RECAP: A 10-3 Win over the Orioles Has the #RedSox off to Their Best Start in Franchise History.

Less than 24 hours after taking the series opener from the Orioles, the Red Sox won their third straight game today. Hector Velazquez got the start in this one, and he put together a solid performance against a lineup that can do some damage. In five complete innings, the right hander from Mexico allowed two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out five. Those two runs the Orioles scored off of Velazquez came on one swing of the bat, a Pedro Alvarez two-run home run in the fifth. Other than that mistake, not much to complain about because it could have been worse. I mean, the Orioles had runners on base in every inning Velazquez pitched in except the second, when he struck out the side. So, it was impressive to see him work his way out of those few jams he got himself into.

With Velazquez’s day done after throwing 86 pitches (58 strikes), it was Joe Kelly who got the call for the sixth inning. With some help from Jackie Bradley Jr., Kelly tossed a scoreless frame while striking out one. Here’s the first out that I was speaking of:

The only other pitcher the Red Sox used today was Marcus Walden, and he wrapped this thing up by going the last three innings. In those three innings, the Orioles were limited to just one run in the ninth and three hits total to go along with three strikeouts. This outing may very well be the best Walden has had thus far with the Red Sox, which is encouraging to see considering the fact he owned a 1.50 WHIP before today’s game and lowered his ERA by a full run with today’s effort.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup struck early yet again, facing off against old friend Alex Cobb, who was making his Orioles debut. Mookie Betts got things started with a leadoff walk in the first, and he injured himself while scoring on an Andrew Benintendi RBI double. How did Betts injure himself you ask? Well, take a look for yourself:

As can be seen in the video, Betts collided with Orioles catcher Chance Sisco while also taking a relay throw off the back. He managed to stay in the game for a little while after, but was eventually replaced by Blake Swihart in the fourth inning.

Anyway, still in the first, Hanley Ramirez returned from a wrist contusion he suffered on Thursday by scoring Benintendi along with himself on his third long ball of the year. That ball landed in the second row of the Monster seats in left field, in case you were interested.

Fast forward to the third, and JD Martinez put the fourth run for the Red Sox on the board with his third home run of the season.

An inning later, the Red Sox tacked on four more runs, upping their total on the day to eight. Andrew Benintendi collected his second and third RBI’s of the game by ripping a two out, two run single into right field, putting the Red Sox up by six. Hanley Ramirez followed that up by scoring Benintendi with an RBI double of his own. With JD Martinez at the plate, the fourth and final run of the inning scored on a throwing error after Martinez hit a ground ball to Manny Machado. A bad throw from the O’s shortstop allowed Ramirez to score from second. 8-0 heading into the fifth.

After the Orioles tacked on two runs of their own in their half of the fifth, the Red Sox responded an inning and a half later. With Blake Swihart on second, JD Martinez collected his second RBI of the day by ripping a single to left field.

In the seventh, Blake Swihart returned the favor by picking up his first RBI of the contest, scoring Brock Holt from second with a single to center field. That gave the Red Sox their tenth and final run of the game and all but guaranteed their twelfth win of the season.

At 12-2, the Red Sox have never had a better start in their storied history. Given the way they have handled the Orioles and their pitching staff so far, we very well could be looking at a 14-2 team heading into this upcoming road trip. If the weather holds up, Chris Sale will get the start against Dylan Bundy tomorrow afternoon. Temperatures are expected to be in the 30’s in Boston, so good luck to anyone heading into Fenway. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM.

Also, before I forget, Mookie Betts was diagnosed with a left foot contusion. X-Rays were negative and his status is day-to-day.

RECAP: Hanley Ramirez Comes Through for #RedSox Again in 3-2 Opening Day Win.

Playing in their first home game of the season, the Red Sox played their second straight game that went into extra innings. They won the first one in Miami, and they won in 12 innings today against the Tampa Bay Rays.

David Price got the start in this one, and he looked just as good as he did last Friday in Tampa Bay. The southpaw once again tossed seven shutout innings, scattering three hits, walking three, and striking out five. He threw 91 pitches on Thursday, 56 of which went for strikes.

Price has yet to yield a single run to opponents, and his start marks the seventh straight start a by Red Sox pitcher where one or fewer runs have been scored off of them. Through those seven games, Red Sox starters own a 0.86 ERA in 42 innings pitched to go along with 39 total strikeouts and just 10 walks. Those are some impressive numbers, but unfortunately, David Price could not get the W today even though he deserved it.

