which is exactly what happened on Tuesday.

Drew Pomeranz made his third start since returning from the 10-day disabled list on July 24th, and despite what the numbers say, was far from proficient in this one.

Pitching into the fifth inning, the lefty surrendered two earned runs on four hits, yet walked FIVE and only struck out one.

Those two runs came on swing of the bat from Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis, a one out, two-run home run in the third inning that put Toronto on the board first.

That may have been the only real damage Pomeranz sustained on the night, but it truly goes deeper than that.

The pitch count, velocity, and what appears to be a lack of motivation or confidence while on the mound all seem to be prevalent in Pomeranz’s case. Bottom line: it does not look like he wants to be there and he rarely ever gives his team a chance to win.

In total, the Tennessee native found himself behind in EIGHT three-ball counts, including the five free passes, which came at a pace of one per inning ending in the fifth.

All and all, it’s difficult to say Pomeranz did not give the Red Sox a chance to win this game, because he left with them trailing by just one run, but how he performed last night was far from encouraging.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (44 strikes), the 29 year-old hurler induced three total swings and misses. That is far from ideal, especially when you’re topping out at 91.8 MPH with your four-seam fastball in a game against big league hitters. Makes for an ugly outing, and Pomeranz may as well consider himself lucky for only giving up two runs.

With Chris Sale set to return from the disabled list this weekend in Baltimore, it will be interesting to see what becomes of the Red Sox rotation. Sale, Porcello, Price, and Eovaldi are all obvious locks. Then it comes down to two lefties: Brian Johnson, who starts on Wednesday, or Pomeranz? Who would you rather have as the fifth starter? My money is on BJ.

In relief of Pomeranz, the Red Sox bullpen certainly had themselves a night to forget starting in the middle of the seventh.

Heath Hembree rebounded from a rough appearance on Sunday night by retiring the only batter he faced in the fifth to make way for Brandon Workman in the sixth.

Despite loading the bases on the first three batters he faced, Workman escaped the frame scot-free with the help of some clutch defensive play from Sandy Leon to keep the Red Sox within one run.

From that point on, a combination of Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, Craig Kimbrel, and Tyler Thornburg surrendered five runs over the final four innings of last night’s contest.

Kelly’s run put Toronto up 3-1, Barnes’ run cut the Red Sox lead to 5-4, Kimbrel’s run, a Justin Smoak solo home run, resulted in a blown save and a 5-5 game heading into the tenth, and Thornburg’s two runs broke up the reliever’s streak of six straight scoreless appearances.

Fortunately, the ex-Brewer held things together, recorded the third and final out of the tenth, and locked down his team’s 80th win of the season with the 10-7 victory. Oddly enough, Craig Kimbrel was credited with the winning decision.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Toronto’s “ace” in right-hander Marcus Stroman.

Although he has not pitched much like an ace for the majority of this season, Stroman had his way with Boston on Tuesday.

Tossing seven innings of one run ball, with that lone run coming on a JD Martinez RBI single in the fourth, the thing that really killed the Red Sox while Stroman was on the mound had to be ground ball outs.

The Duke product induced 14 of them on the night, which also resulted in two double plays early on.

With his pitch count at 92, it looked like Stroman was ready for another frame of work in the eighth, but a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand forced his night to come to a close, and that’s where this game turned around in the right direction for Boston.

Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera took over for Stroman in the eighth with a two run lead to protect.

After Bruck Holt struck out to lead off the inning, a Sandy Leon double, Mookie Betts walk, and Andrew Benintendi single loaded the bases with Mitch Moreland due up.

On the second pitch he saw from Tepera, grounded a ball sharply to second base for the force out there, but Leon managed to score without a throw home to make it a 3-2 game with two outs for JD Martinez.

In a 2-0 hitter’s count with Betts at third and Moreland at first, Martinez launched a 95 MPH fastball over the wall in the left field corner for his league-leading 34th big fly and 97th RBI of the year. 5-3 game.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, that clutch home run would not amount to much a few minutes later when the Blue Jays stormed back to send this thing into extras tied at five runs a piece.

Starting the tenth with the 9-1-2 hitters due up and former Astros closer Ken Giles on the hill for the Blue Jays, Mookie Betts got a five-run rally started with a one out triple.

Two batters and one Andrew Benintendi walk later, Mitch Moreland came through with his 14th homer of the season, another three-run bomb sent 381 feet into the seats in right field to give the Red Sox a 8-5 lead.

After JD Martinez grounded out to short for the second out and Xander Bogaerts reached first on a single up the middle, Jackie Bradley Jr. really put this game out of reach with his ninth long ball of 2018 to put his team up 10-5, which, despite a last-ditch two run rally from the Jays in their half of the tenth, is all they would need to secure this series opening win.

