RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Scores Winning Run on Fielding Error as #RedSox Finish off Sweep of Blue Jays.

Following a historic Wednesday night in which they saw their win total reach 100 for the first time since 1946, the Red Sox went into Thursday looking to complete the series sweep in their last game against the Toronto Blue Jays this season.

Making his 22nd start of the year on Thursday, Eduardo Rodriguez looked much better than he did in his last time out against the Houston Astros, an outing in which he surrendered five earned runs in less than four innings.

Pitching six full frames in this one, the left-hander allowed just one Toronto run to cross the plate while scattering five hits and zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

That lone run came in the top half of the third inning, when with two outs and a runner at second, Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak grounded an RBI single up the middle to drive in Lourdes Gurriel.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Rodriguez bounced back after that by retiring 10 of the final 11 hitters he faced, including a four pitch strikeout of Randal Grichuk with two outs in the sixth, to wrap up his evening on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final efficient pitch count of 78 (52 strikes), the Venezuela native, who was caught by Christian Vazquez once again, had a more solid pitch mix than he did this past Saturday.

chart (3).png

Out of those 78 pitches, Rodriguez threw 17 changeups, 16 two-seam fastballs, 16 sliders, 16 four-seam fastballs, and 13 cutters, which resulted in a total of nine swinging strikes and 17 called strikes.

He also topped out at 93.9 MPH with both the two and four-seamer in the third and fifth innings.

Unable to pick up a well-deserved winning decision despite leaving with his team ahead, Rodriguez did manage to lower his ERA on the season down to 3.53 in his third start since returning from the disabled list.

He’ll look to build on this solid outing in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees sometime next week.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final three innings of Thursday night’s contest with a two run lead to protect.

Ryan Brasier was first up for the seventh inning, and he retired the only three hitters he faced in order. That was fine, but what happened in the eighth was not.

Bobby Poyner, who has seemingly been paving his way for a spot on any postseason roster with his performance as of late, made one mistake pitch to Lourdes Gurriel, who hit his eighth home run of the season to make it just a one-run game.

The left-hander did manage to record the first two outs of the frame along with that homer, and Joe Kelly was next up after him.

Kelly, who had already surrendered runs in two appearances this month alone, could not record the inning-ending out.

Instead, he loaded the bases on one walk, one single, and one HBP before allowing the tying run to cross the plate on another HBP.

Out of the 15 pitches Kelly threw on Thursday, only FIVE of them went for strikes.

Brandon Workman would have to enter this one with two outs and a Blue Jay on every base, but he was able to escape the jam by fanning Billy McKinney on three straight strikes.

After the Red Sox retook the lead at 4-3 in their half of the eighth inning, it was Craig Kimbrel’s time to shut the door on Toronto for the final time in 2018.

Making his second appearance in as many days, the flame throwing closer needed just eight pitches to retire the side in order, earning his 40th save of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Blue Jays right-hander Sam Gaviglio, who only allowed one run in 3.1 innings pitched in his last start against Boston on July 14th.

For the second consecutive night, the bats were not all there, but they really didn’t need to be thanks to a pair of home runs.

That first homer came in the bottom of the second, when JD Martinez took a swing at a 2-2 83 MPH slider on the outer half of the plate and sent it 397 feet into the Red Sox bullpen.

Home run number 41 for Martinez had an exit velocity of 105.5 MPH.

An inning later, a Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff double would later result in the team’s second run of the night after Ian Kinsler drove him in on a one out sacrifice fly to left field.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth now, and Rafael Devers, who entered the game as a pinch runner for Eduardo Nunez in the fourth, absolutely crushed his 17th big fly of the season off of Mark Leiter.

According to Statcast, that ball was hit 394 feet and had an exit velocity of over 109 MPH.

In all honesty, that probably should have been the final nail in the coffin for the Blue Jays, but they pulled their way back into this thing, for a few minutes anyway.

Moments after Toronto evened this contest up at three runs a piece in the top half of the eighth inning, Xander Bogaerts responded right away by ripping a one out double off of Danny Barnes to put the go-ahead run in scoring position.

After a successful attempt of stealing third base, Bogaerts would come into score on what appeared to be a routine pop fly off the bat of Blake Swihart.

Instead, Jays second baseman Yangervis Solarte had trouble locating the ball during its descent, and it ended up clanking off his glove and dropping to the ground.

No RBI credited to Swihart there, but it was still good enough to get the job done.

