Mitch Moreland Comes Through With Two Homers, Walks It off for Red Sox in Series-Clinching 5-3 Victory Over Blue Jays

For the first time in nearly a full calendar year, the Red Sox have won a series at home following a 4-3, walk-off victory over the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Sunday.

Nathan Eovaldi made his fourth start of the season for Boston to close out the weekend, and he had a nice bounce-back outing coming off a somewhat rough go of things in Tampa Bay last week.

Working six innings on Sunday, the right-hander surrendered three runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and zero walks to go along with 10 strikeouts on the afternoon to tie a career-high.

All three Toronto tallies yielded by Eovaldi were driven in by the sons of former major-leaguers, with Cavan Biggio lifting a two-out solo shot in the third, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. plating Teoscar Hernandez on a two-out RBI single in the fourth, and Bo Bichette crushing a solo homer of his own to lead things off in the sixth.

Other than those mishaps, Eovaldi was fairly effective, missed plenty of bats, and escaped the top half of the sixth inning without giving anything else up to end his day on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (63 strikes), the 30-year-old flamethrower turned to his vaunted four-seam fastball 40% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing four swings-and-misses and topping out at 100.2 mph with the pitch.

Hit with the no-decision while raising his ERA on the year to 4.09, Eovaldi will look to build on this start in his next time out, which should come against the Yankees in the Bronx this coming Friday.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Josh Osich got the call to begin things in the seventh, and he got the first two outs of the frame before a two-out walk of Biggio resulted in Sox manager Ron Roenicke turning to Austin Brice with the dangerous Bichette due up next.

As Roenicke had intended, Brice got the Blue Jays shortstop to ground into an inning-ending forceout, and then proceeded to punch out the side in the eighth on 17 pitches.

From there, Matt Barnes kept a 3-3 tie intact during a two-strikeout top of the ninth, and he would later be credited with his first winning decision of 2020 because of it.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against yet another veteran right-hander for the Blue Jays in the form of ex-Angels hurler Matt Shoemaker.

Mitch Moreland, who had faced Shoemaker seven times in his career before Sunday, got the scoring started for Boston with a 414-foot solo home run with one out in the second inning.

In the third, the Sox took advantage of sloppy defense from Shoemaker when Jackie Bradley Jr. led the inning off with a single, advanced to second on a Tzu-Wei Lin sacrifice bunt, and came around to score when the Toronto starter misfielded a soft grounder off the bat of Alex Verdugo. That bizarre sequence made it a 2-1 contest in favor of the home side.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, another left-handed hitter got the best of Shoemaker, this time with Rafael Devers busting out of a cold spell and tying this one up at three runs apiece with a 449-foot blast to dead center coming off a first-pitch, 92 mph sinker on the inner half of the plate. The 23-year-old’s first Fenway big fly of 2020.

And in the ninth, a two-out walk drawn by Xander Bogaerts off Jays reliever Thomas Hatch brought Moreland to the plate for a fourth time. And with the chance to win this one, the 34-year-old did not waste anytime, as he swung at the first pitch he saw from the opposing right-hander and deposited an 86 mph slider well over the Green Monster to walk it off.

Moreland’s second long ball of the day and third of the weekend put the Red Sox up 5-3, which would of course go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this walk-off victory: 

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Mitch Moreland’s last seven games: 7-for-21 (.333) with four homers and nine RBI.

From The Providence Journal’s Bill Koch:

Red Sox pitchers faced 35 Blue Jays hitters on Sunday. They struck out 15 of them.

Look at Rafael Devers, man.

Now a quarter of the way through the truncated season, the Red Sox are a not-so-nice 6-9 on the season. The homestand rolls on with the first of four against the Rays on Monday night.

Ron Roenicke has yet to name a starter for the series opener, but Tampa Bay will go with left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who surrendered five runs over five innings his last time out against Boston on August 5.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox looking for their second straight win.

Red Sox Held to Just One Run in Loss to Blue Jays as Offensive Struggles Continue for Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez

For the second time this season, the Red Sox had a chance to string together their first three-game winning streak of the year. And for the second time this season, that effory fell short, this time coming in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Blue Jays on Saturday.

