RECAP: #RedSox End Road Trip with 7-4 Loss in Philadelphia Following Tough Night for Bullpen.

After taking the first of two against the Philadelphia Phillies in a close 2-1 win on Tuesday night, the Red Sox looked to end their nine-game road trip on a positive note on Wednesday, but that simply was not the case.

Making his fourth start of the season with the Red Sox in this one, Nathan Eovaldi took a step in the right direction five days after the Baltimore Orioles lit him up for eight runs on 10 hits last Friday.

Tossing five full innings, the right-hander surrendered three runs, one of which was earned, while scattering seven hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

As he faced four hitters each in what went down as three pretty smooth frames, the bottom half of the fourth did not treat Eovaldi as nicely.

The worst part about a three-run rally for the Phillies that tied the game in that fourth inning was the fact that it was all started by a throwing error.

Yes, Rafael Devers, who leads the team in errors, could not make the throw over to first in what appeared to be a 5-3 put out at first on a Rhys Hoskins grounder to leadoff the inning.

From that point, three of the next five Phillies Eovaldi faced managed to reach base, and thanks to RBI knocks from Wilson Ramos and Carlos Santana and a RBI groundout from Odubel Herrera, this game was tied at three runs a piece heading into the fifth.

Fortunately for Boston, the Texas native ended his night on a solid note by sitting down three of the final four batters he faced on Tuesday.

Had this game not been played in a National League ballpark, Eovaldi probably could have pitched further, but with his spot in the lineup due up with runners at first and second in a tied game in the sixth, going with the pinch-hitter was clearly the right choice.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (61 strikes) the 28-year-old turned to his cut-fastball about 43% of the time he was on the mound last night, which resulted in just three swings and misses. He also topped out at 99 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 27 times, in his fifth and final inning of work.

Now with 14 starts under his belt this season, Eovaldi will look to build on a solid outing in his next time out, which should come sometime against the Cleveland Indians next week.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen, mainly Joe Kelly and Drew Pomeranz, did not have the best of nights in the City of Brotherly Love.

Kelly, who got the call for the sixth in his sixth appearance of August, allowed what would turn out to be the go-ahead run for the Phillies in the form of a Scott Kingery sac fly that scored Wilson Ramos from third.

Speaking of Ramos, the former Rays backstop was making his first start with the Phillies since being traded there in July, and he went 3/4 with three RBI in another great day at the plate against the Red Sox, something he has become accustomed to.

Anyway, Kelly gave up the run to bump his ERA on the season up to 4.29 and he would later be dealt his fourth losing decision of the year as well because of it.

Drew Pomeranz made his third relief appearance since being demoted to the bullpen last week, and it was certainly his worst of the three.

In what has the chance to be his last outing in a Red Sox uniform, the lefty allowed the Phils to score THREE times in one inning, which essentially, despite their best effort, put this game out of reach for Boston.

During that seventh inning, it was clear that Pomeranz was struggling to locate his pitches, as he left a lot of them up in the strike zone. Topping out at 91.5 MPH with your four-seam fastball is not the best of signs either.

Finally, with his team trailing by three, Hector Velazquez sat down the only three batters he faced in the eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was without Mookie Betts in the leadoff spot and matched up against Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez.

Velasquez, 26, had only made one career start against Boston prior to Wednesday night, and that came all the way back in 2015.

Starting the scoring in the third inning of this one, a one out walk drawn by Nathan Eovaldi, followed by an Andrew Benintendi HBP and a Brock Holt infield single set up Mitch Moreland in an ideal scoring spot.

On the third pitch he saw from Velasquez, Moreland ripped a 94 MPH fastball all the way to the center field wall for a three-RBI double, and just like that, the Red Sox were up early.

Velasquez would depart from the game after reloading the bases in the same inning, but with Hector Neris on the mound for Philadelphia, nothing came of that scoring chance for the Red Sox.

Fast forward to the top half of the sixth with things knotted up at three, two straight two out singles from Rafael Devers and Sandy Leon had Boston threatening to jump ahead once again with pinch-hitter Steve Pearce due up.

With Tommy Hunter on the mound for the Phils, it looked as though Pearce managed to beat out an infield single that would have loaded the bases again, but upon further review, Pearce was ruled out and the inning came to a close.

