Red Sox Designate Eduardo Nunez for Assignment, Option Hector Velazquez to Triple-A Pawtucket in Slew of Roster Moves

Before kicking off a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, the Red Sox announced that infielder Eduardo Nunez had been designated for assignment and right-hander Hector Velazquez had been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

In a pair of corresponding moves, right-hander Ryan Weber and first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis were both recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. The club made the transactions official earlier Monday.

Nunez, 32, slashed .228/.243/.305 with two home runs and 20 RBI over 60 games with Boston this season after picking up his 2019 player option last November.

Originally acquired from the San Francisco Giants back in July of 2017, the Dominican Republic native came through with two of the biggest plays for the Red Sox during last year’s postseason run in Game 4 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees…

…and Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, where Nunez came off the bench and mashed a pinch-hit, three-run home run in the seventh inning off left-hander Alex Wood to give his team an 8-4 lead.

This decision made by the Red Sox is certainly a surprisnig one, as Nunez was well regarded in Boston’s clubhouse by players and coaches alike.

But, with infielder Marco Hernandez emerging and outperforming Nunez since he was recalled from Triple-A on June 8th, it appears that the Sox decided to go younger with a right-handed bat that can play all along the infield and come off the bench when necessary.

Nunez was due to earn $5 million in the final year of a two-year pact signed with Boston two Februarys ago, so it will be interesting to see if another club claims him before he would become a free agent.

On the other side of this news, Hector Velazquez was optioned to the PawSox one night after he surrendered three runs in the 12th inning of a 7-4 loss to the Dodgers.

Through 24 appearances (eight starts) so far in 2019, the 30-year-old hurler has posted a dismal 5.67 ERA and .262 batting average against over 46 total innings of work.

Velazquez has twice spent time on the injured list this season with a lower back strain, but the Red Sox decided to use one of the right-hander’s last two minor league options this time around.

In place of Nunez and Velazquez, Sam Travis and Ryan Weber were both recalled from the PawSox.

Last we saw Weber at the big league level, the 28-year-old was struggling to fill the fifth spot in the Sox’ starting rotation, but with the addition of Andrew Cashner, Weber more or less fills the spot left by Steven Wright, who was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday.

In a span of six outings (three starts) with Boston from May 6th to June 6th, Weber posted an ERA of 5.12 and batting average against of .296 over 19 1/3 frames pitched.

Sam Travis, meanwhile, is up with the Red Sox for the fourth time this season. The 25-year-old has not done much (6-for-31) in the limited opportunities he has seen so far in 2019, but he has picked things up at Triple-A lately by slashing .329/.363/.553 over the last month, per Red Sox Stats.

First pitch against the Blue Jays Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Here’s how the Red Sox will be lining up behind Rick Porcello.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some notes from this loss:

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some notes from this loss:

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

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Andrew Benintendi Celebrates 25th Birthday with Four Hits, Finishes Home Run Shy of Cycle as Red Sox Take Series from Tigers with 10-6 Victory

After waiting out a four-hour-and-five-minute rain delay, the Red Sox rattled off their third straight win on Saturday, clinching their series against the Detroit Tigers with a closer-than-the-scoreboard-indicated 10-6 victory.

Making his 18th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who picked up the win the last time he faced off against his old club back on April 25th

Coming off one of the worst starts of his career in his last time out against the New York Yankees in London, the right-hander’s struggles continued in this one, as he surrendered six runs, all earned, on nine hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first pair of those Tigers tallies came in the fourth, when with no outs and a runner on first, Jeimer Candelario got his team on the board with a 398-foot, two-run shot to right field.

It looked as though that would be Porcello’s lone mistake leading into the sixth, but Candelario struck again, mashing his second big fly of the evening to cut into Boston’s lead even further at 7-3.

Able to get the second out of the inning on a force out at second, a single from Gordon Beckham, as well as a wild pitch to the next man he faced in Bobby Wilson, put runners at second and third for the Tigers backstop, and he drove in both runs while simultaneously ending Porcello’s night on a two-run single to left.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 106 (75 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 92.8 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Improving to 6-7 despite another poor performance that bumped his ERA on the season up to 5.33, Porcello will look to put a forgettable first half of the 2019 campaign behind him in his next time out, which should come against either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Toronto Blue Jays after the All-Star break.

In relief of Porcello, Colten Brewer came on with one runner on and one out to get in the sixth, and he officially closed the book on the Boston starter’s outing by allowing that sixth run to score on a Victor Reyes RBI triple before ending the inning.

From there, left-hander Josh Taylor loaded the bases with three of the first five hitters he faced in the bottom half of the seventh, which paved the way for Matt Barnes to enter with the go-ahead run at first.

Appearing in his third straight game going back to July 4th, Barnes did not falter this time around, punching out Gordon Beckham on three straight curveballs to escape the jam with the lead still intact.

Brandon Workman retired the only three hitters he faced in a scoreless eighth, and Steven Wright locked down the 10-6 win for the Sox with a shutout frame in the ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Jordan Zimmermann for the Tigers, who opposed Porcello at Fenway Park back on April 25th and took the loss in that contest.

Starting the scoring for Boston right away in the first inning of this one was Rafael Devers, plating Mookie Betts from third following a leadoff triple on a simple RBI groundout to first.

Two batters later, Andrew Benintendi made his return to the Sox lineup after two days off in triumphant fashion, ripping another three-bagger off Zimmermann and coming in to score on a Michael Chavis bloop RBI single.

