J.D. Martinez Batting Cleanup, Starting in Right Field for Red Sox in Players’ Weekend Opener Against Padres

After walking off the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, the Red Sox open up an eight-game, three-city west coast trip on Friday night, beginning with the first of three against the 59-67 San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

So far this season, the Sox are an underwhelming 3-7 in interleague play, with two of those losses coming this past week at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Since these three games will be played at a National League ballpark, Boston loses the designated hitter, meaning J.D. Martinez will slide over to right field and bat out of the cleanup spot for the series opener against the Pads on Friday.

In 17 games as a right fielder so far this year, the recently turned 32-year-old slugger is slashing .319/.397/.638 with six home runs and 12 RBI over 78 plate appearances.

With that move to the outfield for Martinez, Mookie Betts slides over to center and Andrew Benintendi remains in left, while Jackie Bradley Jr. gets the night off.

As the above tweet indicates, Friday is also the opening night of Players’ Weekend 2019, a weekend where the Red Sox have yet to win a single game since its inception in 2017.

Yup, they were swept by the Baltimore Orioles at home in 2017, and swept on the road by the Tampa Bay Rays last year, which marked the only time they were swept over the course of a dominant 2018 campaign.

The Red Sox are 4-2 all-time against the Padres at Petco Park, winning series’ there in both 2007 and 2016.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:10 PM EDT on NESN. Eduardo Rodriguez going against Chris Paddack.

Also, here are some of the cleats different Red Sox will be sporting this weekend.

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Red Sox Falter Late, Get Swept by Phillies in Frustrating 5-2 Loss

After seeing their five-game winning streak come to an end following a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, the Red Sox were unable to avoid the quick two-game sweep on Wednesday, as they fell to the Phils by a final score of 5-2, marking their second consecutive loss, to drop back down to 67-61 on the season.

Making his 26th start of the season for Boston and second of the interleague variety was Rick Porcello, who came into the week having allowed exactly one run in two of his last three outings going back to the beginning of August.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the right-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on three hits and four walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

All three of those Philadelphia runs came across to score in the top half of the fifth, when after retiring 12 of the first 16 hitters he faced, Porcello served up a leadoff double to Cesar Hernandez to begin the inning.

With Adam Haseley at the plate, a wild pitch from Porcello on the fifth pitch of the at-bat allowed Hernandez to advance up to third, and a missed catch error on the part of Rafael Devers trying to receive a throw from Christian Vazquez allowed the runner to score his side’s first run.

Haseley wound up drawing an eight-pitch walk, which set up Bryce Harper two batters later with a runner at first.

On the fourth pitch he saw from the New Jersey native, Harper unloaded on a 1-2, 87 MPH slider down the heart of the plate and sent it 377 feet over the Green Monster for his second career Fenway Park home run and first career hit off of Porcello in 10 tries.

That go-ahead two-run blast put the Phillies up 3-2, and Porcello’s evening would quickly come to a close after he managed to get the final two outs of the fifth in order.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 100 (65 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 47% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 92.2 MPH with the pitch while Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 11-10 while keeping his ERA on the season at 5.49, Porcello’s next start should come against the Colorado Rockies next week.

In relief of Porcello, Ryan Braiser got the first call out of the Boston bullpen for the top half of the sixth, and he worked his way around a leadoff single and two-out walk in a scoreless frame.

From there, Andrew Cashner allowed his first run in his fourth appearance with the Sox as a reliever on a two-out, RBI triple from Corey Dickerson in the seventh, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez walked one and punched out two in a scoreless eighth, and Brandon Workman allowed his side’s deficit to increase to three on a two-out, RBI single off the bat of Dickerson in the ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Phillies left-hander Drew Smyly, someone who joined the Philadelphia pitching staff in July after spending time with both the Texas Rangers and, to a lesser extent, the Milwaukee Brewers this season.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the bottom of the first, back-to-back doubles from Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers got the Sox on the board before an out had even been recorded.