After going down quietly in the seventh, the top of the eighth would turn out to be the last real opportunity for the Red Sox to cut into a brand new four-run Phillies lead.

JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all reached to leadoff the inning with reliever Pat Neshek on the hill, but all they could muster in the end was one run off a Mookie Betts pinch-hit RBI single.

That was that, and they went down quietly in the ninth as well to end an encouraging road trip in rather disappointing fashion.

Looking at the final box score, the Phillies ended up using SEVEN pitchers out of their bullpen. Gabe Kapler out here managing like it’s game seven of the World Series or something.

Some notes from this one:

Over the nine-game road trip, here is how the Red Sox stacked up (via NESN):

7-2 record

7.2 runs per game

.279 team batting average

2.54 starters ERA

4.00 bullpen ERA (Obviously the most discouraging figure)

Andrew Benintendi apparently hit a bill twice on one swing last night. That’s pretty cool.

Splitting the four-game season series while getting outscored 12-9 by Philly in those four contests, the Red Sox will not have to see the 66-53 Phillies for the remainder of the regular season.

Instead, they head back home to enjoy another off day on Thursday before welcoming the Tampa Bay Rays into town for a three-game weekend series at Fenway Park.

Brian Johnson, David Price, and Chris Sale will start for the Red Sox in that order while the Rays still have a series to wrap up in New York.

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

 

 

 

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RECAP: JD Martinez Comes up Clutch with Two Homer Night as #RedSox Sweep Doubleheader in Baltimore.

After taking care of business against the Orioles in a 5-0 shutout win earlier Saturday afternoon, the Red Sox were back at it at Camden Yards later in the evening to wrap up the day-night doubleheader in Baltimore.

Hector Velazquez,who hadn’t started a game since July 11th while also making just three relief appearances since July 30th, got the nod in this one, and as some may have expected, did not go deep into Saturday night’s contest.

Pitching into the third inning, the right-hander had his fair share of ups and downs, as he sat down the first three batters he faced on 11 pitches, but proceeded to allow the next three Orioles he faced to reach in the second, which led to Baltimore tacking their first run of the night on a Renato Nunez RBI double.

In in his final frame of work, the Mexico native walked Jace Peterson to lead things off, then got Jonathan Villar and Adam Jones to ground out to second and third base for the first two outs of the bottom half of the third. That is how Velazquez’s night would come to somewhat of a surprising end, all while he failed to record a single strikeout.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 41 (56% strikes), the 29-year-old certainly was not pressed in his 34th outing of the season, which makes sense when you consider that he will be returning to his role in the bullpen in the coming days.

Out of those 41 pitches thrown, Velazquez relied heavily on his sinker, changeup, and slider, as he went to those three pitches a total of 33 times. He also topped out at 92.4 MPH with his four-seam fastball, which he threw seven times, in the first inning.

In relief of Velazquez, Brandon Workman got the first call in what would be a very busy night for the Red Sox bullpen.

Workman, who was later optioned down to Triple A Pawtucket, officially closed the book on Velazquez’s night by giving up an RBI single to Trey Mancini that scored Jace Peterson, who drew a leadoff walk earlier in the inning, from second and make it a 2-0 game.

After walking the next two batters he faced in Chris Davis and Renato Nunez to load the bases, Workman escaped any further damage by getting rookie Cedric Mullins to ground into an inning-ending force out at second base.

Drew Pomeranz, making his second straight appearance as a reliever in as many days, settled things down a bit by tossing two scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth and was in line for another winning decision with the Red Sox jumping out to a 3-2 lead while the left-hander was in the game.

Unfortunately, Heath Hembree, who has been struggling as of late, messed that up by surrendering the game-tying home run to Orioles left fielder Joey Rickard with two outs in the sixth, which could have been worse had Hembree not picked off Mullins on an attempted steal of second base while Rickard was at the plate.

Joe Kelly got the call for the seventh, and he worked his way around a one out single and two out walk for his first clean relief appearance since August 8th and fourth winning decision of 2018 to make way for William Cuevas in the eighth.

Cuevas, the 26th man on Saturday’s Red Sox roster for the doubleheader, made his first appearance with the big league club in over a month, and he too worked his way around multiple base runners in a scoreless frame of work.

