RECAP: Jalen Beeks Struggles in Big League Debut as #RedSox Can’t Complete Sweep of Tigers.

On Tuesday, the Red Sox announced that pitching prospect Jalen Beeks would make his major league debut against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. Beeks, 24, has been in the Red Sox organization since he was drafted in the 12th round of the 2014 draft. In 10 starts this season with Triple A Pawtucket, Beeks owns a 2.56 in 56.1 innings pitched. He was named the organizations minor league pitcher of the year last season and there was plenty of hype going into his first start with the Red Sox last night.

With Blake Swihart catching him, the rookie out of Arkansas introduced himself by striking out the first batter he faced in JaCoby Jones on five pitches. After that, five of the next seven batters Beeks faced reached base. A Nick Castellanos single, a Miguel Cabrera walk, a Jeimer Candelario RBI double, a John Hicks two RBI single, a Leonys Martin two run home run, and all of a sudden, the Tigers were up by five runs early. Not the best way to kick off your MLB career, but Beeks did settle down a bit.

From the second to the fourth, the lefty held the Tigers to just one run on three hits and two walks. The fourth and final inning of Beeks’ night was certainly the most impressive, as he retired Castellanos, Cabrera, and Victor Martinez in order to conclude his debut.

Finishing with four strikeouts and 88 total pitches (57 strikes), the former Razorback’s fastball topped out at 93 MPH in the first inning. Not known for his velocity, command was going to be a key part of Beeks’ night, but he left a few pitches over the plate and that came back to hurt him.

Despite the early struggles, the last three innings of Beeks’ debut were certainly encouraging. He will be sent back down to Pawtucket today, but I would not be surprised if we were to see the 24-year-old hurler make a spot start again this season.

In relief of Beeks, Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez did a decent enough job of keeping the Red Sox within striking distance over the last five innings.

Johnson surrendered just one run on three hits while fanning five in four innings of work and Velazquez struck out two in a scoreless ninth.

On the other side of things, Alex Cora went with a different looking lineup against Matt Boyd and the Detroit Tigers last night. For instance, Sam Travis was starting left, JD Martinez in right, Christian Vazquez at DH, and the most shocking, Blake Swihart starting behind the plate. WOW.

As he has done so often recently, Andrew Benintendi mashed his fourth home run in five games to lead things off in the first. 402 feet, 107 MPH off the bat.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Tigers starter Matt Boyd held the lineup in check last night. They had a golden opportunity to cut into Detroit’s lead after loading the bases with two outs in the second, but Benintendi grounded into an inning ending double play.

From that point on, Boyd surrendered one more run in the fifth on a Xander Bogaerts RBI groundout that scored Blake Swihart from third before departing with one out in the bottom of the seventh.

Against the Tigers bullpen, things did not fare much better for the Red Sox as they did against Boyd. Former Red Sox reliever Alex Wilson got out of the seventh unscathed, Joe Jiminez loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but escaped by striking out Sam Travis and Rafael Devers back to back, and Tigers closer Shane Greene wrapped things up by tossing a scoreless ninth to prevent the sweep.

Some notes from this one:

In this series against Detroit, Andrew Benintendi went 5/15 with 2 HR and 3 RBI in the leadoff spot.

JD Martinez exited this game in the eighth inning with back tightness that has been bothering him since the series in Houston. Despite that discomfort, Martinez expects to be back in the lineup later tonight.

Having taken two out of three from the Tigers, the Red Sox welcome another American League Central foe in the Chicago White Sox for a three game weekend set. At 20-40 on the season, they will be sending righty Dylan Covey (2.82 ERA in 22.1 IP) to the mound for the opener. He will be matched up against Chris Sale (3.00 ERA in 81 IP). Having given up 10 earned runs in his last two starts, Sale will have the opportunity to pick things back up again against one of the worst offensive teams in the American League.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

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RECAP: Christian Vazquez Finishes Triple Shy of Cycle as #RedSox Pick up 7-1 Win over Tigers.