An inning later, a red-hot Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with two outs and the bases empty, as he took Smyly deep to right off a 2-2, 87 MPH cutter on the outer half of the plate for his 16th big fly of the season and fourth in his last seven games.

In the fourth, a leadoff double from Andrew Benintendi and infield single from Sam Travis put runners at first and second with no outs for the bottom half of the lineup.

Vazquez responded well enough by advancing both runners 90 feet on a successful sacrifice bunt and Marco Hernandez drew a walk on five pitches, bringing Bradley Jr. to the plate with one out and the bases full.

All Bradley Jr. could do in this trip to the plate against Smyly was fan on four pitches, which led to a Phillies pitching change with the Red Sox’ lineup turning over.

Facing off against right-hander Jared Hughes for the first time in his career, Betts got ahead in the count at 2-0, but was unable to deliver, as he grounded out to third to extinguish the threat.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, with left-hander Jose Alvarez in for Philadelphia and runners at second and third for Boston following a two-out double from Vazquez, Sox manager Alex Cora decided to go to his bench with his team only trailing by two runs.

So, in came the right-handed hitting Chris Owings in the place of the left-handed hitting Hernandez.

Owings, in just his 13th plate appearance with the Red Sox, fouled off the first pitch he saw from Alvarez before taking the second for a called strike. A third-pitch ball didn’t change much, as Owings whiffed on a 1-2, 84 MPH changeup on the outer half of the plate for the final out of the inning.

And in the ninth, Bradley Jr., Betts, and Devers, went down quietly against Phillies closer Hector Neris to put the finishing touches on a 5-2 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday. They left nine men on base as a team.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last seven games: .320/.333/.880 with four homers and six RBI.

With the Tampa Bay Rays topping the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, the Red Sox now stand seven games off the pace for the second American League Wild Card spot.

What was once a five-game winning streak has now turned into a two-game skid. That’s pretty much been the story for the 2019 Boston Red Sox.

Next up for the Sox, they’ll pick up where things left off against the Kansas City Royals back on August 7th, as the two sides will resume things in the top half of the 10th inning of a 4-4 contest on Thursday afternoon.

Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria was at the plate ahead in a 2-1 count against left-hander Josh Taylor, who, according to Speier, does not need to “start” the resumed game.

“First pitch” Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going a unique and unusual win.

Red Sox Go 0-For-7 with Runners in Scoring Position, Struggle Against Aaron Nola in 3-2 Loss to Phillies

After sweeping the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend and an off day on Monday, the Red Sox saw their five-game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday, as they opened up a two-game, interleague series against the Philadelphia Phillies with a 3-2 loss to fall back down to 67-60 on the season.

Making his sixth start of the season for Boston and 11th overall appearance was Brian Johnson, taking the spot of the now-shelved Chris Sale, who appears to be out for the remainder of 2019.

Working into fourth inning of this one, the left-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

All three of those Philadelphia tallies were plated right away in the top half of the first, beginning with a one-out, two-run double off the bat of Jean Segura that drove in Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper from second and third.

Two batters later, Johnson was just one strike away from getting out of the first with just the two runs, as he had Scott Kingery in an 0-2 count on the first two pitches of the at-bat.

Instead of escaping though, the Florida native persisted with three straight balls before hanging a 74 MPH curveball over the heart of the plate, one in which Kingery roped down the left field line to drive in Segura and make it a 3-0 contest.

Another single from Cesar Hernandez put a runner in scoring position for Philadelphia once more, but Johnson did not falter this time around, as he got Adam Haseley to fly out to center to put an end to the first.

That flyout began a run for Johnson in which he retired eight of the last 11 Phillies he faced with the help of a successful inning-ending pickoff attempt on the part of Mitch Moreland to snuff out Kingery in the third.

In the fourth, with one out and Hasely at second following a wild pitch, Johnson managed to punch out Andrew Knapp on five pitches, and that would be how his evening came to a close as Sox manager Alex Cora turned to his bullpen with the Phillies lineup turning over.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 67 (42 strikes), the 28-year-old relied on his curveball more than 40% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 90 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 19 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with his second losing decision while inflating his ERA on the year up to 6.58, Johnson’s next start should come against the Colorado Rockies next week.