In the second, back-to-back singles from Brock Holt and Marco Hernandez to lead off the inning, followed by a successful Sandy Leon sacrifice bunt put runners in scoring position for Betts.

Betts took advantage of the situation in front of him, this time lining a double off Zimmermann to plate both Holt and Hernandez.

Christian Vazquez came through with two outs in the same frame, scoring Betts from second on a hard-hit RBI back up the middle to put his team up 5-0 early.

Fast forward to the fourth, and hits from Devers and Vazquez to lead off the inning brought Andrew Benintendi with runners at second and third, and the birthday boy delivered with an RBI double to left that probably should have been caught by Tigers outfielder Christin Stweart. But, it wasn’t, and Devers scored because of it. 6-0.

A pitching change that saw left-hander Blaine Hardy take over for Zimmermann and a one-out walk of Jackie Bradley Jr. meant that runners were on the corners for Brock Holt, who brought Vazquez home from third with a sacrifice fly to center, making it a 7-0 game.

That seven-run cushion quick;y shrunk to just one though, and it wasn’t until the seventh inning when the Sox bats got back on the board, with Hernandez scoring from third on a simple one-out, bases loaded grounder from Devers that was mishandled by Detroit reliever Buck Farmer on the throw back to home.

An inning later, in his second at-bat of the night after pinch-hitting for Holt in the seventh, Eduardo Nunez provided some more insurance for his side, plating Benintendi from second on a two-out, run-scoring single off Farmer. 9-6.

And in the ninth, a Vazquez sacrifice fly with runners at the corners yet again allowed Leon to coast in from third and put the Red Sox up 10-6, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi on his 25th birthday, batting cleanup: 4-for-6 with one double, one triple, two runs scored, and one RBI. Finished a home run shy of the cycle.

Michael Chavis, through five games in July: .333/.364/.571 with two doubles, one homer, and four RBI.

Mookie Betts’ last seven games: .407/.528/.593 with three RBI and eight walks.

Through his first 18 games this season, Marco Hernandez is slashing .348/.362/.565 with two homers, four doubles, and seven RBI.

Rafael Devers extended his hitting streak to 10 games on Saturday.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game weekend set and the last game before the All-Star break on Sunday afternoon.

Another former Tiger in the form of left-hander David Price will get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Gregory Soto will do the same for Detroit.

Since that six-run meltdown against the Texas Rangers on June 13th, Price has recovered nicely, posting a 2.65 ERA and .239 batting average against over his last three starts and 17 innings pitched.

In 22 prior appearances (20 starts) at Comerica Park, the 33-year-old owns a lifetime 2.99 ERA and .249 batting average against over a total of 141 innings of work.

Soto, meanwhile, will likely serve as the opener for the Tigers on Sunday, as he tossed a scoreless seventh inning of relief against Boston in the series opener on Friday.

Through seven outings (six starts) in 2019, the 24-year-old rookie owns an ERA north of eight at 8.06 over 22 1/3 innings. The Tigers are 2-5 in those games.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the sweep in the final action before the All-Star break.

 

 

 

 

Home Runs from Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts Lift Red Sox to Rain-Filled 9-6 Win over Tigers

After a series-clinching 8-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, the Red Sox opened another three-game set, their last before the All-Star break, in Detroit on Friday, where they topped the lowly Tigers by a final score of 9-6.

Making his 18th start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who picked up the win the last time he faced Detroit back in late April at Fenway Park.

This time around, in his first outing at Comerica Park in over two years, the left-hander surrendered just one earned run while scattering four hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over five rain-shortened innings of work.

That one Detroit tally came in the bottom half of the fourth, when with two outs and Brandon Dixon at first, Jeimer Candelario came through with with his team’s first RBI of the night on a line-drive double to left that Xander Bogaerts was nearly able to snuff out on the relay from J.D. Martinez.

A las, Dixon narrowly evaded the tag from Sandy Leon, and the Tigers were on the board.

Other than that one blip though, Rodriguez retired four of the next five hitters he faced leading into the end of the fifth inning, where his outing came to a premature close due to the weather.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (49 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 95.4 MPH with the pitch while Leon was behind the plate.

Improving to 9-4 while also lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.65, Rodriguez will look to kick off the second half of his season in similar fashion to how he capped off his first half in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In relief of Rodriguez, Marcus Walden came on in the sixth more than two hours after the Venezuela native had thrown his last pitch, and he allowed the Tigers to climb their way back into this contest with a one-out walk of Miguel Cabrera, a one-out single from Dixon, and another run-scoring base knock off the bat of Candelario that was not handled cleanly by Mookie Betts in right field.

Seven pitches later, Harold Castro hit what appeared to be a hard line-drive back up the middle at Jackie Bradley Jr. in center, but the ball knuckled a bit, which caused the Sox outfielder to try and make a basket catch, but that did not pan out, as the ball deflected off Bradley Jr. and two more Detroit runs crossed the plate because of it.

So, in came Ryan Brasier with two outs still to get in the inning, and he got those outs, but not before allowing one of his inherited runs to score on a two-out RBI single from John Hicks, cutting Boston’s lead to just one run.

Fortunately though, Brasier ended the sixth by fanning Jordy Mercer on three straight strikes, and the right-hander also worked his way around a two-out Miguel Cabrera single in a scoreless seventh.

From there, Matt Barnes entered with a new four-run lead to protect, and he needed just 13 pitches to hurl a 1-2-3 eighth inning, punching out two along the way.

