Chris Sale Fans 12 over Six Innings, Rafael Devers Homers Again as Red Sox Take Series from Blue Jays with 5-0 Win

After yet again barely holding on to take a one-run contest over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night, the Red Sox wrapped up their seven-game homestand Thursday with a 5-0 victory over their divisional foes to improve to 53-44 on the season.

Making his 20th start of the season and fourth against the Blue Jays for Boston in this series finale was Chris Sale, who entered Thursday having allowed 14 runs (13 earned) over 14 2/3 innings in the previous three.

Turning things around for the better this time out, the left-hander tossed six scoreless frames, scattering just two hits and two walks to go along with 12 strikeouts on the afternoon.

Right from the jump, it appeared that Sale was on his game, as he punched out the side in order in a 17-pith top of the first.

The most trouble the Florida native ran into came in the top half of the fifth, when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led things off by drawing a four-pitch walk and Brandon Drury advanced him to second on a two-out single three at-bats later.

Fortunately for Boston, Sale was able to reach back and fan Freddy Galvis on a 2-2, 96.7 MPH four-seam fastball to escape the jam.

Other than that bit of stress, Sale retired 18 of the 22 Blue Jays hitters he faced in total and capped off his stellar performance by getting Justin Smoak to softly ground out to short to put an end to the top of the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (67 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seamer nearly 37% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 96.7 MPH with the pitch. He also induced a game-high eight whiffs with his slider, a pitch thrown eight times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

At long last, Sale’s streak of consecutive home starts without a win is over, as the lefty picked up his first victory at Fenway Park since July 11th of last year to improve to 4-9 on the 2019 season.

Lowering his ERA down to 4.05 on the season in the process of doing so, Sale’s next start should come Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

In relief of Sale, Marcus Walden came on in the seventh with a four-run lead to protect, and he did just that, working his way around a leadoff HBP by inducing a 6-4-3 inning-edning double play and twirling a 1-2-3 eighth.

Finally, in his second appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on July 16th, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez fanned a pair in a scoreless ninth inning to secure the shutout win for his side.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Blue Jays left-hander Thomas Pannone, a native of Rhode Island who had faced the Sox twice this season before Thursday and had given up four runs across those appearances.

Pannone held his own for the most part to begin things in this one, limiting the Boston bats to just two hits over the first four innings.

It wasn’t until Sam Travis reached base on a one-out double in the bottom half of the fifth when the scoring started.

That being the case because. two pitches later, Sandy Leon got the Sox on the board with an RBI single back up the middle off a 1-0, 80 MPH changeup from Pannone.

A hard–fought walk drawn by Mookie Betts put runners at first and second for Rafael Devers, who came through in the prime run-scoring spot by mashing his 19th home run of the season, a 417-foot shot that had an estimated exit velocity of 109.8 MPH off the bat, per Statcast.

That blast put Boston ahead 4-0 and ultimately chased Pannone from this contest.

Fast forward to the seventh, and Mookie Betts essentially put this game on ice, greeting new Blue Jays reliever with a 418-foot solo shot to lead off the inning.

Betts’ 14th big fly of 2019 gave the Red Sox the 5-0 advantage, and that would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From MLB Stats:

Red Sox’ 1-2-3 hitters (Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts) on Thursday: 5-for-11 with two home runs, three runs scored, and four RBI.

Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts extended their hitting streaks to 10 games on Thurday. Over that span, Betts has scored 14 runs, while Bogaerts has recorded multiple hits in his last five games.

Rafael Devers in July: .345/.419/.782 with seven home runs and 23 RBI.

Darwinzon Hernandez on Thursday: 12 pitches, eight strikes, five swings and misses, and topped out at 97.1 MPH with his four-seam fastball.

So, the Red Sox end their seven-game homestand by taking three of four from the Blue Jays. Next up, they head out for a two-city, six-game road trip before welcoming the New York Yankees into town for the first time this season.

