Darwinzon Hernandez Struggles in First Start, Alex Cora and Andrew Benintendi Get Tossed as Red Sox Fall Back to .500 in 9-5 Loss to Rangers

After blowing a late lead to open up a four-game series against the Texas Rangers on Monday, the Red Sox fell behind early Tuesday and could never really recover, as they dropped their third straight contest to fall back to .500 on the season in a 9-5 loss.

Making his first career start and second appearance for Boston was top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez, who was recalled from Double-A Pawtucket earlier Tuesday.

Last working as a reliever in his first stint with the club back in April, the left-hander surrendered four runs, three of which were earned, on three hits and five walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

Despite fanning 77% of the nine hitters he faced, control remained Hernandez’s biggest issue in this one, as it has been in his time with the Sea Dogs.

From the jump, the Venezuela native dazzled, punching out the side in the first while also leading off the second with his fourth K.

The trouble began with a one-out, seven-pitch walk of Hunter Pence, which was followed with a four-pitch walk of Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Rangers their first two baserunners.

Two pitches later, Rougned Odor drove in his team’s first run by ripping an RBI ground-rule double over Mookie Betts’ head in right field, which came at the benefit of the Red Sox with Cabrera being held up at third.

In the third, the free pass bit Hernandez yet again, this time with three of the first five Rangers hitters to come to the plate in the inning reaching base by way of the BB, loading the bases for Cabrera.

After falling behind 3-0 and battling back to fill the count, Cabrera ultimately won his second battle against the young southpaw, as he made it a 3-1 contest with a two-run single to center.

Hernandez would fan Odor for his seventh and final strikeout, and proceeded to allow the first two Rangers he faced to reach in the fourth with the help of a Rafael Devers fielding error before getting the hook from Sox manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (42 strikes), the 22-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 76% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing seven swings and misses while also topping out at 97.7 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

It’s never been a question about Hernandez’s stuff, that is certainly there. It’s the control that’s the issue, and for whatever reason, he just folded after recording the first out of the second inning.

Can’t say for sure that Hernandez will make another start, but if he does, it will most likely come against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

In relief of Hernandez, Colten Brewer came on in that fourth inning, yielded a six-pitch walk to the first man he saw to fill the bases, and officially closed the book on Hernandez’s first big league start by giving up a sacrifice fly to Danny Santana to make it a 4-3 game.

From there, after Brewer escaped the fourth with back-to-back punchouts, Bobby Poyner came on for his first appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, and he, at the very least, ate some innings.

To put it bluntly, the left-hander entered with his team trailing by one run, and left with them down by six, with those last two runs coming on a two-run inside-the-park home run off the bat of Hunter Pence that was just out of Brock Holt’s reach in the top half of the sixth.

And finally, Mike Shawaryn continued to impress out of the bullpen by fanning four Rangers in two perfect frames of relief to wrap up what was another underwhelming night from Red Sox pitching.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rangers right-hander Ariel Jurado, who had never pitched against Boston nor at Fenway Park before Tuesday.

Already down a run by the middle of the second, Xander Bogaerts answered back and got his side on the board by blasting his 13th home run of the season, this one a 422 foot shot over the Green Monster.

An inning later and trailing by a pair this time, Rafael Devers erased that deficit quickly, following by back-to-back two-out walks with a two-run triple off Jurado to break out of an 0-for-20 slump. He was stranded at third.

Fast forward to the bottom of the fifth, and some drama arose when Andrew Benintendi had a few choice words for home plate umpire Angel Hernandez following a groundout to short.

The thing was, Hernandez couldn’t hear Benintendi’s words, but first base umpire Vic Carapazza could, and without giving a warning, ejected the Red Sox outfielder as he was heading back towards his dugout.

That led to even more pandemonium, and ultimately resulted in Cora’s ejection and more colorful language from Benintendi.

Once all was settled, the Sox still trailed by three runs going into the sixth, and that deficit did not shrink.

A Michael Chavis leadoff double in the seventh off new Rangers reliever Jose LeClerc, followed by an RBI two-bagger from JD Martinez two outs later gave Boston their fourth run of the night.

And in the ninth, Mookie Betts swung at the very first pitch he saw from right-hander Chris Martin, and came away with his 11th dinger of the year, although it didn’t make much of a difference in what would go down as a 9-5 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox are 34-34 on the season and 5-6 in June.

Mike Shawaryn is averaging 16.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

JD Martinez’s last two games since returning from back spasms: 4-for-7, two doubles, one run scored, one RBI.