Finally, in the ninth, Heath Hembree made his first appearance since being activated off the injured list on Thursday, and he served up a solo home run to Hicks to lead things off before settling in and locking down the 9-6 win for his side.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against left-hander Ryan Carpenter for Detroit, not lefty Gregory Soto as originally thought on Thursday.

With virtually no experience against Carpenter entering the weekend, Xander Bogaerts got the scoring started for Boston in the first by driving in Mookie Betts from third on an RBI groundout to short for an early 1-0 lead.

Fast forward to the third, and a red-hot Rafael Devers stayed the course following a one-out single from Betts, extending his hitting streak to nine games by blasting his 16th home run of the season, a 357-foot opposite field shot off a first-pitch, 81 MPH slider from Carpenter. 3-0.

In the sixth, with Tigers reliever Jose Cisnero on the mound after a rain delay that lasted more than two hours, a Christian Vazquez leadoff double and Michael Chavis single in consecutive order put runners at the corners for a slumping Jackie Bradley Jr.

Entering the frame 0-for-his-last 13, Bradley Jr. broke out of said skid by ripping a line-drive, RBI double down the left field line on a 2-2 heater from Cisnero, plating Vazquez and moving Chavis up to third.

Two batters and one out later, Sandy Leon followed suit and drove in Chavis by reaching on a fielding error committed by Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario.

Again with runners at first and third as the lineup turned back over, Betts made it a five-run contest with a sacrifice fly hit deeply enough to center field to score Bradley Jr. 6-1.

And in the eighth, Xander Bogaerts put an exclamation point on this one by launching his 17th big fly of the season, a 441-foot, three-run shot launched over everything in left field off Tigers reliever Austin Adams.

That dinger opened this one up and gave the Red Sox a 9-5 advantage, and after Detroit got one back in their half of the ninth, 9-6 would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 3-1 since returning from London.

Rafael Devers has already hit four home runs this month, matching his total for all of June.

Eduardo Rodriguez against the Detroit Tigers this season: Two starts, 11 innings pitched, six hits, two earned runs, four walks, 11 strikeouts. That’s good for a 1.64 ERA.

Xander Bogaerts’ 441-foot home run was his longest of the Statcast era. (h/t @gfstarr1)

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle of this three-game series on Saturday afternoon.

Right-hander Rick Porcello is set to take the mound for Boston, while fellow righty Jordan Zimmermann will do the same for Detroit.

Porcello struggled mightily in his last start against the New York Yankees in London, where he gave up six runs and only managed to record one out, but he did pick up the win over his former club back on April 25th when he allowed three runs over six quality innings.

In his career at Comerica Park, the one-time Tiger owns a lifetime 4.53 ERA over 91 starts and 542 total innings pitched.

Zimmermann, meanwhile, opposed Porcello in that same game back in April and took the loss, as he yielded five runs, all earned, in just three innings of work.

In his career against the Red Sox, the 33-year-old is 2-2 with a 5.46 ERA over 31 1/3 innings.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight victory.

Marco Hernandez Comes Through with Go-Ahead Home Run in Ninth Inning as Red Sox Complete Comeback with Tight 8-7 Win over Blue Jays

After dropping the middle game of this series in disappointing fashion on Wednesday, the Red Sox bounced back and celebrated their Independence Day with a comeback 8-7 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

Making his 21st appearance and eighth start of the season for Boston in the finale of this three-game set was Hector Velazquez, who hadn’t started a game since May 18th against the Houston Astros.

Working into just the third inning of this one, the right-hander yielded three runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with one lone strikeout on the night.

The first pair of those three runs came right away in the bottom half of the first, when following two two-out walks to load the bases for Toronto, Rowdy Tellez got his team on the board and gave them the lead with a two-run single up the middle off a 1-0, 87 MPH changeup from Velazquez.

An inning later, the Mexico native could sneak a 3-2, 92 MPH sinker past a red-hot Danny Jansen, as he led things off by blasting his seventh home run of the season to put the Blue Jays up 3-1.

Velazquez recovered nicely enough by retiring four of the next six hitters he faced after giving up that bomb, but his outing came to quick close with a one-out double off the bat of Justin Smoak in the third.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 50 (28 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball exactly 34% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.9 MPH while Sandy Leon was at the plate.

Eventually hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season was bumped up to 5.65, Velazquez’s performance shows that the fifth spot in Boston’s rotation continues to be a legitimate issue. If Velazquez is to start again, expect that to come sometime after the All-Star break.

In relief of Velazquez, Colten Brewer came in with a runner on second and two outs to get in the third. He got out of the inning just fine, but the bottom of the fourth was a different story.

There, Jansen struck yet again, leading another frame off with his second big fly of the night to make it a 4-1 game.

Brandon Drury followed with a line-drive double, and two batters and one out later, Freddy Galvis took Brewer deep for his 15th of the year on a first-pitch, 95 MPH cutter down the heart of the plate, giving Toronto a five-run edge.

From the middle of the fifth inning up until the middle of the eighth, the Red Sox bullpen did settle in a bit, with Josh Taylor, Ryan Brasier, and Matt Barnes combining for three scoreless frames, all while the Boston bats rallied to take a 7-6 lead going into Brandon Workman’s 41st appearance of the season.

A one-out double from Jansen in that eighth inning put the tying run in scoring position for the Jays, and after getting Drury to fly out to left, Workman was unable to do the same against Eric Sogard, as the Toronto leadoff man came through with what was at the time a game-tying RBI double to plate Jansen and knot this contest up at seven runs a piece. That marked the 18th blown save of the season for Boston relievers.

