Red Sox Manage to Hold Yankees to Just Four Runs but Can’t Get Offense Going in Seventh Consecutive Loss

For the first time since last Sunday, the Red Sox did not give up eight or more runs in a game, yet saw their season-worst skid grow to seven games following a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Yankees once again on Sunday.

Chris Mazza made his first career majoor-league start and second overall appearance for Boston in this one after gettting recalled from the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket hours before the game.

Working the first three innings of Sunday’s contest, the right-hander surrendered four runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The first two of those New York tallies came on a pair of RBI hits from Mike Ford and Aaron Hicks in the bottom halves of the first and second. The other two came in the bottom half of the third, when Ford struck again by following up a Gleyber Torres one-out single by crushing a 2-0, 92 mph sinker from Mazza 429 feet to right-center field fot a two-run home run.

That gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead, and Mazza’s evening came to a close shortly thereafter once he retired the side in the third by getting Brett Gardner to fly out to center and Clint Frazier to fan on five pitches.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 66 (40 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his sinker 42% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing one swing-and-miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 93.3 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 12 times.

Later hit with his first losing decision of the season while raising his ERA to 6.35, Mazza could still very well get another start for Boston despite this rough showing. If that happens, the Bay Area native could very well take the mound again against the Orioles in Baltimore on Friday.

In relief of Mazza, another pitcher who does not rely on his velocity got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the form of Ryan Weber.

Fresh off six one-run innings of relief against the Rays on Wednesday, the right-hander impressed once again on Sunday by sitting down eight of the 10 hitters he faced with the help of a double play over three scoreless frames from the middle of the fourth up until the end of the sixth.

From there, Ryan Brasier danced his way around a bases loaded jam and kept the Yankees off the board despite needing 30 pitches to do so in the eighth, while Marcus Walden bounced back from Thursday’s disastrous outing with a 1-2-3 ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another veteran left-hander for the Yankees in 37-year-old J.A. Happ, whose last turn through the Yanks’ rotation was actually skipped partly due to his sluggish start to the 2020 season.

As it turns out, Happ was anything but sluggish on Sunday, as he held the opposition to just one run over 5 2/3 innings pitched.

That one Boston run came courtesy of Kevin Pillar, when with two outs and the bases empty in the top of the third, the Red Sox center fielder took a 1-1, 84 mph slider on the inner edge of the strike zone from the Yankees starter and deposited it 382 feet down the left field line for the solo shot.

At the time, Pillar’s second big fly of the season cut his side’s deficit in half at 2-1. However, that deficit would only grow while the Boston bats were held in check by Happ as well as Adam Ottavino and Chad Green out of the Yankees bullpen.

The Sox offense did make a bit of noise in the ninth though, when with Zack Britton on the hill for New York, the pinch-hitting Jose Peraza followed up a Christian Vazquez two-base hit and plated a run on a fielding error committed by the Yankees reliever.

That made it a 4-2 contest and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Kevin Plawecki, but the veteran backstop whiffed on five pitches, and that was that in what would go down as a two-run defeat.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

Chris Mazza was the 11th different starting pitcher used by the Red Sox through the club’s first 22 games of the season. They are now 6-16 on the year.

The Red Sox allowed four or fewer runs in a game for the first time since August 9, which also happens to be the last time they won.

The Red Sox are 5-20 against the Yankees dating back to the start of the 2019 season. They have been outscored 44-20 by New York in six games this year.

The Red Sox went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in this one and left six men on base as a team.

Kevin Pillar’s last seven games: 8-for-26 (.308) with one home run, four RBI, and two walks.

Alex Verdugo went 2-for-4 on Sunday with a hard-hit double, a stolen base, and an outfield assist.

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Monday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the start for Boston, while fellow southpaw Jordan Montgomery will do the same for New York.

Perez is coming off an outing in which he allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings of work in a loss to the Rays. The 29-year-old has only made one career start at Yankee Stadium and it did not go too well, as he got shelled for seven runs on 11 hits in five innings pitched on August 12 of the 2018 season.

Montgomery, meanwhile, held Boston to just one run over 5 2/3 innings pitched in his 2020 debut back on July 31. The Red Sox wound up losing that contest by a final score of 5-1.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN, MLB Network, and WEEI. Red Sox looking to put a stop to this losing streak.

 

 

 

Nathan Eovaldi Surrenders Three Home Runs as Red Sox’ Struggles Against Yankees Continue in 11-5 Loss

Another night, another game allowing eight-plus runs, and another blowout loss for the Red Sox on Saturday. This one came in 11-5 fashion at the hands of the Yankees once again.

Nathan Eovaldi made his fifth start of the season for Boston in this one, and he had a tough time missing Yankees bats in his first go-around at the Stadium since last season.