Finally, in the ninth, Craig Kimbrel continued to frustrate by serving up a solo shot to Trey Mancini that cut Boston’s lead down to two, but ultimately saw his team’s 84th win through to the end by notching his 34th save of the season and 100th save in a Red Sox uniform on a four pitch strikeout of Chris Davis.

All and all, Alex Cora turned to seven pitchers in total, and despite only recording four strikeouts and an unsightly eight walks, I would say things worked out for the better.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a young pitcher they have already seen multiple times this year in Baltimore’s Yefry Ramirez

Ramirez, a right-hander in his rookie season, owned a career 5.79 ERA in two previous starts against Boston coming into Saturday, but he held his own in five innings pitched last night.

Without JD Martinez, the Red Sox more than likely would not have won this game, and he got the scoring started for his team in the fourth by blasting his first of two home runs to cut the Orioles lead in half at the time.

An inning later, Dan Butler, who was starting behind the plate in the night cap, drove in his first big league run since 2014 on a sac fly that scored Eduardo Nunez, who tripled to lead off the fifth, from third and tie things up at two runs a piece.

In the sixth, with Steve Pearce at third and Martinez at second, a wild pitch from Orioles reliever Cody Carroll on ball four of Rafael Devers’ third at bat of the night allowed Pearce to come in from third. Just like that, the Red Sox had themselves a one-run lead.

A lead that would not last long though, as Baltimore answered right back with a run of their own in their half of the sixth off of Heath Hembree to re-tie the game.

Fast forward to the eighth, with Mike Wright on the mound for the Orioles, and JD Martinez essentially put this contest to bed by coming through with a clutch two-run shot to left field. 410 feet off the bat for Martinez’s second big fly of the evening and league-leading 37th of the season.

To put this thing out of reach for good, Brock Holt provided some necessary insurance in the ninth on a two out RBI single that scored Mookie Betts from second and gave the Red Sox a 6-3 lead they would not have to look back from to sweep the twin bill.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 84-35 on the season. They are also 13-2 against the Orioles.

JD Martinez drove in his 102nd, 103rd, and 104th RBI last night. In his eight-year career, the most runs he had driven in in a single season was 104 in 2017.

Craig Kimbrel has given up runs in five of his last six appearances. That is actually bad.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox will be going for the four-game sweep in Baltimore later this afternoon. Guess who is getting the start for Boston?

That’s right. Chris Sale is BACK from the 10-day disabled list after missing nearly two weeks with left shoulder inflammation as he gets the nod in the Sunday finale.

As I mentioned earlier, Brandon Workman to Pawtucket will be the corresponding roster move.

Backed up by a career 2.18 ERA in ten games (seven starts) at Oriole Park, Sale will be facing off against another lefty in Baltimore’s Alex Cobb.

Although he may not be having the greatest of seasons (5.55 ERA in 21 GS), Cobb, a Boston native himself, has seen plenty from the Red Sox over his seven-year career with Tampa Bay and Baltimore.

In two starts against them in 2018, Cobb has surrendered a total of 11 runs on 20 hits in ten innings pitched.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Sunday.

 

 

RECAP: Mookie Betts Stays Hot and JD Martinez Reaches 100 RBI Mark as #RedSox Outslug Orioles in 19-12 Win.

In a game that took over four hours to complete and saw 31 total runs cross the plate, it was the Red Sox, with no help from their pitching staff, who came away with a series opening win against a last place Baltimore Orioles team in wild fashion.

Making his third start with Boston since being traded from Tampa Bay on July 25th, Nathan Eovaldi actually struggled. Wow.

He entered Friday having not given up a single run in 15 innings pitched with his new club, but also a career 6.10 ERA in two prior starts at Camden Yards, and the latter prevailed last night.

Pitching into just the third inning of this one, the right-hander got hit hard by the lowly O’s for EIGHT runs, four of which were earned, on 10 hits and two walks.

Most surprisingly, Eovaldi failed to strike out a single one of the 20 batters he faced on the night.

Control was also an issue for the Houston native in his 12th outing of the year, as he only threw strikes 59% of the time on Friday. Compare that to a 73% strike rate in his previous two starts, both of which were starts that allowed Eovaldi to work at a decently quick pace, something he really could not accomplish yesterday.