Coming off a night in which they shutout the Detroit Tigers in the series opener on Tuesday, the Red Sox carried that over by holding Detroit to just one run on seven hits last night.

Making his 12th start of the season on Wednesday, the Red Sox improved to 11-1 whenever Rodriguez takes the mound. In 5.2 innings of one run ball, the lefty scattered five hits and one walk while striking out five to pick up his seventh winning decision on the year.

There were not many high stress situations for Rodriguez in this one. Pitch count was a bit of an issue, as it has been in his previous starts, but he was still effective pitching into the sixth inning. The only run he surrendered came in the top of the second on back to back two out hits from the Tigers 7-8 hitters. Other than that, solid night for the 25-year-old hurler, just wish he could pitch deeper into games.

Heading into the sixth, Rodriguez had the chance to complete the inning. A las, with two outs in the inning and a runner at first, the native of Venezuela could not retire Leonys Martin, and that single concluded his night.

Finishing with 107 pitches, Heath Hembree took over for Rodriguez with runners on first and second and one out in the inning. Despite walking the first batter he saw in JaCoby Jones on four pitches to load the bases, Hembree recovered by retiring the only other batter he faced in Jose Iglesias on two pitches to get out of the sixth.

Speaking of bases loaded situations for the Tigers, Matt Barnes did the same thing after recording the first two outs of the seventh. The righty needed 36 pitches in total, but he was able to get out of the jam by retiring Tigers catcher James McCann on seven pitches, thus extending his scoreless inning streak to 12.

From the conclusion of the seventh inning on, the Red Sox bullpen had a much better time of things. Brandon Workman and Bobby Poyner combined to toss two scoreless innings on the way to a convincing 7-1 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup feasted on Tigers pitching for the second straight night. They put up six runs in the opener and they put up seven on Wednesday.

Facing off against career reliever turned starter in Blaine Hardy for Detroit, the Red Sox were held scoreless in the first two innings.

Going into the bottom of third trailing by one, Rafael Devers led things off by reaching first on an infield single that easily could have been an out if not for a misplay from Miguel Cabrera. That was followed by an RBI double from Christian Vazquez and this thing was tied.

After Jackie Bradley Jr. reached first on a HBP to put runners on first and third, Andrew Benintendi drove both of them in on his 16th double of the season.

Xander Bogaerts then drove Benintendi in on an RBI double of his own and that put the Red Sox up 4-1 after three.

Fast forward to the fifth, with Hardy still on the mound for the Tigers, and Andrew Benintendi built on his great night at the plate by launching his 10th home run of the year. 5-1.

Two innings later, Christian Vazquez greeted new Tigers pitcher Buck Farmer by mashing his second home run in five days on the first pitch he saw in the at bat.

372 feet with a 95 MPH exit velo. on that solo shot that put the Red Sox up 6-1 in the seventh.

And in the ninth, making the most of his opportunities, recently called up Sam Travis knocked in his teams seventh and final run of the night on a one out RBI single. In five at bats since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket on June 2nd, Travis has driven in three runs.

Some other notes from this win:

In his last three starts now, Eduardo Rodriguez has pitched at least into the sixth inning while giving up two or fewer runs. His ERA on the season now sits at 3.88.

Andrew Benintendi has hit three home runs this month. In April, he only hit one. Benintendi now ranks 7th in the American League with a .922 OPS.

After going 3-for-4 at the plate last night, Xander Bogaerts owns a .476 OBP in the month of June.

With two hits last night, Rafael Devers recorded his first multi-hit game since May 28th against the Blue Jays.

Christian Vazquez needed just a triple to complete the cycle last night. He is 4/10 over his last three games and owns a 1.100 OPS this month.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch twice last night, once in the third and once in the eighth, with two different pitchers on the mound for the Tigers.

Having already picked up the series win, the Red Sox will look to rookie hurler Jalen Beeks for the sweep later tonight. Beeks, a lefty, will be making his Major League debut, and he will be matched up against Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd. Bobby Poyner will be optioned to Pawtucket in a corresponding roster move. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM. Should be an entertaining one. Happy Jalen Beeks Day.

