Red Sox Place David Price on Paternity Leave, Recall Marco Hernandez from Triple-A Pawtucket

In addition to placing right-hander Heath Hembree on the 10-day injured list on Friday, the Red Sox also placed left-hander David Price on the paternity list. Utility infielder Marco Hernandez was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket in a corresponding move.

Price was scheduled to start in the series finale against the New York Yankees on Sunday, but that has been left in the air for the time being.

As The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham notes, a player on the paternity list can return within one to two days after placement, and with Price’s wife, Tiffany, giving birth to the couple’s second child on Thursday, there’s still a chance that the 33-year-old hurler will be good to go.

The same can be said for Yankees left-hander J.A. Happ, as he too was scheduled to oppose Price on Sunday night before being placed on the paternity list himself earlier Friday.

On the other side of this move, Marco Hernandez was recalled from the PawSox 10 days after surprisingly being demoted.

In that time with Pawtucket, the 26-year-old went 14-for-35 (.400) with one double, one stolen base, and rwo RBI.

While with the Red Sox this season, the resurgent Hernandez is slashing .339/.359/.500 to go along with two home runs and seven RBI over 27 games played.

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Red Sox Place Heath Hembree on Injured List, Recall Josh Smith from Triple-A Pawtucket

Before kicking off a four-game weekend series with the first place New York Yankees on Friday, the Red Sox announced that right-hander Heath Hembree had been placed on the 10-day injured list due to right lateral elbow inflammation. I

n a corresponding move, right-hander Josh Smith was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Hembree’s spot on the 25-man roster. The club made the transaction official earlier Friday.

Hembree had struggled since his return from the IL back on July 4th, posting a 9.00 ERA and .350 batting average against over his last 12 appearances and nine innings pitched.

Compare that to the 0.60 ERA and .118 batting average against Hembree owned from the beginning of May up until June 10th, and it becomes quite clear that the 30-year-old was still dealing with some elbow issues.

That much is evident in how the velocity of Hembree’s four-seam fastball has dipped over recent weeks. Per Statcast, the South Carolina native averaged 94.5 MPH on his heater in five June appearances. That average velocity shrunk down to 92.5 MPH in July.

In that initial injured list stint, Hembree was shelved for a little more than three weeks with what the Red Sox described as a ‘right elbow extensor strain.’

On the other side of this move, Josh Smith was recalled from the PawSox for the fifth time this season.

Since he was last optioned to Triple-A on June 25th, the 31-year-old allowed 15 earned runs on 32 hits and eight walks over a span of five starts and 27 1/3 innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 4.94.

While with Boston this season, Smith owns an ERA of 5.40 and xFIP of 4.54 over 10 appearances, two of which have been starts, and 18 1/3 innings pitched, per FanGraphs. He is also 1-for-1 in save opportunities.

In other roster-related news, left-hander Brian Johnson is expected to re-join the Sox in New York on Saturday and get the start in either the first or second game of the double-header that day.

Because he is out of options, I can’t imagine Johnson can be Boston’s 26th man, so another roster move will probably have to be made in order to make room for the 28-year-old.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN.

Xander Bogaerts’ Two-Homer Night Goes for Naught as Red Sox Get Swept by Rays to Extend Losing Streak to Four

The Red Sox were swept in a three-game series at Fenway Park for the first time this season on Thursday, as they fell to the Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 9-4 to mark their fourth consecutive loss overall.

Making his fourth start of the season for Boston was Andrew Cashner, who came into this series’ finale fresh off his best outing in a Red Sox uniform in his last time out against the New York Yankees.

Working into the sixth inning this time around, the right-hander yielded a season-worst seven runs, all of which were earned, on seven hits and a season-high five walks to go along with one lone strikeout on the night.

The first of those Tampa Bay tallies came right away in the top half of the first, when with two outs and a runner at third following a Ji-Man Choi leadoff double, Matt Duffy reached first safely on an infield single, narrowly beating out the throw from Cashner to drive in Choi for the early lead.

