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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECAP: #RedSox Win First Series of Season Thanks in Part to Hector Velazquez.

For the fourth straight day, the Red Sox got a quality outing out of the starting pitcher for that game. Chris Sale, David, Price, Rick Porcello, and now Hector Velazquez. In the 24 combined innings they have pitched, the Rays have scored a grand total of two times. Velazquez got the start today, and even though he is just a fill in right now, he still impressed in his 2018 regular season debut. The Mexican League veteran finished his outing with a line of 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 5 K’s. The only real costly mistake Velazquez made came in the second inning, where he served up a leadoff home run to Brad Miller, which put the Rays up 1-0 at the time. That second inning was pretty tough for the righty, but he got out of it with just the one run allowed.

After he recorded the first two outs of the sixth and gave up a single to Matt Duffy, Alex Cora went to Marcus Walden to get out of the inning. Walden, 29 and making his Major League debut, had a one run lead to work with and one out to get. The first batter he faced, Joey Wendle, ripped an 0-1 fastball to right field, advancing Duffy to third. It looked like Duffy could have scored to tie the game, but he was held up at third. Walden then got Wilson Ramos to fly out to Mookie Betts, ending the inning. The righty would go on to retire the side in order in the seventh, flashing the leather and putting the exclamation point on his first relief appearance as a big leaguer.

Bobby Poyner got the call next, and he retired the only batter he faced in one pitch. He was replaced by Matt Barnes, who appears to have an early hold on the eighth inning role, as he ended the inning by walking one and striking out two. Fast forward to a half inning later, and the Rays nearly came back again.

With Craig Kimbrel unavailable, Joe Kelly got the call to close out things in the ninth. Making his first appearance since Thursday, Kelly looked shaky yet again. The flamethrower started the inning by recording the first two outs in simple fashion. Things started getting shaky after though, as the next two batters reached on back to back singles. With two outs, runners on first and third, and the count full, Kelly was able to get Denard Span to swing at what looked like ball four, thus ending the game and giving the Red Sox the series win. It wasn’t easy by any stretch, but Kelly did record the first save of his major league career today, so credit to him for that.

Offensively, the Red Sox could muster just two runs. The first came in the fifth, on an important milestone. With no outs and runners on first and second, JD Martinez pulled a single to left, scoring Mookie Betts from second and giving Martinez his first regular season RBI as a member of the Red Sox.

That RBI tied the game at the time. The go-ahead and final run of the game was scored in the very next inning, when Rafael Devers scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from third on an RBI single. Once again, that was all the Red Sox needed to pick up their third win of the season. Devers currently leads the team in RBIs with four. Xander Bogaerts surprisingly had a quiet day at the plate, lowering his OPS to only 1.412.

Next up for the Red Sox is a quick two game series against the Miami Marlins. Brian Johnson gets the start tomorrow against Marlins rookie Trevor Richards. First pitch is at 7:10 PM at Marlins Park.