RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Homers Again as #RedSox Close out First Half with 68th Win of Season.

On the last day before hitting the All-Star break, the Red Sox were looking to end the first half of their season on a positive note by taking three out of four games from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Making his first start for the team since July 3rd, Brian Johnson returned from the disabled list in effective fashion on Sunday afternoon.

In just over four innings pitched, the lefty surrendered two runs on two hits and four walks while tying a season-high in strikeouts with five on the day.

Four walks in that short of an outing usually is not a good sign for a pitcher, but Johnson found himself working his away around them to avoid anything too detrimental.

In fact, the only real costly mistake the Florida native made came in the third inning, when with one out and a runner at second, Johnson left a 0-1, 76 MPH curveball on the inner half of the plate, and Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez made him pay for it, as he sent it 349 feet into the Monster seats for a two-run shot, tying the game at two runs a piece.

Following that home run though, Johnson proceeded to retire seven of the final eight batters he faced, and with two outs in the top half of the fifth and Hernandez due up for Toronto, got the hook in favor of Brandon Workman.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (52 strikes), the 27 year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball just over 51% of the time on Sunday, and topped out at 92 MPH with it in the first inning.

Since rejoining the Red Sox rotation on June 28th against the Angels, Johnson has yet to go deeper than five innings in three outings, yet the Red Sox are unbeaten in all three of those starts.

In relief of Johnson, as I had previously mentioned, Brandon Workman got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen. Needing one out to close out the top half of the fifth, Workman struck out the only batter he faced, Hernandez, on seven pitches.

From that point on, despite a more than welcome amount of traffic on the base paths, Tyler Thornburg, Ryan Brasier, and Heath Hembree all tossed a scoreless inning of relief each, setting up Craig Kimbrel for the save opportunity with a three-run lead to work with in the ninth.

Making his last appearance out of the Red Sox bullpen before heading to Washington DC for his seventh All-Star Game, Kimbrel notched his 30th save of the season by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning, including two straight punch outs to close this thing out and secure his teams 68th win of the year.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman.

Never trailing in this game, Xander Bogaerts stayed red-hot and started off the scoring with his 16th home run of the season, a solo shot sent 423 feet over the Monster, to put the Red Sox on the board first.

Four batters later, after JD Martinez drew a seven pitch walk and Mitch Moreland reached first on a fielding error, Brock Holt came through with his first of two RBI knocks on the day, as he scored Martinez from third on a hard-hit bloop single to center field, putting the Red Sox up 2-0 early.

After Toronto came back to tie things back up again in the third, a Sandy Leon leadoff double in the fifth got a mini rally started for the Red Sox.

Following that up with a double of his own of off Stroman, Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in the go-ahead run while also collecting his 31st RBI of the season and giving his team a one run lead they would not have to look back from.

That was followed by a Mookie Betts flyout that allowed Bradley to tag up and advance to third, setting up another prime scoring chance.

Looking for his second RBI of the day, Xander Bogaerts managed to drive in Bradley from third by hitting a comebacker that got a piece of Stroman’s knee. The Blue Jays were able to recover and get the out at first, but the Red Sox had a two-run cushion to work with now.

In the sixth, Brock Holt wrapped up the scoring for the Red Sox with another RBI single, this one just out of the reach of Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis, as Mitch Moreland came in to score from second to put Boston up 5-2.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox are 4.5 games ahead of the Yankees, their largest lead of the season.

The Sox have won 12 of their last 13 games and are 17-3 in their last 20.

This is the first time since 2007 that Boston enters the All-Star break with MLB’s best record (68-30, .694).

In the month of July, Xander Bogaerts owns an OPS of 1.154.

Over his last six games, Jackie Bradley Jr. is hitting .333 with five extra-base hits and five RBI.

With the next four days off, the Red Sox will resume their season schedule next Friday, as they open up a six game road trip starting in Detroit.

Starting pitchers for that series have yet to be officially announced by the team yet, but for the Tigers, it will be Matthew Boyd, Mike Fiers, and Michael Fulmer getting the start for the upcoming weekend series.

Before then, let’s just enjoy watching our five All-Stars in the nation’s capital on Tuesday.

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RECAP: Two RBI Each from Benintendi, Bogaerts, Bradley Jr., and Moreland Lift #RedSox to Eighth Straight Victory.