For the second straight night, the game-wining run for Boston has been scored without recoding an RBI.

Some notes from this 4-3 win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox (101-46) have won each of their last 4 games. They have a 10.5-game lead over the Yankees, tied for their largest of the season. This is only the 2nd season in which they have been as many as 55 games above .500 (also 1912).

In 10 games this month, Jackie Bradley Jr. owns a .915 OPS.

JD Martinez and Khris Davis of the Oakland Athletics are currently tied in the league lead for home runs with 41 a piece.

The Red Sox finish their season series against the Toronto Blue Jays with a 15-4 record. Their magic number to clinch the American League East is down to six games.

Eduardo Nunez is day-to-day with soreness in his right knee.

Winners of four straight, the Red Sox welcome the New York Mets into town for the first time since 2009 for a three-game weekend series.

Getting the start in the series opener for each side will be RHP Hector Velazquez for Boston and RHP Noah Syndergaard for New York.

In one career start against the Red Sox, which came back in 2015, Syndergaard surrendered four earned runs on six hits and one walk in 6.2 innings pitched. He did not factor into the decision.

Velazquez, on the other hand, has never faced the Mets in his career, but he does own a 4.26 ERA over seven appearances (one start) in interleague play this season.

UPDATE: Velazquez is out, RHP William Cuevas is in.

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

 

Advertisements

RECAP: Ian Kinsler Drives in Three Runs as #RedSox Open up Series Against Braves with an 8-2 Win.

Following a series split with the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, the Red Sox headed to Atlanta, where they would be taking on a first place 76-60 Braves team in the first of a three-game set in their first ever visit to SunTrust Park on Labor Day.

In a rare Monday afternoon game, it was Nathan Eovaldi who got the start for Boston after only pitching two-plus innings due to rain in his last time out on Friday.

Entering the day with a 8.05 ERA in his last five starts, the right-hander looked to get back on track against a team he has a good history with in the Braves, and that is not exactly how things went down.

Pitching into just the fourth inning of this one, Eovaldi held Atlanta scoreless on two hits and four walks, a new-season high, to go along with four strikeouts on the afternoon.

On paper, that may not look like the worst line, especially when you consider the August Eovaldi just had, but the walks, along with a high pitch count, is what limited him to those three-and-one third innings pitched.

After walking three of the first hitters he faced in the first and escaping the inning unscathed, the Texas native did settle down a bit, but the Braves forced him to work hard by consistently working the count, which led to the high volume of pitches early on.

By the time his day came to a conclusion with one out and runners on first and third in the bottom of the fourth, Eovaldi’s pitch count was already north of 85.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (52 strikes), the 28-year-old relied on his three fastballs, four-seam, cut, and split-finger, a whopping 98% of the time he was on the mound. The other 2%? One slider and one curveball, that’s it.

Eovaldi also topped out at 100.9 MPH with his four-seam fastball to strike out Ronald Acuna Jr. in the first inning. According to MLB.com’s David Adler, “that’s the fastest strikeout pitch by a starter in MLB this season. It’s Eovaldi’s fastest pitch of the season.”

Unable to pick up the winning decision due to the length of the outing, Eovaldi did pitch well enough to help his team end the four-game losing streak they had in contests he had started since August 15th.

With his ERA on the season dropping down to a nice 4.20, the former 11th round pick will look to build on today’s start in his next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next Sunday.

In relief of Eovaldi, Alex Cora first turned to Brandon Workman with runners on the corners and two outs to get in the fourth.

Although he did walk the first hitter he faced in Dansby Swanson, Workman was able to escape the frame scot-free thanks to a 3-2 put out at home and a pop out off the bat of the dangerous Ronald Acuna to retire the side.

Steven Wright, making his first appearance since June 22nd, worked his way around a HBP and two out single in an otherwise clean fifth inning.

Joe Kelly was responsible for the sixth, and his string of scoreless appearances came to an end after giving up a leadoff home run to Ozzie Albies, but he sat down the next three batters he faced after that to end the frame.

Ryan Brasier started the seventh, but could not finish it, as he gave up one run on three hits and a sacrifice fly before making way for Heath Hembree with two outs.

Earning the trust of Alex Cora to come into games with runners on base and get out of innings cleanly, Hembree got the job done yet again by fanning Ozzie Albies on four pitches to end the seventh.

From that point on, Matt Barnes earned his 25th hold of the year in a scoreless eighth inning, and Craig Kimbrel, who had not pitched in a game since last Tuesday, walked one in a scoreless ninth and final frame to secure his team’s 95th win.