That being the case because over 5 1/3 innings of work, the right-hander got shelled for eight runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and two walks to go along with just three strikeouts on the night.

The first two of those New York tallies came right away in their half of the first, when after retiring two of the first three hitters he faced, Eovaldi served up a two-run home run to Gio Urshela off a 1-0, 98 mph heater on the outer half of the plate. 2-0 Yankees.

After settling in a bit in the second and third innings, Eovaldi was again the victim of the two-run home run ball when Gary Sanchez took the fireballer deep to left off a 2-2, 90 mph splitter down the chute, which actually gave the Yankees the lead again at 4-3.

In the sixth, the long ball came back to bite Eovaldi once more. There, two straight hits from Gleyber Torres and Mike Tauchman to lead off the frame brought Clint Frazier to the plate with one out and runners in scoring position, and the Yankees outfielder took full advantage by crushing a three-run blast to right field off a first-pitch cutter to simultaneously give his side a 7-3 lead and put an end to Eovaldi’s outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (59 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his cut-fastball 44% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing six swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 99.3 mph with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 19 times.

Hit with his second losing decision of the year while seeing his ERA inflate to 5.93, Eovaldi will look to bounce back in his next time out, which should come against the Orioles in Baltimore on Thursday.

In relief of Eovaldi, Heath Hembree came on for Eovaldi with two outs to get in the bottom of the sixth, closed the book on the starter’s night by allowing one inherited runner to score, and sat down the final two Yankees he faced.

From there, Matt Barnes had a tough time of things in the seventh considering he yielded three runs (two earned) on one hit, one walk, and one hit batsman in the frame, while Phillips Valdez tossed a perfect ninth inning to keep his side’s deficit at eight runs. Not like it mattered much in the end, but still.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander James Paxton for the Yankees, who was coming off his best start of the season thus far in his last time out against the Rays.

Down by a pair after just one inning, the Boston bats got things going in the third starting with a leadoff walk drawn by Jose Peraza.

As the lineup flipped back over, Rafael Devers moved Peraza up to third on a one-out double, and the two infielders were subsequently driven in on a two-run single off the bat of J.D. Martinez that he tried to unsuccessfully turn into a double himself.

Xander Bogaerts followed by taking Paxton 380 feet to left-center field for his fourth big fly of the season. Just like that, the Red Sox had themselves a 3-2 lead, which would actually only last 1 1/2 innings before the Yankees took this one over.

The only other offensive production the Sox were able to garner on Saturday came well after Paxton’s day had ended. In the top half of the ninth, Alex Verdugo deposited his fifth homer of 2020 433 feet deep into the right field seats, while Jose Peraza later scored off an RBI triple from Kevin Pillar.

Both run-producing hits from the pair of outfielders came off Luis Cessa, and they cut the Red Sox’ deficit down to six runs at 11-5, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Alex Verdugo’s OPS on the season is now .848. Michael Chavis’ is now .857. Both are currently riding multi-game hitting streaks.

On a night the pitching was rather dismal, Phillips Valdez continues to impress.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the third-game of this four-game set on Sunday night.

Right-hander Chris Mazza will make his first career start for Boston, while left-hander J.A. Happ will get the ball for New York.

Mazza, 30, will need to be recalled on Sunday, a little over two weeks after tossing  2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief at Yankee Stadium in his Red Sox debut on August 1.

Happ, meanwhile, has allowed four earned runs in each of his first two starts of 2020 and was actually skipped his last time through the Yankees’ rotation. The 37-year-old veteran southpaw owns a lifetime 3.00 ERA and .676 OPS against in 25 career outings (24 starts) and 141 1/3 innings pitched against the Red Sox.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN and WEEI. Red Sox looking to put an end to this six-game skid.

 

David Price Surrenders Seven Runs, Can’t Escape Third Inning as Red Sox Get Swept and Drop Eighth Straight in 7-4 Loss to Yankees

After getting swept in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox were unable to avoid getting swept in four games by the New York Yankees on Sunday, as they fell by a final score of 7-4 to cap off a weekend in the Bronx that saw their losing streak grow to eight consecutive games.

Making his 21st start of the season and second against New York for Boston David Price, who was activated from paternity leave earlier Sunday afternoon.

Working into just the third inning, the left-hander’s post-All-Star break woes continued in this one, as he got lit up for a season-worst seven runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

The first of those seven Yankees runs crossed the plate right away in the bottom half of the first, with slugger Aaron Judge taking Price deep to right-center off a one-out, 2-2, 92 MPH two-seam fastball on the inner half of the plate for his 12th home run of the year.

In the third, the Tennessee native was one out away from stranding Judge at first following a one-out walk, but Gio Urshela had different plans, as he unloaded on a 1-1, 83 MPH changeup for his 12th homer to make it a 3-0 contest.

Back-to-back doubles from Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin increased that lead to four, and three more consecutive hits from Mike Ford, Kyle Higashioka, and Mike Tauchman increased the Yankees’ lead all the way up to seven.

A nine-pitch walk would ultimately spell the end for Price, as Red Sox manager Alex Cora was forced to turn to his bullpen earlier than he probably would have liked.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (46 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball 36% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 93.3 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 12 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually getting hit with his fifth loss of the year while inflating his ERA up to 4.36, Price has not been able to pitch deep into games at an effective rate since about the midpoint of July.

In five starts since the All-Star break, Price is 0-3 with an 8.59 ERA. He is averaging 4.4 innings per start over that span.

Price’s next start should come this Friday, back at Fenway Park against the Los Angeles Angels.

In relief of Price, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered with runners at first and second and one out to get in the third, and he got that out by getting Judge to line out to Jackie Bradley Jr., who covered a great deal of ground in a short amount of time to come up with a spectacular grab.

From there, the recently called up Ryan Weber came on in the middle of the fifth with his team trailing by five runs, and he retired 12 of the 13 hitters he faced with the help of Mookie Betts over four scoreless, one-hit frames of relief to hold the Yankees at seven runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander J.A. Happ, who like Price, was also activated off the paternity leave list earlier Sunday.

Getting little help from their starter and falling behind by seven before the start of the fourth inning, Christian Vazquez got things going for Boston with one out in the top half of the fifth by blasting his 17th home run of the year off a 2-2, 94 MPH heater from Happ.

Three pitches later, Michael Chavis followed suit with his 18th big fly of the season, this one coming off a 2-0, 91 MPH four-seamer and being sent 435 feet to left-center field. Per Statcast, it was the hardest hit ball all night in terms of exit velocity (109.9 MPH off the bat).

In the sixth, a two-out single from J.D. Martinez would wind up being the catalyst for a two-run rally, as Sam Travis moved Martinez up to second on a seven-pitch walk before a wild pitch from Happ with Andrew Benintendi at the plate advanced both runners into scoring position.

Taking full advantage of his opponent’s mistake, Benintendi broke out of an 0-for-9 spell by lacing a two-run single back up the middle to score both Martinez and Travis to pick up his 56th and 57th RBI of the year.

That base hit cut New York’s advantage down to three runs at 7-4, and it also knocked Happ out of the game.

The thing is, the reliever who came in for Happ, right-hander Luis Cessa, snuffed out any chance of that deficit shrinking, as he walked Vazquez on five pitches before fanning Chavis on six to escape the inning unscathed.

The trio of Bradley Jr., Betts, and Rafael Devers went down in order against Cessa in the seventh, and the trio of Xander Bogaerts, Martinez, and Travis did the same in the eighth.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth and facing off against Chad Green, who started for the Yankees in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader, Benintendi and Vazquez both grounded out, the pinch-hitting Brock Holt drew an eight-pitch walk, and Bradley Jr. struck out swinging for the third and final out, ending Sunday’s contest with a final score of 7-4.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position on Sunday to finish the four-game series hitting .158 (3-for-19) in that scenario. They also left men on base in this game alone.

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

The Red Sox have not won a game since last Saturday, and with a record of 59-55 now, they have already lost more games in the 2019 regular season than they did a year ago.

Sunday’s loss also drops Boston to 6 1/2 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card Spot.

In short, it was a terrible week. They began this now completed stretch of 14 straight games against the Rays and Yankees winners of five of their first six, and then went ahead and dropped eight straight.

Monday is a new day though, and the Red Sox will be opening up a seven-game homestand with the first of three against the Kansas City Royals.

Right-hander Rick Porcello is set to get the Ball for Boston in that one, while left-hander Mike Montgomery will do the same for Kansas City.

Porcello is coming off a July where he posted a dismal 7.94 ERA and .333 batting average against over five starts and 28 1/3 innings pitched. Somehow, the Red Sox went 4-1 in  those games.

In 23 career starts against the Royals, the 30-year-old owns a lifetime 4.66 ERA and .292 batting average against over 137 total innings of work.

Montgomery, meanwhile, was acquired by Kansas City in a deal that sent catcher Martin Maldonado to the Chicago Cubs on July 15th.

Since then, Maldonado now plays for the Houston Astros once again, and Montgomery has allowed 10 runs on 18 hits over 11 1/3 innings in his first three starts as a Royal.

Against the Red Sox, Montgomery is 0-1 with an ERA of 12.27 and batting average against of .444 over three career appearances (one start) and 7 1/3 total innings pitched.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to finally put an end to this skid back at Fenway Park.

 

 

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.

Chris Sale Allows Four Runs over Six Innings, Gets No Run Support as #RedSox Fall to Yankees to Extend Losing Streak to Three

After their initial series opener was rained out on Thursday, the Red Sox opened up a now three-game weekend series against the New York Yankees in disappointing fashion Friday night, as they fell to 0-3 on the season against their division rivals in another frustrating 4-1 loss in the Bronx.

Making his 12th start of the season and second at Yankee Stadium for Boston was Chris Sale, who gave up four earned runs in five innings of work against New York back on April 16th.

This time around, more than six weeks later, the left-hander had a similar experience, as he yielded another four earned runs on seven hits and just one walk to go along with 10 strikeouts over six so-so innings.

From the jump, it seemed as though Sale was locked in with three consecutive punchouts on 13 pitches in the first and another quick 13 pitch scoreless inning in the second. But, that good fortune all changed beginning in the third.

Allowing four of the seven hitters he faced in the frame to reach base, the initial blow came on a one-out double from DJ LeMahieu to plate Gio Urshela from second to tie this game at one and also advance Brett Gardner to third.

A four-pitch strikeout of Luke Voit gave Sale the chance to escape the third with just the one run given up, and that looked even more possible when he had Aaron Hicks down 0-2 on the first two pitches of his his at-bat.

Instead of getting out of the jam though, the Florida native folded a bit with three straight out of the strike zone, and then left a hanging 82 MPH slider out on the outer-middle part of the plate, one in which Hicks took full advantage of by driving in both runners on a two-run single through the infield to left.

Fast forward to the fifth, and it was LeMahieu who got to Sale yet again, as the ex-Rockies infielder belted his sixth home run of the year off the Red Sox lefty, a solo shot to right-center that put his team up 4-1.

Capping off his night by sitting down the last four hitters he faced through the conclusion of the sixth, Sale finished with a final pitch count of 108, 72 of which went for strikes.

Out of those 108, the 30-year-old turned to his slider more than 46% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing 11 swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at a modest 97.4 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 30 times with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Falling to an unsightly 1-7 while his ERA jumped back up to 4.35 on the season, Sale will look to get back on track in his next time out, which should come next Thursday against the Kansas City Royals.

In relief of Sale, Ryan Brasier bounced back from a rough Tuesday night against the Cleveland Indians with a two-strikeout, scoreless seventh inning, while rookie Josh Taylor fanned one and stranded one in a shutout eighth to keep it a three-run game.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in veteran left-hander JA Happ for the Yankees, who entered Friday with a 5.61 ERA in five starts since the beginning of May.

Despite those recently poor numbers though, Happ held the opposition in check, as he limited the Sox bats to one lone run over the first five innings Friday night.

That lone run came courtesy of the red-hot Rafael Devers, whose solo blast to leadoff the second extended his hitting streak to 11 games and also put Boston on the board first. Devers’ eighth of the year.

Other than that, there wasn’t much to talk about up until Happ’s final frame of work in the top half of the fifth.

With two outs, Eduardo Nunez at second following a leadoff single, Mookie Betts at first following an intentional walk, and Andrew Benintendi at the plate in a then two-run game, the Red Sox saw their best run scoring chance of the night go by the wayside as Nunez was picked off by Gary Sanchez at second after trying to over-extend his lead.

An embarrassing and frustration decision to say the least would be how Boston’s fifth inning came to a close, and they did not advance a runner past first for the remainder of the night in what would turn out to be a 4-1 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

Steve Pearce, who initially started at first and batted fourth, departed from this contest in the second inning after only one at-bat due to back spasms. He was ruled day-to-day and replaced by Michael Chavis.

Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, JD Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts, the top four in Boston’s lineup, went a combined 1-for-13 with three walks, three strikeouts, and three left on base Friday.

Rafael Devers in May: .351/.380/.640 with eight home runs and 24 RBI. Should be a serious contender for American League Player of the Month.

With another two hits on Friday, Jackie Bradley Jr. now has a total of seven base knocks over his last four games. His OPS is up to .612.

Chris Sale finishes his May with 66 strikeouts in 38.1 total innings pitched. That’s good for a K/9 of 15.6.

The Red Sox finish May losers of their last three and are now 8.5 games off the pace for first place in the American League East.

With two more games remaining in their series against the Yankees, now would be the time to make up some ground if you’re serious about contention this season.

For the middle game in the Bronx, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of right-handers, with Rick Porcello getting the ball for Boston and Domingo German doing the same for New York.

In his last five starts, Porcello, a native of New Jersey, is 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA and .218 batting average against over 32.1 innings pitched. The Red Sox are 4-1 in those games.

In seven career starts at Yankee Stadium, Porcello owns a lifetime 5.56 ERA over seven starts and 43.2 innings of work.