In the second, Cashner put himself in a tough spot by allowing the first three Rays he faced in the frame to reach base on a pair of walks and an Eric Sogard single, which in turn resulted in three more Tampa Bay runs crossing the plate on a Choi bases-loaded walk, a wild pitch with Tommy Pham at the plate, and an RBI double off the bat of Pham that very well could have gone for two had it not been for Andrew Benintendi and Michael Chavis completing a nice relay to nab Choi at the plate.

To Cashner’s credit, he did settle in a bit by sitting down eight of the next 10 Rays hitters who came to the plate from the start of the third up until the sixth, but that is the point where things really started to fall apart.

That being the case because two-straight hits from Jesus Aguilar and Eric Sogard, as well as a four-pitch walk drawn by Mike Zuninno filled the bases for Tampa Bay once more, and Willy Adames nearly bailed Cashner out by grounding out to Xander Bogaerts at short, but since Bogaerts had to play the ball on the hop, only one out was recorded at second and Aguilar scored from third.

So, instead of escaping another tight spot with the help of an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play, Cashner’s disappointing evening came to a close with still one out to get in the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 110 (64 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler relied on his changeup nearly 41% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing five swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 96.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 44 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Since being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles, Cashner has taken the loss in three of his four outings with Boston. Over that span, he has allowed 19 earned runs in 23 1/3 innings of work. That’s good for an ERA of 7.93, which is not ideal.

His next start should come against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.

In relief of Cashner, Darwinzon Hernandez entered with runners on the corners and still one out to get in the sixth, and he allowed two more Rays runs to cross the plate on a wild pitch and a RBI double from Pham to officially close the book on Cashner’s night before retiring the side with a five-pitch punchout of Austin Meadows.

From there, Colten Brewer tossed a scoreless seventh before serving up a leadoff homer to Zunino in an otherwise clean eighth, while Heath Hembree did the same by serving up a leadoff solo shot to Meadows in the ninth.

Meadows’ 17th home run of the season put Boston in a 9-4 hole, or a hole they could not dig out of, in other words.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie left-hander Brendan McKay for the Rays, someone ranked as Tampa Bay’s top pitching prospect who had never pitched at Fenway Park before Thursday.

Perhaps taking advantage of that unfamiliarity, Xander Bogaerts came to the plate with his team down by one run early and got that one-run lead right back by mashing a one-out, two-run homer 383 feet over the Green Monster to score Mookie Betts, as well as himself, to make it a 2-1 contest.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth, and Bogaerts struck again, this time taking McKay deep off a two-out, 2-0, 94 MPH for his 25th big fly of the year. A new career-high for the 26-year-old.

Bogaerts’ second blast of the evening cut Tampa Bay’s lead to just one run at 4-3, but a three-run rally of their own a half-inning later essentially put this one out of reach.

Still, that did not stop Mookie Betts, as the reigning AL MVP came through with a rare opposite field homer off of Rays reliever Oliver Drake with one out in the seventh.

Betts’ 19th of 2019 trimmed Boston’s deficit back down to three runs at 7-4, but as already mentioned, the Rays plated a run of their own in the eighth and ninth innings, and 9-4 would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

There were three instances on Thursday where Andrew Benintendi led an inning off with a double. He did not score in any of those situations.

The Red Sox went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position on Thursday. They left seven men on base as team.

The Red Sox have been outscored 32-20 during their four-game losing streak.

Andrew Benintendi’s last seven games: .516/.545/1.000 with three homers and nine RBI. He has multiple hits in five of those games.

From Red Sox Notes:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Having dropped four straight, the Red Sox now sit 10 1/2 games back of the Yankees for first place in the American League East and 3 1/2 games back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s a four-game, three-day series against those Yankees in the Bronx over the weekend.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is set to get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw James Paxton will do the same for New York.

Both of these starters will be facing the same opponent on Friday as they did in their last time out.

Rodriguez picked up his 13th win of the year this past Saturday by holding the Yankees to three runs over 5 2/3 strong innings.

Paxton, on the other hand, got shellacked for seven runs on nine hits, four of which were homers, in a 10-5 loss this past Friday.