Some notes from this win:

Over his last five appearances, Craig Kimbrel has allowed five runs to score in 5.1 innings pitched. According to @RedSoxStats: Kimbrel’s 3.32 FIP (fielding independent pitching) ranks 64th/157 qualified relievers this year.

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox are 80-34 (.702), their most wins ever through 114 games.

This is the first time since 2007 the Red Sox are MLB’s first team to reach 80 wins.

Since going 13-13 from April 21-May 18, the Sox are 50-19 (.725).

Boston is 24-5 (.828) in its last 29 games.

As is mentioned above, the Red Sox are 80-34 and the first team in baseball to reach that mark this season. Both statements are insane.

With a potential series win at hand later tonight, it will be a pitching matchup featuring Brian Johnson for Boston and rookie Mike Hauschild for Toronto.

Johnson is coming off an outing in which he got roughed up for five runs in five innings against the Yankees this past Thursday and owns a lifetime 7.47 ERA in five career appearances against the Blue Jays.

Hauschild, 28 and a right-hander, will be making his first career start in the majors after five career relief appearances between Houston and Toronto the past two seasons. As you may have guessed, he has never faced the Red Sox in his short stint in the big leagues.

Rafael Devers is expected to be activated from the 10-day disabled list today while infielder Tony Renda, who scored the game-winning run against the Yankees on Monday morning, will be optioned back down to Pawtucket.

Chris Sale, Ian Kinsler, and Blake Swihart are also expected to be activated from the DL in the coming days.

First pitch of the second game of the series in Toronto is scheduled for 7:07 PM ET Tuesday.

 

 

RECAP: Nathan Eovaldi Silents Former Club with Eight Shutout Innings as #RedSox Guarantee Series Win with 4-1 Victory over Yankees.

Nathan Eovaldi has been with the Red Sox for less than two weeks, yet he has already made a bit of a name for himself with his new club.

In his most recent start before today and first in a Red Sox uniform, Eovaldi tossed seven scoreless frames in a winning effort over the Minnesota Twins last Sunday.

Six days and one turn through the rotation later, it was more of the same for the right-hander on Sunday.

Lest we forget, Eovaldi was once a New York Yankee himself. He spent two seasons with the club, posted a 4.45 ERA in 51 total appearances (48 starts), and was released during the 2016 offseason.

How did that factor into Eovaldi’s Saturday? Well, to put it simply, he SILENCED his former team.

Making his 12th start of the season and pitching eight full innings, the Houston native scattered three hits and one walk to go along with four punch outs on the afternoon.

Starting right away in the first, Eovaldi appeared to send a message to the Yankees dugout after what happened the night before by throwing a 76 MPH curveball right by Giancarlo Stanton’s head.

Nothing came as a result of that pitch selection though, and Eovaldi ended up making Stanton look foolish in the same at bat.

With the help of two double plays in the first four innings, the ex-Ray ended up needing just 93 pitches (65 strikes) to pick up his second straight winning decision.

Out of those 93 pitches, Eovaldi relied on his fastball, four-seam and cutter, 73 times on Saturday and topped out at 100.4(!) MPH with the four-seamer in the eighth. He’ll look to build on this successful outing in his next start against the Baltimore Orioles sometime next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, Alex Cora, who was congratulated by Dustin Pedroia via text on his first ejection as a manager yesterday, had to turn to his bullpen for one lone inning to wrap this win up.

Having not made an appearance since last Sunday, Craig Kimbrel was the one who got that call for the ninth, and he had a four run lead to protect with three outs to get.

It certainly was no cakewalk, as the Yankees reached base four times and tacked on one run with two outs in the frame off of Kimbrel. But the Red Sox closer buckled down, got Greg Bird to fly out to center field for the third and final out, and secured his team’s 78th win of the season despite not picking up the save.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher who had never seen a Major League mound before Saturday in Yankees rookie Chance Adams.

Adams, 23 and ranked as New York’s 13th best prospect, was certainly not awful in his big league debut, but he was not phenomenal either.

Beginning in the first inning, Mitch Moreland greeted the Yankees’ newest hurler by launching a two-run home run 407 feet into the Red Sox bullpen. 2-0 game.

Three innings later, JD Martinez retook the league lead in homers with his 33rd big fly of the season, this one a 390 foot shot pulled by the Red Sox DH into the Monster seats in left field.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh now, with Adams out and AJ Cole in for New York.

With one out and runners on first and second, Sandy Leon provided some late game insurance with an RBI ground-rule double that was initially ruled foul, but was overturned to fair following a lengthy review.

Credit to Alex Cora and the Red Sox video room for challenging that.

Leon’s 20th run driven in of the season would score his team’s fourth and final run of the afternoon, which is all they would need in this one.

Some notes from this win: 

Two starts into his Red Sox tenure, Nathan Eovaldi has thrown 175 total pitches in 15 scoreless frames. That’s just under 12 pitches per inning.