Opposite Porcello, German, a 26-year-old hurler out of the Dominican Republic, has been a huge boost to the Yankees pitching staff with ace Luis Severino currently on the injured list.

Through 11 games (10 starts this season), German currently leads all of baseball with nine wins to go along with a 3.43 ERA over a span of 60.1 total innings pitched.

In his career against the Red Sox, German has posted a 2.08 ERA in a very small sample of two games (one start) and 4.1 innings pitched.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:15 PM EDT on FOX. Red Sox looking to get back on track. for real this time.

 

 

RECAP: Chris Sale Fans Eight and JD Martinez Homers in First at Bat as #RedSox Narrowly Take ALDS Opener from Yankees.

It certainly was far from easy, but by the time a hectic Friday night came to a close in Boston, the Red Sox had a 1-0 series lead over the New York Yankees in the ALDS. Let’s break down how we got there.

Taking a nice 0.69 ERA in two regular season starts against the Yankees this year, Chris Sale looked to rebound from a rough 2017 postseason campaign with a solid outing on Friday, and that he did.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the left-hander ended up surrendering just two earned runs on five hits and two walks to go along with eight punch outs on the night as well.

Striking out three of the first four Yankee hitters he faced, the only real problems Sale ran into came with one out in the top half of the sixth, when Giancarlo Stanton ripped a single to left field to put runners at first second. That is how the ace’s night would come to a conclusion.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 93 (61 strikes), which is the most he has thrown in a single outing dating back to July 27th, the Florida native threw 33 sliders, 31 four-seam fastballs, 16 changeups, and 13 two-seam fastballs.

With all the talk about how Sale’s fastball velocity took a significant dip over the course of September, an average velocity of 94.6 MPH does not seem all that bad. He also topped out at 96.6 MPH with that same four-seamer in the first inning.

As for when we see Sale take the mound next, it sounds like the 29-year-old hurler is ready to take on any pitching role, whether it be as a starter or out of the bullpen.

Speaking of the bullpen, boy, did Red Sox relievers have themselves a night to forget on Friday. Here’s a quality picture to sum it all up from the sixth inning on.

Ryan Brasier got the first call in relief of Sale, and in his first ever postseason appearance, allowed a pair of inherited runners to score while only recording one out.

That made way for Brandon Workman to enter this contest with runners on first and second and one more out to get in the sixth.

One of the only members left from the 2013 World Series team, Workman worked the bases loaded by walking Gary Sanchez on four straight balls, but escaped any further damage in the frame by fanning Gleyber Torres with a nasty knuckle curve for the third out.

In the seventh, the bases were loaded once again for New York thanks to the combined efforts of Workman and then Matt Barnes, but only one run came of it on a Luke Voit RBI force out. Other than that, Barnes too was able to manuever his away out of a stressful jam.

Surprisingly, Rick Porcello, who should still be able to start Game Three in New York on Monday, made an appearance out of the Boston bullpen for the beginning of the eighth inning, and got the first two outs of the frame in pretty quick order.

However, a cheap two out infield single off the bat of Gleyber Torres was the last action Porcello saw in this one, and that made way for a four-out save opportunity for Craig Kimbrel.

Having not pitched in an eighth inning in months, the Red Sox closer needed six pitches to end the top half of the inning, and he would have a two-run lead to work with in the ninth.

An inning that did not start all that swimmingly with Aaron Judge taking him deep to right field to cut the Red Sox lead to one run, Kimbrel rebounded by punching out the final three Yankee hitters he faced on 13 total pitches to wrap this dramatic series opening 5-4 win up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander JA Happ, who they just got to for four runs in his last regular season start at Fenway Park on September 28th.

Starting the scoring right away in this one, a one out single from Andrew Benintendi, followed by a four-pitch walk of Steve Pearce, set up JD Martinez in an opportune scoring spot early.

In his first postseason at bat in a Red Sox uniform, the team leader in home runs (43), squared up on a 2-0 94 MPH fastball on the inner half of the plate from Happ and sent it into the first row of Monster seats in left field.

Just like that, it was a 3-0 game thanks to a JD Martinez homer that had an exit velocity of exactly 107 MPH.

Two innings later, back-to-back base knocks from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi chased Happ out of his first postseason start in pinstripes, and that opened the doors for Steve Pearce to come through in another prime scoring chance with new reliever Chad Green on the bump for New York.

On the very first pitch he saw from the right-handed Green, Pearce, who slugged .757 against the Yankees over the regular season, lined an RBI single to left field to plate Betts from third and move Benintendi up to second. 4-0.

After JD Martinez advanced Benintendi to third on a fly ball out to right field, Xander Bogaerts took responsibility for the final Red Sox run of the night by driving in Benintendi on an RBI sac fly to right field. That put his team up 5-0, which somehow would be the only scoring they would need to pick up this very important victory.