On a night they were planning to rely heavily on their bullpen due to Brian Johnson hitting the DL on Sunday, the Red Sox looked to take the series against the Texas Rangers for their eighth straight win.

Although he was not expected to pitch very deep into this game, Hector Velazquez made his first start since April 14th on Tuesday night, and despite not being totally in command, he did a solid job to start this one out.

In three frames of work, the righty scattered one run while allowing two hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night. The only real mistake Velazquez committed came in the second, when Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor smacked a 92 MPH sinker 447 feet to right field to put his team on the board first.

Other than that, Velazquez got out of another jam in the same inning, and went on to work his away around a leadoff walk in a scoreless third. So, overall, not too shabby for the 29 year-old.

Since he was limited in what he could do, Velazquez finished with a pitch count of only 47 (32 strikes) and topped out at 93.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball.

Depending on the status of Steven Wright in this next turn around the Red Sox rotation, it will be interesting to see what the team does this coming Sunday, which would be Velazquez’s, or Wright’s, next scheduled start. But, given the fact it’s the last day before the All-Star break, it would not surprise me if we had another bullpen day on our hands. We’ll have to wait for that announcement.

Anyway, in relief of Velazquez, Jalen Beeks, who was recalled from Pawtucket Tuesday morning, made his first appearance with the Red Sox since his major league debut on June 7th.

In just over two innings of work, Beeks got hit fairly hard, as the Rangers tacked on their final three runs of the night with the Arkansas native on the mound. Despite that, it could have been worse for Beeks, had he not received some serious help from Mookie Betts in the fifth…

…and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the sixth.

With one out in that sixth inning, Brandon Workman came on for Beeks with runners on second and third and a four run lead to work with.

On the fifth pitch he threw, noted slugger Joey Gallo nearly took a 93 MPH fastball from Workman and sent it out of the park. He did it 394 feet, but it was only good for a two-run double off the tallest part of the Monster in left field.

Cutting the lead to just two runs now, Workman recovered by retiring the next two batters he faced on six pitches to end the top half of the sixth.

From that point on, with the aid of an increased lead, the Red Sox bullpen was essentially money from the seventh until the last out of the ninth. Matt Barnes earned his third wining decision of the season thanks to a scoreless seventh, Joe Kelly held down the fort by tossing a scoreless eighth, and for the second straight night, the new guy, Ryan Brasier saw this win through with a scoreless final frame.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against 12-year veteran starter Yovani Gallardo for the Rangers, who entered Tuesday night with an unsightly 8.17 ERA on the season.

Six hits in the third inning is what got the scoring started for Boston, and surely enough, the five-run rally was initiated by back-to-back doubles from the 8-9 hitters in Blake Swihart and Jackie Bradley Jr. to put the first run on the board.

Two batters later, an Andrew Benintendi double to drive in Bradley from second started a string of four straight knocks for the Red Sox 2-5 hitters, including a JD Martinez single to advance Benintendi to third, a Mitch Moreland RBI single, and to cap it off, a 2 RBI triple off the bat of Xander Bogaerts to clear the bases and put Boston up 5-1.

Fast forward to the fifth now, with Gallardo still on the mound for Texas, and Mookie Betts led things off with his 25th double of the season to put a runner in scoring position right away. Following a JD Martinez walk two batters later, Mitch Moreland came through with his second RBI of the night on a sac fly hit far enough to center field to allow Betts to score from third and make it a 6-2 game.

In the next two innings, the Red Sox padded their lead, which did shrink a bit in the top half of the sixth, with a run in each frame.

First, in the bottom of the sixth, with the score at 6-4, it was the 8-9 hitters who showed up for Boston once again, as a two out Blake Swihart single set up Jackie Bradley Jr. with another RBI chance, and he capitalized on it with his second RBI double of the night.

An inning later, Andrew Benintendi padded on to his All-Star hopes by notching his 57th RBI of the season on another double to drive in Mookie Betts from first and wrapping up the scoring at 8-4.

Some notes from this win:

I failed to mention this earlier, but Blake Swihart started at catcher for only the second time this season. Given the fact that Christian Vazquez is out with a broken pinky finger for the forseeable future, Swihart will be getting a decent amount of playing time, and he impressed both behind the plate and with a bat in his hands last night.

The Red Sox are 35 games over .500 at 64-29.

From @SoxNotes: This is the Red Sox’ third win streak of 8+ games this season. It had been 40 years since they had as many as three win streaks of 8+ games in a single season (four in 1978).

