Xander Bogaerts Leads Power Surge for Red Sox in 7-6 Comeback Win over Rangers for Series Split

In a game that took well over four hours to complete, the Red Sox stormed all the way back to a four-game split against the Texas Rangers with a 7-6 win on Thursday night to close out a 3-5 homestand.

Making his 12th start of the season for Boston in the series finale was David Price, fresh off six quality one-run innings in his last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays.

This time around though, the left-hander struggled mightily against a team he has a rough history with, as he yielded six runs, all of which were earned, on five hits, two HBPs, and one walk to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the short-lived night.

The issues for Price were present right from the get-go, that much was clear by how he hit the first man he faced in Shin-Soo Choo, and proceeded to walk the next in Delino Deshields, which in turn led to Texas plating their first two runs on an Elvis Andrus RBI single and Hunter Pence RBI double that nearly left the yard, but bounced off the top of the short wall in right field and landed back in play.

Price escaped the first after surrendering another pair of runs on two-out, two RBI double from Logan Forsythe, but more trouble arose an inning later, and it was once again started by beaning Choo with one out on a 1-2 changeup.

A double from Deshields put both runners on base in scoring position for Andrus, who capitalized on a 1-0 changeup from the Tennessee native and grounded another two-run hit through the left side of the infield to make it a 6-0 game. That was how Price’s evening came to a disappointing close, less than an hour after it had began.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 49 (27 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 37% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing five swings and misses and topping out at 92.3 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

When asked about his performance, Price simply said, “I sucked. That’s it.” With his ERA jumping up by 8/10 of a run up to 3.52 on the season, he’ll look for better results in his next time out against the Minnesota Twins next Tuesday.

In relief of Price, Sox manager Alex Cora turned to every reliever in his bullpen sans Heath Hembree, who later said he wasn’t available to pitch due to right forearm tightness.

Mike Shawaryn, Colten Brewer, and Travis Lakins, all of whom have been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket in the last few weeks, set the groundwork by working a combined four scoreless, no-hit frames of relief, scattering five walks along the way to set up the more high-leverage arms.

Entering the sixth with the score at 6-6, Marcus Walden bounced back from a two-run outing this past Saturday by working his way around two two-out singles in an otherwise clean frame with some help from Andrew Benintendi.

Another tightrope was walked in the seventh, when, still in a tie game, Brandon Workman walked the bases loaded with two outs, took Deshields to a full count after falling behind 3-0, and came through with a huge punchout on an 82 MPH slider to strand the go-ahead run at third.

In the eighth, after his side had plated what would turn out to be the winning run in their half of the inning, Matt Barnes also bounced back from what has been a subpar month of June so far by fanning the final two Rangers he faced to leave Hunter Pence at second following a one-out double.

And in the ninth, with Heath Hembree unavailable, Josh Smith, yes, Josh Smith came on for his first ever big league save opportunity.

It didn’t look great when he hit the first batter he faced, but the 31-year-old got Rougned Odor to ground into a force out at second to keep the tying run out of scoring position before the Rangers second baseman stole the base anyway, and he also struck out pinch-hitter Nomar Mazara seven pitches later.

With one out still to get, this contest nearly ended on a pick-off move made by Smith on a retreating Odor as he was sliding back to second.

Xander Bogaerts was confident he had the runner on the tag, but second base umpire Angel Hernandez ruled him safe, and that ruling was upheld despite a Red Sox challenge.

The man who was at the plate while that transpired, Choo, was intentionally walked, and Smith succeeded against his next opponent in Deshields, as he got the speedy outfielder to fly out to center, thus securing his first career save and completing the comeback.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rangers right-hander Adrian Sampson, who hadn’t pitched against the Sox nor at Fenway Park since his rookie year in 2016, when he was with the Seattle Mariners.

Starting the scoring for Boston in this one was JD Martinez in the first inning, mashing his 13th home run of the year on a 418 foot solo shot to center to cut the early deficit to three runs.

An inning later, that deficit would be trimmed down even further to two thanks to back-to-back leadoff singles from Bogaerts and Vazquez and a 403 foor three-run dinger off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr., his sixth of the year.

Fast forward to the fourth, and Michael Chavis came alive and made it a one-run game by depositing his first homer since the 22nd of May into the third row of Monster Seats down the left field line. 6-5.

Rafael Devers joined the home run party in the fifth, tying this wild one up by absolutely crushing an 0-2 hanging slider from Sampson and sending it 443 feet over everything in center field. Per Statcast, the 22-year-old’s 10th big fly of 2019 had an exit velocity of 110 MPH.

Finally, in the seventh, down to their final out of the inning with right-hander Peter Fairbanks in for Texas, Xander Bogaerts gave the Sox their first lead of the night, collecting his 14th home run of the season on an 0-1 slider, one that the budding shortstop mashed 386 feet over the Monster.

That put the Red Sox ahead 7-6 after trailing by as many as five runs, and that would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox had nine hits Thursday. Five were home runs.

Jackie Bradley Jr. in June: .257/.366/.514 with two home runs, three doubles, and seven RBI.

Xander Bogaerts in June: .304/.382/.630 with three doubles, four home runs, and seven RBI.

The Red Sox bullpen Thursday: 7 1/3 innings pitched, four hits, one HBP, eight walks, nine strikeouts, ZERO earned runs.