The first stop of the road trip is Baltimore, where left-hander David Price will get the start in the opener for Boston, and fellow southpaw John Means will do the same for Baltimore.

It will be Price’s first start since all that Dennis Eckersley drama resurfaced on Wednesday, but I can’t imagine that will serve as any sort of distraction for him.

In his only start against the O’s this season back on April 14th, the 33-year-old tossed a seven-inning shutout while striking out seven to earn the win.

Over 12 career outings at Camden Yards, Price owns a lifetime 2.72 ERA and .237 batting average against in 76 total innings of work.

Means, meanwhile, was selected to be Baltimore’s lone representative in the 2019 All-Star Game.

Through 19 appearances (15 starts) this season, the 26-year-old has posted an impressive 2.94 ERA and .227 batting average against despite surrendering six earned runs over six innings in his last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Three of those starts have come against the Sox, where Means is 1-2 with a 2.12 ERA over 17 total innings pitched. The Orioles are 1-2 in those games.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight win.

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Red Sox Crumble Late, Fail to Pick up Series Win in Grueling 12-Inning Loss to Dodgers

In a game that took nearly six hours and 12 innings to complete, the Red Sox failed to pick up the series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night/Monday morning, falling to the team with the best record in the National League by a final score of 7-4 to mark their second consecutive defeat.

Making his 17th start of the season for Boston was David Price, who entered the weekend having given up three or fewer runs in four consecutive outings.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the left-hander surrendered four runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits, three walks, and one HBP to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first three of those four Dodgers runs came right away in the top half of the first, when with two outs and runners on first and second following a leadoff walk drawn by Chris Taylor and fielding error committed by Xander Bogaerts on a Justin Turner grounder, A.J. Pollock put his team on the board by punishing a 1-1, 94 MPH two-seam fastball from Price and sending it 326 feet down the right field line to make it a 3-0 contest early.

From there, Price settled in a bit and sat down 11 of the next 15 hitters he faced before running into more trouble in the fifth, where a pair of doubles from David Freese with one out and Pollock with two outs widened Los Angeles’ advantage from one to two runs at 4-2.

A nine-pitch punchout of Max Muncy to retire the side in the fifth would be how Price’s outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 113 (75 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his two-seamer nearly 33% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing two swings and misses with it. He also topped out at 94.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch thrown 33 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season dropped down to 3.16 despite the four-run performance, Price’s next start should come this Friday against the Orioles in Baltimore. How he responds from this so-so outing will be something to watch for then.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen put together a solid collective effort, with Josh Taylor tossing a scoreless sixth inning, Colten Brewer a scoreless seventh, Ryan Brasier a 1-2-3 eighth, Brandon Workman a scoreless ninth to preserve the fresh 4-4 tie, Matt Barnes a two-strikeout, shutout 10th, and Heath Hembree working his way around a hit, a walk, and a HBP in a scoreless 11th thanks to Andrew Benintendi nabbing Alex Verdugo at home for the final out of the frame.

The 12th is where things got dicey for Boston, as they were down to either Marcus Walden or Hector Velazquez out of the ‘pen.

So, in came Velazquez for the third straight night, and that showed considering how the right-hander walked pinch-hitter Joc Pederson to lead off the inning, allowed Cody Bellinger to reach safely on an interference error committed by himself, and loaded the bases with no outs on a Pollock single to left.

A five-pitch, bases-loaded free pass to Max Muncy brought in the go-ahead run for the Dodgers, and a one-out RBI single from Verdugo, as well as Russell Martin grounding into a run-scoring force out at second, gave Los Angeles a 7-4 lead, which would turn out to be all they would need in this one.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Dodgers left-hander and 2019 All-Star Game starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, who came into Sunday with the lowest ERA among qualifiers in all the NL at 1.73 on the season.

Andrew Benintendi kicked off the scoring for Boston against Ryu with a two-out, bases-loaded RBI single in the first, plating Mookie Betts from third and also consequently Xander Bogaerts from second due to an error by Chris Taylor on the throw over from short. That cut Los Angeles’ lead down to one run at 3-2.