Zack Godley made his second start and third overall appearance of the year for Boston in this one, and unlike his last time out against the Yankees looked much more poised against his former club. That being the case because over four innings pitched, the right-hander kept Toronto off the scoreboard while scattering three hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

The only real trouble Godley ran into came in his final inning of work, when he served up back-to-back two-out singles to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to put runners, which at the time put the tying run in scoring position for Randal Grichuk.

Fortunately for Boston, Godley managed to get the Blue Jays outfielder to pop out to first to strand what would have been the tying run at second and end his outing on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 67 (41 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his cutter and curveball a combined 79% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing six total swings-and-misses with the two pitches while topping out at 91 mph with that cut-fastball.

Hit with the no decision later on, Godley was at least able to lower his ERA on the season down to 3.97. He’ll look to bring that number down even more in his next time out, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.

In relief of Godley, left-hander Josh Osich got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen to begin things in the fifth, and he faced the minimum three batters thanks to an inning-ending double play courtesy of Mitch Moreland.

From there, Phillips Valdez nearly surrendered a run in the sixth by walking one and giving up two hits, but was bailed out by Kevin Pillar in right field, who corralled a two-out single off the bat of Guerrero Jr. and gunned down old friend Travis Shaw trying to score from second on play. A rough weekend for the former Sox infielder thus far.

In the seventh, Heath Hembree looked human for the first time this season in that he allowed the Blue Jays to tie this contest up at one run apiece on a Bo Bichette two-out, run-scoring double before a six-pitch walk of Shaw filled the bases for Toronto and resulted in the right-hander getting an early hook in favor of Brasier.

Braiser came into Saturday with a 9.82 ERA on the year, but to his credit, fanned Teoscar Hernandez on three straight strikes to escape the jam and keep the score tied.

Marcus Walden was responsible for the top half of the eighth, and he saw a 1-1 tie turn into a one-run deficit after yielding a leadoff walk to Gurriel Jr., a one-out single to Grichuk, and a run-scoring groundout to Rowdy Tellez. If there’s any consolation for Walden, it’s the fact that he got out of the inning without giving anything else up, although he was ultimately charged with his first loss of 2020.

And in the ninth, left-hander Jeffrey Springs put together his second consecutive scoreless appearance, retiring three of the four hitters he faced in a quick and painless top of the ninth to hold the Blue Jays at two runs.

On the other side of things, a Red Sox lineup that featured Alex Verdugo batting leadoff for the first time was matched up against another veteran right-hander for the Blue Jays in ex-Brewers hurler Chase Anderson.

Kicking off the scoring in the second, the Boston bats made Anderson pay for walking Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland to begin the inning by driving one of those runners in thanks to a Christian Vazquez RBI single right back up the middle moments later.

Andrew Benintendi had a chance to keep the early rally going, but instead grounded into a 4-6-3 double play before Jackie Bradley Jr. flew out to left field to extinguish the threat.

As it would later turn out, that second inning was it for the Sox in terms of meaningful offensive production on Saturday, with Anderson, as well as Blue Jays relievers Wilmer Font, Anthony Kay, Jordan Romano, and Anthony Bass keeping the home side in check the rest of the way en route to a 2-1 loss for Boston.

Some notes and observations from this defeat:

The Red Sox went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Saturday and left seven men on base as a team.

Andrew Benintendi was pinch-hit for by Kevin Pillar in the bottom of the fourth inning after just one at-bat.

Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez went a combined 0-for-7 with one walk and two strikeouts. The former now has an OPS of .543, the latter now has an OPS of .639.

From MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Would have been interesting to see the new extra-inning rules come into play on Saturday night. Maybe another time.

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

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Matt Shoemaker will do the same for Toronto.

The Sox’ de facto ace surrendered four earned runs over five innings of work his last time out against the Rays. He owns a lifetime 4.22 ERA and .799 OPS against in six career outings (five starts) and 32 innings pitched against the Blue Jays.