I don’t think it is that big of a deal, but it is worth mentioning that Dan Butler, not Sandy Leon, who was behind the plate in his previous two appearances, caught Eovaldi. There were times when pitcher and catcher were not on the same page in terms of what to throw, and perhaps that’s what led to a rough evening for Eovaldi.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (42 strikes), the 28 year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball 35 times and topped out at 99 MPH with his four-seamer in the first inning. Eovaldi will look to rebound from this disastrous start and maintain his previous stellar form in his next time out against his former club in the Tampa Bay Rays next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen too had themselves a rough night.

  • Brandon Workman cleaned up the mess left behind by Eovaldi in the third thanks to a pick off from Dan Butler to catch Tim Beckham stealing second and also tossed a scoreless fourth.
  • Drew Pomeranz, yes that Drew Pomeranz, made his first appearance out of the Red Sox bullpen since being demoted on Thursday afternoon and actually looked okay in a clean fifth. He would eventually pick up his second winning decision of the season later on.
  • Heath Hembree got knocked around for two runs on three hits and a walk in an abysmal sixth inning of work that saw the Red Sox lead shrink from three runs to one run.
  • Shoutout to Ryan Brasier, because he was the only reliever out of Boston’s ‘pen who managed to retire all three batters he faced in a shutdown seventh inning.
  • Matt Barnes gave up a solo homer to Mark Trumbo to cut his team’s lead to eight runs, but otherwise sat down three of the four batters he faced in the eighth.
  • And finally, despite giving up a run on two base knocks, Joe Kelly closed things down in the ninth to secure win number 82 for the Red Sox.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup certainly had themselves a night to remember, as they set a new season-high in runs scored with 19 of them on the evening.

Matched up against Baltimore’s ace in right-hander Dylan Bundy, who got hit hard by Boston in a game that ended up not counting because of weather late last month, the top and middle parts of the lineup got the scoring started right away to kick off the weekend.

Beginning the first by drawing a leadoff walk on four straight balls, Mookie Betts, along with JD Martinez, would come around to score two of the first three Red Sox runs on a two out three-run blast off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. His 17th of the season.

Fast forward to the fourth and trailing 8-3 all of a sudden, Brock Holt got things back on track by drawing a one out walk and would come around to score two batters later on a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI triple. A passed ball with Mookie Betts at the plate allowed Bradley to score from third, and just like that, it was a three-run game.

Two innings later, a leadoff home run from a surging Holt cut the Orioles lead to two, and that was just the tip of the iceberg in what turned out to be a six run sixth for Boston.

Highlighted by a sac fly from Mitch Moreland that made it a one-run game, two bases loaded walks that saw the tying and go-ahead runs cross the plate, and a two RBI knock from Holt, the Red Sox found themselves with a brand new three run lead they would not have to look back from. All while the Orioles ran through three different pitchers in the inning.

In the seventh, with Donnie Hart still on the mound for Baltimore, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Mitch Moreland all reached base safely before a single out was recorded.

Benintendi, with runners on first and third, essentially put this game on ice by mashing his 15th big fly of the season, another three-run shot that gave his team a commanding 14-10 lead.

To wrap up the wild night filled with plenty of scoring, a pair of multi-RBI base hits from Mookie Betts and JD Martinez gave the Red Sox their 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th and final run of the contest.

For Betts, a bases-clearing double, his 32nd, saw Holt, Steve Pearce, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all score to up his RBI total to 62 on the season.

And for JD, a two RBI single that scored both Betts and Andrew Benintendi put his season RBI total over 100 at 101 to be exact. The first player to accomplish the feat this season.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: Tonight’s 19-12 win marks the most runs the Red Sox have scored against the Orioles since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954. It had been 24 years since the Sox scored 19+ runs in any road game (4/12/94 at KC, W 22-11).

Mookie Betts has reached base 10 times in his last 11 plate appearances.

One day after Betts hit for the cycle in Toronto, Jackie Bradley Jr. finished a home run shy in four at bats last night.

JD Martinez has driven in 101 runs in 109 games played.

Entering Friday in a 2/24 slump at the plate, Brock Holt went 3/4 last night with his first home run since April 17th. He also got a hug from JD Martinez.

Faced with a double-header that starts this afternoon, it will be David Price getting the start for the Red Sox in the first of two games on what looks to be a rainy day in Baltimore.

Opposite Price will be rookie right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis for the Orioles, who has both started and pitched out of the bullpen in four games with Baltimore this season.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Saturday.