In the fifth, a two-out single off the bat of Rafael Devers and six-pitch walk drawn by Bogaerts to follow it gave the Sox another golden scoring chance, but nothing came of it with J.D. Martinez ripping a single to left and Verdugo gunning down Devers at the plate to keep it at a 4-2 contest.

Fast forward to the eighth, with Ryu out and right-handed reliever Pedro Baez in for the Dodgers, Bogaerts struck again, this time staying red-hot with his third home run of the series and 20th of the season. This one a 352-foot, opposite field bomb off a 1-1, 95 MPH heater from Baez.

Just two pitches later, J.D. Martinez came through in the clutch with his 19th big fly of the year, a 402-foot shot hit deep to center off a 1-0, 88 MPH slider to knot this contest up at four runs apiece.

Baez did recover by striking out the side after that, but the Sox had the opportunity to win this thing in the ninth with Jackie Bradley Jr. drawing a leadoff free pass against left-hander Zac Rosscup.

A pinch-hitting Marco Hernandez laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt against new Dodgers hurler Yimi Garcia to advance Bradley Jr. into scoring position, and an intentional walk of Betts brought Devers to the plate against the vaunted Kenley Jansen.

Neither Devers nor Bogaerts could do anything against the Dodgers closer though, and this one headed into extras.

There, in the 10th, Christian Vazquez reached base on a one-out walk, successfully stole second, but could not be driven in.

In the 11th, the same situation that occured two innings prior essentially presented itself again, with Bradley Jr. lacing a leadoff double off of righty Dylan Floro, meaning the winning run was only 180 feet away from scoring.

Rather than laying down another potential sacrifice bunt, Hernandez instead grounded into a fielder’s choice, resulting in Bradley Jr. being tagged out at third.

So, instead of having the go-ahead run at third with just one out for Betts, the reigning AL MVP came to the plate with one out and a runner at first. He could not advance him.

An intentional walk of Devers and infield single off the bat of Bogaerts moved the winning tally in the form of Hernandez to third, but Martinez, despite his earlier efforts, grounded into a simple force out at second to end the threat.

Finally, in the 12th, after falling behind by three yet again, the Sox did manage to get the tying run on deck thanks to Vazquez reaching on a walk to lead off the inning.

Benintendi fanned for the first out of the frame, and in came Joe Kelly for the save against his former club.

The flame throwing right-hander did just that, notching save number one in a Dodgers uniform by punching out Holt and Bradley Jr. in consecutive order to wrap up a disappointing 7-4 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox with runners in scoring position on Sunday: 5-for-14. They left 13 men on base as a team.

Xander Bogaerts this weekend: 6-for-12 with three homers and six RBI.

With the loss Sunday night, the Red Sox have fallen to 10 games off the pace for first place in the American League East.

Next up for the Red Sox, they welcome the 35-59 Toronto Blue Jays into town for a four-game series.

 

 

Chris Sale Fails to Get Through Five Innings, Falls to 3-9 on Season as Red Sox Get Blown out by Dodgers

After opening up an important three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a convincing 8-1 victory on Friday, the Red Sox fell back to earth less than 24 hours later, falling to the reigning National League champions by a final score of 11-2 on Saturday to snap a five-game winning streak.

Making his 19th start of the season for Boston was Chris Sale, who entered Saturday having given up four or more runs in all of his last three outings.

Working into just the fifth inning this time around, the left-hander yielded another five runs, all of which were earned, on seven hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first of those five Dodgers runs came right away in the first, when a leadoff walk of Chris Taylor came back to bite Sale on a two-out, RBI single off the bat of A.J. Pollock put the Red Sox in an early hole.

Following a second inning in which he retired the side in order, Dodgers third baseman widened the gap even further by taking Sale deep to left on a one-out, first-pitch, 91 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate, making it a 2-0 game.

Again, the Florida native recovered nicely, sitting down four of the next hitters he faced before ultimately meeting his doom in the top half of the fifth.