In his career at Yankee Stadium, Rodriguez owns a lifetime 3.74 ERA and .240 batting average against over eight career starts and 45 2/3 total innings pitched.

Paxton’s first start as a Yankee against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium came back on April 16th, where he tossed eight shutout innings en route to the 8-0 win for New York.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to play with some urgency and put a stop to this skid.

 

Rick Porcello Surrenders Six Runs in Less Than Six Innings as Red Sox Drop Third Straight in 8-5 Loss to Rays

After doing nothing as the trade deadline came and went earlier in the day, the Red Sox dropped their second straight to the Tampa Bay Rays and third straight overall in an 8-5 loss on Wednesday to fall to 59-50 on the season.

Making his 22nd start of the season and third against Tampa Bay for Boston was Rick Porcello, who came into the middle game of this three-game set fresh off his best outing in weeks in his last time out against the New York Yankees.

Working into the sixth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first of those six Tampa Bay tallies came right away in the top half of the first, when with one out and a runner at second following a Ji-Man Choi double to lead off the contest, Travis d’Arnaud got his team on the board with a line-drive RBI single to center. Two monitors in the Red Sox dugout were totaled by Porcello as a result of that run crossing the plate.

An inning later, the first pitch out of Porcello’s hand went for a home run, as Kevin Kiermaier punished a 90 MPH four-seam fastball on the inner half of the plate to make it a 2-0 game.

Porcello nearly escaped the second without yielding any more damage, but a two-out, broken-bat single from Willy Adames and seven pitch-walk drawn by Choi resulted in more trouble for the New Jersey native with Austin Meadows also sending the first pitch he saw, a 91 MPH heater at the top of the zone, 393 feet into the right field seats.

Once more in the sixth, Porcello was again just one out away from tossing his first 1-2-2 inning of the night, but served up his third big fly of the night, this one a solo shot off the bat of Adames.

That put the Rays up 6-2, and that would be how Porcello’s disappointing outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (70 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 28% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing one swing and miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 92 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 26 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 9-8 while inflating his ERA on the season up to 5.74, Porcello’s July went like this: five games started, 28 1/3 innings pitched, 43 hits, 25 earned runs, four walks, and 23 strikeouts. That’s good for an ERA of 7.94, which is far from ideal.

He’ll look to try and turn things around in his next time out, which should come against the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

In relief of Porcello, Darwinzon Hernandez entered with one out to get in the top of the sixth, and he got that out by fanning Meadows on five pitches immediately after giving up a two-out double to Choi.

From there, Heath Hembree allowed two more Rays runs to cross the plate on back-to-back, two-out RBI knocks from Kiermaier and Matt Duffy, and those runs would prove to be costly later on.

Left-hander Josh Taylor impressed by punching out a pair in a scoreless eighth to keep the deficit at three runs, while Marcus Walden struck out the side to do the same in the ninth, although it did not make much of a difference when all was said and done.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against Rays opener and right-hander Andrew Kittredge, who eventually made way for the left-handed Ryan Yarbrough in the bottom of the third after Jackie Bradley Jr. reached on a one-out fielding error committed by Nate Lowe and Mookie Betts moved him up to third on a single.

Rafael Devers got the scoring started for Boston by greeting the just-entered Yarbrough with a sacrifice fly to left that allowed Bradley Jr. to come in and score from third.

In the fourth, J.D. Martinez led things off by taking Yarbrough deep to right off an 0-2, 79 MPH curveball for his 23rd big fly of the season to cut the deficit down to three runs at 5-2.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, after the Rays had added three runs to their lead in the top halves of the sixth and seventh, the Red Sox got all three of those runs back, and it started with a one-out solo shot off the bat of Michael Chavis. His 17th of the year made it an 8-3 game.

Consecutive two-out hits from Betts and Devers trimmed the Rays’ lead to four, with Devers collecting his second RBI of the night on a run-scoring, line-drive single to center.

Following a pitching change that saw Diego Castillo take over for Yarbrough, Xander Bogaerts and Martinez kept the line moving, as Martinez too picked up his second RBI by driving in Devers from third on a run-scoring, bloop single of his own.