In nine games this month, Andrew Benintendi has a 1.179 OPS. Today is the last day to vote for the final All-Star on each roster, so don’t forget to #VoteBenny before 4 PM on Wednesday.

redsox.com/vote

Going for their ninth consecutive victory and third straight sweep on Wednesday, it will be a pitching matchup featuring Bartolo Colon for Texas and Chris Sale for Boston.

At the age of 45, Colon owns a 4.65 ERA in 18 appearances with the Rangers in what is his 21st season in the big leagues.

He’ll be going up none other than Chris Sale, who in his last six starts, is putting up ridiculous numbers for the Red Sox en route to what could be his third straight start for the American League in this year’s All-Star Game.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez Bounces Back with Six Shutout Innings as #RedSox Complete Sweep of Nationals on Independence Day.

After dropping two out of three to the Yankees in New York to start a nine-game road trip, the Red Sox had the opportunity to improve to 4-2 on the trip yesterday thanks to two straight wins over the Washington Nationals in DC.

Making his 17th start of the season and coming off back-to-back poor outings against the Mariners and Yankees, Eduardo Rodriguez toed the rubber for his first time ever at Nationals Park.

In six quality innings pitched, the lefty failed to surrender a single run as he held the Nationals to just three hits and one walk while fanning six on the day. If it weren’t for his spot in the order due up in the top half of the seventh, I’d like to think Rodriguez could have gone even deeper, but considering that the Red Sox were threatening with runners in scoring position, I understand the decision to pinch-hit Andrew Benintendi in that spot.

Regardless, the Venezuela native only needed 84 pitches (54 strikes) to get through those six scoreless innings, and he really dazzled to pick up his 10th winning decision of the season.

Out of those 84 pitches Rodriguez went to his deadly changeup a total of 26 times, which resulted in five swinging strikes, one called strike, and seven balls in play. He also topped out at 95.7 MPH with his four-seam fastball in the fourth inning.

Building off a successful start to the new month, the 25-year-old hurler will look to carry over this new-found momentum in his next start, which should come back at Fenway Park against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen carried on and completed the shutout with three scoreless frames of their own. Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel locked down their teams 59th win of the season, and in doing so, Kimbrel, despite allowing the tying run to come to the plate, notched his 26th save of 2018.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was limited in what they could do yesterday and that was mostly because of a solid performance out of the Nationals bullpen.

In fact, Washington’s starter for this series finale, Erick Fedde, had to leave in the second inning with what was later diagnosed as right shoulder inflammation. That really did not matter though, because the Red Sox failed to plate a run until the top half of the seventh.

Going into the frame with this thing still tied, Rafael Devers got the rally started with a leadoff double off of Nats reliever Ryan Madson. Two batters later, after Devers had moved up to third on a Eduardo Nunez single, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with the clutch sacrifice fly to finally put the Red Sox on the board.

Two batters later, with Andrew Benintendi pinch-hitting for Eduardo Rodriguez, a wild pitch on ball four from Madson allowed Eduardo Nunez, who had advanced to third on that Bradley sac fly, to easily score and put his team up by two runs.

Fast forward to the ninth, and another Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI, this one coming on a double to score Eduardo Nunez all the way from first, pretty much put this game away from the Red Sox by putting them up 3-0.

One note from this W:

It is July 5th and the Red Sox are 30 games over .500. That is all.

With a trip to Kansas City up next on the schedule, the Red Sox will find themselves enjoying a day off on Thursday before kicking off a three-game weekend series against the lowly Royals on Friday. Chris Sale, who owns a career 3.16 ERA in 16 games at Kauffman Stadium, gets the ball for the opener. He’ll be matched up against veteran righty Jason Hammel for the Royals. First pitch of the first game on Friday is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET.

Also, happy belated Independence Day.

 

RECAP: Rafael Devers Sets Tone Early and Chris Sale Fans 11 as #RedSox Shut out Yankees.

Coming off a game in which they were held to just one run by CC Sabathia and the Yankees pitching staff, the Red Sox made sure that was not the case on Saturday night. With Chris Sale on the mound though, they didn’t need much to pick up a series-evening win.

Making his 18th start of the season last night, Chris Sale wrapped up his stellar month of June with yet another superb performance against a team he has a solid track record against.