Andrew Benintendi on his ejection:

Alex Cora on his:

Brock Holt, who was in right field because of the Benintendi ejection, on what happened on the inside-the-park homer:

It was a bizarre night, really. Both managers got ejected, the Red Sox didn’t use one pitcher who appeared in a big league game before the start of the 2018 season, and Mookie Betts had himself a rough time of things in center field.

Next up for the Sox, it’s the third game of this four-game set, which was moved up three hours from its original start time because of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Right-hander Rick Porcello, will be getting the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Lance Lynn will be doing the same for Texas.

In his career against the Rangers, Porcello (4-6, 4.86 ERA) owns a lifetime 5.16 ERA over 12 prior starts and 68 total innings pitched.

Lynn (7-4, 4.39 ERA), meanwhile, has posted a career 2.40 ERA in three previous appearances (two starts) and 15 innings of work at Fenway Park.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 4:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox need to wake up.

 

 

 

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Red Sox Recall Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez from Double-A Portland, Place Ryan Brasier on Bereavement List

Prior to their second of four games against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, the Red Sox placed right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier on the bereavement/family medical emergency list and recalled left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez from Double-A Portland in a corresponding move. The club made the transaction official earlier Tuesday.

Now up with Boston for the third time this season, Hernandez will make his first career big league start Tuesday after only being used out of the bullpen in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers back in April, where he tossed 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Ranked as the organization’s top pitching prospect, the 22-year-old has not had an easy time of things with the Sea Dogs this year, as he has posted a 5.13 ERA in 10 outings (nine starts) and 40 1/3 total innings pitched to go along with 59 strikeouts and 32 walks. That’s good for a K/9 of 13.2 and a BB/9 of 7.2. He is also holding opposing hitters to a .217 batting average against.

As the above tweet indicates, control has been Hernandez’s biggest issue. How he fares against major league hitters multiple times through the order should be interesting to see.

Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox line up on Tuesday against Texas. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT.

#RedSox Recall Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez from Double-A Portland, Option Colten Brewer to Triple-A Pawtucket

Before taking on the Houston Astros for the last time this regular season, the Red Sox have recalled top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez from Double-A Portland while also optioning right-handed reliever Colten Brewer to Triple-A Pawtucket in a corresponding move. The club made the roster move official earlier Sunday morning.

This will mark Hernandez’s second stint with the Red Sox, with the first coming back on April 23rd where the left-hander worked 2.1 scoreless innings of relief serving as the club’s 26th man in the second game of a day-night doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.

Ranked as Boston’s fourth-best prospect overall per MLB.com, the 22-year-old has posted a 4.65 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) and 31 innings pitched with the Sea Dogs so far in 2019. He also owns a K/9 of 12.8 while holding opposing hitters to a .202 clip.

As MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo notes, Hernandez’s stay with the Sox might be short-lived with utilitu man Brock Holt due to be activated from the 10-day injured list on Monday.

Brewer, meanwhile, will head to the PawSox after making his first big league Opening Day roster with Boston back in March.

Acquired from the San Diego Padres last November, the 26-year-old hurler has posted a 5.32 ERA over 20 games and 22 innings pitched so far this season, including 2.1 scoreless frames of relief Saturday against the Astros.

Eduardo Rodriguez is set to start for the Red Sox Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 PM EDT on NESN.

Top #RedSox Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez Racks up Career-High 11 Strikeouts for Double-A Portland

While the the Red Sox were enjoying an off day on Thursday, the club’s top pitching prospect, Darwinzon Hernandez, put together a career night in his start for Double-A Portland.

Making his sixth start of the season for the Sea Dogs, the left-hander surrendered four runs, three of which were earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with a career-best 11 strikeouts over a career-best seven innings of work against the Reading Fightin Phils Thursday.

Outside of a rough third inning in which all four of those initial Reading runs came around to score, Hernandez did not yield a single hit from the first until the start of the middle of the third, and then again from the middle of the fourth until the conclusion of his seventh and final frame.

In that seventh inning, the 23-year-old hurler capped off his outing on a high note by fanning four Fightin Phils thanks to a wild pitch that allowed one hitter to reach first on his own part.

The Sea Dogs eventually dropped this contest by a final score of 8-2, and Hernandez was thus hit with his third losing decision of the year.

Ranked as Boston’s third-best prospect overall, we have already gotten a sneak peek of what Hernandez could bring to the table at the big league level earlier last month, where in the second of a day-night doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers, the southpaw scattered four hits and one walk while punching out four over 2.1 innings of relief.

He served as the club’s 26th man for the second game of that doubleheader, and was sent back to Double-A Portland right after.

Through the six starts made with the Sea Dogs in 2019, Hernandez has posted an ERA of 4.10 and a batting average against of .198 in addition to 36 strikeouts and 21 free passes over 26.1 total innings of work.

Out of spring training, the plan was to let the Venezuela native develop as a starting pitcher rather than rush him up in a relief role, both of which he has experience in.

As of now, I would say the Red Sox are sticking to this plan, so don’t expect to see Hernandez up in Boston anytime soon barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez Optioned to Double-A Portland in Third Round of #RedSox Roster Cuts

With Opening Day just five days away, the Red Sox made their third round of roster cuts on Saturday, reassigning two players to minor league camp and optioning three to the minors.

Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and catcher Juan Centeno, both non-roster invites this spring, were the two reassigned to minor league camp. They will, however, remain with the big league club before they head off to Seattle.

Hernandez, 31, slashed .244/.279/.415 with two home runs and five RBI in 43 plate appearances this spring, while Centeno, 29, slashed .294/.368/.294 with three RBI in just 19 plate appearances. Both figure to start the 2019 season with Triple-A Pawtucket.

On the other side of things, the two surprising additions to Boston’s 2018 Opening Day roster did not make the club out of the gate this year, as left-hander Bobby Poyner and right-hander Marcus Walden were both optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Poyner, who is technically still a rookie, surrendered seven earned runs on 10 hits and three walks to go along with eight strikeouts over seven appearances and 9.2 total innings of work this spring.

Walden, meanwhile, had a much better time of things in his second spring with Boston, as he allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits, four walks, and 13 strikeouts over seven appearances (one start) and 12.2 innings.

And finally, top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez was optioned to Double-A Portland.

The 22-year-old southpaw really impressed this spring, posting a miniscule 0.82 ERA over six outings (two starts) and 11 frames pitched.

Despite the rumblings that Hernandez could potentially make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster as reliever, the club ultimately made the decision not to rush things.

Now, the native of Venezuela will have the chance to develop more while in Portland as a starter, presumably.

Following Saturday’s transactions, the Red Sox’ active roster now stands at 30 players.

PITCHERS (13): Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Nathan Eovaldi, Heath Hembree, Brian Johnson, Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Tyler Thornburg, Hector Velázquez, Brandon Workman

CATCHERS (3): Sandy León, Blake Swihart, Christian Vázquez

INFIELDERS (10): Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Marco Hernández, Brock Holt, Tzu-Wei Lin, Mitch Moreland, Eduardo Núñez, Steve Pearce, Dustin Pedroia, Sam Travis

OUTFIELDERS (4): Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez

Assuming that Hernandez and Pedroia start the season on the injured list, while Lin and Travis are optioned, and Leon is either traded or designated for assignment, the Red Sox’ 25-man Opening Day roster is essentially set.

Chris Sale Fans Seven and Mookie Betts Homers as #RedSox Bounce Back with 6-1 Victory over Braves

The Red Sox improved to 7-13-1 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday afternoon following a 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at JetBlue Park, marking their first win since March 5th.

After tossing three innings in a minor league contest this past Monday, Chris Sale finally made his 2019 Grapefruit League debut in this one.

With a pitch limit set at no more than 65, the ace left-hander held Atlanta scoreless while scattering two hits and striking out seven, five of which came consecutively, in four quality frames of work. He did not walk a single batter.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 50 before heading out to finish his day in the Red Sox bullpen, Sale topped out at 93 MPH with his fastball and also mixed in a fair amount of changeups and sliders.

From the beginning of the fifth inning on, we got a significant glimpse at what could potentially be the back-end of the Red Sox bullpen in 2019, as Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Tyler Thornburg, and Darwinzon Hernandez combined to surrender only one run on five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over the final five innings on Saturday.

Like Sale, Brasier also made his 2019 Grapefruit League debut against the Braves.

Previously dealing with a toe infection earlier in the spring, the 2018 standout reliever struck out one while also allowing that lone Atlanta run to cross the plate in their half of the sixth.

Thornburg, meanwhile, finally put together his first shutout performance of the year, as he retired three of the four hitters he faced in a solid seventh inning of relief.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Braves number-two prospect Kyle Wright to start things off on Saturday.

As he typically does, Mookie Betts got the scoring started for Boston by lacing a one out first inning single off Wright.

One Mitch Moreland double later, and JD Martinez collected his first RBI of the spring on a sac-fly to right.

That plated Betts and advanced Moreland to third, who would then come around to score himself on an RBI double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts to give the Red Sox an early two-run advantage.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Betts struck again by blasting his first home run of the year off Braves reliever Shane Carle, a monumental solo shot over the JetBlue Park Green Monster.

An inning later, Brock Holt would turn out to be the catalyst of a three-run frame for Boston by drawing a leadoff walk off Luke Jackson.

Two back-to-back RBI doubles from Eduardo Nunez and Jackie Bradley Jr. later, the Red sox found themselves up 5-1.