RECAP: Steven Wright Tosses Seven Scoreless Innings in First Start of Season as #RedSox Shutout Tigers.

Since he was activated from the restricted list on May 14th, Steven Wright has shined out of the Red Sox bullpen. In six appearances, he pitched his way to a 2.25 ERA while holding opponents to a .167 batting average in 16 innings, the last nine of those all being scoreless.

With those numbers in mind and wanting to get his other starters an extra day of rest, Alex Cora named Wright the starting pitcher for last night’s game against the Tigers last week.

Before the game even started on Tuesday, Drew Pomeranz was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left bicep tendonitis. Since the lefty has struggled as of late and Wright has mostly succeeded, there has been much debate amongst Red Sox fans revolving around the opinion that Wright should take Pomeranz’s spot in the rotation. Well, the knucleballer got his chance to prove himself last night and that he did.

In seven full innings, Wright held the Tigers scoreless while scattering two hits and three walks with six strikeouts along the way. On a rainy and overcast night at Fenway, Wright did a solid job controlling his number one pitch. The first inning was a bit rocky with the first three batters in the Tigers order reaching base and all, but with some help from a great relay throw from Xander Bogaerts to Christian Vazquez to get Leonys Martin out at home, the righty was able to get out of the inning unscathed.

 


From the end of the first on, Wright limited the Tigers to two base runners in six innings on a walk in the second and a single in the third.

I get that it was just the 29-33 Detroit Tigers Wright was facing, but regardless of opponent, he has not given up a single run in his last 16 innings pitched. That is impressive and certainly worthy of another start with Drew Pomeranz hitting the disabled list.

Finishing with an efficient 96 pitches (57 strikes) on the night, I would hope Wright will start again against the Baltimore Orioles next week.

In relief of the knuckleballer, the Red Sox bullpen finished the shutout he started. Hector Velazquez, another converted reliever many feel deserves a shot in the rotation, and Brandon Workman, who had been the corresponding roster move for Pomeranz yesterday, both tossed scoreless innings to wrap this thing up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup feasted on an inferior Tigers pitching staff last night.

Facing off against another righty in Artie Lewicki, a rookie, JD Martinez got the scoring started for the Red Sox right away in the bottom of the first. On a 3-2 count, Martinez launched a 91 MPH fastball from Lewicki and sent it 431 feet off a light tower in left field. Two-run moon shot.

Speaking of 3-2 counts, the Red Sox had to have loaded the bases at least five times last night. In fact, they sent eight batters to the plate in the fourth, loaded the bases twice, and came away with two runs. The first coming on an Eduardo Nunez RBI single and the second coming after Mitch Moreland scored on a Rafael Devers double play with the bases loaded.

The fourth ended up being Lewicki’s last frame of work after he walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to reload the bases again. He was replaced by Tigers reliever Warwick Saupold, an Australian, who has a great name for baseball, in my opinion.

Unfortunately for Saupold, he was not much better than Lewicki, and he led the fifth inning off by serving up a 401 foot opposite field solo shot to Xander Bogaerts. His ninth big fly of the season.

Three batters later, after the bases were reloaded for the Red Sox again, Brock Holt drove in his teams final run of the night on an RBI groundout to second that allowed JD Martinez to score from third. All and all, a pretty stress free night.

Some notes from this win:

JD Martinez became the first player in baseball to reach 20 home runs this season. In total, he was responsible for three of the six hardest hit balls last night, all of which had an exit velocity north of 104 MPH.

With two hits last night, Eduardo Nunez has extended his hitting streak to six games now. In the month of June, the infielder is slashing .438/.471/.438 over his last 16 at bats.

In 44 games and 174 at bats this season, Xander Bogaerts has hit nine home runs. In 148 games and 571 at bats last season, the shortstop hit 10 home runs.