In relief of Johnson, Marcus Walden entered with an inherited runner on second and one out to get in the top of the fourth, and he got that out by fanning J.T. Realmuto on three straight strikes after giving up an infield single to Hoskins.

Walden also worked a 1-2-3 fifth before making way for left-hander Josh Taylor in the sixth, who also tossed a perfect inning of relief.

From there, Ryan Brasier struck out one in a scoreless seventh, Darwinzon Hernandez did the same in the eighth, and Matt Barnes worked his way around two straight hitters reaching base with two outs in a shutout top of the ninth.

All in all, Red Sox relievers sat down 16 of the 19 Phillies they collectively faced from the fourth until the middle of the ninth to keep the deficit at one run. Too bad it went in vain.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Phillies ace right-hander Aaron Nola, whose only other appearance at Fenway Park before Tuesday was an eight-inning gem back on July 30th of last season.

Down by three runs before they even had the chance to take their first at-bats, Mitch Moreland got things started against Nola beginning in the third inning with a leadoff single.

A Brock Holt flyout brought Jackie Bradley Jr. to the plate with one out in the frame, and he came through by unloading on a first-pitch, 93 MPH heater on the inner half of the plate from Nola and depositing it 402 feet into the Red Sox bullpen.

Per Statcast, Bradley Jr.’s 15th home run of this season and third in his last six games had an exit velocity of 108.4 MPH, the hardest hit ball from either side all night.

That two-run blast cut Boston’s lead down to just one, and it certainly seemed as though they had Nola on the ropes on multiple occasions from there.

Like in the bottom of the fifth, when Christian Vazquez led off with a line-drive double. Moreland, Brock Holt, and Bradley Jr. all had their chances to drive the runner in, but neither of the three could deliver.

An inning later, Mookie Betts singled and stole second to lead off the sixth, setting up the Red Sox’ 2-3-4 hitters in a prime run-scoring spot. Again, none of Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, nor J.D. Martinez answered with what would have been a game-tying knock.

Fast forward to the eighth, with Nola out and left-hander Jose Alvarez in for Philadelphia, and Bradley Jr. again reached base on one-out single, turning the lineup over against new reliever Mike Morin.

Betts looked helpless as he fanned on three straight hittable strikes, and Devers didn’t fare much better with an inning-ending lineout to center.

And in the ninth, all frustration boiled over as Xander Bogaerts laced a leadoff double off of Phillies closer Hector Neris.

Things were looking promising for Boston yet again, but on the very next pitch thrown by Neris, Martinez lined a grounder to Segura at short, prompting Bogaerts to try and advance to third despite the play being right in front of him.

Segura took advantage of this, as he snubbed out his positional counterpoint with a quick toss over to Kingery at third.

Bogaerts was out by a decent amount, and just like that, the Sox were down to their final two outs with a runner at first instead of at second.

Chris Owings came on to run for Martinez at first, but that did not make much of a difference, as Benintendi lined out to Segura in the shift more towards second, and he was able to double up Owings at first to end the ballgame with 3-2 being Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday. They left three men on base as a team.

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last seven games: .292/.333/.750 with three homers and six RBI.

With the Tampa Bay Rays falling to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, the Red Sox still remain six games off the pace for the second American League East.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second and final game of this two-game series, with right-hander Rick Porcello getting the start for Boston and left-hander Drew Smyly doing the same for Philadelphia. The two were part of the same starting rotation for the Detroit Tigers from 2012 until 2014.

Since the calendar flipped to August, Porcello has been, for the most part, solid, posting a 3.71 ERA and .206 batting average against over his last three starts and 17 innings pitched.

In his career in interleague play, the 30-year-old owns a lifetime 4.29 ERA and .277 batting average against over 42 total outings (40 starts) and 241 1/3 innings of work. He will not get to bat this time out.

Smyly, meanwhile, has surrendered 17 runs (15 earned) on 26 hits in five starts and 28 2/3 innings pitched since joining the Phillies on July 21st.