Looking to go up 2-0 in the series headed into an off day on Sunday, David Price will get the ball for Boston on Saturday.

This season against New York, Price went 0-3 with a 10.44 ERA in four starts, but did look better in his last time out against them at Fenway Park on August 5th, an outing in which the left-hander surrendered just two earned runs on four hits and three walks over six quality innings of work.

Opposite Price will be right-hander Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees, who finished the 2018 regular season with a 6.52 ERA over the span of two starts at Fenway Park. the Red Sox went 1-1 in those games.

A lot is on the line tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET on TBS.

 

#RedSox Set 25-Man Roster for Upcoming ALDS.

There you have it. The ALDS roster is officially set. The Red Sox are going with 14 position players compared to just 11 pitchers.

Given the history of their starters in the postseason, mixed in with the struggles the bullpen has had THIS season, that may be a bold strategy. We’ll have to wait and see if it pays off for them.

Exactly one week ago, I gave my predictions for what I thought this ALDS roster was going to look like, and not to brag, but I got 24/25 correct.

The only player I did not have on my unofficial roster was Joe Kelly, who is seemingly taking the place of Bobby Poyner in this series’ Red Sox bullpen.

I find that particularly interesting. Not only did Kelly struggle in the month of September (8.31 ERA in 8.1 IP), but Poyner, who is in his rookie season, is probably the best situation left-handed reliever the Red Sox have to offer.

With that in mind, I’m curious to see how Alex Cora manages Eduardo Rodriguez out of the ‘pen. As the only southpaw who will not be starting a game in this series, will E-Rod be used in long relief, or will he be used to get one specific hitter out?

It is worth mentioning that the Yankee lineup is right-handed heavy, so maybe I just answered my own question as to why Poyner did not make this roster.

Any who, the rest of the roster is what you would expect from this Red Sox team. Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Nathan Eovaldi make up the starting rotation.

Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Craig Kimbrel make up the heart of the Red Sox bullpen.

Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, and Blake Swihart make up the catchers, although Swihart will probably be primarily used as a pinch runner off the bench.

From left to right, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Ian Kinsler, and Steve Pearce represent the infield. While guys like Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt, and Mitch Moreland should see their fair share of playing time as well.

And finally, one of the best position groups in the American League remains unchanged, as Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts will be manning the outfield, while JD Martinez will serve as the designated hitter.

It’s a lefty vs. lefty pitching matchup for Game One of the ALDS on Friday night at Fenway Park.

For New York, JA Happ gets the nod for his fourth career postseason start. And for Boston, it will be none other than Chris Sale, who is starting the ALDS opener for the second straight year.

First pitch of the first game of the series is scheduled for 7:32 PM ET on TBS later tonight. Time to do damage.

It’s Going to Be a #RedSox-Yankees ALDS.

For the first time since 2004, yes 2004, the Red Sox and Yankees will be meeting up in the postseason.

That’s right, the 100-62 New York Yankees ran away with a 7-2 victory over the 97-65 Oakland Athletics in Wednesday night’s American League Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees ace Luis Severino got the starting nod for the second consecutive year in this single elimination contest in his home ballpark, and he proved the haters and doubters wrong by tossing four-plus innings of quality, scoreless work to go along with seven strikeouts.

In relief of Severino, the Yankees bullpen held up their end of the bargain as well by allowing just two runs, both of which came on a Khris Davis two-run home run in the eighth, over the final five frames of this one.

Dellin Betances and David Robertson worked up until the middle of the seventh inning, when Zach Britton, making his first postseason appearance with New York, served up that opposite field shot to the league leader in home runs in Davis.

And in the ninth, looking to close this thing out, the flame throwing Aroldis Chapman came in for his 25th career postseason appearance, and he held the A’s in check to lock down the Wild Card win.

So, there you have it. It’s not for a trip to the World Series, but we are set for the first Yankees-Red Sox postseason series in nearly 14 years this coming Friday.

As you may recall, these two clubs just played each other to close out the regular season at Fenway Park, where New York took two out of three from the Red Sox to reach 100 wins on the year. On the year as a whole though, the Red Sox took 10 of 19 from the Yankees during the season series, with plenty of blowouts to go around during those games.

Chris Sale is expected to start game one of the best-of-five division series on Friday at Fenway Park. David Price should get the nod for the second game on Saturday.

First pitch of those two contests are scheduled for 7:32 PM ET and 8:15 PM ET respectively.

I should have a more in-depth playoff preview sometime before Friday, but until then…

RECAP: Mookie Betts Blasts Monumental Grand Slam in Tenth Straight Win for #RedSox.