As for the second game, another rookie in Yefry Ramirez will get the start for the Orioles.

Alex Cora has yet to make a decision on who will start for Boston. RHP William Cuevas has been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket and will represent the 26th man on the Red Sox roster for this today’s twin bill at Camden Yards. He, or Hector Velazquez, are realistic options to get the nod in the night-cap.

Drew Pomeranz Is Headed to the #RedSox Bullpen, for Now.

Hours before the Red Sox take on the Toronto Blue Jays looking for their seventh consecutive win, Manager Alex Cora announced that left-hander Drew Pomeranz will now assume a reliever role with the club.

This move does not come as a surprise to many, as Pomeranz has not looked quite like himself in the three starts he has made since being activated from the 10-day disabled list on July 24th.

Over that span, the lefty has surrendered eight earned runs on 14 hits and 11 walks in 14.1 innings pitched, good for an ERA of 5.02 and an OPS against of .894. Not great.

The Red Sox are 1-2 in those three Pomeranz starts and 5-6 in his starts dating back to April 20th.

Although this decision may be discouraging for the soon to be free agent, the numbers say that, over his eight-year career between the Rockies, Athletics, Padres, and Red Sox, Pomeranz has actually been more efficient out of the bullpen.

In 59 career appearances as a reliever, Pomeranz owns a 2.10 ERA in 64 innings pitched. Compare that to a 4.04 ERA in 122 career starts, and perhaps this role will benefit the native of Tennessee.

The last time Pomeranz pitched out of the Red Sox bullpen came during the 2016 ALDS, when in two appearances against the Indians, the 29-year-old hurler allowed two earned runs over 4.1 total innings pitched.

There is still a chance that Pomeranz gets designated for assignment though, as roster spots will need to be made available for the likes of Blake Swihart, Ian Kinsler, and Chris Sale in the coming days.

Alex Cora also announced Thursday that Brian Johnson will maintain his spot in the Red Sox rotation.

Chris Sale is still scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles in Baltimore, per The Boston Globe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some notes from this win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

RECAP: #RedSox Held to One Run by Phillies’ Jake Arrieta in 3-1 Series Splitting Loss.

On a day where Chris Sale was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, Drew Pomeranz did not put forth his best effort to make Red Sox fans feel a little more comfortable with the fact they will be with out their ace for the time being, although Sale’s injury does not appear to be all that serious.

Anyway, making his 10th start of the season last night, Pomeranz was far from awful against the Philadelphia Phillies, that much is certain, but he was from great as well.

In five full innings, the lefty somehow managed to hold the Phils to just two runs while surrendering four hits, four walks, and two hit batsmen to go along with three punch outs on the night.

It was not pretty by any means, but by the time Pomeranz’s day came to an end in the middle of the fifth with his team trailing by just two runs, it’s difficult to say that he did not give the Red Sox a chance to win this game, because he kept them in it and worked around plenty of traffic on the base paths to hold Philadelphia to two runs.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95, the 29-year old hurler only threw strikes about 53% of the time on Tuesday night. He also topped out at 92.3 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he went to 30 times, in the third inning while lowering his ERA on the season to an unsightly 6.56.

Due to the fact that Brian Johnson has taken over for Chris Sale while he is on the DL, all signs point to Pomeranz maintaining his spot in the Red Sox rotation. If nothing were to change, the Tennessee native would start again sometime next week against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In relief of Pomeranz, the Red Sox bullpen had themselves another solid night up until the ninth inning.

Joe Kelly, with the help of Blake Swihart’s cannon of an arm, worked his way around a leadoff single to face the minimum three batters in the lone inning he pitched in the sixth.

Heath Hembree too worked his way around a leadoff walk to toss a scoreless seventh and Matt Barnes, despite loading the bases, escaped any damage in the eighth inning with a big time strikeout of Cesar Hernandez.

In the final frame though, with the Red Sox trailing by just one run, Hector Velazquez, who had pitched on Monday, allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach base, which drove in the Phillies’ third and final run of the night to create some distance between them and the Red Sox going into the bottom half of the inning.

On the other side of things, similar to what Aaron Nola did for the Phillies in the series opener, Jake Arrieta had his way with the Red Sox lineup on Tuesday.

Tossing seven innings of one run ball, the ex-Cub held Boston to one lone run on six hits and one HBP with seven strikeouts.

