Andrew Cashner Allows Six Runs, Picks up Loss in Debut as Red Sox Fall to Blue Jays 10-4

After narrowly escaping their series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, the Red Sox went ahead and fell flat on Tuesday, dropping the second of the four-game set by a final score of 10-4 to fall to 51-44 on the season.

Making his 18th start of the season and first for Boston since being acquired from the Baltimore this Orioles this past Saturday was Andrew Cashner, who hadn’t seen any in-game action since before the All-Star break.

Working into the sixth inning of his Red Sox debut, the right-hander yielded six runs, five of which were earned, on eight hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the night.

The first three of those Toronto tallies came in the top half of the second, when after being given an early one-run lead, Cashner allowed two of the first three Blue Jays hitters he faced to reach base before serving up a three-run, 441-foot home run to Teoscar Hernandez off a 1-1, 84 MPH changeup that the outfielder appeared to be sitting on.

In the third, a leadoff walk of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would cause more trouble for Cashner, as the Blue Jays rookie came in to score from third on a two-out RBI single from Justin Smoak four at-bats later, making it a 4-1 contest in favor of Toronto.

From there, Cashner showed a bit of consistency by sitting down the next eight Jays who came to the plate, but the most crushing blow in this one came in the sixth, after the Red Sox had battled back to tie things up at four runs apiece.

Going into the sixth, which is something the number-five starter in Boston’s rotation has not done much of lately, Cashner was greeted once again by Smoak, and on the first pitch the Blue Jays slugger saw, he unloaded on a hanging 76 MPH curveball down the heart of the plate and deposited it 426 feet to right field.

That gave Toronto the 5-4 edge, and Cashner’s outing soon came to a quick close following a ground ball single from Freddy Galvis.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (57 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler turned to his changeup more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses with it. He also topped out at 95.9 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 33 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

A debut that did not go quite as expected, Cashner will look to rebound from his worst start in nearly two months in his next time out, which should come against the Orioles in Baltimore on Sunday.

In relief of Cashner, Josh Taylor came on with an inherited runner on first and three outs to get in the sixth. The left-hander got the first out of the frame courtesy of a force out at second, essentially swapping Galvis for Hernandez as the base runner at first.

A throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed Hernandez to move up all the way to third, and he scored on a wild pitch with Eric Sogard at the plate to officially close the book on Cashner’s start. 6-4 Blue Jays.

From the beginning of the seventh until the end of the eighth, Colten Brewer worked his way around a one-out double in a scoreless inning of relief and Darwinzon Hernandez did the same in the eighth despite walking one in his first appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier Tuesday.

The ninth inning is where things really fell apart for the Sox, and that was mainly because Heath Hembree surrendered three straight hits to the Jays to begin the frame, which in turn gave them an 8-4 lead.

Ryan Weber entered to try and stop the bleeding, but he too allowed the runner he inherited to score on a Randal Grichuk RBI double before being charged with a run of his own on a run-scoring two-bagger off the bat of Danny Jansen.

Jansen’s 29th RBI of the season put his team ahead 10-4, which would turn out to be a lead Boston could not battle back from this time around.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie rigtht-hander Jacob Waguespack, making his first career big league start after being used after the opener in two prior outings for the Blue Jays.

Seemingly picking up right where he left off to kick off the scoring for Boston in this one was Xander Bogaerts, who extended his hitting streak to eight games by blasting his 21st home run of the season with two outs in the first inning. Per Statcast, the ball had a projected exit velocity of 109.3 MPH and was hit an estimated 409 feet over the Green Monster.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth, Michael Chavis begin the crawl out of a four-run hole by reaching base on a two-out single, breaking a string of seven straight Red Sox hitters being retired by Waguespack.

Two batters later, after Chavis had advanced to third on a double from Brock Holt, the top of the lineup came through with runners in scoring position, first with Mookie Betts ripping a two-run, line drive single to left, then with Bogaerts striking again and plating Betts on an RBI base knock through the middle of the infield.

Those two important hits brought the Red Sox back to a 4-4 stalemate with Toronto, and it seemed as though all the momentum was working in Boston’s favor.

That would not turn out to be the case though, as the Jays went up 5-4 the very next inning and would not have to look back.

Sure, the Red Sox had their fair share of chances to score, like with runners at first and third with two outs in the fifth, or with runners at first and second to lead off the sixth, or with runners at first and second with one out in the seventh, or with Chavis drawing a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth.

Nothing came of those opportunities, and the Blue Jays capitalized on the Sox’ inability to score runs by running up the score to 10-4 in their half of the ninth, which, as already mentioned, would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday. They left 10 men on base.

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

The Red Sox are 8-6 against the Toronto Blue Jays this season, a team that had won 35 games heading into this series.

From Red Sox Notes:

Mookie Betts’ July so far: .432/.500/.614 with seven extra-base hits and six RBI.

Xander Bogaerts during his eight-game hitting streak: .455 (15-for-33) with five homers and 16 RBI.

As Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before Tuesday’s loss, “We’ve been consistent at being inconsistent.” That much was proven in another frustrating performance against a divisional opponent. 

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the third game of this series on Wednesday night, weather permitting.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is set to get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Aaron Sanchez will do the same for Toronto.

Owning the last quality start from a Red Sox starting pitcher, Rodriguez’s only other outing against the Blue Jays this season did not go well, as the 26-year-old surrendered six earned runs over five innings in an eventual 10-3 loss at Rogers Centre back in May.