Coming off a sweep of the Texas Rangers, the Red Sox welcomed the fourth place Toronto Blue Jays into town for one last series before reaching the All-Star Break. In search of their tenth consecutive victory, David Price got the nod in what was simply an important night for the left hander.

Making his 19th start of the season, and third of what has been a frustrating month of July, David Price looked for some retribution in his last appearance in this opening half of the season.

Pitching into the seventh inning of this one, the lefty surrendered three runs, all earned, on six hits while recording eight strikeouts on the night.

In what was an otherwise impressive start for Price, the only thing that truly bit him was, once again, the home run ball.

Starting in the top half of the first, he tried to sneak a 0-1 93 MPH fastball by Teoscar Hernandez with two outs in the inning. Hernandez, one of Toronto’s best power hitters, took that fastball and sent it 434 feet, the farthest hit ball of the night, to the center field bleachers, putting the Jays up 2-0 early.

After that blast, Price did settle down and retire 16 of the next 18 batters he faced going into the top half of the seventh.

To leadoff that seventh inning, Kendrys Morales greeted Price by launching another home run, this one cutting the Red Sox lead to two runs.

Again, Price bounced back by retiring the next two batters he faced before Alex Cora came to get him with a 2/2 Devon Travis due up next for the Blue Jays.

In total, the Tennessee native pitched 6.2 innings, the deepest he has gone into a game since June 26th, and did not walk, or hit, a single batter in what turned out to be his 10th winning decision of the season.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (76 strikes), the 32 year-old hurler relied on his changeup the most on Thursday, as he went to it 34% of the time resulting in nine swinging strikes. He only went to his four-seam fastball a total of 12 times, and actually topped out at 93.5 MPH with his two-seamer in the third inning of his start.

Overall, putting David Price’s first half of the season into words is no easy task. We’ve seen how great he can be at times, and we have also seen how nonexistent on the mound he can be at times. For the remaining 64 games left on the schedule following the break, hopefully we see a David Price that is ready to positively contribute to a team heading towards postseason contention.

In relief of Price, Brandon Workman got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and after giving up a single to the aforementioned Devon Travis, retired the side in the top half of the seventh by getting Yangervis Solarte to line out to Mookie Betts in right field.

Over the final two innings of last night’s contest, Matt Barnes got hit decently hard by the top of the Jays lineup, as he allowed them to creep a little closer by making it a 6-4 game, but rallied with two huge strikeouts to retire the side and prevent any additional damage.

And in the ninth, on the day after recording a four-out save against the Rangers, Craig Kimbrel shut the door on Toronto in a clean frame of work, with none other than Mookie Betts, who we’ll get to momentarily, catching the final out to ensure Kimbrel’s 29th save and his team’s 66th win of the season in 6-4 fashion.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against an All-Star pitcher in the Blue Jays’ JA Happ.

Similar to Bartolo Colon, Happ, 35 has been doing this pitching thing for a while, and he proved why he is an All-Star this season by shutting down Boston’s bats over the first three innings on Thursday night.

The bottom of the fourth inning, though, well, that is where things started to drastically change for the better.

With one out in the frame and Xander Bogaerts at first following a line drive single, it appeared as if Brock Holt had grounded into a force out at second base on a failed double play by the Blue Jays. After further review however, it was determined that Toronto’s second baseman, Devon Travis, never applied the force at second, meaning Bogaerts was actually safe.

So, the Red Sox video room saw that from their vantage point, contacted the dugout, and Alex Cora ended up with a winning challenge, meaning both Bogaerts and Holt were safe with only one out in the inning.

Following that bit of craziness, an infield single from Eduardo Nunez loaded the bases for the Red Sox, and Sandy Leon came through first with an RBI force out that allowed Bogaerts to score from third.

After Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a six pitch walk to reload the bases, Mookie Betts went ahead and had one of the more dramatic at bats these eyes have seen.

Lasting 13 pitches total, Betts fouled off SEVEN pitches from Happ and watched three go for balls to eventually fill the count at 3-2.

On the 13th pitch of the endeavor, the Red Sox outfielder must have had enough, because he took a 95 MPH fastball from Happ and pulverized it 407 feet over the Green Monster for his second grand slam of the season.

Just Betts’ reaction alone is something else.

Never mind the fact that he just capped off one of, if not the best at bat of the season with a GRAND SLAM, good for his 23rd homer of the season, too.

That is how All-Stars are made, and that is how JA Happ’s night would end for Toronto in an inning he needed 46 pitches to record two outs in.

Fast forward to the seventh inning now, and it was Betts coming up big again, as he delivered what turned out to be a very important insurance run by driving in Jackie Bradley Jr. on an RBI single off the Monster, making it a 6-3 game to pretty much put this thing out of reach.