Shoemaker, meanwhile, has allowed seven earned runs through his first two starts and 10 2/3 innings pitched of the 2020 campaign. The 33-year-old has made three career starts at Fenway Park and has yielded seven earned runs over 18 total innings. That’s god for an ERA of 3.50.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN+ and WEEI, but as mentioned in Saturday’s broadcast, the game will shift over to NESN at the conclusion of the Bruins game.

 

 

Austin Brice to Make First Career Start for Red Sox in Series Finale Against Yankees

Right-hander Austin Brice will make his first career major-league start for the Red Sox against the Yankees on Sunday night, manager Ron Roenicke announced following Saturday’s 5-2 defeat in the Bronx.

This announcement comes as the No. 5 spot in the Red Sox’ starting rotation is due up next. Last time through, left-hander Josh Osich served as the opener out of the No. 4 spot this past Monday, while fellow southpaw Matt Hall was lined up to be more of a traditional starter in the No. 5 spot, but only lasted 2 2/3 innings against the Mets this past Tuesday.

Now, as Boston is about to complete their second turn through the rotation, it will be the 28-year-old Brice getting the call to open against the vaunted Yankees to close out the weekend.

Originally acquired by the Sox in a minor trade with the Marlins back in January, Brice has never started a game at the major-league level since making his debut with Miami in 2016. However, the former ninth-round draft pick out of high school in 2010 has made 114 career starts at the minor-league level.

The last time Brice was a full-time starter was during the 2015 season, when in 25 outings and 125 1/3 innings pitched with Double-A Jacksonville, the North Carolina native who was actually born in Hong Kong posted a 4.67 ERA and 4.19 xFIP, per FanGraphs.

According to Roenicke, the plan is to have Brice go the first one or two innings on Sunday before dispatching up to six to seven relievers rather than a “bulk-inning guy.” This comes as the Red Sox have an off day in Tampa Bay following Sunday’s series finale against New York.

“We will see where we are. But the bulk-inning guy, if we’re scoring runs and it’s tight, probably won’t be as long as what we normally do,” Roenicke told reporters Saturday. “I think that off day the next day (Monday) certainly helps us to bring in some of the guys to keep it tighter instead of going maybe three or four innings with somebody.”

In what will be his first start and fifth overall appearance as a member of the Red Sox, Brice will enter Sunday’s contest with a 7.71 ERA and 7.81 FIP through his first 4 2/3 innings pitched of 2020.

Zack Godley Gets Taken Deep Twice, Red Sox Manage Just Two Runs in Second Straight Loss to Yankees

For a second consecutive night, a Red Sox starting pitcher only managed to pitch 3 1/3 innings in a loss at the hands of the New York Yankees. Ryan Weber did so on Friday, and newcomer Zack Godley followed by doing the same on Saturday in the Bronx.

More specifically, the veteran right-hander yielded five runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with just one strikeout over those 3 1/3 innings pitched.

All five of those runs for New York off Godley came by way of the home run ball, as Aaron Judge crushed a 455-foot solo shot off the 30-year-old with one out in the first, and Gio Urshela, after seeing Luke Voit, Mike Tauchman, and Gary Sanchez reach base safely to lead off the second, clobbered a 412-foot grand slam over the center field wall. Just like that, the Yankees had themselves an early five-run edge.

If there’s any positives to take away from Godley’s first start with the Red Sox, it would be the fact that he retired seven of the next eight hitters he faced after serving up that grand slam, but two straight one-out walks of Urshela and Brett Gardner in the bottom of the fourth marked the conclusion of a rather disappointing outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of a not-so nice 69 (39 strikes), Godley primarily remained on his cutter and changeup in this one, turning to the combination of pitches 69% of the time he was on the mound Saturday. He also topped out at 91 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw just three times.

Hit with his first loss of the year five days after tossing four scoreless innings of relief in his Red Sox debut this past Monday, Godley’s next start, assuming he gets another one, will likely come against the Blue Jays next weekend.