From @SoxNotes: Nathan Eovaldi has allowed 0 runs in 15.0 innings since joining the Red Sox. The last pitcher to begin a Red Sox career with a scoreless streak that long—all as a starter—was Billy Rohr in 1967 (16.0 IP).

This is from last night, but still pretty cool regardless.

Two straight 4-1 wins, three straight wins over the Yankees overall, and a 8.5 game lead atop the American League East. That is some serious damage done if you ask me.

Going for the four-game sweep on ESPN tomorrow night, it will be David Price getting the ball for Boston.

Known for his struggles against New York, Price surrendered eight runs in 3.1 innings pitched at Yankee Stadium back on July 1st.

Going up against Price will be Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees, who owns a lifetime 4.18 ERA in 16 career starts against the Red Sox, with the most recent one coming on May 9th. An outing in which the righty gave up four runs on eight hits in less than six innings pitched. That was not a quality start.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET Sunday.

RECAP: Alex Cora Gets Ejected, Steve Pearce Homers Again, and Rick Porcello Tosses Complete Game as #RedSox Take Game Two from Yankees.

One night after taking the opening game of this series against the New York Yankees in blowout fashion on Thursday, the Red Sox were back at it again with another convincing win on Friday.

Rocking the red tops, as is tradition for Friday home games to kickoff the weekend, Rick Porcello had himself a night to remember in one of the biggest games of the season.

Making his 23rd start of the season, Porcello was the only Red Sox hurler to take the mound tonight. He made sure to see this win through to its completion.

Pitching nine full innings, the righty hit the very first batter he saw in Brett Gardner, which led to some drama a few moments later.

After Alex Cora got ejected in the bottom half of the first, which I’ll talk about more down below, Porcello went on to give up just one run on one hit in the final eight frames he appeared in.

That one run, a solo shot off the bat of Yankees’ DH Miguel Andujar on a 0-1 89 MPH changeup in the third, was just about the only mistake the New Jersey native made all evening.

To go along with the lone run, Porcello tied his season-high in strikeouts with nine and sat down the final 21 Yankees he faced to notch his 14th winning decision of the year.

Finishing with an efficient 86 pitches, 79% of which went for strikes, the 10-year veteran relied on his fastball, both two and four-seam, 46 times on the night and topped out at 93.3 MPH with his four-seamer in the second inning.

In two starts against New York at Fenway Park in 2018, the former Cy Young Award winner is 2-0 with zero earned runs in 16 total innings pitched.

He’ll look to build on this success in his next time out, which should come against the Blue Jays up north in Toronto sometime next week.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup may not have put up as many runs as they did on Thursday evening, but they took an early lead and would not have to look back in this win.

Facing off against one of the better pitchers in the American League in Luis Severino, who entered Friday with a 8.84 ERA in his last four starts, Mookie Betts set the tone right away even though he did not reach base.

After Brett Gardner was hit by a pitch in the Yankees half of the first, Severino more than likely retaliated by airing a 96 MPH fastball right by Betts’ head on his first pitch of the night.

Obviously, Mookie, along with the Red Sox dugout, did not take too kindly to that gesture, and Alex Cora ended up getting tossed as a result.

Once the dust settled from that incident and Andrew Benintendi ripped a one out ground-rule double, Steve Pearce, fresh off a three homer game on Thursday, continued to mash by launching ANOTHER home run, this one good for two to put his team’s first runs of the contest on the board.

Three batters later, after Ian Kinsler had singled and swiped second, Eduardo Nunez came through with his second RBI knock in as many days by hitting a bloop single to shallow center to drive in Kinsler from second.

Unfortunately, the newest member of the Red Sox would have to depart from this game with tightness in his left hamstring after he came up gimpy while crossing the plate.

Because of that injury, we did get to see Mookie Betts patrolling a second base, his “natural position”, for the first time since 2014 and made a nice play on the very first ball hit to him in the second.

Anyway, Mitch Moreland, who did not start this game but came in because of the Kinsler injury, wrapped up the scoring for the Red Sox in the fifth, as he drove in JD Martinez from second while collecting his 49th RBI of the season. That made it a 4-1 game and that would be the final score in a game that took two hours and 15 minutes to complete.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 77-34. They are 7.5 games up on the Yankees in the AL East. Talk about damage.

From @SoxNotes: Rick Porcello is the first Red Sox pitcher to allow 1 or 0 hits in a 9.0-inning complete game against the Yankees since Pedro Martinez did so on September 10, 1999.

Having already guaranteed a series split, Nathan Eovaldi gets the start tomorrow afternoon going for the series victory.

A former Yankee, Eovaldi spent two seasons (2015-16) rocking the pinstripes and has only started against New York once in his seven-year career.

He’ll be matched up against rookie Chance Adams for New York, who will be making his big league debut on the biggest stage possible on Saturday.

First pitch of the third game is scheduled for 4:05 PM ET.

 

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.