That put runners at the corners in an 8-5 contest for Andrew Benintendi, representing the tying run.

Rays manager Kevin Cash responded by turning to the left-handed Colin Poche out of his bullpen, and I have to tip my cap to Poche, as he fanned Benintendi on five pitches to escape the jam in the seventh before getting each of Christian Vazquez, Chavis, and Bradley Jr. to whiff in order in the eighth as well.

Down to their final three outs in a three-run game in the bottom of the ninth, a Betts leadoff single and two-out walk drawn by Martinez off of Chaz Roe brought Benintendi to the plate in another crucial spot.

Having faced off against Roe four times before Wednesday, Benintendi fell behind in the count at 0-2, took a third-pitch ball outside, and struck out looking on a 1-2, 92 MPH two-seamer that was nearly in the same spot the first pitch was.

A rather anticlimactic way to end things, but that is how 8-5 would go on to be Wednesday’s final score. A night of frustration and missed opportunities.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday. They left nine men on base as a team.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Sam Travis, since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on July 15th: .317/.419/.690 with two homers and five RBI.

The Red Sox have lost three straight to fall 10 games back of the Yankees for first place in the American League East and 2 1/2 games back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Between the lack of activity ahead of the trade deadline and the results on the field, Wednesday was not an encouraging day for this club.

Right-hander Andrew Cashner will take to the hill for Boston in this series’ finale on Thursday, while rookie left-hander Brendan McKay will do the same for Tampa Bay.

Since joining Boston’s rotation earlier in the month, Cashner is 1-2 with a 6.11 ERA over his last three starts, all of which have come against AL East opponents.

That trend will continue on Thursday, as the 32-year-old will bring with him a lifetime 4.03 ERA and .266 batting average against over five career starts against the Rays.

McKay, meanwhile, entered the 2019 season ranked as Tampa Bay’s number-two prospect after being drafted fourth overall in the 2017 amateur draft out of the University of Louisville.

McKay is a two-way player, meaning he both pitches and DH’s.

Through his first four career starts, the 23-year-old is 1-1 with an ERA of 3.72 over a total of 19 1/3 innings pitched.

As a hitter, McKay is 0-for-4, with all four-at bats coming July 1st against the Baltimore Orioles.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to put an end to this skid.

Chris Sale Struggles, Surrenders Six Runs as Red Sox Fail to Finish off Sweep of Yankees

After guaranteeing a series win with a 9-5 win over the New York Yankees on Saturday, the Red Sox were unable to finish off the four-game sweep in prime time, as they fell to their divisional foes Sunday by a final score of 9-6 to drop back down to 59-48 on the season.

Making his 22nd start of the season and third against New York for Boston was Chris Sale, who came into Sunday with back-to-back outings of at least six innings pitched and two or fewer runs allowed under his belt.

Struggling out of the gate and working into the sixth inning this time around, the left-hander surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first pair of those Yankees tallies came around to score in the top half of the third, when following seven straight outs to begin things on Sunday, Sale walked Cameron Maybin on five pitches before serving up a first-pitch, two-run home run to Austin Romine off a hanging, 87 MPH changeup.

It was more of the same for Sale an inning later, with Luke Voit drawing a one-out walk on six pitches and Didi Gregorius unloading on a 1-1, 81 MPH slider for another two-run blast and a four-run lead.

An important punchout of Voit to end the fifth with runners stranded on the corners in a two-run contest went for naught in the sixth, as Gregorius led things off by drawing a walk and Gio Urshela drove him in two batters later on a line-drive RBI double back up the middle.

That put the Yankees ahead 5-2, and that would be how Sale’s underwhelming evening ended.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 100 (56 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 36% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing just one swing and miss and topping out at 97.7 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate. It’s also worth noting that the Yankees averaged exit velocities of 97.3 MPH and 94.9 MPH off of Sale’s heater and slider, the two pitches he threw the most in this one.

Eventually falling to 5-10 while inflating his ERA up to 4.26 on the season, Sale certainly did not have a July to remember. In five starts this month, the Florida native went 2-3 with 5.86 ERA and .250 batting average against over 27 2/3 innings pitched.