Fortunately for Workman, the right-hander was able to keep the stalemate intact by fanning Freddy Galvis on four pitches.

And in the ninth, with his team now in front 8-7, Workman worked his way around two one-out walks and notched his eighth winning decision of the year with the help of a quick Rafael Devers on a soft grounder from the pinch-hitting Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Fielding the ball with his glove, Devers managed to make the transfer over to his right hand hastily enough so that the Blue Jays rookie was out on a bang-bang play over at first. \

That was the third out of the ninth, and that was how Thursday’s contest finished with a final score of 8-7.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Blue Jays right-hander Derek Law, serving as the opener in this one.

Starting the scoring for Boston was Rafael Devers, who extended his hitting streak to eight games with his 15th homer of the season with one out in the first inning, a 360-foot wall scraper that had an Expected Batting Average of .180, per Statcast.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, after Toronto had jumped out to a 6-1 lead and left-hander Thomas Pannone had been dealing, Mookie Betts turned out to be the catalyst for a six-run inning by drawing a leadoff walk, something he has made a habit of so far in 2019.

Two batters later, after Devers advanced Betts to third with a ground ball single, back-to-back RBI base knocks from Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez cut Boston’s deficit down to three and put runners at first and second.

Pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez could not advance Bogaerts nor Martinez against new Blue Jays reliever Tim Mayza, but a wild pitch with Christian Vazquez at the plate moved both runners into scoring position and Vazquez drew a walk anyway to fill the bases for Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley Jr. came away with one RBI to make it a 6-4 contest, but could have had more had it not been for a fine defensive effort from Freddy Galvis at shortstop to snuff out Vazquez at second.

So, with two outs and runners once again at the corners, Michael Chavis had the chance to put his team ahead, and he did just that by punishing a 2-2, 87 MPH slider from Mayza and depositing it 391 feet into the right field seats for his 15th dinger of the season, this one a three-run shot that gave the Red Sox a one-run edge at 7-6. Six-run rally completed.

The Blue Jays did answer back in their half of the eighth to tie things back up at 7-7, but the Sox showed some more resiliency when they were down to what could have been their final three outs in the ninth.

With closer Ken Giles on the mound for Toronto, a strikeout of Michael Chavis would have brought Sandy Leon to the plate with one out in the frame, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora decided to go back to his bench, and in came Marco Hernandez for his first at-bat of the series.

Having never faced off against Giles before Thursday, Hernandez took the first pitch he saw from the right-hander, a 96 MPH fastball that went for a ball.

The very next pitch from Giles was another 96 MPH heater from Giles, the only difference being this one caught the outer edge of the plate, and Hernandez took full advantage of that by ripping it 348 feet down the left field line for his second home run of 2019.

Hernandez’s opposite field blast put the Red Sox ahead 8-7, and that would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Red Sox pinch-hitters this season: 20-for-48 (.417) with four home runs and 14 RBI.

J.D. Martinez during his seven-game hitting streak: .467/.500/.767 with two home runs and six runs driven in.

Rafael Devers during his eight-game hitting streak: .558 batting average with four home runs and 12 RBI.

It certainly was not easy, but the Red Sox came away with a series over the Blue Jays to improve to 46-41 on the season.

Next up, the Sox head to Detroit to take on the 28-54 Tigers in their first stateside action since June 26th.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Gregory Soto will do the same for Detroit.

Back on April 24th, Rodriguez had one of his better starts of the season against the lowly Tigers, allowing just one earned run on two hits, three walks, and seven punchouts over six quality innings in a winning effort at Fenway Park.

In one previous start at Comerica Park, his first of the 2017 campaign, the 26-year-old surrendered four earned runs over five innings of work, eventually taking the loss.

Soto, meanwhile, is a 24-year-old rookie who has yet to pitch against the Red Sox in his young career

Through six starts in 2019, the lefty is 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA and 6.54 FIP over 21 1.3 innings pitched.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to build some momentum going into the All-Star break.

Chris Sale Allows Five Runs on Three Homers as Red Sox Fall to Blue Jays 6-3

After snapping a three-game skid with a 10-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, the Red Sox fell flat once again on Wednesday, dropping a 6-3 contest to fall back to 45-41 on the season.

Making his 18th start of the season for Boston in the middle game of this three-game series was Chris Sale, who capped off his month of June with two subpar outings against these Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox.

That trend continued in his first action of July, as the left-hander surrendered five runs, all earned, on a season-high nine hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with just five strikeouts on the night.

All five of those runs came courtesy of three different home run balls, with Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen, and Brandon Drury taking Sale deep in this one.

Gurriel Jr. struck first in the bottom half of the third, putting his team on the board right after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded into a 1-2-3 double play with a 406-foot solo shot off a 1-0 93 MPH fastball on the inner half of the plate.

Jansen made Sale pay for walking Justin Smoak with one out in the fourth by launching his sixth homer of the year, a 421-foot shot to deep left field on a first-pitch 95 MPH fastball from Sale.

That dinger knotted things up at 3-3, and it seemed as though Sale would be able to escape the sixth unscathed following another GIDP to erase a leadoff HBP.

Unfortunately for the Florida native, a Rowdy Tellez two-out single brought Brandon Drury to the plate for the third time, and he unloaded on a 1-1 91 MPH heater down the heart of the plate by depositing it 408 feet over the center field wall.