Some notes from this win:

Injury related: Steve Pearce had to exit from Thursday night’s contest after taking a 94 MPH fastball of his left shin in the first inning. He’s been diagnosed with a left shin contusion and is day-to-day.

The Red Sox have now won 10 games in a row, marking their longest such streak this season. Here are some nuggets from @SoxNotes pertaining to that streak:

At 66-29 (.695), the Red Sox are 37 games over .500 for the first time since 1949.

They are 38-15 (.717) in their last 53 games, including 17-3 (.850) in their last 20.

Boston’s 10-game winning streak is the club’s longest since September 2016 (11 games).

Just saying, but that is pretty good.

In the month of July, Mookie Betts is slashing .409/.490/.705 with three home runs and eight RBI. He is currently in the midst of a 10 game hitting streak.

Going for their 11th straight win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for the Red Sox. Following a so-so outing against the Kansas City Royals this past Sunday, I’m sure Porcello will be wanting to end his first half on a positive note against a team he has pitched well against this season.

He’ll be matched up against lefty Ryan Borucki, who in his rookie year with the Blue Jays, owns a 2.25 ERA in his first three career starts.

First pitch of the second game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

RECAP: #RedSox Drop Third Straight as Curtis Granderson Launches a Walk off Home Run for Blue Jays in Series Opener.

I must say, the Red Sox have spoiled us to begin this season. In 22 games, they’ve already had two winning streaks of at least eight games, and have been one of the best all around teams in baseball in terms of run production and pitching. That’s all nice, but things have kind of halted since that no-hitter on Saturday night. Since the start of that game, the pitching has still ben great for the most part, but the Red Sox have scored a grand total of four runs in three games, and three of those runs were scored in Toronto last night.

Speaking of Toronto, the Red Sox kicked off the last third of their road trip up north last night. Rick Porcello, looking for his fifth win of the season, was on the mound for Boston while it was lefty JA Happ making the start for the Blue Jays.

Porcello looked great once again, as he surrendered three runs over seven innings, allowing three hits, three walks, and striking out a season high of nine along the way. The walks were a bit unusual, since before last night he had given up a total of one all season, but I really have nothing else to complain about from Porcello’s start. Those three runs the Jays scored in the second weren’t all on him, that was a pretty weird inning. I mean, Rafael Devers could have made a better throw, that could have limited what the Blue Jays did. At the end of the day though, I’ll take seven quality innings from Porcello anytime I can get them. He finished his night at 103 pitches, 65 of which went for strikes. And since he got hit with the no decision, he’ll look for that fifth win of the season once again this weekend, back home against the Tampa Bay Rays.

In relief of Porcello, Joe Kelly was first up and he too had a quality outing. In two innings pitched, the righty allowed one hit and struck out one batter as he held the Blue Jays scoreless in a crucial situation, since they had the chance to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, a walk off was apparently inevitable because Curtis Granderson put a stamp on this contest an inning later.

No doubt that this is a bad look for Craig Kimbrel. An elite closer like himself should be able to keep thing tied going into the eleventh. But, that was the first time in nearly a week the Red Sox flamethrower had seen any in-game action. Regardless, he got hit with his first loss of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup never stood much of a chance against JA Happ last night. The veteran starter held the Red Sox to just one run on four hits, while striking out 10, in the seven innings he pitched.

That one run was important though, as it cut into the Blue Jays lead in the top of the sixth.

Hanley Ramirez collected his 16th RBI of the season, and the Red Sox were now down by only two runs.

Fast forward to the ninth, and it looked like the Red Sox were done for with Roberto Osuna on the mound. The young Jays closer had been perfect in save opportunities before last night, but the bottom of the order rallied.

After Hanley Ramirez and Rafael Devers both singled with one out in the inning, Eduardo Nunez picked up his seventh RBI of the year by ripping a single to right field that scored Ramirez from second and moved Devers up to third. One strikeout and one lucky walk from Christian Vazquez later, and Brock Holt came through with the clutchest hit of the night for the Red Sox.

On the second pitch of the at bat, Holt took a 97 MPH fastball from Osuna and laced it into left field. That allowed Devers to score from third and should have kept the inning going with Mookie Betts due up next. Instead, Eduardo Nunez was tagged out trying to score from second on what was one of the most aggressive sends from third base coach Carlos Febles that I have seen.

That disaster of a play ended the top half of the ninth, and the rally the Red Sox had going as well. With one last chance in the tenth, Tyler Clippard walked one while also facing the minimum as he got Hanley Ramirez to ground into a game-ending double play.

That makes three straight losses for the Red Sox now. No need to panic yet, it’s still way too early for that. Eduardo Rodriguez will look to end this little skid, as he faces off against Jays righty Aaron Sanchez later tonight. First pitch is at 7:05 PM ET.