After stealing third, Bradley would come in to score on a Chad De La Guerra sacrifice fly, which would plate the club’s sixth and final run of the day, as 6-1 would go on to be your final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

Eduardo Nunez had himself a nice day at the plate with that RBI double. He also flashed the leather at third on a hard-hit ground ball from Adam Duvall in the fourth inning.

Darwinzon Hernandez, who was responsible for the final two innings on Saturday, briefly received a visit from Alex Cora and a trainer in the eighth, but remained in the game to close things out.

In his third game back, Dustin Pedroia went 0/3 out of the leadoff spot. He started the first five innings at second base.

Next up for the Red Sox, it will be some split-squad action against both the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

One group will remain in Fort Myers to host the Rays with David Price slated to start, while the other group will head to Bradenton to face the Pirates, with Marcus Walden getting the start there.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon is listed as Sunday’s starter for Pittsburgh, while Tampa Bay will be going with lefty Ryan Merritt.

First pitch for both contests is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT. NESN has the Rays game covered.

Also, here’s what Red Sox manager Alex Cora said following Saturday’s win:

David Price Fans Four in Spring Debut as #RedSox Drop Sixth Straight

After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox fell to 6-11 in Grapefruit League play on Tuesday following a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers at JetBlue Park, marking their sixth straight defeat.

Like Rick Porcello did on Sunday, 2018 postseason hero David Price made his 2019 debut in this one, getting the start against one of his former teams.

Working the first three innings, the left-hander surrendered two runs on a pair of hits and walks to go along with four strikeouts in his first in-game action of the spring.

Both of those Detroit runs came in the top of the third, when with two outs and a runner on first, ex-Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer blasted his second home run of the spring to give his new club a two-run advantage.

Other than that one blunder, it was relatively smooth sailing for Price, as he faced three over the minimum nine hitters.

In relief of Price, Matt Barnes, Bobby Poyner, Darwinzon Hernandez, Marcus Walden, Erasmo Ramirez, and Jenrry Mejia combined to give up an additional two runs on three hits, six walks, one HBP, and six strikeouts over the final six frames.

Barnes, who looks poised to be Boston’s closer to start out the 2019 campaign, bounced back from a rough spring debut Saturday and escaped a fourth inning bases loaded jam while holding Detroit scoreless on Tuesday.

Hernandez, meanwhile, had his scoreless appearances streak come to an end in this one, as he allowed Daz Cameron to score on a Kody Eaves two out RBI double in the sixth.

Finally, to close things out, Mejia sat down all but one of the four Detroit hitters he faced in a shutout ninth inning to keep Boston’s deficit at three.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup, which featured the likes of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, Dustin Pedroia, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Christian Vazquez was held in check yet again.

Matched up against Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris to start things off, Boston was limited to just three runs on the day, which is actually the most they have scored in a game since last Tuesday.

In fact, all three of those runs were plated in the Red Sox’ half of the ninth.

CJ Chatham got the late rally started by drawing a leadoff walk against Tigers reliever Kyle Funkhouser, who then proceeded to hit Sam Travis with a pitch to put runners on first and second.

Mike Miller followed that up by driving in Chatham on an RBI single up the middle, which in turn led to a Detroit pitching change.

With Jose Manuel Fernandez now on the mound for Detroit and one out in the inning, Blake Swihart pulled his club one run closer by lacing an RBI double left to score Travis and advance Miller to third, who would then come around to plate the third run of the frame on a Gorkys Hernandez RBI groundout.

Unfortunately, a Bryce Brentz strikeout would put an end to any potential comeback effort, and 4-3 would be your final score on Tuesday in favor of Detroit.

Some notes from this loss:

When asked about Price’s outing, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “David looked excellent. Velocity. Command. Presence on the mound.”

When asked about it himself, Price responded with a bit of self-criticism.

“To be honest, that homer is not what bothers me the most,” the southpaw said following his start. “It’s the two two-out walks that I had. Gave up that homer and then went 2-0 on the next hitter and then was able to bounce back and throw quality strikes and get that third out. First time back out there in however many months, I’m okay with it.”

On the field, Dustin Pedroia went 1/2 with a single in his second game back, while Blake Swihart accounted for Boston’s lone extra-base hit on Tuesday with that ninth inning RBI two-bagger.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the Minnesota Twins at JetBlue Park on Wednesday in the fifth installment of the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

Right-hander Jose Berrios will be getting the ball for Minnesota, while fellow righty Nathan Eovaldi will be making his 2019 debut as well as his first ever Grapefruit League start for Boston.

Looking to put an end to this six-game skid, first pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:05 ET at JetBlue. This game will not be televised.