Mookie Betts Belts Three Homers, Drives in Five Runs as Red Sox Top Yankees 10-5 for Second Straight Win

After routing the New York Yankees 19-3 to open up a four-game weekend series on Thursday, the Red Sox were back at it again on Friday, this time going off for 10 wins in a 10-5 victory over their divisional foes to improve to 58-47 on the year.

Making his third start for Boston and 20th of the season overall was Andrew Cashner, who came into Friday winless in his first two outings with his new club since being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles earlier in the month.

When he first arrived in Boston two weekends ago, Cashner made it clear that he was excited to be a part of this rivalry, saying that, “the thing I’m looking forward to the most is playing the Yankees.” He stepped up in his first Red Sox-Yankees action Friday.

Working into the seventh inning of this one, the right-hander put together his best performance since the trade, as he allowed three runs, all of which were earned, on 10 hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts on the night.

The first of those three New York tallies came across to score in the top half of the sixth, when after retiring 14 of the first 18 hitters he faced, Cashner yielded three-straight two-out knocks to Edwin Encarnacion, Didi Gregorius, and Luke Voit, which plated Encarnacion from second.

A three-pitch punchout of Gleyber Torres allowed Cashner to escape that jam, but the Texas native ran into a bit more trouble an inning later, where the first three Yankees who came to bat in the seventh all reached base, resulting in Austin Romine driving in a run on RBI single, and D.J. LeMahieu driving in another while grounding into a helpful 6-4-3 double play.

That cut Boston’s lead from eight runs down to six, so Cashner’s evening quickly came to a close following a two-out double from Aaron Judge with Encarnacion looming.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (67 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 41% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 96.7 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was at the plate.

Finally able to pick up that first win as a Red Sox while slightly lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.18, Cashner will look to maintain this positive trend in his next time out, which should come against another divisional opponent in the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.

In relief of Cashner, Marcus Walden entered the seventh with a runner in scoring position and one out to get in the frame. He got that out rather quickly, punching out Encarnacion looking on seven pitches to retire the side.

From there, left-hander Josh Taylor worked his way around a one-out walk of Luke Voit in the eighth with the help of Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers.

Finally, in the ninth, Heath Hembree failed to record an out in the inning, allowing New York’s fourth run of the night to score on an Austin Romine RBI double, which led to Sox manager Alex Cora having to turn to Brandon Workman in a six-run contest.

Workman promptly loaded the bases on a Judge screamer that went for a fielding error committed by Xander Bogaerts, surrendered another run on a Gregorius sacrifice fly, but ultimately held on by getting Voit to ground into a force out at third to secure the 10-5 win for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander James Paxton, someone who had never pitched at Fenway Park before Friday.

Perhaps that unfamiliarity played a factor in how the scoring started for Boston, as Mookie Betts coldly greeted Paxton and kicked things off by mashing a 362-foot solo shot to left to lead off the first.

Three batters later, with one out and Rafael Devers at first, J.D. Martinez added on to his team’s early lead with his 21st big fly of the season. This one a 433-foot, two-run bomb over the Monster to put the Red Sox ahead 3-0.

Fast forward to the third, and the dynamic duo of Betts and Martinez struck once more, with the former leading the inning off with his second solo shot of the evening, a 390-foot solo shot at that, and the latter driving in Xander Bogaerts from second on a one-out, RBI triple down the right field line. 5-0.

An inning later, a two-out single off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. brought Betts to the plate with a runner on for the first time, and he got ahead in this particular count against Paxton at 3-1 before absolutely punishing a hanging, 87 MPH cutter down the heart of the plate.

Per Statcast, Betts’ third homer was deposited 376 feet into the Monster seats and had an exit velocity of over 103 MPH. Also was his 18th of the season.

In the sixth, with reliever David Hale in for New York and Michael Chavis on at second, back-to-back two-out RBI doubles from Betts and Devers plated two more runs for Boston, making it a 9-1 game.