In relief of Godley, right-hander Chris Mazza got the first call out of the Boston bullpen with two outs in the fourth, and after escaping a bit of a jam in the inning to clean up Godley’s mess, the 30-year-old actually put together a solid performance in what was his Red Sox debut.

That being the case because Mazza, who was claimed off waivers from the Mets back in December, surrendered just one hit while fanning three and scattering two walks over 2 2/3 scoreless frames of work to to hold the Yankees at five runs scored heading into the seventh inning.

From there, Ryan Brasier punched out a pair in a perfect bottom half of the seventh and left-hander Josh Osich worked his way around a leadoff single in an otherwise clean eighth.

All in all, Sox relievers held the Bronx Bombers scoreless 4 2/3 combined innings pitched, but it was not enough in the end in what would turn out to be a 5-2 defeat.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in the form of Yankees veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who was making his first official start of 2020 after sustaining a concussion in an intrasquad game last month.

With that in mind, Tanaka did not stick around very long in this one, but the Boston bats were able to get to the 31-year-old hurler prior to his early departure.

That came in the top half of the third inning, when after falling behind by five runs early on, the top of the Sox lineup got itself together for Tanaka’s second time through the order, as a one-out walk drawn by Andrew Benintendi followed by a Kevin Pillar single put runners at first and second.

Rafael Devers, the next man up, was unable to do anything with that seeing how he flew out to center for the second out of the inning, but Xander Bogaerts did not let a prime scoring opportunity go to waste, as he drilled a two-run double to the opposite field that was just a few feet shy of being a three-run homer.

Still, Bogaerts’ extra-base hit, which was later ruled just an RBI double on account of a missed catch error committed by Gleyber Torres, brought the Sox to within three runs of the Yankees at 5-2.

A las, just like the Boston bullpen, the New York bullpen didn’t give an inch in this one, either.

Tanaka was relieved by left-hander Luis Avilan after giving up that Bogaerts two-base hit, and the Yankees wouldn’t have to look back from there.

The only other time the Red Sox sent more than four batters to the plate the rest of the way came in the top half of the ninth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. and Tzu-Wei Lin reaching base with two outs in the inning off David Hale brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Benintendi.

With a skidding Benintendi at the dish in a rather huge spot, Sox manager Ron Roenicke had the option to go with J.D. Martinez off the bench. But, considering the fact he wanted the slugger to get the entire day off, he stuck with Benintendi, who proceeded to punch out on four straight strikes to kill the rally and this one with a final score of 5-2.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey:

The Red Sox are averaging just over three runs per game on this road trip. Poor pitching aside, that’s not going to get the job done most nights.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game weekend series against the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.

Right-hander Austin Brice will get the start and likely serve as the opener for Boston, while left-hander James Paxton will do the same for New York.

Brice, 28, has never started a game at the major-level before in his career, but he does have 114 career minor-league starts under his belt.

Paxton, meanwhile, owns a lifetime 2.88 ERA and .604 OPS against in eight career starts against the Red Sox spanning 50 total innings pitched.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN and WEEI. Red Sox looking for win No. 4 in game No. 10 on the young season.

 

Christian Vazquez and Mitch Moreland Combine to Drive in Five Runs as Red Sox Hold on for 6-5 Win Over Mets

It was far from easy, but for the first time since last Friday, the Red Sox have won a baseball game, as they defeated the Mets by a final score of 6-5 on Wednesday night in their first road game of the season at Citi Field.

Making his second start of the season for Boston in this one was Nathan Eovaldi, fresh off tossing six quality frames in his last time out against the Orioles, which also happened to be his first career Opening Day start as you may remember.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the right-hander certainly wasn’t as dominant as he was against Baltimore, but he still got the job done by holding the Mets to just two runs, both earned, on eight hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

Those two Mets tallies came in Eovaldi’s first and final innings of work, with Dominic Smith grounding into a bases-loaded forceout in the first and Brandon Nimmo crushing a one-out solo home run in the fifth.

Seeing how the bases were loaded for Eovaldi almost right away in the bottom half of the first, it was certainly encouraging that he was able to get himself out of that early mess with just one run on the board for the opposition.