Things won’t get any easier for Sale either, as his next start should also come against these same Yankees sometime on Saturday.

In relief of Sale, Colten Brewer entered with two outs to get and a runner at second, and he allowed that runner to score on a Maybin RBI single to officially close the book on Sale’s outing before picking off Maybin at first, as well as getting Romine to ground out to third, to retire the side.

From there, Darwinzon Hernandez got the call for the seventh, and all hell broke loose when with the bases loaded and one out in the frame, Jackie Bradley Jr. came up with the second one of the inning on a fly ball off the bat of Gregorius.

With the chance to potentially double up Voit at first, Bradley Jr. followed Xander Bogaerts’ instruction and made the throw over to first. The only problem was that no one was covering the bag, which in turn resulted in a wild throw and two unearned Yankees runs crossing the plate to make it an 8-3 game.

More sloppy play came back to bite the Sox with two outs in the eighth, when a Marcus Walden wild pitch with Aaron Hicks at the plate allowed Cameron Maybin to easily score from third after he reached on a one-out double. 9-4.

Finally, Heath Hembree was responsible for the ninth, and he put together one of his best outings since being activated off the injured list on July 4th by sitting down the only three hitters he faced in order to keep his club’s deficit at five runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who proved to be a formidable opponent, as he put together the best start of any New York starter in this series.

Falling behind by four runs early, a red-hot Andrew Benintendi got the scoring started for Boston in the bottom half of the fourth by driving in Xander Bogaerts, as well as himself, on his 10th home run of the season and second in as many days. This one a 415-foot, two-run no doubter that cut the Yankees’ lead in half at 4-2.

Fast forward to the sixth, trailing 6-2 now, and Rafael Devers and Bogaerts led things off with a walk and a double to put runners in scoring position with no outs for J.D. Martinez.

The best Martinez could do was plate Devers from third on an RBI groundout to short, and that was all the Sox could manage in the inning with Benintendi and Brock Holt coming up short against new Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. reached base on a one-out single, bringing the pinch-hitting Christian Vazquez up in the place of Sandy Leon.

Up against right-hander Adam Ottavino, Vazquez moved Bradley Jr. up to third while reaching first safely himself.

Mookie Betts cut New York’s advantage back down to four runs with another sacrifice fly to drive in Bradley Jr., but once again, that’s all the run-scoring the Red Sox could muster with Bogaerts stranding Devers and Vazquez at second and third on an inning-ending fly out.

In the eighth, a Martinez leadoff walk, a Benintendi single, and a one-out walk drawn by the pinch-hitting Sam Travis against the left-handed Zack Brittion presented another opportunity for Boston.

Unfortunately though, Bradley Jr. fanned on six pitches and Vazquez grounded into a force out at second, thus extinguishing another threat.

Benintendi made things a bit interesting in the ninth by lacing a two-out, two-run double against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman to make it a 9-6 contest, but the rally fell short, and 9-6 went on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. They left nine men on base as a team.

From Red Sox Notes:

All three hitters Chris Sale walked on Sunday scored in the same inning they drew said walks in, if that makes sense.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Andrew Benintendi’s last seven games: .484/.500/.903 with three home runs and nine RBI. Potential American League Player of the Week candidate?

So, with an off day on Monday, the Red Sox wrap up the first half of 14 straight games against the Tampa Bay Rays and Yankees with a 5-2 record. As things stand right now, they currently sit one game back of the Oakland Athletics for the second American League Wild Card spot.

It didn’t end all that pretty, but taking three out of four from the best team in the division proved that the Red Sox can still make something out of this season. They should be buyers at the trade deadline, not sellers.

The Rays come into Fenway Park next, with a three-game series set to begin on Tuesday night.

Left-hander David Price is set to get the ball for Boston, while veteran right-hander Charlie Morton will do the same for Tampa Bay. The same pitching matchup when these two teams last faced off this past Wednesday.

In that contest, Price took the loss despite yielding just three runs over six quality innings, while Morton dominated by punching out 11 and giving up two runs over seven strong innings.