The Blue Jays went up 5-3 on that booming shot, and Sale’s evening quickly came to a close before Drury had even crossed home.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 104 (69 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer more than 44% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 96.5 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez, not Sandy Leon, was behind the plate.

Falling to 3-8 with his ERA jumping up to 4.04 on the season, the first half of Sale’s 2019 did not go unexpected. Inconsistent would be a better way to put it. He’ll look to begin the second half of the year on a more positive note in his next time out, which should come against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first series out of the All-Star break.

In relief of Sale, Marcus Walden came on with one out to get in the sixth, got that, and worked his way around a one-out walk in a scoreless seventh as well.

Finally, Steven Wright got the call for the eighth, yielded one run on a sacrifice fly from Freddy Galvis to add on another run to the deficit at 6-3, and that would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Blue Jays right-hander Jacob Waguespack after fellow righty David Phelps served as Toronto’s opener and tossed a scoreless first.

Fast forward to the third, Rafael Devers got the scoring started for his team with a two-out, two-run single off Waguespack, plating Mookie Betts and Brock Holt from second and third to make it a 2-0 game early.

An inning later, Christian Vazquez came through with two outs this time around, taking the first pitch he saw from the Jays right-hander, a 90 MPH cutter on the outer half of the plate, and sending his 13th big fly of the season 408 feet to dead center.

Vazquez’s monstrous blast gave the Sox a 3-1 advantage, but it would be the last run they scored all night.

Oh sure, they had their chances, especially in the seventh with one out and runners on second and third in a 5-3 game for the pinch-hitting Eduardo Nunez following a Michael Chavis double.

New Toronto reliever Daniel Hudson held his own though, getting Nunez to fly out to left and fanning Mookie Betts on six pitches to kill any shot of a rally.

In the eighth, Hudson stranded J.D. Martinez at first after he reached on a two-out single, and Blue Jays closer Ken Giles needed just 10 pitches to retire Vazquez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Chavis in order in the ninth, all but wrapping up the 6-3 loss for Boston.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position Wednesday and left five men on base.

On the day he was named an All-Star for the second time in his big league career, Xander Bogaerts picked up his first ever Golden Sombrero by punching out four times Wednesday.

During his seven-game hitting streak, Rafael Devers is slashing .516/.531/.935 with two homers and 10 RBI.

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

In his last three starts, Chris Sale has posted a 7.02 ERA over 16 2/3 innings pitched.

The Red Sox are 6-12 in games started by Chris Sale this season.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game series on Thursday.

Right-hander Hector Velazquez is set to get the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Marcus Stroman is expected to do the same for Toronto.

With Brian Johnson on the shelf due to “non-baseball” reasons, Velazquez has taken over the fifth spot in the Sox’ rotation for the time being.

As a starter this season, the 30-year-old is 1-3 with a 6.41 ERA and .239 batting average against over 19 2/3 innings of work.

In five career appearances (two starts) at Rogers Centre, Velazquez owns a lifetime 2.57 ERA and .292 batting average against over a small seven inning sample size.

Stroman, meanwhile, has already faced the Red Sox twice this year, and has only allowed one earned run in those two starts and 12 innings pitched. The Blue Jays are 2-0 in those games.

In his last start against the Kansas City Royals this past Saturday, Stroman left early with a cramp in his left pectoral muscle, so it will be worth seeing if that has any impact on Toronto’s ace.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:07 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

Bullpen Falls Apart Again as Red Sox Get Swept by Yankees in London Series

After combining for 30 runs in the London Series opener on Saturday, the Red Sox and New York Yankees were back at it again on Sunday, this time combining for 20 runs on 28 total hits in a 12-8 loss for the Sox.

Making his 17th start of the season for Boston and first against New York was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered Sunday having gone at least 6 1/3 innings deep in three straight outings for the first time in his career.

Working into the sixth inning of this one, the left-hander yielded just two runs, both earned, on four hits and a season-high four walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

Both of those Yankees runs came in the second inning, when after his team built an early four-run lead, Rodriguez gave two back right away by loading the bases with the first three hitters he faced to bring Gio Urshela to the plate.

Urshela drove in Edwin Encarnacion from third by grounding into a force out at second that very nearly could have been a double play had it been handled cleanly by Xander Bogaerts, and Brett Gardner made it a 4-2 game by scoring Didi Gregorius on an RBI single to right.

Other than that, Rodriguez proceeded to fill the bases again with two outs by walking Aaron Judge on six pitches, but managed to escape the jam by fanning Aaron Hicks on a 1-2, 95 MPH slider.

From there, Rodriguez sat down 10 of the final 12 Yankees he faced, and his outing came to a close on a positive note with a strikeout of Gregorius on a 94 MPH fastball for the first out of the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 115 (64 strikes) to set a new season-high, the 26-year-old hurler relied on his four-seamer nearly 42% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing five swings and misses and topping out at 96.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Not able to pick up the winning decision due to what transpired later, Rodriguez finishes his month of June with an ERA of 4.38 over his last six outings. He’ll look to build on this performance in his next time out, which should come against the Detroit Tigers next weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, Colten Brewer came on with two outs to get in the top half of the sixth, and he did just that by stranding a runner at first thanks to two straight punchouts.

Marcus Walden got the call for the seventh, and this is the point where things really took a turn for the worst for Boston, as DJ LeMahieu led the inning off with a double and Judge followed that up by drawing a walk.

Back-to-back RBI knocks off the bats of Hicks and Gary Sanchez put three runs on the board for the Yankees, and just like that, the Red Sox were down 5-4. Another blown save, the club’s 17th of the year.