When pitching at Fenway Park over the course of his career, the 30-year-old is 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA and .198 batting average against over five prior starts that amount to 31 1/3 innings of work.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to rebound and start a new winning streak.

 

 

 

 

Rafael Devers Homers, Surpasses 100-RBI Mark as Red Sox Complete Sweep of Orioles in 13-7 Comeback Win

After shutting out the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, the Red Sox fell behind by six runs early against the O’s on Sunday, but battled their way back to both complete the three-game weekend sweep and extend their winning streak to five games with a 13-7 victory.

Making his fifth start and 16th overall appearance for Boston was Nathan Eovaldi, who, before Sunday, hadn’t started a game in over four months.

Tossing just two full innings in this one, the right-hander yielded five runs, all of which were earned, on three hits and three walks to go along with one strikeout on the afternoon.

The first three of those Baltimore runs came on one swing of the bat right away in the top half of the first, when with one out and runners at the corners following a Jonathan Villar leadoff double and Trey Mancini walk, Renato Nunez unloaded on a 3-2, 79 MPH curveball from Eovaldi and sent it 415 feet over the Green Monster.

An inning later, ball four came back to bite Eovaldi once more, with Chris Davis drawing a walk to lead things off and Villar drawing another with two outs, which allowed Mancini to make it a 5-0 contest on a two-run single that also ended the top of the frame as he was thrown out at second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 43 (23 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing one swing and miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 97.7 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 13 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately getting hit with the no-decision while inflating his ERA on the year up to a not-so-nice 6.69 ERA, command, or lack thereof, played a major role for Eovaldi in his first start since April 17th. He’ll look for improved results, as well as an increased workload, in his next time out, which should come against the San Diego Padres next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the top of the third with his side trailing by five runs, and he bumped that deficit up to six by serving up a two-out RBI double to Hanser Alberto in his lone inning of work.

From there, Ryan Brasier worked his way around a one-out walk in a scoreless fourth, Josh Taylor allowed back-to-back two-out singles in an otherwise clean fifth, Marcus Walden tossed a scoreless sixth, which eventually led to him picking up his eighth winning decision of the season, and Andrew Cashner put together his third straight scoreless appearance since moving to the bullpen with the help of an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play in the seventh.

And finally, with this one already well in hand, Travis Lakins surrendered one run on one hit over two frames of relief to secure the 13-7 win for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles left-hander Ty Blach, who was claimed off waivers by Baltimore from the San Francisco Giants earlier in the month.

Already trailing by three runs before they took their first at-bats, five runs before taking their second, and six before taking their third, back-to-back RBI groundouts from Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts following a walk and double from Chris Owings and Mookie Betts to lead off the bottom half of the third netted the Sox their first two runs of the day.

In the fourth, Sam Travis continued to trim the deficit, as he took Blach deep to dead center off a one-out, first-pitch, 90 MPH sinker down the middle of the plate for his sixth home run of the season.

Fast forward to the sixth, and a leadoff double off the bat of J.D. Martinez and one-out walk drawn by Travis knocked Blach out of this contest and brought right-hander Gabriel Ynoa in for Baltimore.

That move would wind up favoring Boston more though, as Christian Vazquez greeted the new O’s reliever by knocking in Martinez from third on a line-drive RBI double down the left field line.

The emergence of Mitch Moreland hitting in the place of Sandy Leon led to another Orioles pitching change, this time with lefty Paul Fry taking over.

Again, the run that Red Sox pinch-hitters have been on this season continued, with Moreland being the beneficiary of sloppy defensive play from Baltimore on a routine pop fly to shallow left field.

What should have been the second out of the sixth instead went for an RBI single while both Travis and Vazquez scored to knot things up at six runs apiece.

An Owings strikeout and Betts walk brought Devers to the plate with the chance to give his side their first lead of the afternoon, and he came through with the go-ahead, run-scoring double off the Green Monster to do just that and drive in Moreland from second.

Bogaerts and Martinez followed suit with back-to-back RBI singles in between another Orioles pitching change, with Bogaerts’ knock coming off Fry and Martinez’s off of Shawn Armstrong.

All in all, the Sox entered their half of the sixth down 6-3. By the time the third out was recorded on a Travis punchout, 12 hitters had come to the plate and the score was now 9-6 in favor of Boston. Talk about turning a game on it’s head.

The offensive outpour did not stop there though, not with Vazquez and Moreland leading off the seventh with back-to-back singles and Betts plating Vazquez on a sacrifice fly to center.

Devers followed that by absolutely punishing a 1-1, 94 MPH four-seamer on the outer half of the strike zone from Armstrong and depositing it 399 feet to right for his 27th big fly of the season.

That two-run shot had an exit velocity of over 111 MPH, per Statcast, and it also marked the 100th and 101st RBI of the year for Devers, as he became the first player in baseball this season to reach the century mark in runs driven in.

A Bogaerts double and Martinez run-scoring single put the Red Sox up 13-6, and after the Orioles tacked on another run in their half of the ninth, 13-7 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

Josh Taylor’s last 15 appearances: 14 1/3 innings pitched, nine hits, three earned runs, five walks, 18 strikeouts, 1.88 ERA.

Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .563/.600/1.094 with three home runs and 11 RBI.

J.D. Martinez’s last 15 games: .414/.485/.707 with four homers and 10 RBI.

Mitch Moreland’s last seven games: .409/.458/.682 with one homer and six RBI.

With the Tampa Bay Rays topping the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, the Red Sox still stand 6 1/2 games off the pace for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another off day on Monday before welcoming the 64-60 Philadelphia Phillies into town for a two-game interleague series beginning on Tuesday.

Left-hander Chris Sale was supposed to start in the opener, but has since been placed on the 10-day injured list due to left elbow inflammation. Sox manager Alex Cora has yet to name a replacement.

Right-hander Aaron Nola will get the start for Philadelphia.

Since the beginning of August, the Phillies ace owns an ERA of 2.07 and batting average against of .194 over his last three outings and 19 innings pitched.

In one prior start at Fenway Park back on July 30th of last year, Nola hurled eight masterful innings of one-run ball in a contest the Phillies lost by a final score of 2-1.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their sixth straight win.

Eduardo Rodriguez Impresses and Rafael Devers Homers as Red Sox Blank Orioles to Extend Winning Streak to Four

After cruising to a 9-1 win to open up a three-game weekend set with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, the Red Sox took the series with a 4-0 shutout win over the O’s on Saturday to extend their winning streak to four and improve to 66-59 on the season.

Making his 26th start of the season for Boston and third against Baltimore was Eduardo Rodriguez, who came into the weekend having given up a season-high 10 hits in his last time out against the Cleveland Indians.

Working into the eighth inning this time around, the left-hander kept his former club off the scoreboard, scattering just four hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The most trouble Rodriguez came into on Saturday came in the top half of the fourth, when a leadoff walk of Trey Mancini and two-out walk of Jonathan Villar put runners at first and second for Pedro Severino.

Rodriguez did not waver though, as he got the Baltimore backstop to ground into an inning-ending out at second and proceeded to sit down 10 of the next 12 Orioles he faced before yielding a one-out single to Hanser Albeto in the eighth, which is the point where the Venezuela native’s evening came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 106 (70 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler relied on both his four-seam fastball and changeup a combined 58% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing four swings and misses with the heater and five with the change. He also topped out at 95.7 MPH with the four-seamer while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately earning his 14th winning decision to reach a new career-high while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.10, Rodriguez will look to build on this strong performance in his next time out, which should come against the San Diego Padres next weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, Matt Barnes entered the eighth with a four-run lead to protect and an inherited runner on at first, and he allowed that runner to advance to third on a Mancini single and wild pitch before escaping the jam by punching out Anthony Santander and Renato Nunez in consecutive order.

And in the ninth, Brandon Workman preserved the 4-0 shutout win by fanning a pair himself in a scoreless frame of relief.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against O’s right-hander Adrian Wojciechowski, someone who held them scoreless in Baltimore just last month.

Able to get on the board against the Orioles starter in his first ever appearance at Fenway Park, Brock Holt kicked off the scoring in the fifth with a bang, as he led the inning off by mashing his second home run of the season off a first-pitch, 90 MPH four-seamer at the top of the zone.

That was also Holt’s first homer since returning to the Sox after mourning the loss of his junior college baseball coach Derwood “Pops” Penney. A pretty special moment for him to say the least.

A Jackie Bradley Jr. triple to follow up that big fly kept the pressure on Wojciechowski, and he faltered even further by allowing Bradley Jr. to score from third on a wild pitch with Mookie Betts at the plate.

Fast forward to the seventh, with left-handed reliever Paul Fry in for Baltimore, and Betts put a runner in scoring position for Rafael Devers with a two-out double off the left field wall.

Three pitches later, Devers came through and doubled his side’s lead with a two-run, 365-foot blast off an 0-2, 93 MPH heater from Fry.

Devers’ 26th home run of 2019 put the Red Sox ahead 4-0, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From the Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .500/.543/.969 with three homers and 10 RBI.

With the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays both winning on Saturday, the Red Sox still stand 6 1/2 games back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

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

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in his first start since April 17th, while left-hander Ty Blach will do the same for Baltimore.

Eovaldi is expected to throw between 55-60 pitches and hopes to work the first four innings Sunday before increasing his workload next week.

In his career against the O’s, the 29-year-old is 3-0 with a 4.67 ERA and .310 batting average against over seven prior starts and 34 2/3 innings of work.

Blach, meanwhile, allowed seven runs, six of which were earned, in his Orioles debut against the New York Yankees on August 12th after being claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants earlier in the month.

The 28-year-old has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park before in his career.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the weekend sweep.

Rick Porcello Tosses Six Strong Innings, Mookie Betts Homers as Red Sox Cruise to 9-1 Victory over Orioles

After taking a competitive series from the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox picked up where they left off by opening up a three-game weekend set against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday with a 9-1 win to mark their third consecutive victory.

Making his 25th start of the season for Boston and second against Baltimore was Rick Porcello, who came into the weekend fresh off allowing five runs on five hits over five innings in his last time out against the Los Angeles Angels.

Working six full frames this time around to surpass the 2,000 mark for his career, the right-hander yielded just one earned while scattering four hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

That lone Orioles tally came in the the top half of the third inning, when with two outs and Jonathan Villar at first following a two-out single, Trey Mancini laced an RBI double to right field off a 1-1, 90 MPH two-seam fastball from Porcello to put his team on the board.

Other than that one blip though, Porcello escaped the third by fanning Anthony Santander on three pitches before retiring eight of the final 11 Orioles he faced from the beginning of the fourth up until the middle of the sixth, which is the point where his evening came to an encouraging close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (47 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer more than 38% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 91.7 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually earning his 11th winning decision while lowering his ERA on the year to 5.49, Porcello’s next start should come against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the seventh inning with a brand new five-run lead to protect, and he did so by needing just 11 pitches to sit down the side in order.

From there, the recently called up Travis Lakins saw this one through to its completion by working his way around a leadoff single and one-out walk in the eighth before punching out the side in the ninth to secure the 9-1 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles right-hander Aaron Brooks, someone they faced twice in April when he was a member of the Oakland Athletics pitching staff.

Perhaps aided by that level of familiarity, a Mookie Betts double to lead things off the first set up Rafael Devers right away with a runner in scoring position.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Brooks, a 2-2, 86 MPH changeup on the outer edge of the plate, the red-hot Devers managed to rip an RBI single to the opposite field to get his side on the board first.

Fast forward to the fourth, after Baltimore came back to tie things up at one run apiece, and Andrew Benintendi took that lead back by driving in J.D. Martinez from second on a one-out, run-scoring triple to the triangle.

Two batters later, Mitch Moreland followed that Benintendi triple with an RBI three-bagger of his own, this one coming with two outs and on a pop fly to right field to make it a 3-1 contest.