Going into what was his 14th career start against the Yankees, Sale owned a 1.73 ERA in 93.2 innings against New York over nine seasons, including one outing this season in which he allowed one run in just six innings pitched back on April 10th.

Right from the get go, it was clear that Sale meant business in a decently important game. And given the fact he had a four run lead to work with before he even took the mound, the lefty was not put in all that many stressful spots on Saturday.

In a full seven innings pitched, Sale held the Yankees to just three total baserunners on one hit, one walk, and one HBP while recording a healthy 11 strikeouts on the evening.

What was most impressive about the Florida native’s night would have to be his sixth frame of work, in which he struck out the side on 20 pitches, the most he threw in an inning. Can’t forget to mention the help he got from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the bottom half of the third as well.

Retiring the last 16 batters he faced, Sale finished with a final pitch count of 101 (72 strikes) after ending the seventh. Topping out at 100 MPH in that seventh inning, the 29-year-old hurler went to his four-seam fastball 36% of the time on Saturday.

A performance certainly worthy of a win, Sale improved to 8-4 on the season last night. He’ll look to build on a successful June in his next time out, which should come against the lowly Kansas City Royals on Friday.

In relief of Sale, Alex Cora turned to two relievers out of the Red Sox bullpen for what was essentially mop-up duty in a blowout game. First, Heath Hembree tossed a scoreless eighth inning, then Hector Velazquez tossed a scoreless ninth to wrap this thing up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup made people forget about their one run clunker on Friday night very quickly.

Facing off against a pitcher who has struggled against Boston in the past in Sonny Gray, Rafael Devers got the scoring started right away in the first.

After recording the first two outs of the inning, Gray allowed the next three batters he faced to reach base on two singles and a walk. That set up an ideal scoring situation for Devers, and he capitalized on it.

Mookie’s reaction:

That grand slam was the first from the Red Sox since April 30th. With that slam, Devers became the youngest player in the history of Red Sox vs. Yankees matchups to go yard in that fashion.

An inning later, a leadoff double from Sandy Leon followed by a Mookie Betts walk set up another great scoring spot, this time for Andrew Benintendi. On the third pitch of his at bat, Benintendi ripped a single to right field to score Leon from Second and collect his 53rd RBI of the year.

Speaking of RBI, JD Martinez had three of them on Saturday, and he picked up his first in the second when a 322 foot sacrifice fly to right field scored Betts from third and put the Red Sox up by six runs early.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth now, with Gray well out of this game, and Martinez struck again. This time on an RBI single to score Jackie Bradley Jr. from second.

In the seventh, after Rafael Devers lined a one out double off of Yankees reliever Giovanny Gallegos, Sandy Leon blasted is his second home run is as many starts 388 feet into the right field seats.

From that point on, JD Martinez notched his 3rd RBI of the night in the eighth, and Brock Holt picked up one in the ninth on a pinch-hit RBI single to score his teams 11th and final run of the game. Not like it was needed, but it was still nice to see that production come from the bottom of the lineup after a quiet night on Friday.

Some notes from this win:

Alex Cora on the big win, “”The guys came out with an attitude today. It was fun to watch. There was something different with this group today.”

From @SoxNotes: Chris Sale has a 1.03 ERA in his last 5 starts. Among the 500+ pitchers who have made at least 10 starts vs. NYY in the Live Ball Era (1920-pres.), Sale owns the lowest career ERA (1.61) against the Yankees, as well as the highest SO/9.0 IP ratio (11.62).

With his five-hit performance at the plate on Saturday, Rafael Devers raised his batting average by 12 points, his OBP by 10 points, and his SLG by 22 points.

Entering July, JD Martinez leads all of baseball in HR (25) and RBI (67).

In this first day of July, the finale of this Red Sox-Yankees series will receive plenty of attention via Sunday Night Baseball. For David Price, this particular start looms large. A career 4.27 ERA in 19 starts at Yankee Stadium, the lefty will have plenty to prove in what should be a playoff atmosphere in the Bronx tonight.

He’ll be matched up against the best pitcher on this Yankees staff in Luis Severino. New York specifically moved their rotation so Severino would start tonight’s contest, so you know it means a lot for them as well.

First pitch of the final game is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET on ESPN.

 

 

RECAP: Jackie Bradley Jr. Gets It Done in More Ways Than One as #RedSox Finish off Sweep of Angels.