That one run came in the sixth inning on a Xander Bogaerts RBI groundout. That’s all the scoring the Red Sox could manage in this one, although they did have plenty of opportunities.

I won’t break down all of them, but I will highlight the most crucial of these scoring chances that came in the ninth.

With Seranthony Dominguez on the mound for Philadelphia to protect a two run lead, a leadoff walk drawn by JD Martinez appeared to be a step in the right direction for a second walk-off hit in as many nights.

However, that optimism was quickly wiped away when Xander Bogaerts took a 99.1 MPH fastball off his right hand in the very next at bat. The same right hand that impacted Bogaerts’ 2017 campaign when he was hit with a pitch in Tampa Bay right before the All-Star break.

Despite the obvious pain he was in, Bogaerts was able to stay in this game and represent the tying run at first base with no outs.

From that point, Dominguez really buckled down for the Phillies, as he consecutively sat down the next three hitters he saw to pick up the save.

Ian Kinsler, who was making his Red Sox debut, Mookie Betts, who came on to pinch hit for Eduardo Nunez, and Brock Holt were all retired on just 11 pitches, and that was how last night’s contest would come to a close with a final score of 3-1.

Some notes from this one:

From @EvanDrellich: Right hand contusion for Xander Bogaerts. X Rays negative. Same spot as last year. He sounded worried just because of the similarity but good news again is X Rays are negative.

From @PeteAbe: Dombrowski said Sale was “adamant” he would miss only one start. Suspicion is how he throws his slider could be the cause. Team is being cautious. MRI was not needed.

In his aforementioned Red Sox debut, Ian Kinsler went 1/4 at the plate with two strikeouts batting in the six-hole. He was also solid at second base.

Extending his hitting streak to 11 games with a sixth inning single, Blake Swihart finishes his month of July with an outstanding slash line of .412/.474/.618 in 14 games.

Ending July with a 19-6 record, the Red Sox have Wednesday off before hosting the New York Yankees for a four-game set that begins tomorrow.

With a 4-5 record against the Bombers this season and a five game division lead to protect, you don’t need me to tell you that this upcoming series is meaningful.

Brian Johnson starts in the place of Chris Sale in the opener on Thursday. He’ll be matched up against CC Sabathia for New York, who has both struggled and succeeded against Boston in two separate starts at home this season.

As for Johnson, well, he’s never started against the Yankees, but he has yet to give up a run against them in three relief appearances as well. Should be an interesting matchup of two left-handers.

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

RECAP: Four Home Runs Not Enough as Drew Pomeranz Disappoints in Return to #RedSox Rotation.

For the first time since May 31st, Drew Pomeranz started a big league game last night, and surprise, surprise, he was not very good. Yes, he deserves the benefit of the doubt and maybe multiple chances to prove himself again, but it’s understandable why Pomeranz is not exactly a fan favorite.

I mean, he has brought almost nothing to the table this season and looks like he does not want to be out there. But, given the fact Eduardo Rodriguez is on the shelf for the forseeable future, nothing much will change. The good news here, if any, is that once the postseason begins, Pomeranz shouldn’t even be considered to be part of the starting rotation. Watch, now he’ll pitch like he did for most of last season and I’ll look like an idiot.

Anyway, on another rainy night in Baltimore, Drew Pomeranz made his return from the 10-day disabled list to make his ninth start of the season on Tuesday night. While rehabbing from his left bicep injury, Pomeranz made six starts between Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket. In those six outings, the lefty posted a 5.04 ERA in 25 innings pitched, but held the opposition to one run on one hit and two walks in his last start against the Charlotte Knights on July 18th.

So, that appeared to give the signal that Pomeranz was ready to rejoin the Red Sox rotation. Alex Cora mentioned how the return of Pomeranz could be somewhat like a trade pickup for the club, and he had a great opportunity to get his feet wet against a team as bad as the Orioles.

Unfortunately, that is not how things worked out, because in less than five innings, Pomeranz got hit decently hard.

In those 4.2 innings pitched, Baltimore got to the Tennessee native for four runs on six hits, including two home runs, while drawing two walks and fanning four times.