A struggling Matt Barnes was up next out of the Sox bullpen, and he walked and fanned the two first two men he faced before giving up an infield single to Gleyber Torres and a two-run single to Urshela, making it a 7-4 contest.

Josh Taylor entered the seventh in place of Barnes, and he too put the first man he faced on base with a free pass, which set up the scorching LeMahieu in a prime run-scoring spot, and he took full advantage by lacing a two-run, ground-rule double down the eight field line. 9-4.

An intentional walk of Judge reloaded the bases for New York, and a sacrifice fly from Hicks, as well as Sanchez reaching first on a fielding error committed by Chavis, capped off a nine-run frame for the Yankees high-octane offense and gave them an 11-4 lead.

Ryan Brasier served up a leadoff solo homer to Gregorius in the eighth to make it a 12-4 game, and Steven Wright tossed a 1-2-3 top half of the ninth to give his team one last shot in their half, although that attempt came up short, which is what we’ll get to next.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against left-hander Stephen Tarpley, serving as the opener for New York in this one.

Similar to what went down on Saturday, the Boston bats got the scoring started right away in the first inning on Sunday, with Rafael Devers reaching on a one-out single and Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Christian Vazquez all homering off Tarpley giving the Sox an early four-run advantage in doing so.

Since Tarpley was only the opener though, his day came to an end after that bottom half of the first, and the Yankees bullpen really limited what the Red Sox could do up until the eighth, as they did not send more than four hitters to the plate in any of the next six innings.

In that eighth, having fallen behind 12-4 with right-hander Chance Adams on the mound for New York, back-to-back one out singles from Marco Hernandez and Martinez, followed by a wild pitch, put runners in scoring position for Vazquez, who capitalized on that mistake by driving in both runners on a two-run single to left to cut the deficit to six runs at 12-6.

A Jackie Bradley Jr. single put runners at the corners for Eduardo Nunez, and he too came through in a run-scoring spot with a line-drive RBI double to right, plating Vazquez and moving Bradley Jr. up to third. 12-7.

A pitching change for the Yanks saw left-hander Zack Brittion take over for Adams, and Sam Travis promptly greeted the new pitcher by ripping another RBI single through the left side of the infield, scoring Bradley Jr. and trimming New York’s advantage down to four at 12-8.

Mookie Betts drew a walk to fill the bases for Rafael Devers, now representing the tying run, but in a tough lefty-on-lefty matchup, the young infielder could only ground a 3-2 slider weakly to first base, and the rally was dead.

Finally, in the ninth, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman yielded a leadoff double to Hernandez before proceeding to punch out the next three Red Sox hitters he faced to wrap up this 12-8 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

From MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

From The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato:

The Red Sox are 1-6 against the Yankees this season and are now 11 games back of first place in the American League East.

The London Series experience was not much a positive one for the Red Sox, as they leave the United Kingdom in a worse position than when they arrived there.

Sox manager Alex Cora still has the belief that this club can compete at a high level, but given the product recently, it has become difficult to determine whether or not they can compete with the best teams in the American League.

The Red Sox lost two home games for this. Not like they were playing at a high level at Fenway Park anyway, but yeah.

It’s already been say, but the Red Sox got embarrassed on a national stage by their biggest rival. Their bullpen melted down not once, but twice, and now they have an extremely slim chance of catching up to the Yankees in the race for the AL East.

If Boston wants to get back in to this, they have to start winning games at a high rate, and that starts on Tuesday in the first of a three-game set against the lowly Toronto Blue Jays north of the border.

Left-hander David Price is expected to get the ball for the series opener, while rookie right-hander Trent Thornton will do the same for Toronto.

Since allowing six runs in 1 1/3 innings against the Texas Rangers on June 13th, Price has surrendered just four (three earned) in his last two starts and 11 innings pitched.

In 18 career outings at Rogers Centre, the 33-year-old has posted a lifetime 3.17 ERA over 116 1/3 total innings of work. He is 13-1 in those starts.

Thornton, meanwhile, last faced Boston on June 21st, where he gave up two runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings in a losing effort.

When pitching at home this season, the 25-year-old is 0-3 with a 6.39 ERA in seven starts and 31 innings pitched.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:07 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to get on a roll.

 

Rick Porcello Allows Six Runs, Only Records One out as Red Sox Fall to Yankees 17-13 in Historic and Wild London Series Opener

NOTE: The information I would usually include from Baseball Savant was only made available while this game was happening, so that is why it is not presented here. Sorry about that.

After two days off, the Red Sox and New York Yankees finally kicked off the highly anticipated inaugural London Series at Olympic Stadium on Saturday, and the Sox lost the first ever Major League Baseball game played on European soil by a final score of 17-13 to fall 10 games off the pace for first place in the American League East.

Making his 17th start of the season and second against New York was Rick Porcello, who made history Saturday by becoming the first big league pitcher to make a start on the other side of the Atlantic.

Recording just the first out of this one, the right-hander was downright walloped by the Yankees high-octane offense, as he surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and one walk to go along with zero strikeouts on the afternoon.

That one out came on a flyout off the bat of Aaron Judge after DJ LeMahieu had reached base to start things off.

Other than that, Porcello followed with a one-out walk of Gary Sanchez before serving up back-to-back-to-back run-scoring doubles to Luke Voit, Didi Gregorious, and Edwin Encarnacion, which put the Yankees up four.