There, a leadoff single from Kike Hernandez and an Austin Barnes HBP put runners at first and second with one out for Turner.

This time, on a 2-2 slider from Sale, Turner ripped a line-drive double to left, plating Hernandez and moving Barnes up to third.

A brief mound visit made no difference in the next at-bat, as David Freese followed suit with another run-scoring two bagger to left, this one scoring both Barnes and Hernandez to put the Dodgers up 5-1.

Sale remained in and got Cody Bellinger to line out to right for the second out of the frame, but his disappointing evening would come to a close right after that.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (57 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 96.7 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Falling to 3-9 on the year with his ERA inflating up to 4.27, the last few weeks have clearly been a difficult time for Sale. It’s not a Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon problem. It’s a Chris Sale problem, and that falls on the Red Sox’ coaching staff, per manager Alex Cora.

Sale’s next start should come against the Toronto Blue Jays next Thursday, a team that has given him plenty of trouble so far this season.

In relief of Sale, Heath Hembree came on with a runner on second and one out to get, and he did just that by punching out Max Muncy on five pitches after plunking Pollock.

From there, Colten Brewer worked his way around a pair of walks in a scoreless sixth, and Steven Wright served up back-to-back one-out solo jacks to Bellinger and Pollock in the seventh before taking a comebacker off his foot on a Muncy comebacker.

Marcus Walden entered in place of Wright, and he officially closed the book on the knuckleballer’s outing by getting Corey Seager to ground out to Christian Vazquez at first, but in his first ever start at first, Vazquez made the mistake of trying to lead Rafael Devers with a throw across the field which got through to shallow left and allowed Muncy to score all the way from first.

Walden also surrendered a run of his own by walking Hernandez with two outs and giving up an RBI triple to Barnes, which should have been caught by Andrew Benintendi in the first place.

It was not, however, and the Dodgers went up 9-2 because of it.

Ryan Brasier allowed a run on a Bellinger sacrifice fly in his lone inning of work in the eighth, and Hector Velazquez got taken deep by Muncy to lead off the ninth in an otherwise scoreless frame. That Muncy homer gave Los Angeles an 11-2 advantage.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against right-hander Ross Stripling, who has worked both out of the rotation and bullpen for the Dodgers this season.

Starting the scoring for Boston Saturday was Xander Bogaerts, picking up right where he left off on Friday by blasting his 19th big fly of the year 386 feet off the left-most light tower in left field to tie this contest back up at one run apiece.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Stripling done and old friend Joe Kelly in for the Dodgers, Bogaerts struck again, driving in Mookie Betts from third on another one-out knock, this one an RBI single to right field to pull his team back to within three runs.

A six-pitch walk drawn by Andrew Benintendi and wild pitch from Kelly put runners in scoring position with two outs for Christian Vazquez, but the former Red Sox flame thrower won the battle, fanning his old battery mate on a 3-2, 98.4 MPH heater to end the threat.

That was all the offense the Sox could muster, as they went 0-for-their-last-9 over the final three innings, and this one concluded with a final score of 11-2.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox are 44-29 in games not started by Chris Sale this season.

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Since June 21st, Sale is 0-2 with an ERA of 7.59 over his last four starts. He has not won a decision at Fenway Park since July 11th, 2018.

The Red Sox’ 4-6 hitters (J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Christian Vazquez) on Saturday: 0-for-11 with one walk and five strikeouts.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the series finale of this World Series rematch on Sunday night.

Left-hander David Price will get the start for Boston, while fellow southpaw and National League All-Star Game starter Hyun-Jin Ryu will do the same for Los Angeles.

Holding opponents to a .233 batting average against over his last four starts going back to that meltdown against the Texas Rangers, Price enters Sunday with a rotation-best 3.24 ERA on the 2019 season.

In two prior career starts against the Dodgers, Price owns a lifetime 2.25 ERA over a small 12 inning sample size.

Ryu, meanwhile, currently owns the lowest ERA in the National League at 1.73 through 17 starts on the year.

The 32-year-old got the start for Los Angeles in Game 2 of the 2018 Fall Classic, where he allowed four runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings and eventually took the loss. That’s the only experience he has at Fenway Park.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on ESPN. Red Sox going for the series win.

 

Red Sox Reportedly ‘Casting Wide Net’ in Search of Adding Starting Pitcher Before Trade Deadline

The Red Sox are reportedly ‘pushing’ to add a starting pitcher, and they are looking to do it ‘sooner rather than later,’ according to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

This report comes less than a week after Sox manager Alex Cora announced that right-hander Nathan Eovaldi would be moving to the bullpen once he is activated off the injured list in the coming weeks.

With that impending move to the ‘pen, Eovaldi’s spot in the rotation, which had been occupied by the likes of Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez, Ryan Weber, and so on, became more of a pressing area of improvement for Boston.

Per ESPN.com, the Red Sox’ rotation owns an ERA of 4.70 and batting average against of .257, the seventh and eighth best in the American League, respectively.

Last Friday, when speaking with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said, “We built our ballclub for (the starting rotation) to be our strong suit. I don’t think it’s been what we expected or hoped.”

Dombrowski also added that, “They’re a very talented group of pitchers…They’re the guys who are supposed to carry us, really. That’s why I think they’ve been fine. They’ve been okay. But I can’t say they’ve really carried us at any point.”

Names the Red Sox could pursue in trade talks include San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner and Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, although they are more of the premium targets.

Detroit Tigers southpaw Matthew Boyd and Texas Rangers left-hander Mike Minor, two hurlers Boston was scouting late last month, could be made available as well, but it has been reported that Boyd has a high asking price, while the Rangers remain in contention for a wild card spot.

The situation the Red Sox are in reminds me of what happened last season right before the club acquired Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays. All the speculation pointed to the Sox pursuing a reliever like Zach Britton to bolster their bullpen, but they went out and traded for a starter instead.

We’ll just have to wait and see what Dombrowski has in mind leading into the July 31st trade deadline, and how said plans could affect any luxury tax implications.

Christian Vazquez Blasts 14th Homer, David Price Goes Five Strong as Red Sox Finish off Sweep of Tigers and Head into All-Star Break Winners of Four Straight

After another rain-filled 10-6 win over the Tigers on Saturday, the Red Sox completed the three-game sweep and wrapped up the first half of their season with a 6-1 victory in Detroit on Sunday to improve to 49-41 on the year.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston to cap off the weekend was David Price, who entered the day with a 2.65 ERA over his last three outings dating back to June 18th.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the left-hander yielded just one earned run on four hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the afternoon.

That one Detroit run came right away in the bottom half of the first, when after walking the leadoff man in Victor Reyes, the one-time Tiger gave up an RBI double to former teammate Nicholas Castellanos on a 1-0, 83 MPH changeup.

Other than that one blip and despite putting his team in an early hole, Price recovered nicely, retiring 15 of the next 19 hitters he faced leading to the end of the sixth, which is the point where his outing came to a close due to a high pitch count.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (66 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 35% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing a pair of swings and misses and topping out at 93.8 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Able to pick up his seventh winning decision to reach 150 wins for his career while also lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.24, Price’s first half numbers look like this: 7-2, 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 83 1/3 innings pitched, 95 punchouts.

In relief of Price, left-hander Josh Taylor came on with a four-run lead to protect, and he racked up four strikeouts over two perfect frames of work, making way for Ryan Brasier in the eighth.

There, Brasier could not get through the inning, as he served up a two-out, two-run home run to Brandon Dixon, cutting Boston’s advantage down to three before walking his second man and getting the hook in favor of Brandon Workman.

Workman escaped the potential jam, leaving the tying run on deck and retiring the side by getting Niko Goodrum to ground out to Michael Chavis at first.

Finally, in the ninth, Heath Hembree maneuvered his way around a one-out John Hicks single and notched his second save of the season with an eight-pitch strikeout of Reyes.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against left-hander Gregory Soto, who was last used as a reliever for Detroit in the first game of this series on Friday.

Serving as the opener in this one, the Boston bats got to Soto beginning in the top half of the second inning, when after falling behind one early, Christian Vazquez erased that deficit and gave his team a one-run lead by blasting a one-out, two-run homer 376 feet over the right field wall for his 14th of the season.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth, with lefty Nick Ramirez on the mound, and Xander Bogaerts came through with two outs and runners at first and second, as he plated both Marco Hernandez and Mookie Betts on a two-run double to left for his 64th and 65th RBI of the year.

Two batters later, after J.D. Martinez reached on an intentional walk and Bogaerts advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch from Ramirez, Andrew Benintendi picked up where he left off Saturday by sneaking an RBI single through the left side of the infield, driving in Bogaerts and giving his team the 5-1 edge.

And in the eighth, Martinez led things off against new Tigers reliever Eduardo Jiminez with a line-drive double to center, moved up to third on a Benintendi flyout, and came in to score from third thanks to a wild pitch with two outs and Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate.

That put the Red Sox ahead 6-1, and after the Tigers rallied with two runs of their own in their half of the eighth, 6-3 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Rafael Devers’ 10-game hitting streak has come to an end.

J.D. Martinez extended his hitting streak to nine games on Sunday. Over that span, he is hitting .347 to go along with two home runs and six RBI.

Christian Vazquez’s last seven games: .387/.394/.871 with four homers and 10 runs driven in.

The Red Sox are eight games over .500 for the first time this season.

So, that’s it for the first half of the season. The Red Sox head into the All-Star break winners of four straight and five of their last six. They are currently nine games off the pace for first place in the American League East and two games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second wild card spot.

Coming out of the four-day break, the Sox will begin a seven-game homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

For now, it’s on to Cleveland, where we have Jarren Duran and the Futures Game Sunday night, the Home Run Derby on Monday, and the 90th Midsummer Classic on Tuesday.

The Red Sox will be represented by Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez, while Alex Cora will be managing the American League squad.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:30 PM EDT on FOX.

 

Rafael Devers Goes Yard Twice, Drives in Six Runs in Four-Hit Night as Red Sox Open up Series Against Blue Jays with 10-6 Victory

After getting swept by the New York Yankees in the first ever London Series over the weekend and an off day on Monday, the Red Sox opened up a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays in a monumental way on Tuesday, topping their divisional foes by a final score of 10-6.

Making his 15th start of the season and second against his former club for Boston was David Price, who gave up two unearned runs over five innings in his last Rogers Centre appearance on May 20th.

Tossing six full innings this time around, the left-hander allowed another two runs, both of which were earned, on four hits and a season-high four walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first of those two Toronto tallies came in the bottom half of the second, when with two outs and runners on the corners, Danny Jansen drove in his side’s first run on a line-drive RBI double to left off a 2-1 84 MPH changeup.

It could have been worse for Price in that same frame, as he proceeded to load the bases on his third walk of the contest, but he managed to get rookie phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to fly out to center to retire the side.

From there, the Tennessee native stringed together three straight perfect innings before running into more trouble in the bottom of the sixth, which was caused by a leadoff walk of Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Four batters and two outs later, Freddy Galvis beat out an infield single, plating Gurriel Jr. from third to make it a 7-2 game.

Price rallied by fanning the next and last hitter he faced in Brandon Drury on four straight strikes, and that is how his fine outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 93 (60 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 39% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses with the pitch. He also got seven whiffs on 26 changeups and topped out at 94.2 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 19 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Improving to 6-2 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.33, Price’s successful run when pitching north of the border continues. He’ll look to build on a positive start to the new month in his next time out, which should come on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers in the final game before the All-Star break.

In relief of Price, Colten Brewer came on in the seventh with a six-run lead to protect, and he let that cushion shrink to five by serving up a leadoff home run to Jansen in an otherwise scoreless inning.