All and all, the Red Sox used seven total relief pitchers this afternoon, and only two runs, along with two walks, were given up. Not too shabby. Brandon Workman earned the winning decision.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Touki Toussaint for Atlanta, who had only made one career big league start against the Miami Marlins prior to Monday.

Ranked as the Braves’ number seven prospect, Toussaint, 22, had it going on early, as he held Boston hitless through the first four innings of this one. But once the fifth inning hit, it was the bottom of the lineup who got the scoring started.

Beginning with a one out double from Eduardo Nunez, two more doubles off the bat of both Ian Kinsler and Christian Vazquez all of a sudden had the Red Sox up by two runs.

Two batters later, a Mookie Betts RBI single that drove in Vazquez from second and increased the lead to three runs is what put an end to Toussaint’s second career big league start.

Fast forward to the eighth, with the Red Sox lead trimmed down to one run, and Ian Kinsler essentially put this game out of reach with a two out, bases-clearing three RBI double off Braves left-hander Jesse Biddle.

What was even better about that big hit is the fact that it would not have even happened had Freddie Freeman not committed a throwing error on an Eduardo Nunez ground ball that ended up loading the bases for Kinsler.

Finally, in the ninth, Xander Bogaerts made the Braves pay for intentionally walking JD Martinez to load the bases by ripping a two RBI double to center field to plate Brock Holt and Andrew Benintendi.

After another intentional walk of Mitch Moreland, Eduardo Nunez put this game on ice with a 341 foot sacrifice fly to drive JD Martinez in from third and make it a 8-2 game, which would end up being your final score.

Some notes from this 8-2 win:

The Red Sox are 12-3 in interleague play this season.

Since August 24th, Ian Kinsler is slashing .351/.368/.514 with one home run and six RBI.

Looking to guarantee a series win tomorrow night, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for Boston.

In two interleague starts this season, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings pitched against the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies. He is also 2/5 with 3 RBI at the plate in those starts.

Opposite Porcello will be LHP Sean Newcomb for the Braves.

Newcomb, 25 and a native of Brockton, Massachusetts, has posted a 3.85 ERA over 26 starts with Atlanta in his first full season in the majors.

Back on May 26th, Newcomb was only able to pitch three innings while giving up three earned runs in a losing effort in his only other start against the Red Sox.

First pitch of the second game of the series is scheduled for 7:35 PM ET Tuesday.

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez Dominates with 12 Strikeouts in First Start Back from DL as #RedSox Cruise to 6-1 Win over White Sox.

On a day where rosters expand all across Major League Baseball, the Red Sox welcomed a total of eight players from both Triple A Pawtucket and the 10-day disabled list to increase their roster size up to 33.

Yes, Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, and Christian Vazquez were all activated from the disabled list on Saturday, while Sam Travis, Tzu-Wei Lin, Robby Scott, Bobby Poyner, and William Cuevas were all recalled from the PawSox.

Getting the starting nod in last night’s contest was none other than Rodriguez himself, and his battery mate for his first big league in-game action in exactly seven weeks was none other than Christian Vazquez, who caught E-Rod in one of his rehab starts in Portland.

In what was his 20th start of the season, the left-hander looked as though he had not missed a beat on Saturday, as he tossed nearly six innings of one run ball while scattering three hits and one walk to go along with a season-high 12 strikeouts.

For never pitching against the White Sox on the road before, Rodriguez began his night by fanning 11 of the first 12 hitters he faced while taking a perfect game into the fifth inning.

After giving up a leadoff single to Matt Davidson and a seven pitch walk to Ryan LaMarre in an otherwise clean fifth, the 25-year old’s evening would come to an end an inning later when Nicky Delmonico ripped a two out RBI double to score Adam Engel from first for Chicago’s lone run.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (60 strikes), Rodriguez would depart from this one with two outs and a runner on second.

Out of those 90 pitches, the Venezuela native turned to his four-seam fastball 44% of the time he was on the mound on Saturday. He topped out at 96.1 MPH with that same pitch in the second inning.

Improving to 12-3 and lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.34, Rodriguez’s scoreless innings streak did ultimately come to an end at 24.2, but regardless of that, Alex Cora and the Red Sox have to be encouraged with what they saw from their young lefty in his first meaningful start in over a month.