With the series opening win picked up, the Red Sox will be sending Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound tonight looking to notch the series win. He will be matched up against Tigers lefty Blaine Hardy. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

Also, because of that Drew Pomeranz injury, the Red Sox will be calling up pitching prospect Jalen Beeks, a lefty, from Triple A Pawtucket to make a spot start on Thursday. Beeks, who was scratched from his scheduled start with the PawSox on Tuesday, owns a 2.56 ERA in 10 starts this season. He’s ranked as the #5 prospect on SoxProspects.com and was drafted by the Red Sox in the 12th round back in 2014.

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz stinks it up; #RedSox fail to sweep Tigers in 8-3 loss.

Remember when I said that even when Drew Pomeranz doesn’t suck, he still sucks? Well, that’s what it felt like last night. Another game on national television, and this time, the Red Sox could not pick up the win. Daniel Norris vs. Drew Pomeranz is not exactly, a premier pitching match up, but that’s what we got. Both pitchers allowed plenty of hitters to reach base, as the teams combined to leave 47 runners on base. Norris was able to outlast Pomeranz, though, barely, but still. The 28 year-old southpaw only went 4.2 innings, allowing eight hits and loading the bases in consecutive innings. When he was taken out, the Red Sox were only losing 3-2, but Heath Hembree, who came in to relieve Pomeranz, unloaded the bases, serving up a grand slam to Justin Upton. The Tigers would go on to score two more runs in that inning, and that was all the scoring they did. After Hembree, Blaine Boyer and Fernando Abad kept the Red Sox in the game, limiting the Tigers to only three hits in the final four innings. So, after needing 123 pitches to get through five in New York, Pomeranz couldn’t even get through five Sunday. I’d say pit him in the bullpen, but he is better than any starter in Pawtucket, so I think you have to keep him in the rotation for now.

Offensively, the Red Sox scattered three runs, one in the first, one in the third, one in the sixth. I feel like if a team gets 12 hits, they should score more than three runs. Alas, that’s what happened to the Red Sox sunday night. Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, and Christian Vazquez drove in the three runs. Mookie Betts, Pedroia, Hanley, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all had multiple hits. If this team had more power, maybe they could make games more interesting.

34 down, ? to go.

RECAP: #RedSox bats cruise to 11-3 victory with the help of Chris Sale.

 

This game was on national television, mainly because a Cy Young Award winner was pitching against a perennial All-Star. Neither pitcher put on a dominating performance, but they were both good enough to keep their respective teams in the game. Sale outlasted Verlander, as he pitched seven innings while Verlander only pitched five. I was surprised to see Sale come out for the seventh with 100 pitches already thrown, but it only took him like 9 pitches to get through the seventh and lessen the workload for the bullpen. The southpaw struck out seven Tigers all while never walking a single batter. The Tigers scored all their runs in the fifth and sixth, and although he got scored on, Sale really didn’t get hit hard Saturday night. The bullpen did their job once again. Matt Barnes got the Tigers in order in the eighth, and Blaine Boyer got them in order in the ninth. It looked like Craig Kimbrel was going to come in for a save opportunity, but the Red Sox blew the doors open in their half of the eighth. Last note on the pitching pertains to Chris Sale. It looks like he is evening out quite a bit numbers wise. His first few starts were borderline dominant, while the rest have been good, but not great.

Before I start talking about the offense, I just want to say that the Tigers bullpen is downright awful. I mean, I like Alex Wilson (former Red Sox prospect) and KRod, but that group of guys can’t seem to keep a game close.

Anyway, Mitch Moreland was the hero once again, as the veteran first baseman drove in the two go-ahead runs on a double in the seventh. He also drove in the second run of the game in the third on a single that scored Sandy Leon. Moreland was not the only guy in the lineup with multiple RBI’s, Andrew Benintendi drove in three, and Josh Rutledge drove in two. The only batter who did not get a hit last night was Mookie Betts, and he walked three times. It’s funny how this team still lacks power but they can score plenty of runs in different ways.

Also…

Image result for josh rutledge gif

33 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Mitch Moreland and JBJ save the day as #RedSox take game one against Tigers 5-3.

Just a quick Saturday recap for all you readers out there.