Josh Taylor got the call for the eighth, and the left-hander worked around a one-out single with the help of an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Galvis.

Finally, in the ninth, 25-year-old right-hander Trevor Kelley made his big league debut for Boston after being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, and he surrendered three runs on two hits but held on to secure the 10-6 win with a six-pitch punchout of Justin Smoak, the first of his career.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Blue Jays rookie right-hander Trent Thornton, who held Boston to just two runs over 6 1/3 innings in his first career start against them back on June 21st.

Starting the scoring right away in the first inning, Rafael Devers got his team on the board by following up a Mookie Betts leadoff single with a two-run, 419-foot shot to right-center field on the very first pitch he saw from Thornton.

A Xander Bogaerts double kept the pressure on the Toronto starter, and Christian Vazquez kicked off a solid night at the plate three batters later by ripping a two-out, opposite field RBI ground-rule double.

Jackie Bradley Jr. made it a 4-0 contest by taking a 1-0 79 MPH slider and lining it to right field for another RBI single to drive in Vazquez, and the Red Sox were in command.

In the second, Bogaerts picked up his first and only RBI of the night by grounding into a force out at second, which gave Betts more than enough time to come in and score from third. 5-0.

An inning later, with two outs and the bases full, Devers added two more runs to his team’s total with another two-run hit, this one a simple single through the right side of the infield, which consequently gave Thornton the early hook. 7-1.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, and Vazquez struck again, taking new Jays reliever Derek Law deep to left field for his 12th big fly of the season, a two-out, 438-foot booming shot that put the Red Sox up 8-2.

Devers rejoined the home run-hitting frenzy in the top half of the eighth, making right-hander Joe Biagini pay for walking Betts on four straight balls the at-bat prior by launching another two-run shot deep to the opposite field, this one, his 14th of the year, had a projected exit velocity of 100.5 MPH and traveled 381 feet.

That gave Boston a 10-3 advantage, and after the Jays made some noise of their own in the ninth, 10-6 would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Rafael Devers’ Tuesday night: 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI to tie a career-high. Here are the exit velocities for all of Devers’ batted balls:

raffy

In his last 15 games, the 22-year-old is slashing .468/.484/.823 with five homers and 13 RBI.

With a 2-for-5 performance on Tuesday, Jackie Bradley Jr. is up to a .239 batting average and .751 OPS. Those are pretty respectable numbers for someone who was slashing .190/.286/.315 at this time a month ago.

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From Red Sox Notes:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set on Wednesday.

Left-hander Chris Sale will get the ball for Boston, while another rookie right-hander in the form of Jacob Waguespack will do the same for Toronto.

After allowing just one unearned run in his first two June starts, Sale finished the month by posting a 5.29 ERA over his last three, including a five inning performance against the Jays in which he surrendered four runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks.

In nine prior outings (eight starts) at Rogers Centre, Sale owns a lifetime 1.60 ERA to go along with a .161 batting average against over 62 total innings of work.

Waguespack, meanwhile, will be activated from the 10-day injured list for Toronto on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old only has one previous big league outing under his belt back on May 27th, when he yielded three runs (two earned) over four innings of relief in an 8-3 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:07 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their second straight win.

 

 

Xander Bogaerts Goes Yard and Rafael Devers Collects Four Hits as Red Sox Take Series from White Sox with 6-3 Rain-Filled Win

After taking the first of their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox in walk-off fashion Monday, the Red Sox wrapped up the official first half of the 2019 season with a rain-filled 6-3 win over the South Siders on Tuesday to improve to 44-37 on the year.

Making his 14th start of the season for Boston in the middle game was David Price, fresh off a five-inning, 73-pitch performance in his last time out against the Minnesota Twins.

This time around, taking on another American League Central foe, the left-hander put together a solid outing, yielding three runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits and zero walks to go along with nine strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

The first of those three Chicago runs came around to score off of Price in the second, and it was the result of a throwing error from Xander Bogaerts at that, with James McCann leading off the frame by reaching second on said error, and advancing to third on a wild pitch with Jon Jay at the plate.