So, after going down two games in a four-game series, the Red Sox respond by taking the next two for the split. That’s encouraging to see, especially with a three-game weekend series against the lowly Baltimore Orioles set to begin on Friday.

The starters for that series go as follows: Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, TBD (Could be Brian Johnson).

Meanwhile, for Baltimore, they have yet to announce a starter for either Friday or Sunday. Right-hander Dylan Bundy will be matched up against Sale on Saturday.

The Sox took two out of three from the O’s in their first trip to Baltimore back in May. A sweep this time around seems more ideal.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight win.

 

 

 

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Red Sox Squander Another Fine Start from Chris Sale as Bullpen Falls Apart in 4-3 Extra Innings Loss to Rangers

After dropping three of four to the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, the Red Sox got the second leg of their eight-game homestand off to a less than promising start, as they fell in their first of four against the Texas Rangers in 11 innings Monday by a final score of 4-3.

Making his 14th start and coming off his best outing of the season for Boston Was Chris Sale, who fanned 12 to the tune of a complete game shutout against the Kansas City Royals this past Wednesday.

This time around, the left-hander put together yet another solid performance, limiting the Rangers to just one unearned run while scattering three hits and one walk to go along with 10 strikeouts in seven quality innings of work Monday.

That lone run came in Texas’ half of the sixth, when a leadoff walk to Rougned Odor, followed by back-to-back punchouts and a successful stolen base attempt on a subpar throw from Sandy Leon that allowed Odor to move up to third, came in to score on a Danny Santana RBI single.

The thing is, Sale may have gotten Santana to whiff on the fifth pitch of the at-bat in a 2-2 count, but home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt appealed to Angel Hernandez at first, and he ruled that the batter held up his swing in time.

And on the very next pitch from the Boston starter, an 83 MPH slider down the heart of the plate, Santana capitalized and plated his team’s first run of the night.

Other than that one mishap though, Sale maintained the dominant form we have been accustomed to seeing from him since about the beginning of May.

He took a perfect game into the fourth, retired 14 of the first 16 hitters he faced, got some help from Sandy Leon,…

….and capped off his outing after a rough sixth inning by retiring the side in order in the seventh with that 10th and final strikeout, marking three straight starts with double-digit K’s.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (67 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his slider more than 39% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing seven swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 97.4 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 35 times and got five swings and misses on, with Leon behind the plate.

Hit with another tough luck no-decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.52, Sale will look to build on what’s been a strong start to June in his next time out, which should come against the Baltimore Orioles this weekend.

In relief of Sale, Brandon Workman came on in the eighth with a 2-1 lead to protect, and he did just that by sitting down the only three Rangers hitters he faced in order to make way for Matt Barnes in the ninth.

Going for his fifth save of the season, Barnes got the first out of the inning fairly quickly on one pitch, but melted down from there, as he yielded back-to-back hits to Santana and Andrus before allowing the then go-ahead run to score on a 3-1 two-run single from Nomar Mazara to make it a 3-2 contest.

The UCONN product would strikeout and intentionally walk the next two hitters faced, and in came Heath Hembree attempting to keep the deficit at one.

All the sudden rising to a key component of Alex Cora’s bullpen, Hembree succeeded in punching out the lone hitter he faced in the ninth before also working a 1-2-3 10th after his team tied things up the inning prior to send it to extras in the first place.

In the 11th, still trying to keep this one knotted at three runs a piece, Ryan Brasier, like Barnes, was dealt a less than favorable blow from Santana and Andrus yet again, with the former leading the frame off with a line drive double and the latter driving him in on an RBI single to give the Rangers a 4-3 advantage, which would turn out to be all they would need.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander Mike Minor, who has quietly put together an impressive campaign in his second season with Texas.Β That much was evident Monday.

Andrew Benintendi got the scoring started for Boston right away in the first inning, scoring Mookie Betts as well as himself on his seventh home run of the season, this one a two-run, 420 foot shot to put his side on the board first.

That blast came on Minor’s seventh pitch of the contest, and it would wind up being all the damage done against him.

They had additional chances to add on to those two runs, but could not take advantage of those opportunities.

Such was the case when Mookie Betts reached second with one out in the third, Jackie Bradley Jr. singled to leadoff the fifth, and JD Martinez did the same an inning later. All appeared to set Boston up in a prime spot to score, and nothing came out of it.

Once Minor’s night finally came to a close after eight strong innings of work, the Red Sox came to the plate in their half of the ninth down a run with Rangers reliever Shawn Kelley on the hill.

Consecutive base hits from Martinez, who Michael Chavis pinch-ran for, and Xander Bogaerts to leadoff the frame placed the tying-run in scoring position, and a GIDP off the bat of Rafael Devers advanced said tying-run up to third.

Down to their last out, Sox manager Alex Cora turned to his bench with Sam Travis’ spot in the order due up, and Brock Holt came through in the clutch big time by blooping an opposite field RBI single to left on a 1-1 four-seamer from Kelley, plating Chavis from third to pull his team even.

Holt nearly scored the winning run as well four pitches later on a pinch-hit RBI double from Marco Hernandez, but instead ran through a stop sign from interim third base coach and current assistant hitting coach Andy Barkett and was out by a mile at home, thus sending this one into extras.

There, in the 10th, a one-out single and walk from Leon and Betts, followed up by a two-out free pass drawn by Chavis, filled the bases with Red Sox for Xander Bogaerts against Rangers reliever Jesse Chavez.

Having faced Chavez 12 times in his career before Monday, Bogaerts took the first three pitches he saw, with two being hittable-looking pitches down the heart of the plate, and the other being a ball.

On the fourth pitch he saw from the Rangers right-hander, Bogaerts hacked at an 87 MPH slider outside the strike zone and lined out to center, sending this one to the 11th.

In that 11th, after going down by a run in the top half of the frame, Chris Martin discarded Devers, Holt, and Hernandez in order, and another frustrating night for the Red Sox came to a close in a 4-3 loss.

Some notes from this loss:Β 

JD Martinez went 2-for-3 with a walk in his first start since June 6th after dealing with back spasms.

Rafael Devers is 0-for-his-last-17.

Matt Barnes in June: Five games, 4.2 innings pitched, 11.57 ERA, .300 batting average against.

Heath Hembree in June: Five games, 3.2 innings pitched, 0.00 ERA, .000 batting average against.

Red Sox with Runners in Scoring Position Monday: 1-for-8. Seven men were left on base. Both are not great!

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to bounce back in the second of this four-game set Tuesday night.

The club’s top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez is expected to make his first big league start for Boston, while right-hander Ariel Jurado will get the ball for Texas.

This will mark Hernandez’s third stint with the Sox this season. So far, the 22-year-old left-hander has only made one relief appearance while in the majors, although he has made nine starts with Double-A Portland in 2019.

Jurado, meanwhile, currently sports a 2.78 ERA through 13 appearances (four starts) with the Rangers this season. He has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park before in his young career.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox need to get back on track.

 

 

 

Red Sox Give up Four Home Runs, Go 1-For-13 with Runners in Scoring Position in 6-1 Loss to Rays

After coming away with a split in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox were not able to split their four-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, as they fell to their divisional foes by a final score of 6-1 for their third defeat in as many days.

Making his 13th start of the season for Boston to close out the weekend was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered Sunday having never won any of his previous seven outings against the Rays.

Pitching his way into the sixth inning of this one, the left-hander surrendered four runs, all of which were earned, on seven hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the afternoon.

Right from the jump, it appeared that Tampa Bay had Rodriguez all figured out, with the first four hitters they sent to the plate all reaching safely sans Tommy Pham trying to extend a wall-ball single into a double and getting snuffed out by Sam Travis.

Still, an RBI knock from Brandon Lowe and a sacrifice fly from Travis d’Arnaud two hitters later gave the Rays an early two-run advantage before the Red Sox had even taken their first at-bats.

In the second, more was tacked on to that lead, with Guillermo Heredia mashing a one-out, 433 foot shot off Rodriguez on a 2-1 86 MPH cutter to make it a 3-0 game.

Fortunately for Boston though, the Venezuela native settled in for a bit, retiring 11 of the next 12 Rays he faced up until the beginning of the sixth.

There, the home run ball bit Rodriguez yet again, this time with Brandon Lowe leading things off with his first of two home-runs on the day. This one, coming off a first-pitch 92 MPH fastball, was deposited a whopping 455 feet into the center field bleachers to put Tampa Bay ahead 4-1.

Allowing two of the last four hitters he faced to reach on a pair of free passes, Rodriguez’s outing came to an end with an eight-pich walk of Christian Arroyo.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (62 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler relied on his cut and two-seam fastball a combined 55% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing four total swings and misses with the combination of pitches. He also topped out at 94.3 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 18 times with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Falling to 6-4 with his ERA on the season jumping up to 5.00 on the dot, Rodriguez’s career struggles against the Rays continue. He’ll look to put this particular outing behind him in his next time out, which should come against the Baltimore Orioles this Friday.

In relief of Rodriguez, Heath Hembree came on with runners at first and second and one out to get in the sixth, and he filled the bases by plunking Heredia with a 94 MPH fastball before fanning pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi on five pitches to escape the jam and keep it at a three-run game.

From there, Marcus Walden managed to only record one out to start out the seventh, as he served up a pair of solo shots, one being a leadoff piece from Yandy Diaz, and the other being a 435 foot missile off the bat of Lowe, that gave the Rays a 6-1 advantage.

Colten Brewer was able to clean up the mess Walden left behind in that seventh inning while also tossing a scoreless eighth.

Ryan Brasier, meanwhile, did the same by working his way around a one-out double in an otherwise clean ninth to keep his team within the five runs they trailed by.

On the other side of things, the right-handed Red Sox lineup was matched up against ace left-hander Blake Snell for the Rays, who held Boston to a total of three runs over the four starts he made against them during his Cy Young Award-winning campaign in 2018.

And as those numbers from last year indicate, it was more of the same from Snell on Sunday.

The lone run the Sox got off him came in their half of the second, when with one out and Sam Travis and Jackie Bradley Jr. at the corners following back-to-back leadoff singles, Marco Hernandez stayed hot in his second start since returning from the injured list by driving in Travis with a line-drive RBI single to left field.

The opportunities to tack on more than one run were present throughout, but the ability to capitalize on said scoring chances was not. That much is evident by how the team went 1-for-13 (.008) with runners in scoring position and left a total of nine men on base. Not ideal, really.

Key run-scoring chances that came up empty include Mookie Betts and Christian Vazquez being stranded in scoring position in the first after getting there with no outs, Xander Bogaerts leading off the sixth by reaching second on a fielding error and not scoring, Sandy Leon and Hernandez occupying first and second with one out in the seventh and being stranded there, and Bogaerts reaching first on a five-pitch leadoff walk against Oliver Drake in the eighth and not scoring either.

Fittingly enough, when the Red Sox were down to their out in the ninth with Leon 90 feet away from home after he got on with a one-out single, Mookie Betts struck out looking on a 1-2 95 MPH fastball from Rays lefty Adam Kolarek, and that was how this 6-1 loss came to a close.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox’ 7-9 hitters on Sunday (Bradley Jr., Leon, Hernandez): 6-for-12, one double, one RBI, two strikeouts.

The Red Sox’ 1-3 hitters on Sunday (Betts, Vazquez, Bogaerts): 1-for-11, two walks, four strikeouts.

Marco Hernandez’s return to the majors so far: 4-for-9, two doubles, three RBI.

Michael Chavis in June: .182/.229/.273, zero home runs, three RBI, 17 strikeouts.

So, including the five runs they scored in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Red Sox pushed across a total of nine runs against the Rays in four games over the weekend. They lost three out of four of those.

Next up for the Sox, they’ll continue their eight-game homestand by welcoming the 34-30 Texas Rangers into Fenway Park for the first and only time this regular season on Monday.

For the opener in what looks to be a fascinating four-game set, it will be a pitching matchup featuring two of the better left-handers in the American League this year in Texas’ Mike Minor and Boston’s Chris Sale.

In his second of a three-year pact with the Rangers, Minor has surpised many in 2019, as he’ll come into the week with a 2.55 ERA through his first 13 starts this year.

Over five prior outings (three starts) at Fenway Park, the 31-year-old is 0-3 with a lifetime ERA of 4.19 in 19.1 total innings pitched.

Opposite Minor, Sale is coming off his best start of the season in his last time out against the Kansas City Royals, fanning 12 and tossing an immaculate eighth inning in his first complete game shutout as a member of the Red Sox.

In 14 career games (10 starts) against the Rangers, the Florida native is 7-2 with a 2.28 ERA over 73.1 total innings of work.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT. Red Sox looking to start something.

Mookie Betts Homers, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez Drive in a Pair of Runs Each as Red Sox Use Seven Different Pitchers in 7-5 Win to Finish off Sweep of Royals

After utterly dominating the Royals behind Chris Sale’s comeplete game shutout Wednesday night, it was a completely different story for the Red Sox in Kansas City on Thursday, as they had to battle their way to a gritty 7-5 victory in the series finale to complete the three-game sweep.

Making his third start of the season for Boston and first since May 29th was Ryan Weber, who had never pitched against the Royals or inside Kauffman Stadium in his career before Thursday.

Working into just the second inning of this one, the right-hander yielded more hits than he recorded outs, as he surrendered two runs, both earned, on five hits and no walks to go with one lone strikeout on the afternoon.

A scoreless first was not the problem for Weber, but a string of four straight one-out Royals hits was.

It began with a solo home run from Cheslor Cuthbert and was followed up by back-to-back singles before Billy Hamilton ripped an RBI double to left to make it a 2-0 game early on.

Only facing nine hitters in total, Weber’s day would come to a quick close after giving up that run-scoring two-bagger to the speedy Hamilton.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 33 (23 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his sinking fastball nearly 64% of the time he was on the mound Thursday. He also topped out at 88.5 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw twice and got one swing and miss on with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Having allowed nine runs to cross the plate in his last 5 1/3 innings of work since that wonderful job he did in Toronto on the 23rd of May, Weber’s time in Boston’s rotation may be done for the time being. With Nathan Eovaldi still out for the foreseeable future though, spot starts are needed, so who knows? If I were to guess, I would say the righty makes an appearance out of the Sox bullpen in their upcoming doubleheader against the Rays this coming Saturday.

Anyway, in relief of Weber, the Red Sox bullpen had their work cut out for them in this one, and Colten Brewer got first dibs at that by coming on with runners in scoring position and two outs to get in the second.

Fortunately for Boston, he got out of the jam just fine, as he stranded said runners at second and third before tossing a 1-2-3 third inning as well.

In the fourth, three of the first four hitters Brewer faced reached off the right-hander, meaning the Royals had the bases loaded with one out in a contest they now trailed by two.

So, in came Marcus Walden looking to put out another fire, and he, like Brewer before him, retired Whit Merrifield and Adelberto Mondesi on a combined five pitches to put an end to the fourth with the bases left full of stranded runners.

Walden continued on by working through the fifth, where he served up a one-out solo shot to Jorge Soler in an otherwise clean frame of relief.

From there, Ryan Brasier scattered two singles in a shutout sixth inning, Josh Taylor worked his way around an Alex Gordon leadoff homer in a one-run seventh for KC while also allowing a leadoff double to Nicky Lopez in the eighth, making way for Heath Hembree.

Hembree, making his 29th appearance of the year, stranded that runner in scoring position by getting Cam Gallagher, Hamilton, and Merrifield out in order to set up Matt Barnes in the ninth.

Coming on in what was initially a 7-4 contest, Barnes did allow the tying run to come to the plate for Kansas City after giving up an RBI double to Soler to make it a two-run game, but ultimately settled in by fanning the last two Royals he faced to pick up his fourth save of the seasn and his side’s fourth straight win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar opponent in the form of Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, who had faced off against the Sox seven times before Thursday.

Like Boston’s starter in this one though, Duffy did not last long, as he took a 110 MPH comebacker from Eduardo Nunez off his left knee for the final out of the second inning.

Still remaining in this one to start the third, it was clear that the left-hander was hampered. That much was evident in how he nailed Jackie Bradley Jr. in the back of the helmet on the very first pitch he threw in the frame.

Fortunately, Bradley Jr. was fine, and his HBP would end up being the catalyst for a four-run inning, with Mookie Betts mashing a two-run shot for his team’s first two runs of the day shortly thereafter. His 10th of the season.

Four hitters later, with Andrew Benintendi and JD Martinez both in scoring position, Rafael Devers stayed hot and untied this contest with a two-run, 112 MPH double to center, plating both runners while simultaneously giving Duffy the hook.

Fast forward to the seventh, the Royals bullpen was keeping things in check up until Xander Bogaerts drew a one-out walk off Scott Barlow.

A three-pitch punchout of Sam Travis, hitting in Martinez’s spot, followed by an intentional walk of Devers, meant that Kansas City was just one out away from getting out still trailing by one, but Christian Vazquez had different plans.

On the third pitch he saw from Barlow, a 96 MPH fastball down the middle, the Sox backstop didn’t hesitate and wound up with a two-run triple that fell between Hamilton and Merrifield in right-center field.

Both Bogaerts and Devers managed to score on the play, and just like that, the Red Sox had themselves with a three-run lead, which quickly inflated to four with Vazquez himself scoring his team’s final run of the afternoon on a wild pitch from Barlow with Michael Chavis at the plate.

That mishap put the Red Sox up 7-3, and after the Royals made things interesting with two runs of their own, 7-5 would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

JD Martinez left Thursday’s game in the fifth inning due to back spasms. He has been ruled day-to-day.

Eduardo Nunez in June so far: 6-for-9 with one home run, four RBI, and one stolen base.

No one in Thursday’s Red Sox lineup outside of Nunez had more than one hit, but they still scored seven runs anyway.

Rookie right-hander Mike Shawaryn could have made his major league debut Thursday in relief of Weber, but Sox manager Alex Cora decided not to use him in a close game.

Finishing off a seven-game road trip with a sweep is always nice, and now the Red Sox will head back home winners of their last four for a decently important four-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.

As things stand now, the Rays sit five games ahead of Boston in the American League East standings, so these next three days present a fine opportunity for the Red Sox to gain some ground in their own division.

Right-hander Rick Porcello will get the start for Boston in the series opener Friday, while fellow righty Yonny Chirinos will do the same for Tampa Bay.

Porcello struggled mightily in his last time out against the Yankees, but that was coming off a nine-start stretch in which the New Jersey native posted a 3.72 ERA over 56 innings of work.

In 29 career starts against the Rays, Porcello owns a lifetime 3.42 ERA in 187 innings pitched.

Opposite Porcello, Chirinos has started six of the 12 games he has appeared in for Tampa Bay this season, putting up an ERA of 3.25 over that stretch.

In four previous meetings against Boston, two of which were starts, the 25-year-old owns a career 4.24 ERA in a 17 inning sample size.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT. Red Sox looking to extend their winning streak to five.

 

 

Eduardo Nunez’s Eighth Inning Pinch-Hit, Three-Run Home Run Powers Red Sox to 8-3 Win over Royals in Eduardo Rodriguez’s 100th Career Start

After salvaging their series against the New York Yankees on Sunday and enjoying an off day on Monday, the Red Sox headed down to Kansas City, Mo., where they took the first of three from a struggling Royals team by a final score of 8-3 Tuesday.

Making his 12th start of the season, his first since May 26th due to that rainout in the Bronx last week, and 100th of his career for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered Tuesday with just one prior outing at Kauffman Stadium under his belt going back to 2015.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the left-hander yielded just two runs, both of which were earned, on six hits and zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

Both of those Kansas City runs came in their half of the second, when with one out and Alex Gordon at second following a leadoff double, Cheslor Cuthbert hammered an 0-1 cutter from Rodriguez and sent it 390 feet to the Red Sox bullpen to give his team the early two-run advantage.

Other than that one blip though, Rodriguez retired five of the next six hitters he faced before a pair of double of double plays helped him get through the fourth and fifth.

In what would turn out to be his final frame of work in the sixth, Rodriguez managed to record the first two outs of the inning on a pair of punchouts while also giving up a one-out single to the speedy Adalberto Mondesi, who swiped second shortly after reaching base.

So, with a runner in scoring position in what was a one-run game at the time, Sox manager Alex Cora decided to turn to his bullpen with the right-handed Jorge Soler due up next for Kansas City.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (60 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 33% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing six swings and misses and topping out at 94.4 MPH with the pitch. He also got eight called strikes on said fastball with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Ultimately earning his sixth winning decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.88, Rodriguez, visibly frustrated after getting the hook in this one, will look for win number seven in his next time out, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, as previously mentioned, Heath Hembree came on with one runner on second and one out to get in the sixth, and he did his job by getting Soler to fly out to right-center to retire the side.

From there, Marcus Walden worked his way around a one-out walk in a scoreless seventh, Brandon Workman sat down the only three hitters he faced in a shutout eighth, and Ryan Brasier allowed one seemingly meaningless run on one hit in the ninth to lock down the 8-3 win for his team.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Royals right-hander Glenn Sparkman, who came into Tuesday night with a career 33.75 ERA against Boston, albeit a small sample size.

Facing off against Sparkman for the first time ever as a starter, it took the Sox bats a little while to get going. Sure, the hard contact was certainly there, but the results did not come until the sixth.

There, already in a two-run hole, Mookie Betts would turn out to be the catalyst for a three-run inning with a leadoff double.

Following an Andrew Benintendi fly out and a pitching change that saw right-hander Scott Barlow take over for Sparkman, JD Martinez finally got his team on the board, as he launched what looked to be a two-run home run to the opposite field.

Instead, the ball landed on the inner half of the top part of the wall, and fell back in play, going for an RBI triple that plated Betts from second.

After a six-pitch walk drawn by Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts came through with an RBI sacrifice fly deep enough to right field to score Martinez from third and tie this contest up at two runs a piece.

That stalemate would not last long though, not with Brock Holt extending his hitting streak to six games with an RBI double off of Barlow to drive in Devers all the way from first and give the Red Sox their first lead of the night.

Fast forward to the eighth, with runners on the corners and one out in the inning, Eduardo Nunez came on to pinch-hit for Holt with the left-handed Jake Diekman in for the Royals.

On the fourth pitch he saw from Diekman, in very similar fashion to Game 1 of last year’s World Series, Nunez unloaded on an 85 MPH slider on the outer edge of the plate and deposited it 410 feet into the seats in left field.

That blast, Nunez’s second of the year, opened up a 6-2 lead for Boston, and a two-run double off the bat of Devers that nearly got out of the ballpark in the ninth cushioned that lead even further in what would turn out to be an 8-3 win for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to seven games Tuesday. Over that span, heΒ  has lifted his batting average from .284 to .304 and his OPS from .870 to .928.

Over his last six games since returning from the injured list, Brock Holt is 8-for-20 with two doubles and four RBI.

Eduardo Nunez is 3-for-6 as a pinch hitter this season.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set on Wednesday night. Left-hander Chris Sale will get the ball for Boston, while right-hander Jakob Junis will do the same for Kansas City.

At 1-7 on the season thus far, 2019 has definitely been a bit of an oddity for Sale. In 17 previous appearances (11 starts) at Kauffman Stadium, the Sox ace is 6-5 with a lifetime 3.05 ERA over 88.2 total innings pitched.

Opposite Sale, Junis, 26, currently owns a 5.35 ERA through 12 starts this season. The Royals are 5-7 in those games.

In one previous matchup against the Red Sox back in 2018, Junis allowed two runs over six innings while being hit with the no-decision in a game Kansas City won.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:15 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third consecutive victory.

David Price Steps Up, Limits Yankees to Two Runs as Red Sox Halt Losing Streak and Avoid Sweep with 8-5 Series Finale Win in New York

After coming up empty-handed in their first four tries, the Red Sox have finally taken a game from the New York Yankees with an 8-5 win over their division rivals Sunday night to avoid the three-game sweep and a double-digit game deficit in the American League East standings.

That much was made possible by David Price, who made his 10th start of the season for Boston to cap off the weekend.

Known for his career struggles inside Yankee Stadium, the left-hander put a halt to that narrative for the time being by twirling 6 1/3 solid innings Sunday, limiting the Yankees to just two runs on six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts of the night.

Both of those New York runs came around to score in the fourth, where after taking a perfect game that far into it, Price buckled a bit by serving up a one-out solo home run to Luke Voit to break up the no-no, and then proceeded to allow the next three hitters he faced to reach base as well to fill the bases with two outs still to get.

So, after a terrific start to his outing, it looked as though things were going to take a turn for the worst for Price, but the southpaw responded well, yielding only one more run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Gio Urshela before getting out of the jam with a failed attempt of stealing home on behalf of Aaron Hicks. Heads up play by Sam Travis there.

From the middle of the fifth on, Price relatively cruised through the fifth and sixth innings before more trouble arose in the seventh.

There, a pair of singles to two of the first three hitters he faced in that frame would ultimately see Price’s night come to an end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (65 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler turned to his cutter 36% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing five swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 17 times with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Later picking up his third winning decision while his ERA on the season remained at 2.83, Price will look for win number four in his next time out, which will come against his old club in the Tampa Bay Rays sometime next weekend.

In relief of Price, Heath Hembree took over in the seventh with inherited runners on first and second and one out in the inning.

Making his 27th appearance of the year already, Hembree needed all but five pitches to fan Austin Romine, but needed double that in an intense matchup against Brett Gardner.

Fortunately for Boston though, Hembree ultimately won the battle, as he got the Yankees veteran to sharply ground out to Michael Chavis at first, who made a great diving play to prevent a hit that would have seen at least one run cross the board.

In the eighth, Matt Barnes worked in less than favorable conditions with thrashing downpours and lightning making its way through the Bronx. It had to have been a quick moving cell though, because there was no real indication that this contest was going to go into a delay besides the effort what went into making field playable.

Still, it was clear to see that Barnes was frustrated having to pitch in such miserable conditions, even more so since he filled the bases on the first three hitters faced in the inning and balked in a run as well.

But, after allowing two more runs to cross the plate on an RBI groundout from Aaron Hicks and sacrifice fly from Gleyber Torres, Barnes did escape the eighth without giving anything else up by striking out Gio Urshela on three straight strikes.

And in the ninth, with an 8-5 lead to protect, Brandon Workman came on to close the door on the Yankees, and he did just that by working his way around a leadoff single and sitting down the last three hitters he faced to notch his second save of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another veteran left-hander in CC Sabathia for the Yankees, making his first start since being activated from the 10-day injured list that same day.

After being held to just seven total runs in their first four meetings against New York, JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston right away in this one by launching a two-out, 387 foot solo shot to left field to put his team on the board first with his 12th home run of the season.

An inning later, back-to-back one-out singles from Christian Vazquez and Michael Chavis put runners on the corners for Eduardo Nunez, who took full advantage by swinging at the first pitch he saw from Sabathia and grounding an RBI single through the right side of the infield to make it a 2-0 game early.

In the fourth, Xander Bogaerts led things off the same way he did in the fourth inning on Saturday, that being, demolishing a solo home run to left field. This one, good for his 12th of the season. 3-0 Boston.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, after the Yankees had trimmed their deficit down to one run and Luis Cessa had taken over for Sabathia, it was the bottom of the Red Sox lineup getting things done once again, with Nunez plating Michael Chavis all the way from first while also advancing to third on another one-out RBI single to go along with a fielding error committed by Clint Frazier in right field.

Four pitches later, in came Brock Holt pinch-hitting for Sam Travis out of the nine-hole and the 2018 ALDS hero delivered with a run-scoring base knock that probably would have been a pop out had DJ LeMahieu not been playing in with a runner at third in a tight game. But, baseball’s baseball, and Holt came away with his fourth RBI of the season to give his team a three-run advantage.

Still in the seventh, with two outs now, Andrew Benintendi came through in a big spot, scoring Holt from first on an RBI single just out of the reach of a sprawling Frazier in right field. 6-2.

And in the eighth, a Xander Bogaerts leadoff double would translate into Boston’s seventh run coming around to score on an RBI single off the bat of Rafael Devers, who would wind up being the last batter Cessa faced.

In came reliever David Hale with his team trailing by five runs, and he would see that deficit inflate up to six thanks to Michael Chavis’ first career triple that drove in Devers from second to make it an 8-2 contest.

The Yankees did make things interesting by adding three runs of their own in their half of the eighth, but not enough in an 8-5 victory for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox entered Sunday having scored seven runs against the Yankees all season. They scored eight runs in their only win against them thus far.

Since his return from the injured list on May 27th, Brock Holt is 6-for-his-last-18 with one double and three RBI.

In his last 15 games, Xander Bogaerts is slashing .406/.441/.750 with five home runs and 13 RBI.

The next time the Red Sox take on the Yankees will be later this month in London, England.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an off day on Monday before a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals kicks off at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.

For the opener of that three-game set, it will be left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston, while right-hander Glenn Sparkman does the same for Kansas City.

Last working on May 26th, Rodriguez’s latest turn through the rotation was skipped due to that rainout on Friday.

In one prior start at Kauffman Stadium, the 26-year-old allowed one run over 6 1/3 innings in a winning effort way back on June 19th, 2015.

Sparkman, meanwhile has given up 10 earned runs in just 2.2 career innings against the Red Sox. That’s good for an ERA of 33.75.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:15 PM EDT on NESN.

 

 

 

 

Ryan Weber Gets Roughed up for Seven Runs, Bullpen Doesn’t Fare Any Better as Frustration Builds for #RedSox in 14-9 Loss to Indians

The Red Sox were three outs away from winning their series against the Indians late Tuesday night. Now, less than 24 hours later, they head to the Bronx for a pivotal four-game set against the division-leading New York Yankees losers of their last two following a 14-9 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.

Making his second start and fifth overall appearance for Boston in this one was Ryan Weber, who dazzled in rotation debut with six one-run innings against the Toronto Blue Jays last Thursday.

This time around though, the right-hander did not run into the same good fortunes, as he yielded a season-worst seven earned runs on eight hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with just two strikeouts over four innings of work.

The Indians entered the week with one of the worst run-producing offenses in the American League, but you wouldn’t know that based on how aggressive they were to start this one off.

Beginning right away in the first, the Cleveland lineup jumped on Weber, with Oscar Mercado ripping a one-out single for his team’s first and hit and Carlos Santana tripling on a liner to right center to drive in his team’s first run.

A wild pitch that got past Christian Vazquez with Jason Kipnis at the plate allowed Santana to come in and score from third, and the Indians had themselves a two-run lead before even taking the field.

Things would not get any easier for Weber after escaping the first, not with Kevin Plawecki lining an RBI single to plate Jake Bauers in the second and Bauers and Greg Allen driving in a total of three runs on an RBI single and RBI triple in consecutive order in the third to put the Indians ahead 6-3.

In what would turn out to be his final frame of work in the fourth, Weber nearly retired the side in order, but not before serving up a two-out, solo shot to Santana, which gave Cleveland a four-run edge.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 82 (50 strikes), the 28-year-old turned to his curveball more than 52% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing the only four swings and misses he got all night with the pitch. He also topped out 89.9 MPH with his changeup, a pitch he threw 10 times.

Falling to 1-1 while seeing his ERA on the season inflate to 4.50, it’s unclear whether or not Weber will remain in Boston’s rotation, but assuming he does, his next start would come sometime next week against the Kansas City Royals in Kansas City.

In relief of Weber, as the title mentions, the Red Sox bullpen did not fare much better than Wednesday’s starter did.

Josh Taylor, a 26-year-old left hander who was promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier Wednesday, allowed one run on two hits and one punchout in the fifth in what was his major league debut.

Colten Brewer, also recalled from Pawtucker on Wednesday, surrendered a pair of Cleveland runs on a two-RBI double off the bat of Jose Ramirez in the sixth.

Hector Velazquez came on in the seventh with his team trailing by an in-range four runs, and by the time he retired the side in the eighth, that deficit had doubled thanks to an RBI single from Lindor and three-RBI double from Santana, both of which were hit in the seventh.

So, actually, VelazquezΒ  was one of the only two Red Sox pitchers all night to hold the Indians scoreless over an inning, with that inning being the eighth.

That other pitcher? Heath Hembree. Arguably the best reliever used by Sox manager Alex Cora, or at least the one with the most big league experience, maneuvered his way around two singles in an otherwise clean ninth inning to close out what was a miserable night for Boston on the mound.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against right-hander Shane Bieber for Cleveland, who entered Wednesday with just one career start at Fenway Park under his belt.

Falling behind by two runs before even reaching the midway point of the first inning, Mookie Betts got the scoring started for Boston right away in their half of the first, tattooing a one-out, 407 foot solo home run off of Bieber over the Monster to cut his team’s early deficit in half. Betts’ ninth of the season.

In the second, after falling behind by two runs once again, a pair of RBI doubles from Brock Holt and Andrew Benintendi, with Holt’s coming with no outs and Benintendi’s coming with two, pulled the Red Sox back even with the Tribe at three runs a piece.

That tie would not last long though, as Cleveland pushed across three additional runs in their half of the third as well as one more in the fourth to make it a 7-3 game.

Staying in that fourth inning, the Sox bats answered back with three runs of their own, all coming with two outs on a solo jack off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr., his fourth, and a two-run johnson off the bat of Benintendi, his sixth that also scored Christian Vazquez and trimmed Cleveland’s lead down to one run.

A 7-6 contest heading into the middle innings, the Indians eventually pulled away from the Red Sox by plating a total of seven runs through the middle of the seventh, and they would not have to look back.

In the eighth, facing off against Indians reliever AJ Cole, Xander Bogaerts attempted to breathe some life into a potential comeback attempt by blasting his 10th big fly of the year, a two-run shot to score himself as well as JD Martinez.

Two batters and one Jackie Bradley Jr. double later, Vazquez continued to make things somewhat interesting by driving in the man from second on his 20th run driven in of the season to cut Cleveland’s advantage to five runs.

And finally in the ninth, after Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, and Bogaerts loaded the bases with one out in the inning, the Red Sox bats could muster no more against Indians closer Brad Hand, with Eduardo Nunez pinch-hitting for Holt and popping out to third, and Michael Chavis grounding into a game-inning forceout at third base to wrap this one up at 14-9.

Some notes from this loss:

From Red Sox Stats:

Rafael Devers extended his hitting streak to nine games with a ninth inning single Wednesday.

Since the start of their last road trip, Jackie Bradley Jr. has raised his batting average from .144 to .185 in his last 10 games played. Wednesday marked his first three-hit game of the season, too.

Xander Bogaerts in May: .317/.405/.564. six home runs, 21 RBI in 24 games played.

The Red Sox are 2-4 in their last six games and currently sit 7.5 games back of first place in the American League East behind the New York Yankees, the team they will be playing next.

Last time the two rivals met up, the Yankees took both games at Yankee Stadium in their only matchup of 2019 thus far.

It’s only May 30th as this is being typed, but these next four-games could tip the scales in the race for the division crown. To say this weekend is important would be an understatement. Hostile territory. A whole lot on the line. This is when Red Sox-Yankees baseball thrives.

Left-hander Chris Sale will get the ball for Boston in the opener, while fellow southpaw JA Happ will do the same for New York.

Sale (1-6, 4.19 ERA), also pitched in that first series in New York, where he surrendered four runs over five innings in a losing effort back on April 16th.

Since then, the Florida native has posted a 2.44 ERA and .158 batting average against over his last seven starts, although the Red Sox are only 3-4 in those games.

Happ, meanwhile is currently in the middle of his first full season with the Yankees, where he is 4-3 with a 5.09 ERA through 11 starts thus far.

Like Sale, Happ also worked in that two-game series back in April, an outing in which he allowed three runs over 6.1 innings in a contest New York eventually came away with.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to make up some ground in the division.