As for the Nimmo home run in the fifth, that was a result of a 3-1, 93 mph cutter on the inner half of the plate from Eovaldi that the Mets outfielder took 414 feet to right-center field. All things considered, the bottom of the fifth could have been even worse for Boston, but after serving up that solo blast, walking Pete Alonso, and putting Jeff McNeil on first on a one-out single, Eovaldi again evaded any serious damage by getting the dangerous Michael Conforto to ground into an inning-ending 4-3 double play.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (57 strikes), Eovaldi relied on his four-seam and cut-fastball a combined 74% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing nine total swings and misses with the two pitches while topping out with 98.4 with the heater.

Hit with the no decision, the 30-year-old flamethrower will look for win No. 2 in his next time out, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

In relief of Eovaldi, Marcus Walden got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the sixth, got the first two outs of the inning pretty easily, but then gave up back-to-back hits to Robinson Cano and Andres Gimenez, with the latter driving in the former on an RBI triple to make it a 3-2 game in favor of New York.

From there, left-hander Josh Osich allowed two of the first four Mets he faced in the seventh to reach base, which led to Ron Roenicke dispatching Heath Hembree, who got out of the two-out jam in a tied game by fanning J.D. Davis on three straight fastballs.

That tie turned into a 6-3 advantage for Boston following a three-run top of the eighth, which we’ll touch on later, but Matt Barnes allowed that lead to shrink to two in the bottom half  by surrendering a leadoff solo shot to old friend Yoenis Cespedes in an otherwise scoreless inning of relief thanks to a nifty twin-killing started by Jose Peraza and turned by Jonathan Arauz.

The ninth inning is where things got really dicey, as Red Sox closer Brandon Workman came in with his side up 6-4 while looking for his first save of 2020. It took quite a while to get there, but after loading the bases with no outs, allowing Davis to drive in a run on an infield single to third that was well-played by Rafael Devers, and punching out Cespedes on five pitches, the right-hander got Cano to lift a pop fly to Peraza in shallow center field and that was that. Workman gets his first save and the Red Sox get their second win of the season in one-run fashion as 6-5 is your final score.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against the best pitcher in the National League in two-time Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom for the Mets, who like Eovaldi pitched on Opening Day.

It took until their half of the fourth inning, but the Boston bats finally got to deGrom courtesy of back-to-back one-out doubles from Devers and Mitch Moreland, with the first baseman plating the third baseman for the Sox’ first run of the evening.

Two wild pitches from deGrom allowed Moreland to advance to third with Christian Vazquez at the plate and to score from third with Alex Verdugo at the plate. Just like that, the Red Sox had themselves their first lead in nearly five days at 2-1.

Fast forward to the seventh, with Seth Lugo in for deGrom, and Vazquez continued his hot start to the 2020 season by taking the Mets reliever 396 feet deep to left field off a one-out, 3-2 80 mph curveball that was essentially down Broadway. 3-1 Boston.

An inning later, Roenicke dove into his bench while the Mets turned to left-handed reliever Justin Wilson. Kevin Pillar, pinch-hitting for Jackie Bradley Jr., led the eighth off with a single to left, while Xander Bogaerts, pinch-hitting for Lin, drew a four-pitch walk and was immediately replaced by Arauz at first.

Andrew Benintendi advanced both Pillar and Arauz into scoring position with a beautifully-executed sacrifice bunt down the first base line, and an intentional walk of J.D. Martinez filled the bases for Devers.

Devers only managed to strike out on five pitches, but Moreland and Vazquez made the most of their opportunities with two outs in the inning by lacing consecutive run-scoring singles off Wilson to ultimately drive in all three of Pillar, Arauz, and Martinez to make it a 6-3 contest.

As it turns out, that would end up being much-needed insurance with the Red Sox just barely holding onto this one in 6-5 fashion to lock down their second win of the 2020 campaign.

Some notes and observations from this victory:

From The Providence Journal’s Bill Koch:

It’s still early in the season, obviously, but Mitch Moreland, Christian Vazquez and Kevin Pillar have OPS’ of 1.214, 1.304, and 1.571, respectively.

Rafael Devers has collected four doubles and one single over his last four games.

With a two-out double in the ninth inning, Andrew Benintendi collected the 500th hit of his major-league career. Congratulations to him on that.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Alex Verdugo make more hard contact soon.

The Red Sox are unbeaten in games away from Fenway Park this season.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this four-game, home-at-home series against the Mets on Thursday.

Left-hander Martin Perez will be making his second start of the season for Boston, while fellow southpaw Steven Matz will be doing the same for New York.

Perez struggles for the most part in his Red Sox debut on Saturday, but he did end his outing with three consecutive scoreless innings, so perhaps he can carry that momentum over into this start against the Metropolitans.

Matz, meanwhile, will be making his first career start against the Sox.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FOX and WEEI. Red Sox going for the series-split.

 

 

Zack Godley Just About Lone Bright Spot for Red Sox in 7-4 Loss to Mets

After a disappointing start to their season over the weekend, the Red Sox saw their losing streak grow to three games on Monday night in a 7-4 defeat at the hands of the Mets at Fenway Park.

Josh Osich got the start for Boston to kick off this two-game interleague series, and he was far from perfect in his first experience as an opener. That being the case because over two innings of work, the left-hander surrendered two runs, both of which were earned, on two hits and one walk to go along with one strikeout on the night.

Both of those Mets runs scored against Osich came off the bat of Michael Conforto, who made the veteran southpaw pay for a leadoff walk of J.D. Davis in the second inning by crushing a two-run home run into the right field bleachers moments later. Once again, the Red Sox found themselves in an early hole, and that hole only got deeper as the Sox turned to another lefty, Jeffrey Springs, to start things out in the third.

Springs, acquired from the Rangers in January, did not fare much better than Osich. In fact, you can even say he had a tougher time of things considering the fact that he served up an absolute missile of a two-run homer to Pete Alonso in the third and a three-run blast to Dominic Smith in the fourth.

The 27-year-old did manage to retire the last man he faced in Brandon Nimmo, but the damage had already been done seeing how his side was down by seven runs. Heath Hembree came on with one out in the top half of the fourth and finished the inning.

From there, things actually got better for the Red Sox pitching staff thanks in large part to the recently-signed Zack Godley, who was slated to be the “bulk inning guy” for Boston in this one.

In what was his long-awaited Red Sox debut, Godley served that role well by working four scoreless frames while scattering four hits and no walks to go along with seven punchouts against the 16 Mets hitters he faced.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 53 (36 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied mostly on his cutter and knuckle curveball while inducing 15 total swings and misses with the combination of pitches. He also topped out at 90.5 mph with that cutter.

Seeing how the Sox’ starting rotation is basically in shambles, Godley should be a candidate to start for Boston when they face off against the Yankees in the Bronx this coming Saturday.

In relief of Godley, right-hander Phillips Valdez wrapped things up by tossing a scoreless ninth inning to hold the Mets at seven runs. Not like it mattered much in the end, but still encouraging to see from someone who is not well-known like Valdez.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Michael Wacha for the Mets, who made his first in-game appearance at Fenway Park since pitching in Game 6 of the 2013 World Series.

Contrary to that outing in which he gave up six runs in fewer than four innings of work, the now-29-year-old Wacha was much more effective in his Mets debut. It also didn’t help that the Sox found themselves down by four runs before this game was even a third of the way over.

Back to Wacha, the only Boston run that was scored off the ex-Cardinal came courtesy of a two-out solo home run from Mitch Moreland in the bottom half of the fourth. Moreland’s first big fly of 2020 put his side on the board and made it a 7-1 game in favor of New York.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Xander Bogaerts greeted new Mets reliever Chasen Shreve by taking the left-hander deep to the opposite field on a one-out, 1-1 92 MPH heater right down the heart of the plate. That made it a 7-2 contest.