Brian Johnson made his first start since Memorial Day Weekend. He did not have the same type of performance he did that Saturday. Johnson only got through 4.1 innings before he was relieved by Heath Hembree. The bullpen was great on Friday night, as Hembree, Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, and Craig Kimbrel pitched a combined 4.2 innings while striking out eight Tigers and not allowing a single run. This is going to sound dumb, but the core of Hembree, Kelly, and Barnes have been one of my favorite things about this Red Sox team. For the most part, they have been outstanding for a group that was supposed to be the weakest link. Obviously, Brian Johnson wasn’t great, but with ERod out for an extended period of time, he’s still the best option.

All the runs the Red Sox scored last night came off the bat of either Mitch Moreland or Jackie Bradley Jr. Moreland had one of his best days in a Red Sox uniform with three hits, including a home run and another double, along with two RBIs, and one of those was the tying run in the eighth. Jackie Bradley had the most important hit of the game, but before that, the center fielder drove in the team’s second run of the night. The Red Sox could’ve gotten more in that fourth inning, but Hanley Ramirez was called out at third to end the inning. Like I said, JBJ had the most important hit of the game, and that came in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs and Mitch Moreland on first, Bradley took Alex Wilson deep, all the way to the seats in right field to give the Red Sox a 5-3 lead. That would be JBJ’s fourth home run over his last 13 games, and it would be all Craig Kimbrel would need to get the Tigers in order.

Big time pitching matchup tonight with Justin Verlander vs. Chris Sale on FOX.

33 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Red Sox don’t use Sale’s start to their advantage; lose finale in Detroit.

The Red Sox dropped the fourth and final game of this series against the Tigers. Chris Sale took the loss, a bad luck loss to say the least, and Justin Wilson picked up his first victory of the season. As I said, Chris Sale is not to blame for this loss, he nearly pitched eight full innings while striking out 10 and only walking 1. Unfortunately for Sale, the opposing starter, Justin Verlander was just as good, only giving up 1 unearned run and three hits over 7 innings. It appeared that Chris Sale started running out of gas when his pitch count was around 100. Sale was rolling, giving up only run through seven innings. The eighth inning was a different story, though. After giving up a two out double to Andrew Romine, Sale followed that up by walking Ian Kinsler. With men on first and second, Nick Castellanos got the best of Sale, knocking in Romine with a base hit. This was it for Sale, as he came out with 2 outs in the 8th and Heath Hembree finished off the inning.

The Red Sox offense could not formulate any type of rally today and they continue to look sluggish. First baseman Mitch Moreland had the hottest bat today, notching three hits, including a double, in four plate appearances. It looks like Moreland has adjusted well since Opening Day, as he has gotten his Batting Average up to .333 and his OPS to an impressive .927. The rest of the Red Sox lineup looked dismal and the only other player that recorded a hit was Dustin Pedroia. It’s still a waste of energy to get too concerned about the offensive production coming from this team since we have barely seen Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts. Until this lineup is fully healthy, I’m not going to get too worked up. I like what I’ve seen from players like Mitch Moreland and Sandy Leon. One player I am concerned about is Pablo Sandoval, who has started the season by batting a measly .130. The Red Sox really do not have a long-term solution if Sandoval fails to pick things up. Brock Holt, Josh Rutledge, and Marco Hernandez are all capable of playing third base, but they are relied on for their versatility. It wouldn’t be surprising to me if Sam Travis converts to a third baseman in Pawtucket since that would be similar to what happeened with Travis Shaw. Another option at the hot corner could be prized prospect Rafael Devers. The 20 year old has started this season in Portland and it feels like he’s been in the organization forever. If he progresses in Portland like Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi did, then perhaps he could be an option later in the season.

Also, bad news with JBJ. He just got put on the new 10 day Disabled List with a sprain in his right knee. I did not think it would come to this, even Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations, said a few days ago that JBJ shouldn’t have to go one the DL. It is what it is, and it looks like Andrew Benintendi will take over in center based on what is being reported.

3 down, 91 to go.