Once Price departed after completing seven innings, Carson Smith took over in the top of the eighth. Smith walked the first batter he saw, and followed that by serving up a home run to Rays third baseman Matt Duffy. Duffy, who owns a career .393 Slugging Percentage, gave his team a two-run lead thanks to his first long ball of the season. Smith was able to get out of the inning, but his start to this season has been far from promising. In four appearances, the Texas native has given up four earned runs in 2.2 innings pitched, making for an ERA north of 10 at 13.50. Not a great look for the righty who still hasn’t settled in with his club despite this being his third season here.

Trailing 2-0 heading into the ninth, Hector Velazquez would be responsible for keeping the deficit at two runs, and that is exactly what he did. Considering the fact he just started a game this past Sunday, I was surprised to see Velazquez come out of the bullpen on just three days rest. He pitched a clean inning though, and the Red Sox managed to score twice in the bottom half of the inning, so credit to Velazquez for holding the Rays in check.

With the game headed to extras, Craig Kimbrel would get the call to pitch in the top of the tenth in a non-save situation. The Red Sox closer was a bit shaky today, which led to him loading the bases while recording the first two outs of the inning. Going up against Rays DH CJ Cron, Kimbrel came through with a huge strikeout, keeping the game tied.

Next up out of the bullpen, Bobby Poyner was the last pitcher used by the Red Sox. The rookie reliever retired the side in order in the eleventh. In the twelfth, Poyner gave up a leadoff single to Joey Wendle, then proceeded to retire the next three batters he faced. With his stellar performance in this one, Poyner was credited with the first win of his young big league career.

Offensively, the Rays held the Red Sox lineup in check yet again. Despite not using a stereotypical starting pitcher, the Rays have found some success in sticking with just relief pitchers on two occasions this season. The first time, March 31st, Rays pitching surrendered three runs to the Red Sox. Today, April 5th, Rays pitching surrendered another three runs to the Red Sox. Both of these games have resulted in losses for Tampa Bay, but the pitching has not been to blame.

Anyway, the Red Sox didn’t score their first run of the game until the ninth inning. A Mookie Betts leadoff single followed by an Andrew Benintendi walk set up Hanley Ramirez in a prime position. On the second pitch of his at bat against Alex Colome, Ramirez lined a single to center field, allowing Betts to score from second to make it a one run game. After JD Martinez grounded into a double play, it came down to Xander Bogaerts to either tie this thing or win it himself.

With Andrew Benintendi just 90 feet away, Bogaerts laced a clutch double off the wall in left field, just out of the reach of Mallex Smith.

This allowed Benintendi to easily score from third and we had ourselves a tied game. Three batters later and the bases loaded, Jackie Bradley Jr. nearly won the game for the Red Sox on an infield single , but he was ruled out at first by just inches.

jbj out

After going scoreless in the next two innings, the Red Sox offense picked up again in the bottom of the twelfth. A Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff double was followed by a beautiful sac bunt off the bat of Christian Vazquez. With one out and a runner at third, Rays pitching intentionally walked Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, loading the bases with Hanley Ramirez at the plate. On the first pitch he saw from Ryan Yarbrough, Ramirez ended things by lining a walk off single to right field, scoring Bradley and giving the Red Sox the 3-2 win.

That marks six straight wins for this Red Sox team. This also marks two straight wins Hanley Ramirez is pretty much responsible for. A healthy Hanley can elevate this lineup, and that is what he has done so far this season. After today’s performance, Ramirez has taken over the team lead in RBIs with six. He has also been playing exceptional defense at first as well. Seven games in and Hanley has definitely proven why Alex Cora wants him batting third in the lineup almost everyday.

Next up for the Red Sox is another off day on Friday. After that, Rick Porcello will make the start on Saturday afternoon against Rays righty Jake Faria, who allowed one run in four innings last time he faced the Red Sox on April 1st.

Also, Eduardo Rodriguez is back and he will be starting on Sunday. That’s probably why Velazquez came out of the bullpen today. Looking forward to that.

We also got Lil Wayne tweeting about the Red Sox, so that’s something.

VERY LATE RECAP: Hanley Ramirez’s Go-Ahead 2 RBI Double Gives #RedSox the 4-2 Win in Extras.

Well I am very late with this recap blog. The game ended about 20 hours ago, so my thoughts on the game aren’t that fresh anymore. Instead of breaking down the entire game like I usually do, I guess I’ll just give the SparkNotes version of what went down last night to go along with some videos.

Chris Sale tossed five innings last night and gave up one run.

Jackie Bradley Jr. made a fantastic catch.

JD Martinez drove in the first run of the game in the top of the first for his second RBI of the season.

After the Marlins tied the game in the fourth, the next run of the game was not scored until the top of the eleventh, when Andrew Benintendi drove in Eduardo Nunez from second with a one out RBI single, his first of the season.