In the eighth, Moreland and Bogaerts struck once more, this time combining to plate another pair of runs on an RBI groundout and single off Jeurys Familia to make things a little more interesting at 7-4.

A las, nothing more came of that, as Seth Lugo entered for the Mets, fanned Christian Vazquez on seven pitches, and tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to secure a three-run victory for his side and a third straight loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

The Red Sox have been outscored 21-10 since Friday’s Opening Day win over the Orioles.

Andrew Benintendi got his first hit of the season on Monday, albeit it came on a bunt single. Rafael Devers also collected his second hit of the year, an opposite field double off the base of the Green Monster.

The Braves designated right-hander and 2018 National League All-Star Mike Foltynewicz on Monday. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox should be in on that all things considered.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the series finale of the first leg of this home-at-home bout against the Mets.

Left-hander Matt Hall will get the start for Boston, while New York has yet to name a starter.

According to Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke, Hall, who will be making his first career major-league start, “could go four or five [innings]” since he’s been stretched out.

“I think if he’s pitching well, he’ll be in there for a few innings hopefully,” Roenicke said of Hall on Sunday. “And then we’ll piece together the end of it.”

Hall, who turned 27 years old last week, impressed the Sox during Summer Camp, nearly six month after the southpaw was initially acquired in a trade with the Tigers.

In 21 career relief appearances with Detroit dating back to 2018, the Missouri State product owns a 9.48 ERA and 5.15 FIP over 31 1/3 innings pitched. He has also made 85 career starts in the minors since being taken in the sixth round of the 2015 draft.

Red Sox Lineup: Andrew Benintendi Back in Leadoff Spot in First Game Against Mets

After dropping two out of three to the Orioles over the Weekend, the Red Sox will look to get back on track in the first of a four-game, home-at-home series against the Mets beginning on Monday night at Fenway Park.

Boston’s first interleague opponent of the season, the Mets last visited Fenway in September 2018, where they too dropped two out of three to the eventual World Series champions that year.

As far as this week’s series goes, left-hander Josh Osich will be making his first career big-league start for the Sox in Monday’s opener. I say that, but Oscih will really serve as the opener for Boston, meaning he’ll work an inning or two before right-hander Zack Godley is dispatched as the team’s “bulk” pitcher.

Osich, 31, mainly relies on a cutter, sinker, and slider. He made his Red Sox debut on Saturday against the O’s and worked a scoreless ninth inning.

Offensively speaking, here’s how the Boston bats will line up behind Osich as they’ll be matched up against veteran right-hander Michael Wacha for the Mets.

Right off the bat, Andrew Benintendi is back in the leadoff spot after being limited to pinch-hit duty in Sunday’s loss to Baltimore. The 26-year-old has yet to record a hit this season in 12 trips to the plate, so it’s imperative that he gets it going if he wants consistent playing time going forward.

From there, it goes J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, who collected his first base knock of 2020 on Sunday, and Xander Bogaerts making up the 2-3-4 portion of the lineup.

Mitch Moreland will be making his second start of the season at first with a right-handed pitcher on the mound for New York, while Christian Vazquez will be catching Osich to begin things on Monday.

Rounding up this edition of the Red Sox lineup are Alex Verdugo, getting the start in right field, Jackie Bradley Jr., getting the start in center, and Jose Peraza, who is batting ninth while once again starting at second base.

Per Rotowire, Peraza and reserve catcher Jonathan Lucroy are the only two Red Sox position players who have any experience against Wacha, which is understandable seeing how all three previously spent a decent amount of time playing in the National League Central.

Peraza is 4-for-13 (.308) lifetime off the Mets right-hander with one double and three RBI. Lucroy, on the other hand, is 6-for-16 (.375) lifetime with one double, one home run, and three RBI.

As you might have already figured out, Wacha, who turned 29 earlier this month, will be making his first career regular season start against the Red Sox on Monday. He started Games 2 and 6 of the 2013 World Series against Boston while a member of the St. Louis Cardinals and went 1-1 with an ERA of 7.45 over those two outings.