Before heading to the Bronx for a pivotal three-game weekend series against the Yankees, the Red Sox had some business to take care of against a Los Angeles Angels team they had yet to lose to this season.

With Steven Wright being placed on the disabled list on Tuesday, Alex Cora went with Brian Johnson for the spot start in the knuckleballer’s place last night.

Having already appeared in 22 games for the Red Sox this season, this was just Johnson’s second start. The first came back on April 2nd against the Miami Marlins, where he tossed six innings and only gave up one run on six hits and two walks.

This time around, the lefty hybrid was efficient yet again. In four innings pitched, Johnson held the Halos to just one run while scattering three hits, one walk, and two punchouts. He received some help from his outfield as well with this phenomenal catch from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the first.

The only real mistake the former Florida Gator made came in his final frame of work, when with one out in the fourth, Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons leaned into a 1-0 75 MPH curveball and sent it 375 feet into the Monster seats in left field.

Other than that, it was a solid outing from Johnson. And given the fact he has transitioned into more of a reliever now, it’s understandable why he only pitched into the fourth inning of this one. But with Hector Velazquez, the Red Sox essentially have two guys in their bullpen who are capable of both starting and working in relief.

Speaking of Velazquez, he got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen starting in the top half of the fifth. In the two innings he appeared in, the Mexico native held the Angels to just two baserunners to go along with three K’s. Since his team scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth, Velazquez was able to pick up his sixth winning decision of the season thanks to his efforts.

From that point on, Brandon Workman tossed a scoreless seventh inning for his third straight scoreless appearance. That made way for Joe Kelly in the eighth, and for the second time in as many nights, the Angels made things a little interesting.

After walking Mike Trout to lead off the inning, Kelly gave up back-to-back singles to Justin Upton and Albert Pujols to score Trout from third to make it a 4-2 game and put runners on first and second with still no outs.

With Angels rookie David Fletcher at the plate now, Kelly gave up what looked like what could have been a double to left field. Instead, the Red Sox outfield came through yet again, as Andrew Benintendi made the leaping catch against the wall for the second out of the inning.

Kelly escaped any further damage by getting Luis Valbuena to fly out to center field and end a hellish eighth inning for the Red Sox set up man. Over his last seven appearances, Kelly owns a 7.20 ERA and 2.20 WHIP in five innings pitched.

Entering the ninth with a two run lead to work with, Craig Kimbrel made his second appearance of this series, and he managed to strike out the side on the way to his 24th save of the season.

On the flip side of things, the Red Sox lineup was held scoreless over the first four innings of this one against Angels righty Jaime Barria.

It wasn’t until fifth when, already trailing by one run, Rafael Devers tied things up at one run a piece by mashing his 13th home run of the season. A 414 foot shot sent to dead center.

An inning later, with Halos reliever Jose Alvarez on the mound and JD Martinez at first after taking the walk, a double off the bat of Mitch Moreland put the Red Sox in an ideal scoring spot.

Oddly enough, Mike Sciosca decided to pitch around Xander Bogaerts and pitch to Brock Holt with the bases loaded. That decision clearly did not pan out the way he wanted it to, because Alvarez walked Holt on seven pitches to drive in the go-ahead run.

In the seventh, Jackie Bradley Jr. decided to top his stellar catch earlier in the first inning by coming through with arguably the clutchest hit of the night.

Facing off against old friend Noe Ramirez with Christian Vazquez at first, Bradley Jr. went down 0-2 on the first two pitches of the at bat. On the very next pitch though, he must have seen something he liked, because he took a 91 MPH two-seam fastball from Ramirez and sent it into the first row of the bleachers in right field on the hardest hit ball of the night, 110.1 MPH.

That two-run blast put the Red Sox up by three runs, and they would not have to look back on their way to win number 55.

Some notes from this W:

From @SoxNotes: The Sox went 6-0 against the Angels this season, marking the first time Boston has ever swept an opponent in a season series of at least 6 games.

From @RedSoxStats: (In this series)

Trout: 2-10 3 BB

JBJ: 5-11 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI

The bottom third of the Red Sox lineup (Devers, Vazquez, Bradley) went 4/9 with two home runs and three RBI last night.

Heading into New York winners of their last four and sole owners of first place in the American League East, the Red Sox will send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound for the series opener later tonight. He’ll be matched up against another lefty in CC Sabathia for the Yankees. I don’t need to tell you this series is important, because it 100% is.