He’ll look to build on this dominant performance in his next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final 10 outs last night, and Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, and Joe Kelly dealt with the White Sox bats in decently short order to secure their team’s 94th win of the year.

For Barnes, a nice bounce back after surrendering seven earned runs in his previous four appearances.

And for the Red Sox pitching staff as a whole, well, they faced 32 total batters on Saturday and struck out 18 of them. Not bad.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against arguably the best starting pitcher the White Sox have to offer in Carlos Rodon.

A left-hander like Rodriguez, Rodon made his 2018 debut against Boston on June 9th, where he surrendered four runs (two earned) over six innings in a losing effort.

Unlike Friday night, when they were held to one run, the Red Sox were able to score multiple runs last night, and it started with a solo home run off the bat of Eduardo Nunez in the fifth.

An absolute line drive of a long ball, Nunez’s 10th of the season had a launch angle of 19 degrees.

Three batters later, Jackie Bradley Jr. took the first pitch he saw from Rodon, a 84 MPH, slider, and sent it 402 feet to right field to make it a 2-0 game.

Fast forward to the seventh, an inning that has treated the Red Sox quite nicely these past few days, and Christian Vazquez led things off by drawing an eight pitch walk.

After a Jackie Bradley Jr. fly out, Mookie Betts was able to advance Vazquez all the way to third on his 39th double of the year.

With runners in scoring position, Andrew Benintendi appeared to ground into a 1-3 put out for the second out of the frame, but an ugly throw from Carlos Rodon that got over the first baseman’s head allowed Vazquez to easily score from third to make it a 3-1 game.

Just a few moments after that all went down, Steve Pearce put an end to Rodon’s night by ripping a one out single to left field to plate Mookie Betts and advance Benintendi to third.

Following a pitching change that saw rookie Ryan Burr take over for Rodon, JD Martinez tacked on another insurance run and added on to his league-leading RBI count by singling to center and scoring Benintendi from third. Martinez now has 115 RBI on the season.

Finally, in the eighth, just for fun, Ian Kinsler went ahead and launched his first home run in a Red Sox uniform on a rocket sent to the White Sox bullpen. 6-1.

Some notes from this 6-1 win: 

The Red Sox won their 94th game of the 2018 season on Saturday night. That is more than they had in both 2016 and 2017 and there are still 25 games left.

Over his last 10 appearances, Joe Kelly has posted a 0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings of work.

In his last five games, Ian Kinsler is batting .474 with one home run and three RBI.

With hits in eight of his last 10 games, Mookie Betts owns a 1.061 OPS with two homers and six runs driven in since August 22nd.

JD Martinez has 9 RBI in his last 10 games. Like I mentioned above, his 115 RBI on the year is the most in all of baseball.

Going for the series win later this afternoon, it will be Brian Johnson getting the start for the Red Sox in the Windy City finale.

Now, Johnson has neither pitched at Gauranteed Rate Field nor against the White Sox in his three-year career, but he did post a 5.27 ERA in six appearances (five starts) over 27.1 innings pitched in August.

Opposite Johnson will be veteran right-hander James Shields for Chicago, who owns a 4.54 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 29 games, 28 of which are starts, in what is his 13th year in the big leagues.

Known mostly for his time with the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals, “Big Game James” has faced off against the Red Sox 28 times in his career, and is 9-14 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in those starts.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 2:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Eduardo Nunez Walks It off in the Ninth as #RedSox Bounce Back Multiple Times to Put an End to Losing Streak.

Coming off their worst weekend of the season and an off-day on Monday, the Red Sox welcomed the National League East’s Miami Marlins into town for a quick two-game interleague series before heading back out on the road later this week.

Getting the start for Boston in this opening game was Brian Johnson, his 11th of the season, who also started against the Marlins back on April 2nd, where he allowed just one run to score in six quality innings of work in a 7-3 win for Boston.

Only pitching into the fifth in this one, the left-hander once again gave up one run while scattering five hits and a lone walk to go along with three punch outs on the night.

What cost Johnson that one earned run came in the top half of the third, when with one out and the bases empty, Marlins rookie outfielder Isaac Galloway launched his second home run of the season to pull this game even at one run a piece.

Other than that, the Florida native certainly dealt with a fair amount of traffic on the base paths, but he did a solid job of limiting what the Marlins could get off him. Especially when you consider that Starlin Castro led the fourth inning off with a triple and could not come around to score.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (44 strikes), Johnson’s night came to a conclusion after giving up a one out single to Rafael Ortega.