With two outs still to get, Porcello’s outing came to an abrupt close six pitchers later when Aaron Hicks took him deep to right on a 2-2 pitch to give his side a new six-run lead.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 33 (20 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler had Christian Vazquez, not Sandy Leon, behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision in the shortest start of his big league career, Porcello wraps up a dismal month of June in which he posted a 6.46 ERA over six starts and 30 2/3 innings of work, including that seven-inning shutout performance against the Minnesota Twins on the 17th. He’ll look for improved results in his next time out, which should come against the Detroit Tigers next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen had their work cut out for them Saturday, as they would wind up responsible for the final 8 2/3 frames of this contest.

Colten Brewer entered with one out and the bases empty in the first, and he walked the first man he faced in Gleyber Torres before retiring the last two hitters of the inning.

Steven Wright, in his second appearance since returning from an 80-game suspension, yielded a pair of Yankees runs on a two-out, two-run homer off the bat of Brett Gardner in the fourth, which gave New York a brand new 8-6 advantage, and that is how the knuckleballer was saddled with his first losing decision of the year.

From there, rookie right-hander Mike Shawaryn got rocked for eight earned runs, six of which came in consecutive order in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Gardner, a bases-clearing double from LeMahieu, and another two-run dinger from Aaron Judge to make it a 14-6 game.

In the fifth, three more Yankees runs crossed the plate on an RBI base knock from Didi Gregorious while Shawaryn was still out there, and a two-run single from the red-hot LeMahieu while the left-handed Josh Taylor, who ended the inning, was on the mound.

At 17-6, it looked like this one was all but over for Boston, but with the efforts of Ryan Brasier, Hector Velazquez, and Marcus Walden combining for four frames of scoreless baseball from the beginning of the sixth up until the middle of the ninth, the Red Sox were nearly able to climb their way back, which is what we’ll get into next.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a formidable opponent in Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who had yet to face Boston this season before Saturday.

Coming to the plate for the first time already down a sizable margin, Rafael Devers got the scoring started for his side by driving in Mookie Betts all the way from first following a leadoff single on a long double to right field. 6-1.

Two walks of JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts later to fill the bases, Christian Vazquez cut into that deficit even further, plating Devers from third on a sacrifice fly to right for the second out of the inning.

Brock Holt cut the initial six-run hole in half with an RBI single to score Bogaerts and move Martinez up to second, and Michael Chavis erased the original deficit entirely by mashing a three-run home run to left center field for his 13th of the season.

That bomb knotted things up at six, but the Yankees pulled away once more, at one point padding an 11-run lead until the Red Sox got on the board again in their half of the sixth.

There, with reliever Nestor Cortes Jr. in for New York, Jackie Bradley Jr. stayed hot by leading the inning off with his ninth big fly of the year, a long solo shot to bring the Sox back to within 10 runs.

Given that large of a deficit in the later stages of this contest, manager Alex Cora went ahead and removed Andrew Benintendi and Devers to begin the seventh, replacing them with Sam Travis and Marco Hernandez respectively while also moving Vazquez to third and putting Sandy Leon in behind the plate.

In that seventh inning, the Boston bats continued to dig with four straight two-out hits against Cortes Jr., the third of which was Chavis’ second two-run dinger of the night to make it a 17-10 game in favor of New York.

A Bradley Jr. single got Cortes out and brought right-hander Tommy Kahnle in, who proceeded to walk Betts and throw a wild pitch in his matchup against Hernandez, which allowed both runners to move into scoring position.

Hernandez took full advantage of that mistake from Kahnle by driving in Bradley Jr. on an RBI infield single, and Betts scored as well on another wild pitch from the Yankees reliever on ball four to Bogaerts. 17-12

Another pitching chane for New York saw Adam Ottavino take over for Kahnle, and Martinez greeted him promptly with an RBI double, allowing Hernandez to score from second and bring the Red Sox back to within grand slam range, or four runs.

Unfortunately, that would wind up being the last Boston run to cross the plate, as Travis popped out to first with runners at second and third to end the seventh, Hernandez grounded out to third with the bases loaded to end the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman faced the minimum three batters in a scoreless ninth, sealing a 17-13 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

Xander Bogaerts departed in the seventh inning Saturday due to cramping in both of his calfs. He is day-to-day and is hopeful to play Sunday.

Saturday’s nine-inning game lasted four hours and 42 minutes. Both teams combined for 30 runs on 37 hits and 12 walks, all without committing a single error.

DJ LeMahieu recorded the first hit in Europe in Major League Baseball history, while Aaron Hicks recorded the first home run.

Michael Chavis’ last 15 games: .318/.357/.530 with four home runs and 14 RBI.

More from Chavis, courtesy of The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato:

Rafael Devers’ last 15 games: .443/.460/.754 with three home runs and 10 RBI.

The first Major League Baseball game to ever be played in Europe was a wild one, but at the end of the day, the Red Sox dropped a contest to a divisional opponent and are now 10 games back of the Yankees for first place in the American League East.

With that third straight division title becoming more and more out of reach, how the Red Sox go about the next few weeks leading to the July 31st trade deadline should be worth paying attention to.

Anyway, next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this two-game London Series against the Bronx Bombers on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston, and will probably be asked to pitch deep into his 17th start of the year, while fellow southpaw Stephen Tarpley will do the same for New York by serving as their opener.

Neither Rodriguez nor Tarpley have faced the Yankees or Red Sox so far this season.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 10:10 AM EDT on ESPN. Red Sox going for the split before taking off for Toronto.