Do the Red Sox really belong amongst the elite teams in all of baseball? Well this series is a sure-fire way to find out about that. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.

Also, shout out to Steve Pearce. You can read about him here.

 

RECAP: David Price Tosses Six Quality Innings and #RedSox Lineup Explodes for Four Home Runs in 9-1 Win over Angels.

After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox were back at it against another AL West opponent in the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. Before the game though, Steven Wright was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to left knee inflammation. Wright was the starter for Thursday’s contest against Los Angeles, but it will be Brian Johnson getting the nod in his place.

Speaking of starting pitching, David Price made his 16th start of the season last night and wrapped up his month of June with yet another impressive outing. Going six full innings in this one, the lefty yielded just one earned run on five hits and two walks while fanning seven Angels on the night.

Price got off to a great start by retiring the first seven batters he saw going into the third inning. However, that was where he also struggled the most. In total, the Angels reached base four times off the Tennessee native in the frame, but fortunately for Price, they could only muster one run out of it. That one run came off the bat of old friend Chris Young on a solo homer with one out in the inning.

The Angels threatened again by loading the bases with two outs in the inning, but Price escaped any further damage by getting Albert Pujols to ground out to third to retire the side.

Needing 34 pitches just in the third inning, the Red Sox were only able to get six innings out of Price. He essentially breezed through the next three frames, but with his pitch count at 99 (60 strikes) going into the middle of the sixth, the 32 year-old’s night would come to an end.

In total, Price went to his four-seam fastball 30% of the time on Tuesday and topped out at 94.5 MPH in the third inning.

With another quality start in the books for Price, that marks five straight outings where he has gone at least five innings deep and given up three or fewer runs.

Finishing June with a 2.90 ERA in 31 innings pitched, the Red Sox hurler will look to build on a successful month in his next time out against the New York Yankees this Sunday night on the first of July.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was perfect. Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, and just called up Justin Haley combined to toss three perfect, scoreless innings against the Angels bats to wrap up their teams 53rd win of the season.

On the flip side of things, the Red Sox lineup feasted on Angels pitching once again. If you recall the first series between these two teams back in the middle of April, the Red Sox outscored Los Angeles by an average of eight runs per contest in a three game series. And what do you know, they scored eight more runs than the Angels last night.

Right from the get go, the Red Sox were in control of this game. Before Angels starter John Lamb could even settle into his first career outing at Fenway Park, Mookie Betts took him deep on the first pitch he saw to put his team up early.

An inning later, after Eduardo Nunez and Rafael Devers reached base and advanced to second and third on a Christian Vazquez groundout, Jackie Bradley Jr. built on his three-hit performance on Sunday and drove both runners in on a two RBI double.

After Mookie Betts drew a five pitch walk off of Lamb, Andrew Benintendi came through with his 51st RBI of the season to score Bradley from second.

Two batters later, an intentional walk to Xander Bogaerts loaded the bases up for Mitch Moreland. I’m not sure why the Angels wanted to do this, considering how hot Moreland has been recently, but they did, and Moreland made them pay for it by reaching first and scoring Betts from third on an infield single.

With Lamb now out of the game for the Angels, Jackie Bradley Jr. introduced himself to new pitcher Deck McGuire by collecting his fifth home run of the season on a ball that had a hit probability of 20% in the third.

The bottom half of the fifth and sixth innings of this one saw home runs from two different types of players.

First, Christian Vazquez mashed his third homer of the season in the fifth with an exit velo. of exactly 100 MPH.

And in the sixth, JD Martinez followed suit by ripping his 24th homer of the year into the Red Sox bullpen. Yet another opposite field home run for the league leader in that category.

Finally, to put an exclamation point on a stellar night at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. racked up his fourth RBI of the game on a line drive single to score Blake Swihart from third.

Some notes from this win:

In four games this season, the Red Sox have outscored the Angels by a total score of 36-4. The Red Sox are 4-0 in those games.

From @SoxNotes: David Price has allowed 3 runs or fewer in 9 consecutive starts, his longest such streak since joining the Red Sox.

Over his eight game hitting streak, Mitch Moreland is slashing .419/.471/.677 with eight runs driven in.

Prior to this past Sunday against the Mariners, Jackie Bradley Jr. had eight hits in 63 at bats this month. In his last two games, the Red Sox outfielder has collected six hits.