In the sixth, a Martinez HBP, a Benintendi single, and Christian Vazquez sacrifice bunt set up the pinch-hitting Sam Travis with runners at second and third against new O’s reliever Richard Bleier.

Travis was put on intentionally, filling the bases for another pinch-hitter in the form of Chris Owings.

Having not played since going 0-for-5 in his Sox debut this past Sunday, Owings made up for that by plating a pair on a two-run double to left off the first pitch he saw from Bleier. Owing’s first hit in a Red Sox uniform put his new team ahead 5-1.

Jackie Bradley Jr. added on to that lead with a sacrifice fly to center to drive in Travis from third, and just like that, Boston had themselves a five-run lead.

An inning later, up against Tom Eshelman, a Devers leadoff walk and Bogaerts double put runners in scoring position once again for Martinez, who came through with yet another sac fly, driving in Devers from third.

Benintendi followed with his third hit and second of the extra-base hit variety, plating Bogaerts from third on an RBI double to give the Sox a seven-run advantage.

And in the eighth, Betts put the exclamation point on this blowout by mashing his 21st home run of the season with two outs in the inning.

That 358-foot blast over the Green Monster gave the Red Sox a 9-1 lead, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Rafael Devers’ last six games: 15-for-28 (.536) with six doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI.

Andrew Benintendi’s August thus far: .356/.406/.593 with nine doubles, one homer, and nine RBI. He has multiple hits in four of his last five games.

With their winning streak now at three, the Red Sox currently sit 6 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card Spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set on Saturday night.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston, while right-hander Asher Wojciechowski will do the same for Baltimore.

Rodriguez surrendered a season-high 10 hits in his last time out against the Cleveland Indians on Monday before being hit with the no-decision.

In two outings against the organization he began his pro career with this season, the 26-year-old is 2-0 with a minuscule 1.98 ERA and .188 batting average against over 13 2/3 quality innings of work.

Wojciechowski, meanwhile, held the Sox scoreless while taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning of a 5-0 win for the O’s in Baltimore back on July 21st.

The 30-year-old has since allowed 14 runs over his last four starts and 21 2/3 innings pitched. He has never made an appearance at Fenway Park.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their fourth straight win.

 

 

Rick Porcello Gives up Two Home Runs, One of Which Being Mike Trout’s First at Fenway Park, as Red Sox Get Blown out by Angels

After blowing out the Los Angeles Angels in a 16-4 victory on Friday night, the Red Sox saw their two-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday, as they fell to the Halos by a final score of 12-4 to drop back down to 62-57 on the season.

Making his 24th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who came into the weekend fresh off his best outing in weeks in his last time out against the Kansas City Royals.

Working into the sixth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered five runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and zero walks to go along with three strikeouts on the afternoon.

The first three of of those Angels runs came right away in the top half of the first inning, when for the second game in a row, a three-run home run got Los Angeles on the board first.

This one came courtesy of Justin Upton following a leadoff single from Kole Calhoun and one-out double from Shohei Ohtani.

On the fourth pitch he saw from Porcello, Ohtani unloaded on a 1-2, 93 MPH heater and wrapped it around Pesky’s Pole for his seventh home run of the season.

All was not looking well for Porcello early on, but the New Jersey native settled in nicely after serving up that bomb by stringing together 14 consecutive outs from the top of the first until the middle of the fifth.

Unfortunately for Boston though, Calhoun broke up that string with a leadoff single in the sixth, and Mike Trout followed that up by doing something he had yet to do in his career before Saturday, that being hit a home run at Fenway Park.

Yes, it took 22 games at Fenway to do so, but Trout clearly liked the first pitch he saw from his fellow statesman, a 90 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate, in his third at-bat of the day, and he deposited it 428 feet over the Green Monster.