And in the seventh, Sam Travis came through with an RBI two-bagger of his own off Hale, scoring Andrew Benintendi from second to put his team up 10-3.

Betts’ last at-bat came with one out in the bottom of the eighth. With the chance to become the first Red Sox player to ever hit four home runs in a single game, all the reigning American League MVP could manage against tough lefty Zack Brittion was a softly-hit grounder to third.

No history made, but still an impressive day at the plate nonetheless, as 10-5 would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From MLB Stats:

From The Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam:

From NESN’s Guerin Austin:

Red Sox’ top four hitters (Betts, Devers, Bogaerts, Martinez) on Friday: 9-for-18 with four homers, five other extra-base-hits, seven runs scored, and nine runs driven in.

Mookie Betts in July: .395/.465/.709 with five homers and 17 RBI.

Rafael Devers in July: .341/.400/.747 with nine homers and 32(!!!) RBI.

Xander Bogaerts in July: .369/.424/.702 with seven homers and 23 RBI.

J.D. Martinez’s last seven games: .438/.455/.813 with two homers and nine RBI.

The Red Sox have won four of their last five games against the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. At 58-47, this is the first time Boston has been 11 games over .500 all season.

They’ll look to make that 12 games over .500 in the third of this four-game series on Saturday afternoon.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is set to get the start for Boston, while fellow veteran southpaw C.C. Sabathia will do the same for New York.

Since the beginning of the month, Rodriguez is 4-0 in his last four starts, posting a 1.42 ERA and .159 batting average against over 25 1/3 innings pitched.

The 26-year-old’s last start against the Yankees came on international soil, where he gave up two earned runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings of work back on June 30th in London.

In his career against the Bronx Bombers, Rodriguez owns a lifetime 3.86 ERA over 15 appearances (13 starts) and 74 2/3 total frames pitched.

Sabathia, meanwhile, allowed three runs over six innings in a losing effort in his only other start against Boston this season back on June 2nd.

Over 19 prior starts at Fenway Park, the 39-year-old is 7-5 with an ERA of 4.87 and batting average against of .289 in 112 2/3 innings pitched.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

 

 

 

The #RedSox, Along with Four Other Teams, Reportedly Have Strong Interest in Acquiring Mariners All-Star Closer Edwin Diaz.

On Tuesday night, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that the Boston Red Sox were one of five teams interested in acquiring the services of Mariners closer and 2018 American League Reliever of the Year Edwin Diaz.

In his report, Sherman states that outside of Boston, other players for Diaz include the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies.

Given the fact that the Mariners dealt their ace, James Paxton, to the Yankees earlier in the month, it does appear as though Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto’s club is heading towards a retooling period beginning in 2019.

With that in mind, parting ways with the best closer in the American League West in exchange for a haul of prospects makes sense.

At just 24 years old, not only is Diaz coming off an elite season in which he recorded 57 saves and posted a K/9 of 15.2, he also has four more years of team control left before hitting free agency in 2022.

The Red Sox certainly do not have the farm system to produce the prospects the Mariners would be seeking in this potential deal, but if the club’s interest is that strong, there may be a way to get it done, albeit at a hefty price.

“Seattle is willing to consider less if a team takes on [Robinson] Cano, who is 36 and served an 80-game suspension last year for testing positive for a banned substance,” Sherman reports.

An eight-time All-Star, Cano inked a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners prior to the start of the 2014 season, meaning there is still five years and $120 million remaining on his contract.

With the Red Sox 2019 payroll already looking like it’s going to be one of the more expensive in baseball once again, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski, or even principal owner John Henry, would be willing to take that much money on, especially when the team still owes second baseman Dustin Pedroia $40 million over the next three years.

Similar to how Dombrowski acquired another elite closer and current free agent in Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres with three-years remaining on his previous contract, landing Diaz for at least his age 25 to 28 seasons would be something.

But, barring a way the Red Sox find a position for Cano to play on a regular basis, I don’t believe the club has the prospects to offer that the Yankees, Phillies, or Braves have in order to get a deal done.