In his career at Fenway Park, the 35-year-old Morton is 3-0 with a 2.20 ERA and .213 batting average against over three starts and 16 1/3 innings of work.

Price, meanwhile, now owns a lifetime 3.23 ERA against the club he started his career with over 18 appearances (17 starts) and 108 2/3 innings pitched.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN.

Mookie Betts Belts Three Homers, Drives in Five Runs as Red Sox Top Yankees 10-5 for Second Straight Win

After routing the New York Yankees 19-3 to open up a four-game weekend series on Thursday, the Red Sox were back at it again on Friday, this time going off for 10 wins in a 10-5 victory over their divisional foes to improve to 58-47 on the year.

Making his third start for Boston and 20th of the season overall was Andrew Cashner, who came into Friday winless in his first two outings with his new club since being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles earlier in the month.

When he first arrived in Boston two weekends ago, Cashner made it clear that he was excited to be a part of this rivalry, saying that, “the thing I’m looking forward to the most is playing the Yankees.” He stepped up in his first Red Sox-Yankees action Friday.

Working into the seventh inning of this one, the right-hander put together his best performance since the trade, as he allowed three runs, all of which were earned, on 10 hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts on the night.

The first of those three New York tallies came across to score in the top half of the sixth, when after retiring 14 of the first 18 hitters he faced, Cashner yielded three-straight two-out knocks to Edwin Encarnacion, Didi Gregorius, and Luke Voit, which plated Encarnacion from second.

A three-pitch punchout of Gleyber Torres allowed Cashner to escape that jam, but the Texas native ran into a bit more trouble an inning later, where the first three Yankees who came to bat in the seventh all reached base, resulting in Austin Romine driving in a run on RBI single, and D.J. LeMahieu driving in another while grounding into a helpful 6-4-3 double play.

That cut Boston’s lead from eight runs down to six, so Cashner’s evening quickly came to a close following a two-out double from Aaron Judge with Encarnacion looming.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (67 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 41% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 96.7 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was at the plate.

Finally able to pick up that first win as a Red Sox while slightly lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.18, Cashner will look to maintain this positive trend in his next time out, which should come against another divisional opponent in the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.

In relief of Cashner, Marcus Walden entered the seventh with a runner in scoring position and one out to get in the frame. He got that out rather quickly, punching out Encarnacion looking on seven pitches to retire the side.

From there, left-hander Josh Taylor worked his way around a one-out walk of Luke Voit in the eighth with the help of Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers.

Finally, in the ninth, Heath Hembree failed to record an out in the inning, allowing New York’s fourth run of the night to score on an Austin Romine RBI double, which led to Sox manager Alex Cora having to turn to Brandon Workman in a six-run contest.

Workman promptly loaded the bases on a Judge screamer that went for a fielding error committed by Xander Bogaerts, surrendered another run on a Gregorius sacrifice fly, but ultimately held on by getting Voit to ground into a force out at third to secure the 10-5 win for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander James Paxton, someone who had never pitched at Fenway Park before Friday.

Perhaps that unfamiliarity played a factor in how the scoring started for Boston, as Mookie Betts coldly greeted Paxton and kicked things off by mashing a 362-foot solo shot to left to lead off the first.

Three batters later, with one out and Rafael Devers at first, J.D. Martinez added on to his team’s early lead with his 21st big fly of the season. This one a 433-foot, two-run bomb over the Monster to put the Red Sox ahead 3-0.

Fast forward to the third, and the dynamic duo of Betts and Martinez struck once more, with the former leading the inning off with his second solo shot of the evening, a 390-foot solo shot at that, and the latter driving in Xander Bogaerts from second on a one-out, RBI triple down the right field line. 5-0.

An inning later, a two-out single off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. brought Betts to the plate with a runner on for the first time, and he got ahead in this particular count against Paxton at 3-1 before absolutely punishing a hanging, 87 MPH cutter down the heart of the plate.

Per Statcast, Betts’ third homer was deposited 376 feet into the Monster seats and had an exit velocity of over 103 MPH. Also was his 18th of the season.

In the sixth, with reliever David Hale in for New York and Michael Chavis on at second, back-to-back two-out RBI doubles from Betts and Devers plated two more runs for Boston, making it a 9-1 game.

And in the seventh, Sam Travis came through with an RBI two-bagger of his own off Hale, scoring Andrew Benintendi from second to put his team up 10-3.

Betts’ last at-bat came with one out in the bottom of the eighth. With the chance to become the first Red Sox player to ever hit four home runs in a single game, all the reigning American League MVP could manage against tough lefty Zack Brittion was a softly-hit grounder to third.

No history made, but still an impressive day at the plate nonetheless, as 10-5 would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From MLB Stats:

From The Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam:

From NESN’s Guerin Austin:

Red Sox’ top four hitters (Betts, Devers, Bogaerts, Martinez) on Friday: 9-for-18 with four homers, five other extra-base-hits, seven runs scored, and nine runs driven in.

Mookie Betts in July: .395/.465/.709 with five homers and 17 RBI.

Rafael Devers in July: .341/.400/.747 with nine homers and 32(!!!) RBI.

Xander Bogaerts in July: .369/.424/.702 with seven homers and 23 RBI.

J.D. Martinez’s last seven games: .438/.455/.813 with two homers and nine RBI.

The Red Sox have won four of their last five games against the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. At 58-47, this is the first time Boston has been 11 games over .500 all season.

They’ll look to make that 12 games over .500 in the third of this four-game series on Saturday afternoon.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is set to get the start for Boston, while fellow veteran southpaw C.C. Sabathia will do the same for New York.

Since the beginning of the month, Rodriguez is 4-0 in his last four starts, posting a 1.42 ERA and .159 batting average against over 25 1/3 innings pitched.

The 26-year-old’s last start against the Yankees came on international soil, where he gave up two earned runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings of work back on June 30th in London.

In his career against the Bronx Bombers, Rodriguez owns a lifetime 3.86 ERA over 15 appearances (13 starts) and 74 2/3 total frames pitched.

Sabathia, meanwhile, allowed three runs over six innings in a losing effort in his only other start against Boston this season back on June 2nd.

Over 19 prior starts at Fenway Park, the 39-year-old is 7-5 with an ERA of 4.87 and batting average against of .289 in 112 2/3 innings pitched.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

 

 

 

David Price Allows Three Runs over Six Innings as Red Sox Drop Series Finale to Rays Under Protest

After just hanging on to take the middle game of their three-game set on Tuesday night, the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays were engaged in another one-run contest in the series’ finale on Wednesday. The only difference this time around being that it was Boston, not Tampa Bay, that fell by a final score of 3-2 under protest to drop back to 56-47 on the season.

Making his 19th start of the season for Boston and fourth against his former club was David Price, who saw his streak of five straight outings with at least five innings pitched and two or fewer earned runs given up come to an end in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles.

Tossing six full innings in this one, the left-hander surrendered three runs, all of which were earned, on four hits and two walks to go along with eight strikeouts on the afternoon.

The first of these three Rays runs came across in the bottom half of the fourth, when after maintaining a no-hitter up until that point, Price served up a leadoff home run to outfielder Tommy Pham off a 1-1, 83 MPH changeup to cut the Sox’ lead in half at 2-1.

An inning later, three straight hits, with the last two going for RBI, from Michael Brosseau, Joey Wendle, and Guillermo Heredia to lead off the fifth gave Tampa Bay their first lead of the day at 3-2. A wild pitch was mixed in there as well.

It appeared as though Price’s then-solid start was on the brink of blowing up, but fortunately for Boston, the Tennessee native buckled down, got out of the fifth with an inning-ending double play, and sat down the side in order in the sixth, the point in which his day came to a close on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (63 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his two-seam fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing zero swings and misses and topping out at 94.9 MPH with the pitch He also topped out at 93.7 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch thrown 28 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 7-4 while raising his ERA on the season from 3.61 to 3.66, Price’s 20th start of the year should come against this same Rays club once again next Tuesday.