Sanchez, meanwhile, has had a miserable 2019 thus far, owning the most losses in the American League with 13 to go along with a 6.22 ERA through 20 starts this season.

The once highly touted prospect has posted a lifetime 3.56 ERA over 10 career appearances (seven starts) at Fenway Park, including an outing back on April 11th in which he allowed four runs, only one of which was earned, in five innings of work.

The Blue Jays are 5-15 in games Sanchez has pitched in so far in 2019.

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


Chris Sale Allows Five Runs on Three Homers as Red Sox Fall to Blue Jays 6-3

After snapping a three-game skid with a 10-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, the Red Sox fell flat once again on Wednesday, dropping a 6-3 contest to fall back to 45-41 on the season.

Making his 18th start of the season for Boston in the middle game of this three-game series was Chris Sale, who capped off his month of June with two subpar outings against these Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox.

That trend continued in his first action of July, as the left-hander surrendered five runs, all earned, on a season-high nine hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with just five strikeouts on the night.

All five of those runs came courtesy of three different home run balls, with Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen, and Brandon Drury taking Sale deep in this one.

Gurriel Jr. struck first in the bottom half of the third, putting his team on the board right after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded into a 1-2-3 double play with a 406-foot solo shot off a 1-0 93 MPH fastball on the inner half of the plate.

Jansen made Sale pay for walking Justin Smoak with one out in the fourth by launching his sixth homer of the year, a 421-foot shot to deep left field on a first-pitch 95 MPH fastball from Sale.

That dinger knotted things up at 3-3, and it seemed as though Sale would be able to escape the sixth unscathed following another GIDP to erase a leadoff HBP.

Unfortunately for the Florida native, a Rowdy Tellez two-out single brought Brandon Drury to the plate for the third time, and he unloaded on a 1-1 91 MPH heater down the heart of the plate by depositing it 408 feet over the center field wall.

The Blue Jays went up 5-3 on that booming shot, and Sale’s evening quickly came to a close before Drury had even crossed home.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 104 (69 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer more than 44% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 96.5 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez, not Sandy Leon, was behind the plate.

Falling to 3-8 with his ERA jumping up to 4.04 on the season, the first half of Sale’s 2019 did not go unexpected. Inconsistent would be a better way to put it. He’ll look to begin the second half of the year on a more positive note in his next time out, which should come against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first series out of the All-Star break.

In relief of Sale, Marcus Walden came on with one out to get in the sixth, got that, and worked his way around a one-out walk in a scoreless seventh as well.

Finally, Steven Wright got the call for the eighth, yielded one run on a sacrifice fly from Freddy Galvis to add on another run to the deficit at 6-3, and that would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Blue Jays right-hander Jacob Waguespack after fellow righty David Phelps served as Toronto’s opener and tossed a scoreless first.

Fast forward to the third, Rafael Devers got the scoring started for his team with a two-out, two-run single off Waguespack, plating Mookie Betts and Brock Holt from second and third to make it a 2-0 game early.

An inning later, Christian Vazquez came through with two outs this time around, taking the first pitch he saw from the Jays right-hander, a 90 MPH cutter on the outer half of the plate, and sending his 13th big fly of the season 408 feet to dead center.

Vazquez’s monstrous blast gave the Sox a 3-1 advantage, but it would be the last run they scored all night.

Oh sure, they had their chances, especially in the seventh with one out and runners on second and third in a 5-3 game for the pinch-hitting Eduardo Nunez following a Michael Chavis double.

New Toronto reliever Daniel Hudson held his own though, getting Nunez to fly out to left and fanning Mookie Betts on six pitches to kill any shot of a rally.

In the eighth, Hudson stranded J.D. Martinez at first after he reached on a two-out single, and Blue Jays closer Ken Giles needed just 10 pitches to retire Vazquez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Chavis in order in the ninth, all but wrapping up the 6-3 loss for Boston.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position Wednesday and left five men on base.

On the day he was named an All-Star for the second time in his big league career, Xander Bogaerts picked up his first ever Golden Sombrero by punching out four times Wednesday.

During his seven-game hitting streak, Rafael Devers is slashing .516/.531/.935 with two homers and 10 RBI.

From’s Christopher Smith:

In his last three starts, Chris Sale has posted a 7.02 ERA over 16 2/3 innings pitched.

The Red Sox are 6-12 in games started by Chris Sale this season.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game series on Thursday.

Right-hander Hector Velazquez is set to get the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Marcus Stroman is expected to do the same for Toronto.

With Brian Johnson on the shelf due to “non-baseball” reasons, Velazquez has taken over the fifth spot in the Sox’ rotation for the time being.

As a starter this season, the 30-year-old is 1-3 with a 6.41 ERA and .239 batting average against over 19 2/3 innings of work.

In five career appearances (two starts) at Rogers Centre, Velazquez owns a lifetime 2.57 ERA and .292 batting average against over a small seven inning sample size.

Stroman, meanwhile, has already faced the Red Sox twice this year, and has only allowed one earned run in those two starts and 12 innings pitched. The Blue Jays are 2-0 in those games.

In his last start against the Kansas City Royals this past Saturday, Stroman left early with a cramp in his left pectoral muscle, so it will be worth seeing if that has any impact on Toronto’s ace.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:07 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.