Out of those 73 pitches, the 27-year-old relied on his four-seam fastball 48% of the time on Tuesday and topped out at 91.9 MPH with that same pitch in the first inning.

Unable to pick up the win due to the length of his outing and the fact that the Red Sox had a bit of a meltdown later on, Johnson will look to build on this so-so start in his next time out, which will be coming against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had themselves a night to forget from the eighth inning on.

Up until that point, Brandon Workman, with the help of Blake Swihart, and Joe Kelly looked decent in their combined 2.2 scoreless frames of relief.

Once Matt Barnes took the mound to begin the eighth though, well, let’s just say things got ugly real quick.

Entering the inning with a 4-1 lead, Barnes allowed two of the first three hitters he faced to reach, including back-to-back homers off the bats of JT Realmuto and Starlin Castro to pull the Marlins back to even.

Six batters and one pitching change later, with the bases loaded and Heath Hembree in for Barnes, it was Rafael Ortega who struck again, as his one out, two RBI single gave his club a brand new 6-4 lead before the side was retired.

In the ninth, moments after the Red Sox had jumped out to a one-run lead of their own, Craig Kimbrel could not shut the door on the Marlins.

Nope, he allowed three of the six batters he faced to reach, which led to Miami scoring what looked to be the go-ahead run on a Magneuris Sierra RBI single. Just demoralizing.

Thanks to efforts from his team in the bottom half of the inning though, Kimbrel did manage to notch his fourth winning decision of the season while also collecting his fourth blown save. Granted, he has not pitched much recently, but it’s still not a great look.

To summarize, here’s the final pitching line from Red Sox relievers after the seventh inning:

2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR. That’s a 27.00 ERA, which is far from ideal.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Marlins right-hander Jose Urena, who held Boston to one run in seven innings in his only other start against them back on April 3rd. That is not how things went on August 28th, though.

Starting the long night of scoring was Ian Kinsler, whose one out RBI single to plate Xander Bogaerts from third put the Red Sox on the board first.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts both reached base to leadoff the third, which set up Andrew Benintendi for an ideal scoring spot.

On a 1-2 96 MPH fastball from Urena, Benintendi ripped a RBI double to right field, driving in Bradley Jr. to retake the lead at 2-1.

With Mookie Betts advancing to third on the play, Xander Bogaerts was able to score the outfielder on a sacrifice fly to left. 3-1.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Eduardo Nunez made some noise by mashing his eight big fly of the year, a 380 foot shot hit just over the top of the Green Monster to increase his team’s lead to three runs.

After Miami went off for five runs in their half of the eighth, the Red Sox responded right away with a rally of their own in their half of the same inning.

With hard-throwing reliever Tayron Guerrero on the mound for the Marlins, three of the first four Boston hitters reached to load the bases with one out for Blake Swihart, who struck out on six pitches.

Fortunately, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through big time, as with the count full, he delivered with a two RBI single to drive in a pair of runs to tie this game up.

Next up was Mookie Betts, who came to the plate with runners on the corners and got ahead in the count against Guerrero at 3-1.

On the very next pitch of the at bat, Guerrero sailed a 98 MPH fastball right over Betts’ head and that allowed Ian Kinsler to slide in and score what appeared to be the run that would finally put an end to this losing streak.

That would not be the case however, and it was not until with one out in the ninth and runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth where this marathon of a game would finally come to an end.

With Drew Steckenrider pitching, Eduardo Nunez came to the plate with one big hit under his belt already, and he came up clutch without recording a base knock in his final at bat.

 

Yup, a game-winning force out that probably should have been an inning-ending double play but was not because of a throwing error committed by JT Riddle at shortstop.

With the ball rolling all the way to the camera well, JD Martinez had no problem scoring from second, and just like that, this game was over.

A fitting end to a game as ugly as this one, but nonetheless, the Red Sox losing streak has come to an end at three. They remain as the only team this season to have yet drop four consecutive contests.

Some notes from this 8-7 win:

Including last night, JD Martinez is slashing .405/.488/.568 with one home run and six RBI.

Dating back to July 27th, Craig Kimbrel has surrendered runs in five of his last 10 relief appearances and owns a 5.23 ERA over that span.

In his last 10 appearances, Matt Barnes has given up 10 earned runs in only 9.1 innings pitched.

Heath Hembree has allowed eight runs to cross the plate (six earned) on 10 hits in his last 7.1 innings of work going back to the fifth of August.

In hopes of picking up the quick two-game sweep later tonight, it will be the red-hot David Price toeing the rubber for the Red Sox.

Since the All-Star break, Price owns a 1.09 ERA over his last six starts. The Red Sox are also unbeaten in Price’s last eight starts.

Only making four starts against the Marlins in his 11-year career, the recently turned 33-year-old hurler owns a 3.42 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched to go along with a 1-3 record in those outings.

Opposite Price will be rookie right-hander Trevor Richards for Miami, who made his first career big league start against the Red Sox on April 2nd, where, in less than five innings pitched, he surrendered five earned runs on eight hits in a losing effort.

Since then, Richards has had a solid rookie campaign for himself, as he owns a 3.94 ERA and .250 BAA in 17 starts and 91.1 innings pitched.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET Wednesday.

RECAP: Rick Porcello Can’t Get Through Sixth Inning as #RedSox Drop First Series Since July in 5-1 Loss to Rays.

Less than a full day after getting blown out to open up Players’ Weekend at Tropicana Field on Friday night, the Red Sox and Rays were back it again on Saturday for the middle game of a three-game series with a rare 6:10 PM start time.

Making his 27th start of the season in this one, Rick Porcello entered the evening with a lifetime 2.72 ERA at the Trop, and he did pitch to that level of efficiency tonight.

In five-plus innings of work, the right-hander was charged for three earned runs on six hits, two walks, and two HBPs to go along with eight strikeouts recorded on the night before getting the quick hook in the bottom of the sixth.

Despite the three earned runs, things really could have gone a whole lot worse for Porcello, as he consistently found himself working around traffic on the base paths.

For instance, out of the five full frames he pitched in, only once did the New Jersey native fail to allow a baserunner, which came in the bottom of the second.

Other than that, the Rays had at least one runner on base from the first to the end of the fifth, including a bases loaded situation that Porcello managed to get out of unscathed in the third.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (58 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler departed from this one after allowing the first two batters he faced in the sixth to reach on a leadoff triple and HBP.

Out of those 89 pitches, Porcello turned to both of his fastballs, two and four-seam, a combined 55% of the time tonight. He also topped out at 93.3 MPH with that two-seamer in the first inning.

Falling to 15-7 with a 4.18 ERA on the season now, the former Cy Young Award winner will look to end what has been a rather inconsistent month of August on a positive note in his next time out, which should come against the Chicago White Sox sometime next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final nine outs of Saturday night’s contest, but those outs did not come easy.

Ryan Brasier got the first call out of the ‘pen with runners on first and third and no outs in the sixth, and he closed the book on Porcello’s night by allowing both inherited runners to score before eventually retiring the side in the frame.

Brandon Workman, making his first appearance since Wednesday, worked the seventh, and he gave up a one out solo homer to Tommy Pham as well as an additional hit and walk before ending the inning.

Finally, just trying to keep his team within three runs at this point, Tyler Thornburg surrendered the fifth run of the night for Tampa Bay on a two out RBI triple off the bat of Ji-Man Choi in the eighth.

All and all, not the best night for the bullpen.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who before tonight, had not started a game for the Rays since July 3rd.

Starting the scoring in the second, two straight hits from JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts put runners at second and third in an ideal scoring spot for Mitch Moreland, who was making his first appearance since leaving Thursday’s contest against the Indians with a left knee contusion.

Although he got ahead in the count 2-0, the best Moreland could do was ground into a run-scoring double play that plated Martinez from third to give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.

No RBI on the play though, and that’s all the scoring the team could manage off of Yarbrough and the rest of the Rays bullpen. Not much to talk about there since they were held to five total hits.

Some notes from this 5-1 loss: 

Out of those five Boston hits, four came from JD Martinez, who smacked a pair of doubles to overtake Mookie Betts in the American League batting race, and Eduardo Nunez, who hit two singles. Xander Bogaerts was responsible for the other base knock.

Speaking of Mookie Betts, the AL MVP frontrunner has hit a bit of a skid recently, as he is slashing a mere .179/.238/.231 over his last 10 games.

For the first time since June 29th-July 1st, the Red Sox have lost a series. They are 2-5 in their last seven games. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays have won their last seven.

The Red Sox are now 0-5 when wearing the Players’ Weekend jerseys.

Looking to salvage something from this series tomorrow afternoon, it will be ex-Ray Nathan Eovaldi taking the mound for Boston on Sunday.

In three starts at Tropicana Field this season, the right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings pitched.

Based on the ups and downs Eovaldi has had in his last three outings (6.23 ERA), hopefully pitching in a familiar ballpark will help get him back on track.

Opposite Eovaldi will be the ace of Tampa Bay’s pitching staff in LHP Blake Snell, who has held Boston to just two total runs in 19 innings pitched over three starts this season, two of which came at the Trop.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:10 PM ET Sunday.

RECAP: Hector Velazquez Gets Roughed up as #RedSox Open up Players’ Weekend with 10-3 Loss to Rays.

Heading into Players’ Weekend winners of four of their last seven, the Red Sox arrived at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg for their last series of the season against the 67-61 Tampa Bay Rays, who entered Friday on a five-game winning streak.

Less than a week after being on the wrong side of 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay this past Sunday, Hector Velazquez made his sixth start of the season last night and did not have much of anything going for himself.

Pitching into just the third inning of this one, the right-hander ended up getting charged for EIGHT earned runs on nine hits to go along with two walks and four strikeouts.

At one point giving up six straight hits in the second, which led to three Rays runs crossing the plate, what really screwed Velazquez over came an inning later, when with two outs and runners on first and second, Steve Pearce, in the place of Mitch Moreland at first base, could not field a grounder off the bat of Kevin Kiermaier, which led to a single that allowed Ji-Man Choi to score from second.

On what should have been an inning-ending play, the Rays managed to tack on an additional four runs before Velazquez got the early hook in what was all of a sudden an 8-2 game.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 72 (46 strikes), the 29-year-old turned to his sinker the most on Friday, as he threw it a total of 21 times. He also topped out at 92.4 MPH with that same pitch in the second inning.

Falling to 7-2 with a 3.69 ERA on the season now, Velazquez will look to rebound in his next time out, which should come against the Chicago White Sox next weekend, if he remains in the rotation.

In relief of Velazquez, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final five-plus innings of last night’s contest, but thanks to the efforts of Drew Pomeranz, only two other pitchers were used.

Pomeranz, who entered with two outs in the bottom half of the third with a runner on first, surrendered two runs on a two-run home run off the bat of Rays rookie Willy Adames in the fourth in an otherwise solid 4.1 frames of work to end the seventh. Xander Bogaerts came through with some flashy defense as well.

Joe Kelly, making his third relief appearance in the last four days, wrapped up a rather tough night for Red Sox pitching by working his way around two hits and tossing a scoreless eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rays “opener” Diego Castillo, who pitched in the same role last Sunday and held Boston scoreless in nearly two innings of work.

Pitching into the second once again, the Rays hurler retired five of the seven batters he faced before getting lifted for Jalen Beeks with two outs and runners on first and second.

Beeks, a former Red Sox pitching prospect who was part of the Nathan Eovaldi deal last month, tossed four scoreless frames and picked up the win in his only other appearance against his former team on Sunday.

Although he was not as effective last night, Beeks did manage to pick up the winning decision, his third of the season, while surrendering three runs on seven hits and three walks to go along with four punch outs.

Starting the scoring in the top of the third with three straight two out hits, Xander Bogaerts stayed hot with a two RBI single to plate both Mookie Betts and Steve Pearce.

Those runs appeared to be crucial at the time, as it cut the Red Sox deficit to one, but as I mentioned before, the Rays went off for five runs of their own in their half of the third.

Fast forward to the fifth, and JD Martinez wrapped up his team’s scoring while collecting his league-leading 110th RBI of the season on a one out single to drive in Andrew Benintendi from second to trim the Rays lead down to only seven.

Some notes from this 10-3 loss: 

The Red Sox out hit the Rays 13-12 on Friday, yet got outscored by seven runs. That is mostly due to the fact that none of those 13 hits went for extra bases. Nope, all of them were singles.

In his last 10 games, Xander Bogaerts is slashing .385/.429/.718 with two home runs and 12 RBI.

Since its inception, the Red Sox are 0-4 in Players’ Weekend games. Not great.

Despite the loss, 90-40 is at least satisfying to look at, right?

Looking to get back on the right track later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the start for Boston.

Porcello (15-6, 4.14 ERA) owns a lifetime 2.72 ERA in 14 career starts at Tropicana Field, with the most recent coming on May 24th, an outing in which the right-hander got shelled for six runs (four earned) in less than four innings in an eventual loss.

Opposite Porcello will be rookie left-hander Ryan Yarbrough for Tampa Bay, who has never started against the Red Sox, but does own a 3.00 ERA in four relief appearances against them this season.

First pitch of the second game of the series is scheduled for 6:10 PM ET Saturday.

RECAP: David Price Dominates Indians in Eight Scoreless Innings as #RedSox Become First Club to Reach 90 Wins.

Just a handful of hours after ending their three-game losing streak with a 10-4 win on Wednesday night, the Red Sox were back at it Thursday afternoon looking for a series split against a first place Indians team.

Making his 25th start of the season and coming off seven two-run innings in his last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price entered the day with a lifetime 2.24 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians. That trend continued this afternoon.

Pitching eight full frames in this one, the left-hander held Cleveland scoreless while scattering just three hits and one HBP to go along with zero walks and seven punch outs on the afternoon.

Starting his outing by retiring 18 of the first 19 batters he faced, the most trouble Price ran into came in the top half of the seventh, when he gave up a pair of singles but escaped without any damage thanks to an inning-ending unassisted double play.

In his final frame of work, the Tennessee native hit the first batter he faced in Brandon Guyer, but ended up facing the minimum thanks to another DP and six pitch strikeout of Roberto Perez to retire the side and end his day on a high note.

 

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (68 strikes), Price turned to his two-seam fastball 33 times and topped out at 94.9 MPH with the same pitch in the first inning.

As he later improved to 14-6 with yet another dominant performance, let’s take a look at how the 32-year-old hurler has been performing since the All-Star break.

6 GS, 4-0, 41.1 IP, 29 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 40 K, 1.09 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .193 BAA.

Ace-like stuff. Price will look to build on this recent stretch run of dominance in his next time out, which should more than likely come against the Miami Marlins next Wednesday.

In relief of Price, Tyler Thornburg was the lone reliever who got the call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the ninth and final frame. Despite giving up two hits, Thornburg managed to hold on and preserve the shutout to secure his team’s 90th win of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher they had never seen before in RHP Adam Plutko for Cleveland.

Plutko, a 26-year-old rookie, managed to manuever his away around Boston’s lineup through the first four innings on Thursday, but the fifth is where this game really turned on its head.

Starting with leadoff hits from Sandy Leon, whose double could not be caught by Melky Cabrera in left field, and Jackie Bradley Jr., followed by a one out walk of Andrew Benintendi, the bases were all of a sudden loaded for Blake Swihart, who was not even in the original starting lineup.

On a 2-2 fastball from Plutko, Swihart ripped a double to the wall in right field to plate Leon and Bradley and give the Red Sox a two-run advantage.

After intentionally walking JD Martinez to reload the bases, new Indians pitcher Adam Cimber could not sneak a 2-1 sinker by Xander Bogaerts, as the red-hot shortstop drove in another pair of runs on a two RBI single to left field.

Another intentional walk, this time of Brock Holt, once again reloaded the bases for Eduardo Nunez, who capitalized on a run-scoring opportunity and ripped the THIRD two RBI two-bagger of the inning to score both Martinez and Bogaerts and make it a 6-0 game just like that.

An inning later, JD Martinez wrapped up his team’s scoring by racking up his 109th RBI of the year on a one out single off of Indians reliever Josh Tomlin that drove in Mookie Betts from third. 7-0, which would end up being the final score on Thursday.

In the matter of one day, the Red Sox have turned a three-game losing streak that had everyone panicking into a brand new two-game winning streak. With the split against the Indians today, the team has now not lost a series since the first day of July. That is some impressive stuff.

Some other notes from this win:

Mitch Moreland, who was originally the starting first baseman in this contest, had to depart in the first inning after suffering a left knee contusion while sliding for a foul ball near the Red Sox dugout.

On a more positive note, to go along with those David Price numbers up above, the Red Sox are 8-0 in Price’s last eight starts and are 19-6 overall.

Xander Bogaerts has recorded at least one hit in eight of his last 10 games. Over that span, he is slashing .316/.366/.658 with two home runs and 10 RBI.

Over their last four games, Red Sox pitching held Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez to five total hits in 33 combined at bats. Only two of those hits went for extra bases.

Finishing the brief homestand with a 4-3 record, the Red Sox head south for a quick three-game weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Starters for the three-game set are as followed: Hector Velazquez, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi. The Rays have yet to announce their starters.

Head to head, Boston has had the advantage against Tampa Bay this season, as they own a 11-5 record against them going into their final matchup of 2018.

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