Jay would make the Red Sox pay for those mistakes by driving in McCann on a one-out, broken-bat RBI single to center, his first hit of the year.

In the third, it was more of the same, with a pair of doubles from Tim Anderson and James McCann plating another White Sox run, while an Eloy Jiminez single that snuck under Bogaerts’ glove made it a 3-1 game.

Other than that particular rough stretch though, Price rallied by retiring 10 of the last 12 Chicago hitters he faced going into the middle of the sixth, where his outing came to an end, but not before punching out the side in the fourth and receiving some assistance from Jackie Bradley Jr. and his arm in the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 97 (72 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his changeup more than 34% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing eight swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 94.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 24 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Improving to 5-2 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.36, Price will look to carry over his success from the first half of the year into the second half in his next time out, which will come against the Toronto Blue Jays sometime next week after the team returns from London.

In relief of Price, Matt Barnes entered the seventh with a three-run lead to protect, and he worked his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise clean frame of work.

Ryan Brasier gave up a two-out double in the eighth, but did not allow that runner to score.

And in the ninth, Brandon Workman stranded another runner at second en route to picking up his third save of the season and securing the 6-3 win for his team.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against an opener for the White Sox in right-hander Carson Fulmer, who, like David Price, is an alumnus of Vanderbilt University.

Rafael Devers, batting out of the two-hole for the third time this season, got Boston on the board almost immediately in the first inning, driving in Mookie Betts from second on a pop fly opposite field RBI double that probably should have been caught.

Fast forward to the third, with reliever Juan Minaya in for Chicago, the bases loaded, and two outs in the inning with the Sox down by two, and Christian Vazquez came through in an early, but still important spot, as he drilled a 2-2 slider through the left side of the infield to plate both Devers and Xander Bogaerts to tie this contest back up at three runs a piece.

In the fifth, Devers struck again against new Chicago hurler Jose Ruiz by setting up Bogaerts with no outs and a runner in scoring position on a leadoff double.

Bogaerts capitalized on the run-scoring chance to the fullest, absolutely crushing an 0-1 97 MPH fastball right down the heart of the plate and depositing it 429 feet over the Green Monster. The eventual 2019 All-Star’s 15th big fly of the year put the Red Sox up 5-3.

Finally, an inning later, back-to-back base hits from Michael Chavis and Marco Hernandez led to Boston scoring their sixth run of the night, with Eduardo Nunez bringing in Chavis from third on a sacrifice fly to center field.

That gave Boston the 6-3 advantage, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Rafael Devers on Tuesday: 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs scored, and one RBI. His first four-hit game of the season and first three-double game of his career. All while playing on a sore right hamstring.

deversstatcast

David Price’s 2019 strikeout-to-walk-ratio: 82/15 or 5.47/1.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

So, exactly half of the 2019 season is complete. It’s been unusual at times to say the least, but the Red Sox have been playing at a .608 clip since the start of May and are 10-3 in their last 10 games. At 44-37, nothing is out of reach yet despite all the negativity that has surrounded this team to this point in the year.

The Red Sox will go for the three-game sweep over the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon, with left-hander Chris Sale getting the start for Boston and right-hander Reynaldo Lopez doing the same for Chicago.

Yet to win a decision at Fenway Park in 2019, Sale owns an ERA of 1.67 over his last four starts, including an outing in which he gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in his last time out.

In his career against the club he began his professional career with, the 30-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA over three starts and 19 total innings of work.

Lopez, meanwhile is averaging more than 10 hits allowed per nine innings through 16 starts with the White Sox this season. He currently leads the American League in earned runs allowed as well with 60.

In two prior starts against Boston, the 25-year-old has surrendered eight runs (seven earned), on 14 hits, 12 strikeouts, and six walks. That’s good for an ERA of 5.56.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Last game the Red Sox play stateside until July 5th.