The first crucial mistake Pomeranz made came in the third, when with one out and a runner on, the lefty seemingly missed his location on a 0-0 78 MPH knuckle curve and O’s second baseman Jonathan Schoop sent it 414 feet into the left field seats for his second long ball in as many days to give his team an early 2-1 lead.

The second crucial mistake for Pomeranz came in a similar spot later on in the bottom half of the fifth. After walking the leadoff hitter, who also happened to be Baltimore’s number nine hitter in Caleb Joseph, the 29 year-old hurler served up another two-run homer, this one coming off the bat of the other Orioles middle infielder Tim Beckham. This coming a half inning after the Red Sox had just battled back to take a 3-2 lead. Not a great look.

Pomeranz would be unable to finish the frame, as Tyler Thornburg came in and struck out the only batter he faced.

Finishing with 89 pitches, 56 of which went for strikes, Pomeranz relied on his knuckle-curveball 51% of the time on Tuesday and topped out at 89.9 MPH with his four-seamer on his 26th pitch of the game. According to Statcast, the three hardest hit balls last night had exit velocities of 108, 107.7, and 106.9 MPH. They all came off of Pomeranz.

Falling to 1-4 on the season with an ugly 6.91 ERA, Pomeranz will look to rebound in his next time out, which could come against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

As I had previously mentioned, Tyler Thornburg got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the fifth and retired the lone batter he faced.

A struggling Joe Kelly was next out of the ‘pen for the sixth, and by the time the inning had concluded, the Orioles had added three runs to their lead to essentially put this game out of reach for the Red Sox. Since the beginning of June, Kelly owns a 9.98 ERA and .920 OPS against in 20 appearances. That’s a problem.

From the middle of the seventh inning on, Hector Velazquez wrapped up a pretty miserable day for Red Sox pitching on a more positive note, as he held the Orioles scoreless in the two frames he tossed to lower his ERA to a solid 2.50 on the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a young pitcher for Baltimore who actually made his big league debut against Boston back on June 13th.

Yefry Ramirez, 24, gave up three runs in less than five innings pitched then, and it was a very similar outing for him last night.

JD Martinez got the scoring started right away in the first, as he launched his first of two home runs on the night to put the Red Sox up early.

Fast forward to the fifth with the team trailing by a run, Blake Swihart came through with is first Major League home run in nearly three seasons to tie this thing back up at two runs a piece.

One batter later, Mookie Betts took issue with Ramirez throwing 92 MPH heat up near his head. Although it was more than likely unintentional, Betts made the Orioles rookie pay by mashing his 24th big fly of the season on the very next pitch he saw.

Back-to-back solo homers to retake the lead had me feeling pretty confident to be honest, but Drew Pomeranz let that slip away a few minutes later.

Trailing by four runs heading into the eighth inning, JD Martinez put a dent into that deficit, as he blasted his second home run of the night and 31st of the season, a two-run shot, to retake the Major League lead in that category and make it a 7-5 game.

With one last chance to do something in the ninth, the news that Orioles closer Zach Britton had been traded to the New York Yankees was certainly a blow, but it was also assuring knowing that he would not be available to close this game out for Baltimore.

Facing off against new Orioles closer Brad Brach, Jackie Bradley Jr. led things off with an infield single that essentially turned into a double thanks to some sloppy glove work from Tim Beckham.

After Brock Holt pinch hit for Eduardo Nunez and advanced Bradley from third with one out, Rafael Devers cut the Red Sox deficit to one by collecting his 50th RBI of the season on an infield single. 7-6 game.

Mookie Betts was up next with the chance to complete the comeback, but unexpectedly grounded into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play. Surprising, considering how much damage Betts has done at Camden Yards in his career. With the Yankees winning their game against the Tampa Bay Rays last night, the lead in the AL East currently stands at five games for Boston.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: J.D. Martinez is the 10th player to hit 30+ HR in his first season with the Red Sox, the first since David Ortiz did it in 2003.

In 35 career games at Camden Yards, Mookie Betts is slashing .296/.383/.606 with 13 HR and 28 RBI.

Per FanGraphs, 48% of the 31 home runs JD Martinez has hit this season have been hit to the opposite field.

Going for the series win tonight before heading home, David Price gets the ball for the Red Sox in what will be his 21st start of the season. Going up against him is the Orioles’ Dylan Bundy, who has started three times against Boston in 2018 and owns a 2.29 ERA in those starts.

First pitch of the final game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.