Later in that inning, it looked like Matt Barnes was about to get the save for the Red Sox, but he allowed the tying run to score. Luckily, Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts were able to get Justin Bour out at the plate, leaving the game tied heading to the twelfth.

Hanley Ramirez continued his mean streak against his former team, as he finished the game with two hits, including this very clutch two-run double in the top of the thirteenth.

That would all but lock up the victory for the Red Sox in this one. Heath Hembree was rewarded with his first win of the year, thanks to the two shutout innings he pitched. Here’s his last pitch:

Before I forget, JBJ was not the only center fielder to make an impressive catch last night. Marlins rookie Lewis Brinson robbed Mookie Betts of  a potential go-ahead solo blast back in the eleventh.

Impressive to say the least. Good thing the Marlins never got the chance to capitalize on it.

Five straight wins for the Red Sox heading into Opening Day at Fenway Park. I will not be there, but I will be watching. And I will have a normal recap blog to post after, hopefully.

Okay, that will do it for this shortened recap. Shoutout Hanley Ramirez, the real Mr. 305. Dale!

 

RECAP: Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts Both Go Yard as #RedSox Win Fourth Straight.

Making a quick stop in South Beach, the Red Sox looked to take advantage of their matchup against a Marlins team not expected to do much this season. In the first of their two game set, Brian Johnson was matched up against Trevor Richards, who was making his Major League debut for Miami.

Like Hector Velazquez, Johnson is most likely an injury fill-in in the Red Sox rotation. The former Florida Gator got the job done on Monday, as he allowed one earned run over six full innings pitched, striking out five along the way. There were times where it looked like the Marlins were about to get to Johnson, since they did reach base eight times on him, but the southpaw avoided any major damage. The only run he gave up came on a solo shot off the bat of third baseman Brian Anderson in the second inning, which put the Marlins up 1-0 at the time. When he departed after retiring the side in the sixth, Johnson had thrown 82 pitches, 49 of which went for strikes.

The Red Sox only needed two relief pitchers to wrap up the win last night. Heath Hembree tossed a scoreless seventh inning, and Marcus Walden allowed two runs to score while pitching the last two innings. Not a great look for Walden, honestly. He has got hit pretty hard in the two games he has pitched in, but he was able to finish the game. The Red Sox did not have to go to Craig Kimbrel in this one, that’s always  a good thing when you can save him for more appearances later in the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup had its best day of the season so far. They scored a season high seven runs on 12 hits and three walks. After Trevor Richards held them scoreless through the first three innings, the bats woke up in the fourth. With two outs in the inning, Xander Bogaerts got the rally started with an infield single down the third base line. Eduardo Nunez then drove Bogaerts in from first on an RBI double. A Jackie Bradley Jr. walk set up Christian Vazquez for an ideal RBI opportunity with runners on first and second. On the first pitch he saw, the catcher ripped a line drive down the third base line, scoring both Nunez and Bradley for his first RBIs of the season.

In the very next inning, the Red Sox tacked on two more runs to up their total to five. With one out and Andrew Benintendi at first thanks to his first hit of the season, Hanley Ramirez did some damage. The former Marlin must enjoy playing in Miami, because he looked really comfortable at the plate and at first base last night.

On a 1-1 slider, Ramirez took Richards deep to left field for his first long ball of the season, putting his team up by four runs.

Ramirez guaranteed a 30 HR, 30 SB season earlier in Spring Training, and he’s only 29 home runs and 28 stolen bases away from that now with the performance he put on last night.

Hanley wouldn’t be the only one to hit his first home run of the year. Fast forward to the top of the seventh, and Mookie Betts went yard to left field as well. He golfed it to put the Red Sox up by five at the time.

The last run the Red Sox scored came two innings later. Wanting to add to his team high of four RBI’s, Rafael Devers ripped a double to center for his second hit of the game, scoring Hanley Ramirez from from second after he stole his second base of the season, and all but guaranteeing the win for his club.

That makes four straight wins for the Red Sox, and by all means they should be 5-0. That’s in the past though, so I’ll take 4-1. Through their first go around in the rotation, Red Sox starters own a line of 30 IP, 22 H, 3 ER, 7 BB, and 28 K’s. With two-fifths of their regular starters missing, those are some impressive numbers.

Chris Sale gets the start an hour earlier than usual tonight. He’ll be squaring off against Marlins “ace” Jose Urena. First pitch is at 6:10 PM.

Also, almost forgot to mention the fact that the greatest Designated Hitter of all time was in attendance for last night’s win.