Regardless of that though, Diaz would be a fantastic addition to the end of a bullpen that had their struggles throughout the 2018 season. Winter Meetings begin on December 9th in Las Vegas, so maybe talks will materialize there.

RECAP: #RedSox Bullpen Lets One Slip by Them in 7-6 Loss to Mariners.

Following a tight series opening win against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night, the Red Sox were right back at it in another close game against the M’s on Friday. This time though, they did not come out on top.

Making his 15th start of the season last night, Rick Porcello was certainly not the problem in this one. In a total of six innings pitched, the righty surrendered four runs on seven hits and one walk while tying his season-high in strikeouts with nine on the night.

Things certainly could have gone worse for the New Jersey native and that’s how it was looking when he gave up a solo home run to the second batter he faced in Jean Segura in the first inning. The Mariners tacked on another two runs in their half of the second, but Porcello bounced back after that.

From the middle of the third until the conclusion of the sixth, the 29-year-old hurler held Seattle to just one run on three hits and that one walk, which all happened in the bottom half of the fifth.

Going into the sixth inning with a pitch count of 92, I thought for sure that Porcello’s night had come to an end. Instead, he showed another encouraging sign by retiring the Mariners 6-7-8 hitters in order on only eight pitches to retire the side.

Finishing with exactly 100 pitches (70 strikes), Porcello relied mostly on his two-seam fastball last night, as he threw it 31% of the time, compared to just 19% on his four-seamer. Out of those 19 pitches, the righty topped out at 93.1 MPH.

Going into the bottom of the seventh with nine outs to get and a three run lead to protect, the Red Sox bullpen did less of an ideal job in an effort to shut down the Mariners lineup.

In the one inning he appeared in, Heath Hembree gave up a leadoff home run to M’s catcher Mike Zunino to cut the lead to two. And in the eighth, after walking Ryon Healy and giving up a single to Ben Gamel, Matt Barnes gave the game away when old friend Denard Span ripped a two RBI double to right field to plate the tying and go-ahead runs.

For the second time in three appearances, Barnes surrendered two earned runs and because of it, he was charged with both the blown save and loss.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was tasked with going up against one of the better pitchers in the American League in James Paxton for Seattle.

Paxton, a native of Canada, pitched as advertised in his first two innings of work, as he retired seven of the first eight batters he faced on three strikeouts.

Looking as though it was going to be a challenge to get anything on the board, the Red Sox, with some help from some careless defense from the Mariners, turned this game on its head in their half of the third.

With five of the first six batters reaching base in the lineup, an RBI single off the bat of Brock Holt cut the Red Sox deficit to two. Two batters later, after JD Martinez reached on a single to load the bases, Mitch Moreland came through with an unusual two RBI hit that must have crossed up Kyle Seager at third base.

Later ruled a fielding error on Seager’s part, Moreland was no longer credited with any RBI, but it still tied the game.

Amidst all the chaos, Xander Bogaerts followed that up by launching his 11th home run of the season, a 387 foot three-run piece to put the Red Sox in front 6-3.

Unfortunately, despite chasing Paxton out of the game in the third, the Red Sox failed to score from that point on. Credit to the Mariners bullpen there.

They loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Brock Holt lined out to left to end the inning.

With one last shot to score in the ninth and facing off against Mariners closer Edwin Diaz, a JD Martinez single and a Xander Bogaerts walk gave the Red Sox a chance with one out in the inning. That turned into nothing though, as Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez popped out and grounded out to wrap this thing up. Series tied at one game a piece now.

Some notes from this one:

In 15 games against the Red Sox withe the Mariners and Rays this season, Denard Span has an OPS of .990 with two home runs and 10 RBI.

Rafael Devers extended his hitting streak to 10 games last night after a 2/5 day at the plate.

The Seattle Mariners have already won 22 one-run games this season.

Playing on national television later tonight, it will be Steven Wright and his 22.2 scoreless innings streak getting the start for the Red Sox. He will be matched up against Wade LeBlanc, a lefty, for the Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET.