Mitch Moreland Comes Through in Clutch yet Again as #RedSox Cap 11-Game Road Trip with Narrow Win over Diamondbacks

The Red Sox improved to 3-8 on Sunday afternoon following a 1-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Somehow, that news is very encouraging as the club makes the trek back to Boston.

Wrapping up their 11-game west coast road trip to start the 2019 season, it was more of a bullpen day pitching-wise for the Sox, with Hector Velazquez making his first start of the year in this one.

Having already appeared in three games as a reliever before Sunday, the right-hander really impressed in a short sample size in the desert.

Tossing three full innings, Velazquez held Arizona scoreless while yielding just one hit and zero walks to go along with three strikeouts on the evening.

Pitching at Chase Field for the first time in this three-year career, the 30-year-old hurler sat down nine of the 10 hitters he faced and finished with a final pitch count of 39, 26 of which went for strikes.

Unable to pick up the winning decision due to the number of innings he pitched, Velazquez is still the first Red Sox starter to not give up at least one run 11 games into the 2019 season.

In relief of Velazquez, the Red Sox bullpen was almost equally impressive, as Brandon Workman, Marcus Walden, Matt Barnes, and Ryan Brasier combined to work six innings of shutout ball, giving up just one walk and two hits in the process.

Workman, who was responsible for the fourth, retired all three hitters he faced while fanning one in a perfect frame of relief. He has yet to give up a run through five appearances out of the ‘pen so far.

Walden, meanwhile, made his first relief outing since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. He, like Matt Barnes, pitched two scoreless innings, which made sense given the circumstances of why he was called up in the first place: to provide the bullpen with a fresh arm. Walden was also credit with his first winning decision of the season.

Going back to Barnes, the UCONN product made his first appearance since Wednesday in this one, and he collected a pair of punch outs over two perfect innings while featuring a four-seamer that topped out at 97.2 MPH en route to the hold.

And finally, Brasier, pitching for the second straight day, worked his way around a two-out double from David Peralta to notch his second career save.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Diamondbacks rookie right-hander Merrill Kelly, who had never faced Boston before in his career, as you may have guessed.

Surprisingly, the 30-year-old Kelly held his own in his second career big league start, limiting the Red Sox to just four hits over eight innings.

As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until the top half of the seventh when Boston’s bats finally got going a little bit.

Entering the inning already 0-for-2 against Kelly, Mitch Moreland came through in the clutch for the Red Sox yet again, leading off the seventh by blasting the first pitch he saw that barely landed out of Adam Jones’ reach in right field.

Still, a home run is a home run, and Moreland’s third of the young season gave the Sox the only lead they would need to secure their third win of the year in this one.

Some notes from this slim 1-0 victory:

From Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes):

JD Martinez’s 10-game hitting streak may have came to a close following an 0-for-3 day at the plate on Sunday, but an intentional walk in the ninth inning means the Red Sox slugger has now reached base in 11 straight contests to start the new season.

Outside of that ninth inning double given up by Brasier, the Red Sox pitching staff only gave up one extra-base hit to the D-backs on Sunday.

Next up for the Sox, it’s a well-deserved off day back in Boston on Monday following 11 straight on the road before the home opener on Tuesday.

At 3-8, things could certainly be better, but with six games at Fenway Park over the next eight days, this club has the chance to show that they still should be taken seriously as defending World Series champions.

Ace left-hander Chris Sale will get the ball for Boston on Tuesday, while the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, now under new manager Charlie Montoyo, will go with former Los Angeles Angel Matt Shoemaker.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 2:05 PM EDT with plenty of pregame festivities with plenty of special guests set to take place beforehand.

Have a good week, everyone.

Image

Advertisements

Longtime #RedSox Minor Leaguer Dan Butler Retires as World Series Champion, Joins Arizona Diamondbacks Coaching Staff as Bullpen Catcher.

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday night that they had finalized their major league coaching staff for the upcoming 2019 season.

Among the additions was now retired and former Red Sox catcher Dan Butler, and that was all but confirmed with a tweet from the Pawtucket Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon.

Butler, 32, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Red Sox in 2009 and spent nine out of 10 professional seasons with the club.

A product of the University of Arizona, Butler was never deemed a big name prospect by Boston. Instead, he was viewed more as organizational depth who really never got an opportunity to see regular playing time in the majors.

In the two times he was called up by the Red Sox, the backstop appeared in a total of seven games in 2014, and then appeared in two games this past season while both Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart were on the disabled list.

Over that short span, Butler slashed .200/.222/.320 with no home runs and three RBI, one of which came in a game against the Baltimore Orioles in August.

Outside of the Red Sox, Butler also spent one season in the Washington Nationals system following a trade between the two clubs in early 2015.

There, with Triple A Syracuse, the Arizona native posted a .631 OPS over 83 games played and was later re-signed to a minor league contract by the Red Sox prior to the start of spring training in 2016.

In total, Butler appeared in 768 minor league games in a span of 10 years, and finished with a slash line of .253/.345/.397 as well as 61 homers and 343 RBI.

It certainly wasn’t Hall of Fame worthy, but Butler goes out as a World Series champion and a well-respected member of the Red Sox organization.

He should receive approximately $416,837.72 in postseason shares from the Red Sox winning the World Series and his presence will be missed.

With Arizona though, Butler is closer to home and joins a few names Red Sox fans should be familiar with, such as Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen, manager Torey Lovullo, and new assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske.

The #RedSox Have Traded Infielder Deven Marrero to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Red Sox made an unsurprising move today. Out of Brock Holt, Blake Swihart, and Deven Marrero, there was a very small chance all three would make the Opening Day roster. After this trade, we now know that Holt and Swihart are essentially locks to make it. While Marrero goes to Arizona, the Red Sox receive either a PTBNL or cash considerations in return.

Since he was drafted by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2012 amateur draft, Marrero never put it all together. His defense is at a borderline elite level, but offensively, he brought almost nothing to the table. In 109 big league games, Marrero owns a career batting average of only .208 and a measly .259 On Base Percentage. Despite that, I have to give him credit for what he did for the Red Sox in 2017. The team went through Pablo Sandoval, Brock Holt, and Josh Rutledge at third, and it was a circus. Before Rafael Devers got called up, Marrero stepped up and provided some stability defensively at that position.

Maybe he’ll figure things out in Arizona, a place he is familiar with since he played college baseball for the Sun Devils of Arizona State University. There is also more familiarity with Diamondbacks leadership. The man who traded for him, Mike Hazen, was a part of the Red Sox front office when the team drafted him. And the manager of the Diamondbacks, Torey Lovullo, served as the Red Sox bench coach when Marrero was with the big league club for parts of the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

It’s nor clear what his role with the DBacks will be, but I would expect him to get the majority of his at bats against left-handed pitchers. That’s where he has found the most success at the plate in his big league career. I mean, his OPS increases by over 200 points when facing LHPs compared to facing RHPs. So best of luck in AZ, Deven. Maybe the Red Sox will see you again in October.

Also, this is my favorite Deven Marrero game.