In relief of Price, Heath Hembree came on for the bottom of the seventh and got the first two outs of the frame, but not before allowing a pair of Rays to reach on a one-out double and intentional walk of Ji-Man Choi, which in turn led to Colten Brewer coming on to face Travis d’Arnaud.

Brewer proceeded to walk d’Arnaud on six pitches to fill the bases for a dangerous Pham, but won that battle by getting the outfielder to ground out to Rafael Devers at third.

The bottom half of the eighth inning is where things got a bit sticky, and that was due to what transpired in the top half of the frame, which I’ll explain later.

Regardless of that, left-hander Josh Taylor had to wait nearly 10 minutes until this contest was ready to resume, and with it now under protest, worked his way around a one-out walk in an otheriwise clean frame of relief to keep his side within the one run they trailed by.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rays right-hander and two-time All-Star Charlie Morton, someone who entered the finale on Wednesday with a league-best 2.90 ERA on the season.

Starting the scoring in the third inning for Boston, a Brock Holt leadoff single and Mookie Betts two-out double brought Rafael Devers to the plate with runners at second and third.

On the third pitch he saw from Morton, a 2-0, 80 MPH curveball, Devers snuck a two-run single to left field with the Rays infield playing in, allowing both Holt and Betts to easily score to give the Red Sox their first lead of the afternoon at 2-0.

Other than that though, Morton dominated the rest of the way, as he retired 14 of the final 15 Red Sox hitters he faced after giving up that single to Devers.

Heading into the eighth trailing by one run, the Boston bats were greeted by Rays left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek to begin the inning.

Sam Travis, pinch-hitting for Jackie Bradley Jr., popped up to first for the first out of the frame, and that led to Rays manager Kevin Cash making the call to his bullpen for right-hander Chaz Roe with Betts due up next for Boston.

The only thing was, instead of making a conventional change, Cash put Kolarek in as the first baseman, thus removing Choi from the game.

Betts, too, flied out to left for the second out, so Cash went back out to bring Kolarek back in to pitch against the left-handed Devers, which in turn led to Nate Lowe replacing Roe at first.

What ensued after that was somewhat head-scratching, as Sox manager Alex Cora argued that since Kolarek took the spot of Austin Meadows in Tampa Bay’s lineup, the Rays should then have to forefiet the designated hitter. Essentially, the Rays could have had 10 players in a nine-man lineup.

I’m not the most fit to explain this, so here are some tweets from WEEI’s Rob Bradford to clarify:

Either way, all that came out of this was that the game was protested by Cora and Kolarek was able to remain in the game as the pitcher. He got Devers to ground out to first of all places for the final out of the inning after a 20-minute delay. Fun times!

Finally, in the ninth, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Andrew Benintendi all went down in order against right-hander Emilio Pagan, and 3-2 would wind up being Wednesday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss, which is still under protest:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Rafael Devers’ July thus far: .321/.382/.704 with eight home runs and 29 RBI.

J.D. Martinez has multiple hits in four of his last five games.

So, the Red Sox finish their six-game road trip with a 3-3 record and have won two of their first three games as part of this pivotal 14-game stretch against the Rays and New York Yankees.

Speaking of the Yankees, the Red Sox will welcome the American League East leaders to Fenway Park for the first time this season to kick off a four-game weekend series on Thursday night.

Right-hander Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston in the opener, while fellow righty Masahiro Tanaka will do the same for New York.

Last time these two hurlers matched up against each other, their teams combined for 30 total runs in the opening game of the London Series back on June 29th. Porcello and Tanaka themselves combined to record just three total outs.

In his career against New York, Porcello owns a lifetime 3.68 ERA and .250 batting average against over 24 total starts and 146 2/3 innings pitched.

Tanaka, meanwhile, has posted a career 4.82 ERA and .257 batting average against in 19 previous starts against the Red Sox.

Since tossing that seven-inning shutout against the Minnesota Twins on June 27th, Porcello has yielded five, six, six, four, and six runs in each of his last five outings. That’s good for an ERA of 10.57. Not ideal.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to get back to 10 games over .500.