Trout’s 39th homer of the year put the Angels up 5-1, and Porcello’s evening quickly came to a close as the two-time American League MVP was making the jog back to his dugout after rounding the bases.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (54 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.8 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 21 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 10-9 while inflating his ERA on the season up to 5.67, Porcello did not pitch poorly on Saturday. It’s just that the two biggest mistakes he made went for long home runs with men already on base. He’ll look to re-gain that Kansas City form in his next time out, which should come against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the sixth with the bases empty and three outs to get, and he got those three outs while working his way around a walk as well.

The seventh inning is where this contest fell apart for the Red Sox. Hernandez came back out for his second frame of work with his team in a three-run hole.

Despite the decently positive results in the sixth, the 22-year-old lost control in the seventh, as he allowed the Luis Rengifo, Kevan Smith, Wilfredo Tovar, and Calhoun to all reach base without recording an out.

Tovar drove in Rengifo on third with an RBI single, and Calhoun drew a walk on five pitches to fill the bases, which ended up being the point where Hernandez could no longer continue.

Instead, Hector Velazquez was inserted into this particular jam, and he proceeded to bean the first man he faced in Trout, digging the hole even deeper at 7-2.

A two-run single from Ohtani and sacrifice fly off the bat of Upton increased the Angels’ lead to eight runs, and David Fletcher plated a pair despite not recording an RBI on a single that got past Sam Travis in left field, which in turn allowed Ohtani and Matt Thaiss to score and make it a 12-2 game.

From that point, Velazquez got the final two outs of the seventh without allowing another run to score, while Ryan Weber retired six of the eight hitters he faced over two scoreless frames of relief in the eighth and ninth to hold the Angels at 12 runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney, another former Miami Marlins prospect who had been out since July 16th due to inflammation in his throwing elbow.

Starting the scoring in the bottom half of the third inning, a Jackie Bradley Jr. HBP and Mookie Betts single that Upton misplayed in left field put runners in scoring position with no outs for the middle-part of Boston’s order.

Xander Bogaerts was unable to do anything, as he flew out to shallow right field, but J.D. Martinez was able to load the bases by taking a 1-2, 80 MPH curveball off his left foot.

That HBP brought Sam Travis to the plate in a prime run-scoring spot, and he managed to bring Bradley Jr. in from third on a sacrifice fly to left to cut the early deficit down to two runs at 3-1.

Still with runners at first and second, Christian Vazquez killed any shot of extending the rally by flying out to Upton in left to end the inning.

In the fourth, back-to-back two-out singles from Sandy Leon and Bradley Jr. set up Mookie Betts nicely against new Angels reliever Taylor Cole, but all the reigning American League MVP could do was fly out to right for the third and final out.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Brock Holt at second following a one-out double, Bradley Jr. at first following a two-out walk and former Red Sox prospect Ty Buttrey on the mound for Los Angeles, Betts came through this time with a line-drive RBI double to score Holt from second and trim the Halos’ lead to three runs at 5-2.

5-2 was the closest the Sox got though, as the Angels exploded for seven runs of their own in their half of the seventh.

Travis and Michael Chavis responded in the bottom half of the frame with a solo homer and run-scoring groundout off of JC Ramirez to make it a 12-4 contest, but that would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. They left 11 men on base as a team.

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

So, the mini two-game winning streak for the Red Sox has come to an end. They’ll look to close out this six-game homestand with a series win over the Angels on Sunday afternoon before heading to Cleveland.

Right-hander Andrew Cashner is set to get the ball for Boston, while left-hander Patrick Sandoval will do the same for Los Angeles.

Since coming over from the Baltimore Orioles last month, Cashner has taken the loss in four of his first five starts with the Red Sox. He has posted a 7.53 ERA over 28 2/3 innings of work in that span.

In his career against the Angels, the 32-year-old owns a lifetime 3.27 ERA and .259 batting average against over six total appearances (three starts) and 22 innings pitched.

Sandoval, meanwhile, will be making his firs career big league start in his second appearance after yielding two runs over five innings of relief in his big league debut against the Cincinnati Reds this past Monday.

Ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the Angels’ farm system, Sandoval, 22, posted a 5.71 ERA and .290 batting average against over 19 starts between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake before getting called up on August 5th.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.