RECAP: Brock Holt’s Eighth Inning Pinch-Hit Home Run Lifts #RedSox to Tight 2-1 Win over Phillies.

Fresh off a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, the Red Sox headed north for some tougher competition in the form of the 65-52 Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.

Coming off an outing in which he surrendered seven earned runs on six hits in four innings pitched in his last time out against the Toronto Blue Jays last Thursday, Rick Porcello looked much more like the Rick Porcello we saw two starts ago when he threw a complete game against the New York Yankees.

Making his 25th start of the season in this one, Porcello ended up tossing seven innings of one run ball after taking a perfect game into the fifth.

The only real costly mistake the right-hander made last night was the hit that broke up the perfecto and no-no simultaneously, a leadoff solo shot off the bat of Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins to leadoff the fifth.

A 1-1 72 MPH hanging curveball located towards the bottom of the strike zone, Hoskins did not miss in what turned out to be his 23rd homer of the season and lone run of the evening for Philadelphia.

Other than a two out single he gave up in the same inning, Porcello was perfect en route to his 15th winning decision of the season, as he set a new-season high in strikeouts with 10 on the night.

Like the typical quick worker he is, the 2016 Cy Young Award winner found himself in one three-ball count all night and never dealt with the same one batter for too long a time.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (61 strikes), Porcello was pinch-hit for in the top half of the seventh inning, which would go down as the correct decision to make in that spot.

Before that happened though, the 29-year-old added on to his fine day on the mound with a second inning double off of Phillies starter Nick Pivetta for his second two-bagger of the year.

Out of those 91 pitches thrown, Porcello relied on both of his fastballs a combined 51% of the time on Tuesday while topping out at 92.5 MPH with his four-seamer in the first inning.

Improving to 15-5 and lowering his ERA on the year to 4.04, Porcello will look to build on what has thus far been an inconsistent month in his next time out against the Cleveland Indains on Monday.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for closing out the final two frames on Tuesday night, and Heath Hembree did his part with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, which ended with this Odubel Herrera whiff.

Craig Kimbrel, on the other hand, was a different story.

Entering the ninth with a 1.071 OPS against over his last seven appearances, the flame throwing closer got his night started in a one-run game by walking the first batter he faced on six pitches.

With the help of Sandy Leon though, Kimbrel was able to secure his 36th save of the season by retiring the final three Phillies he faced to wrap up a 2-1 win for the Red Sox.

All and all, in nine total innings, Boston pitching held the Phillies to one run on two hits and one walk to go along with 13 punch outs. Not bad.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Phillies starter Nick Pivetta, who owned a 4.51 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) this season.

A right-hander in his second year in the majors, Pivetta held Boston scoreless in seven innings pitched in his only other career start against them at Citizens Bank Park last season.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, it was more of the same from Pivetta on Tuesday night, as they could only tack on one run in the six innings he appeared in.

That run, a 384 foot solo shot off the bat of Sandy Leon with one out in the third, put Boston on the board first in this one.

Although they had another opportunity to score in the inning, nothing came of it after Andrew Benintendi grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, with Pivetta out and reliever Tommy Hunter in for Philadelphia, Brock Holt came through with the biggest hit of the night.

Batting in the pitcher’s spot with one out in the inning, Holt swung away at the first pitch he saw from Hunter, a 94 MPH cutter located on the inner half of the plate, and sent it 424 feet to right field to score what ended up being the winning run.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 86-35, 10 games up in the American League East, and have won five games in a row.

From @SoxNotes: This is the first time Red Sox starting pitchers have ever recorded 10+ strikeouts and 0 walks in consecutive team games (source: ). Rick Porcello had 10 K and 0 BB tonight, after Chris Sale had 12 K and 0 BB on Sunday.

That home run from Brock Holt was his second career pinch-hit homer. The last time he did that came nearly two seasons ago against the Padres in San Diego.

Over the span of his six-game hitting streak, Holt is slashing .364/.440/.636 with two long balls and six RBI in 22 at bats.

Rick Porcello owns a 1.200 OPS this season.

Going for the quick two-game sweep later tonight, it will be Nathan Eovaldi looking for redemption in his first interleague start with the Red Sox.

In case you have forgotten, Eovaldi got his bell rung for eight runs on 10 hits in two innings last Friday against the Orioles.

In four career outings at Citizens Bank Park, the newest Red Sox hurler owns a 4.57 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched.

Opposite Eovaldi will be Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez, who, like Pivetta, has only made one start against the Red Sox in his four-year career.

That start, which came back when Velazquez pitched for the Astros during part of the 2015 season, was an outing in which the California native gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings pitched in an eventual 8-3 win for Houston.

That was a long time ago though, and things have definitely changed in the last three years.

First pitch of the series finale in Philly is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some notes from this win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some notes from this win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some notes from this win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi Comes up Clutch with Walk-Off Single in Extras as #RedSox Finish off Sweep of Yankees.

In a game that started on Sunday night and ended early Monday morning, it was the Red Sox who came out on top in ten innings of play for their fourth-straight win over the Yankees, opening up a 9.5 game lead atop the American League East.

Started by David Price, who was surprisingly outstanding against a team he owned a 24.92 ERA against in two outings prior to Sunday, the Red Sox managed to fight their way back on a night it looked like they could have settled for taking three out of four from their division rival.

Pitching into the seventh inning of this one, Price surrendered two earned runs, both of which were scored with him out of the game, on four hits, three free passes, and one HBP to go along with five punch outs on the night.

The lefty found himself dealing with traffic on the base paths right away in the first, as he allowed three of the first five hitters to reach, loading the bases with two outs in the frame. Fortunately, a 1-3 put out on a softly hit ground ball from Luke Voit allowed Price to escape unscathed.

Including the Voit ground out, the 32 year-old hurler retired 16 of the next 19 Yankees batters he faced going into the middle of the sixth inning in a 1-0 game in his team’s favor.

At that point, Price’s pitch count had reached 95, and given the fact he had just completed his sixth scoreless frame against a team he has a bad history with, maybe that was a good time for Alex Cora to call it a night for the big left-hander.

Instead he came back out for the seventh, gave up a leadoff single that was followed by a walk to put runners at first and second with no outs, and that was how Price’s fine night would come to a bit of a disappointing end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 108, the second most he has thrown all season, 85 of which went for strikes, the Tennessee native relied heavily on his changeup Sunday night, as he went to it more than 31% of the time he was on the mound. He also topped out at 94.1 MPH with his two-seam fastball in the third inning. Although nothing has been announced by the team yet, I would expect Price’s next start, which would be his 23rd of the year, to come next weekend in Baltimore.

In relief of Price, Heath Hembree, who has turned into one of the best relievers with runners on base, got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen to try and get out of a seventh inning jam.

Instead, with runners on first and second, Hembree refused to give up a sacrifice bunt to Yankees right fielder Shane Robinson, as he threw up and near his head on three consecutive occasions, which eventually led to a seven pitch walk to load the bases.

From there, New York tacked on all four of their runs in a rather lengthy sequence. Gardner and Austin Romine scored on an E6 committed by Xander Bogaerts to close the book on David Price’s start and Robinson came around to cross the plate on a Giancarlo Stanton single a few minutes later. 3-1 Yankees.

Two batters and one pitching change later, Ryan Brasier, in the game for Boston now, got Gleyber Torres to fly out to center for the second inning, but that allowed Aaron Hicks, who reached base on the E6, to tag up from third and score his team’s fourth and final run of the frame.

Brasier, while escaping the seventh, also tossed a scoreless eighth inning to make way for Tyler Thornburg in the ninth.

Thornburg, who had not gotten any work since July 30th, worked his way around two walks to retire the side and give the Red Sox one last chance in their half of the ninth trailing by three runs.

After a crazy ninth that eventually saw these teams tied up again, Matt Barnes, who was also making his first appearance of August, retired all three Yankees he faced in order to send this thing to the bottom of the tenth, where he would eventually collect his fourth win of the season thanks to the heroics of Andrew Benintendi.

Speaking of Andrew Benintendi, the Red Sox lineup really saved their best for last on Sunday night/Monday morning, because they really could not do anything off of Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka.

Despite pitching less than five innings, Tanaka made just one costly mistake, and that was serving up a solo home run to Mookie Betts in that fifth inning to put the Red Sox on the board. Betts’ 26th long ball of the year traveled 437 feet into the night sky, per Statcast.

Up until this thing reached the ninth inning with their backs against the wall, that home run was the only scoring the Red Sox could manage off the likes of Tanaka, Zach Britton, and Dellin Betances.

With Aroldis Chapman in to close this game out in the ninth with a three-run lead to protect, it was Sandy Leon who got the rally started by drawing a one out walk.

Keep in mind, Chapman hadn’t blown a save since May 4th, yet he always seems to struggle at Fenway Park.

Three walks in the frame, one to Leon, one to Mookie Betts, and one to Steve Pearce, who was replaced by Jackie Bradley Jr., loaded the bases for Boston with two outs and JD Martinez coming to the plate.

On the first pitch he saw from Chapman, the Red Sox’s slugger scorched a 99.1 MPH single into center field to drive in Leon and Betts and cut the Yankees lead to one run.

With Xander Bogaerts at the plate looking to redeem himself for the previous error over at short, a 1-1 85 MPH slider from Chapman resulted in Bogaerts tapping a grounder to third in what appeared to be the final out of the contest.

Instead, a bad throw from Yankees’ third baseman Miguel Andujar over to Greg Bird at first base allowed both Bogaerts to reach first safely and Bradley Jr. to come in to score. Tied game headed into extra innings.

Fortunately for those who had to wake up early in the morning, extras did not take all that long, thanks to old friend Jonathan Holder, who gave up seven earned runs on Thursday, making an appearance out of the Yankees bullpen in the tenth.

It all happened with two outs in the inning, but a Sandy Leon single followed by an intentional walk of Mookie Betts put the go-ahead run for the Red Sox at second base.

Given the difference in speed around the base paths, Leon was replaced by the recently called up Tony Renda to represent the winning run.

Following a brief mound visit, Andrew Benintendi put an end to this marathon game by delivering the clutchest hit of the night, an RBI single to center field to score Renda from second and give the Red Sox the 5-4 win. Sweep completed.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 79-34. They are now 9.5 games up on the Yankees in the American League East. Also, the Red Sox have not lost a game against New York since Brian Cashman said this:

Against the Yankees in 2018, the Red Sox are 8-5 in head-to-head matchups, including a 6-1 record at Fenway Park.

In his first appearance in a Red Sox uniform, Tony Renda scored the winning run to complete a four-game sweep over the Yankees. That’s pretty cool.

From @RedSoxStats: Since Price’s meltdown on Sunday Night Baseball he’s made 5 starts, pitching into the 7th 4 times, with a 2.84 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, and 5.3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Andrew Benintendi’s career numbers against the Yankees: 39 G, .293/.355/.493 slash line, 6 HR, 27 RBI.

After enjoying the well-deserved off day on Monday, the Red Sox will open up a three-game series in their last trip to Toronto of the season against the 51-60 Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Chris Sale was schedules to start one of these games, but he has been pushed back. Instead, Drew Pomeranz, Brian Johnson, and Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston in games one, two, and three of this series, and then it’s on to Baltimore for the weekend.

First pitch of the first game north of the border is scheduled for 7:07 PM ET on Tuesday. This team is special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some notes from this one:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECAP: #RedSox Fall Behind Early, but Bounce Back in Big Way with 10-4 Win over Twins.

On the night after Mookie Betts walked off the Minnesota Twins with his 25th home run of the season in the tenth inning on Friday, the Red Sox carried over that instant offense by piling up nearly a dozen runs against Minnesota on Saturday. It certainly was not easy, as the team actually trailed for about a third of the game, but in the end, came away with their 73rd win of the year to get back to 40 games over the .500 mark.

Making his 22nd start of the season, Rick Porcello was part of the reason the Red Sox were down early in this one, but by the time he departed, the team was in a fairly decent spot while the New Jersey native had settled in to eventually notch his 13th winning decision.

Pitching into the sixth inning, the righty surrendered four earned runs on five hits and just one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

In the 5.2 innings he appeared in, the most costly miscues Porcello made came in back-to-back innings starting in the second.

Trailing by one run, Twins DH Logan Morrison launched a 434 foot bomb of a solo home run to tie things up at one.

Just an inning later, two straight one out singles from Minnesota’s 9-1 hitters, followed by a two out, two-run triple off the bat of shortstop Jorge Polanco had the Twins up by a couple of runs early. They tacked on another on a Brian Dozier RBI single, but according to his post game interview session, Porcello did not seem as peeved about that as he did the Polanco triple.

From the top of the fourth on though, the 29 year-old hurler retired eight of the last 10 batters he faced, with some help from Andrew Benintendi, before getting the hook with his pitch count reaching 100 (66 strikes).

Out of those 100 pitches, Porcello relied on his off-speed arsenal the most last night, as he went to his slider and curveball a combined 53% of the time. Only going to his four-seam fastball 22 times, Porcello topped out at 92.3 MPH with it on his 46th pitch of last night’s contest.

Improving to 13-4 on the year now, best for second in the American League, not that it matters, Porcello will look to turn a new page once the calendar flips to August. In five starts this month, we saw quite possibly the best of the former Cy Young Award winner with six shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles and we may have seen the worst of him with that eight run stinker against the Blue Jays right before the All-Star Break.

Finishing the month with his ERA 0.43 points higher than it was at the beginning, Porcello’s next start should come sometime against next week/weekend’s series against the New York Yankees.

Anyway in relief of Porcello, Heath Hembree entered the game last night with two outs in the top half of the sixth and a runner at second.

As he has done so well recently, Hembree stranded the runner, Brian Dozier, in scoring position at third base following a successful stolen base attempt to keep the Twins deficit at one. After his team tacked on an insurance run in their half of the sixth, the South Carolina native came back out to toss a scoreless seventh frame en route to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Tyler Thornburg would come on in place of Hembree in the eighth, and he sat down the only three batters he faced to extend his scoreless innings streak to 3.2 following an ugly outing last weekend in Detroit.

And finally, by the time Joe Kelly came in to get some work in the ninth, the Red Sox had jumped out to a 10-4 lead to put this game away in the eighth.

Craig Kimbrel, despite a blown save on Friday, was available but was not needed.

In the lone inning he pitched in, Kelly did not walk one batter for the first time since July 13th on his way to locking down the win for the Red Sox.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar opponent in Minnesota’s starter Jake Odorizzi.

Having spent five seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays before signing with the Twins last winter, Odorizzi had made 17 starts against Boston to go along with a not so shiny 4.45 ERA in those starts. Based on that information, last night was kind of the same deal, meaning the Red Sox saw him well.

The scoring started early on, as three straight one out hits from the Red Sox’s 2-4 hitters was highlighted by a Mitch Moreland RBI single to drive in Andrew Benintendi from second and give his team an early 1-0 lead.

After the Twins jumped all the way out to a 4-1 lead of their own in the third, the Red Sox did not get on the board again until their half of the fourth.

With one out in the inning, a Rafael Devers ground-rule double followed by an Eduardo Nunez walk put the Red Sox in an ideal scoring spot to try to trim the Twins lead down.

Even though Sandy Leon failed to advance Devers to third on a fly out to center field, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through a few minutes later.

On the first pitch he saw from Odorizzi, an 84 MPH slider, the Red Sox outfielder ripped a 103.3 MPH triple just out of the reach of his counterpart Jake Cave off the center field wall to score both Devers and Nunez and make it a 4-3 game.

Had he got out of the box quicker, we could have been looking at a three-run inside the park home run, but that was not case.

With the tying run just 90 feet away now, Mookie Betts followed through with his first of two RBI doubles on the night to score Bradley from third and even things up at four runs a piece.

An inning later, JD Martinez delivered the go-ahead run the Red Sox needed by mashing his 32nd big fly of the season over everything in left field.

412 feet, 107 feet off the bat on that home run that ended up sailing over Lansdowne and landed on the roof of the parking garage across the street from Fenway.

That long ball put the Red Sox up 5-4 going into the fifth, and they would not have to look back in what ended up being somewhat of a blowout.

From that point in the game on, an Andrew Benintendi RBI single in the sixth increased the Red Sox lead to two runs.

Fast forward to the bottom half of the eighth, and nine batters came to the plate in what turned out to be a four run inning.

Capped off by an RBI double from Mookie Betts, a bases loaded RBI walk from Rafael Devers, and a two RBI double off the bat of Eduardo Nunez, the Red Sox found themselves up 10-4 by the time the eighth had come to a close.

Some notes from this win:

In the third inning of last night’s contest, Mookie Betts swiped his 20th bag of the season, marking 100 total in his career.

From @SoxNotes: At 25 years old, Mookie Betts is the youngest player ever to reach 100+ HR and 100+ stolen bases with the Red Sox. Betts has also become the first Red Sox player ever to record 20+ HR and 20+ steals in as many as 3 seasons.

From @RedSoxStats, pertaining to Heath Hembree: Inherited runners in Hembree’s 9 games this month: 2 3 2 0 1 0 1 2 1 … so far none have scored.

Over his last 25 games, Jackie Bradley Jr. is slashing .302/.371/.558 with four home runs and 23 RBI.

It was announced this morning that Rafael Devers is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain after he came up lame rounding second base in the eighth inning last night. Tzu-Wei Lin has been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket in his place.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox will be going for the series win later on this afternoon.

Looking to impress in his debut with his new club, Nathan Eovaldi gets the start for Boston. He’ll be matched up against another righty in the Twins’ Jose Berrios, who held the Red Sox to one run on five hits in 6.1 innings pitched back on June 19th.

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