 

 

Red Sox Blow 16th Save of Season, Fail to Sweep White Sox in Demoralizing 8-7 Loss

After coming from behind in a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, the Red Sox opened the official second half of the 2019 season by nearly completing the three-game sweep over the South Siders, but instead blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning on Wednesday and fell by a final score of 8-7 in their final contest before heading to London for the weekend.

Making his 17th start of the season for Boston, Chris Sale was not his usual self to begin things in the series finale, but he settled in towards the end.

Tossing six full innings in this one, the left-hander surrendered five runs, all earned, on six hits, two HBPs, and one walk to go along with exactly 10 strikeouts on the afternoon.

All five of those Chicago runs came within Sale’s first three frames of work, with the first four batters of the ballgame all reaching base safely while plating their side’s first two runs.

In the third, a leadoff home run off the bat of backstop James McCann, as well as a two-out RBI infield single from Ryan Cordell to score Jon Jay, who was hit by a pitch, from third made it a 5-2 game. The thing is, that fifth run never would have crossed the plate had Michael Chavis turned his attention towards home instead of focusing on the first base umpire after Cordell beat out that infield single. But, a rookie made a rookie mistake, and Jay took full advantage.

Following that whole sequence, Sale locked in and proceeded to retire the next 10 hitters he faced in order leading into the middle of the sixth inning, the point in which his outing came to a close on a much more positive note than it seemed destined to earlier.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 102 (71 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing 10 swings and misses and topping out at 97.4 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Hit with another no-decision, Sale’s streak of regular season starts without a win at Fenway Park now stands at 12, with the last one coming on July 11th, 2018 against the Texas Rangers. He’ll look for better overall results and to lower his 3.82 ERA in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays next weekend.

In relief of Sale, Marcus Walden came into the seventh with his side in a two-run hole, and he added on to that deficit by giving up one run on a Jose Abreu one-out RBI single in his lone inning of work.

Steven Wright, making his 2019 season debut after being activated from the restricted list on Tuesday, maneuvered around a one-out, runners on the corners in a two-run game situation by getting the pinch-hitting Yonder Alonso to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

And in the ninth, after the Red Sox had climbed their way back and taken a 7-6 lead in the bottom half of the previous inning, Matt Barnes gave it all away, blowing his sixth save and his team’s 16th by serving up a go-ahead, two-run homer to the slugging Abreu on a 2-2, 97 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate on the 10th pitch of the at-bat.

That put the White Sox up 8-7, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Chicago right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who just so happened to be opposite Sale the last time these two clubs met up in May.

Trailing by three runs before they even had the chance to take their first at-bats, JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston by pulling them back to within one run on his 17th big fly of the season, a 400-foot two-run shot in the first inning to plate both Rafael Devers and himself.

Fast forward to the third, and it was Devers getting himself involved yet again, this time leading the inning off with an opposite field double and coming in to score four batters later on a wild pitch from Lopez with Michael Chavis at the dish. 5-3.

In the seventh, Martinez struck once more with a two-out RBI double to right-center off left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer, this one driving in Devers all the way from first to pull Boston back to within two runs at 6-4.

Finally, in the eighth, with new reliever Evan Marshall in for Chicago, Eduardo Nunez reached base safely on a line-drive single up the middle.

Two batters later, after Brock Holt pinch-hit for Sandy Leon and advanced Nunez up to third on a tough, pop fly ground-rule double and was replaced by Brian Johnson, yes, Brian Johnson, as a pinch-runner, Mookie Betts made things interesting against White Sox closer Alex Colome with a single grounder to third.

Going on any sort of contact, Nunez hustled in from third and managed to evade the tag attempt from McCann to score his team’s fifth run and make it a one-run contest.

A soft grounder from Devers moved up both Betts and Johnson into scoring position at second and third for Xander Bogaerts with two outs in the frame.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Colome, the soon to be 2019 All-Star drilled a clutch single right back up the middle, giving Johnson and Betts plenty of time to come in and put the Red Sox up 7-6.

It seemed crucial at the time, but as already mentioned, the White Sox responded with two runs of their own in their half of the ninth, while the Boston bats went down quietly in theirs despite Jackie Bradley Jr. drawing a leadoff walk in what would turn out to be a crushing 8-7 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

The Red Sox went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position Wednesday and left 10 men on base.

Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .538/.556/.846 with one home run, five doubles, and four runs driven in.

So, the Red Sox seem to be making blowing late leads a recurring theme. There was that loss against the Blue Jays this past Saturday, that 17-inning against the Twins on June 18th, and that loss against the Rangers on June 10th, to name a few.

The Red Sox also lead the American League with 16 blown saves on the year. That is far from ideal.

I’ve already written about how president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski needs to go out and acquire a closer, because clearly the current crop of Red Sox relievers are going to burn out pretty soon, if they have not already, a la Matt Barnes.

Wednesday was the last time the Red Sox will play a game at Fenway Park until after the All-Star break on July 12th.

Now, it’s on to London, where Boston will be hosting the New York Yankees in a historic two-game weekend set across the pond, which will mark the first time Major League Baseball has ever been played in Europe.

Right-hander Rick Porcello and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the starting nods for the Red Sox, while New York has only announced one starter, right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, for Saturday’s contest.

Currently sitting nine games back of the Yankees for first in the American League East, this weekend presents a huge opportunity for the Red Sox to jump start the second half of their 2019 season.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:10 PM EDT on FOX. Red Sox looking to make some history in England.