JD Martinez is one home run away from having the most by a Red Sox player through the month of June in the franchise’s history.

Looking to take the series with another win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for the Red Sox. He’ll be matched up against Angels lefty Andrew Heaney, who only has one career start against Boston in which he surrendered two runs in seven innings pitched back in 2015. First pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

 

 

RECAP: Chris Sale Fans 13 in Seven Shutout Innings as #RedSox Take Series from Mariners.

For the second time in less than 24 hours, a left-handed pitcher tossed a shutout at Fenway Park. Mike Leake did it for the Mariners with eight scoreless innings in a win last night, and Chris Sale did it for the Red Sox with seven scoreless frames this afternoon.

In his 17th start of the season on Sunday, Sale looked as dominant as ever. Coming off a performance against the Twins in which he took a perfect game into the fifth inning last Tuesday, the lefty did not give up his first hit in this one until there were two outs in the third.

Ending his day with a line of 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB Sale never found himself in too much troubles in his ninth career start against the Mariners. After he gave up his first hit of the game to Denard Span in the third inning, the 29-year-old escaped any further stress with a nice pick-off move on Span to retire the side.

An inning later, another two out situation arose when Nelson Cruz ripped a triple off of Sale. Regardless of the fact that Cruz should have been out at third base, the Red Sox hurler rebounded by striking out Ryon Healy on four pitches to escape the jam.

In the sixth, it looked as though the Mariners were about to tack on their first two runs of the day when, after Andrew Romine reached first on a bunt single, Mitch Haniger hit a sharp line drive towards Seattle’s bullpen. Instead of  a home run though, Mookie Betts came up with the clutch inning-ending snag to rob Haniger of what would have been his 17th long ball of the season.

If not this catch, the highlight of the afternoon might just be how Sale ended his day in his final frame of work. It was more than likely the Florida native’s toughest inning, as he allowed two to reach on a single and a walk and needed 19 pitches, but it was all worth it thanks to his last pitch against Mike Zunino.

100.5 MPH(!!!) on that fastball, the fastest pitch recorded by Sale on 93 attempts, 71 of which went for strikes. Going to his four-seamer 44% of the time on Sunday, 20 of the 21 fastest recorded pitches in this game belonged to Sale.

With the Red Sox lineup actually giving the southpaw some run support today, Sale was able to notch his seventh winning decision of the season.

And thanks to two additional scoreless innings from Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes out of the bullpen, the Red Sox recorded their sixth shutout win on the year as well.

On the flip side of things, Mariners starter Marco Gonzales was the one starter the Red Sox did not see in Seattle. With a cumulative .685 OPS against lefties this season, it was going to see how the lineup would stack up the day after getting shutout by another left-handed starter.

After being held to one hit over the first four innings, Xander Bogaerts got a three-run rally started in the fifth with a leadoff double. Following that up with a single off the bat of Eduardo Nunez, Rafael Devers put his team on the board first by ripping an RBI double to the right field corner to score Bogaerts from third. Two sacrifice flies from Sandy Leon and Mookie Betts later, and the Red Sox found themselves up by three going into the sixth inning.

In the bottom half of the sixth, Mitch Moreland stayed hot and wrapped up the scoring on the afternoon by mashing his 11th home run of the season, a 415 foot two-run missile hit to dead center field.

That put the Red Sox up by five runs, which is all they would need to pick up their 52nd win of the season.

Some notes from this W:

The Red Sox improved to 2-4 in games started by Chris Sale when he records 10 or more strikeouts. Maddening stuff.

Per @RedSoxStats: Most swing and misses by a Sox starter in the pitch tracking era:
26 of 93 Chris Sale, today
26 of 114 Clay Buchholz, April, 2010
26 of 116 Chris Sale, May 2018

With that home run, Mitch Moreland extended his hitting streak to seven games. Over that stretch, the Red Sox first baseman is 12/27 with seven RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3/3 at the plate batting ninth today, his first multi-hit game since June 5th against Detroit.

After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox will welcome the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim into town for a three-game series set to kick off Tuesday night. In a matchup of elite outfielders in Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, I’m fascinated to see how much national attention this series will receive.

For the opener, it will be another starting pitching matchup featuring two lefties. John Lamb will be making his third start of the season for the Angels, and David Price will be making his 16th start of the season against the Red Sox. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Tuesday.