The Red Sox will be looking to get back to .500 to kick off the week against the Metropolitans of Queens, who are also 1-2 three games into the 2020 campaign.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN, ESPN, and WEEI.

Just Three Games Into Season, Lack of Starting Pitching Depth Already Coming Into Light for Red Sox

The Red Sox went into the 2020 season with three true starting pitchers — Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, and Ryan Weber — on their Opening Day roster. The other two spots in the Sox’ rotation were going to go to openers.

Now three games into the 60-game campaign, Red Sox starting pitching has been a bit of a mixed bag of sorts against the Baltimore Orioles of all teams. Eovaldi impressed on Friday with six innings of one-run ball and a win, Perez struggled in his Boston debut but did end his outing with three scoreless innings in a losing effort on Saturday, and Weber had issues with his command in the rotation’s shortest start of the weekend on Sunday.

All together, Red Sox starting pitchers own an ERA of 11.99 (11 earned runs in 14 2/3 total innings pitched) thus far. Take that for what it’s worth, and then remember that as they prepare for a two-game series against the Mets this week, the two “starters” they are planning on going with have amassed a total of zero career games started in the majors.

Those two “starters,” or openers, for Boston on Monday and Tuesday will be left-handers Josh Osich and Matt Hall, both of whom were acquired by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom over the winter.

Osich, claimed off waivers by Boston from the White Sox last October, made his Red Sox debut and tossed a scoreless ninth inning in Saturday’s 7-2 loss to Baltimore.

Hall, meanwhile, was acquired by Boston in a trade that saw minor-league catcher Jhon Nunez go to the Detroit Tigers back in January. The 27-year-old impressed during Summer Camp, but has yet to make his Red Sox debut.

With Osich, the plan for the 31-year-old is to pitch an inning or two against New York on Monday before the recently-signed Zack Godley enters in a bulk role.

“It’s the left-handed pitcher against their left-handed lineup,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said in regards to opening with Oscih against the Mets. “Just trying to get through an inning or two, then go to more of a bulk guy. So that’s the plan right now. We’ll see how it goes.”

As for Hall, expect Roenicke to have more to say about the southpaw following Monday’s bout with the Mets at Fenway Park.

Ryan Weber Only Makes It Into Fourth Inning as Red Sox Drop First Series of Season to Orioles

For the first time this season, the Red Sox find themselves in the midst of a losing streak as they dropped their second straight to the Orioles on Sunday afternoon.

Ryan Weber, fresh off making his first ever Opening Day roster, struggled in his first official start of 2020. The right-hander yielded six runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and three walks, all while failing to record a single strikeout, over 3 2/3 innings of work.

The O’s offense got on the Sox starter right away on Sunday, with Rio Ruiz crushing a two-run homer off a first-pitch, 85 MPH cutter in the first.

Following that mishap, Weber managed to retire three of the four hitters he faced in the top half of the second, which seemed encouraging at the time until he served up four additional runs over the next two innings.

Weber’s day came to a close as soon as Anthony Santander finished rounding the bases after crushing a 3-2, 80 MPH cutter from the 29-year-old into the Red Sox bullpen with two outs in the top of the fourth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 65 (42 strikes), Weber relied on his sinker exactly 40% of the time he was on the mound Sunday and topped out at 89.6 MPH with the pitch. His next outing should come against the Yankees in the Bronx on Friday night.

In relief of Weber, Colten Brewer entered with two outs in the fourth, got out of the inning unscathed, and also tossed a scoreless top half of the fifth.

From there, Marcus Walden and Matt Barnes combined to walk four Orioles over three shutout innings of relief in the sixth, seventh, and eighth, while Austin Brice surrendered one run on a Chris Davis RBI double in the ninth.

That proved to be a back-breaking hit, as Baltimore went on to take the series by a final score of 7-4.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander and Orioles starter Wade LeBlanc on Sunday.

Already trailing by a pair of runs before even taking their first at-bats of the day in this one, the Sox offense was catapulted by Christian Vazquez, who put his side on the board in the second inning with his first home run of 2020, a 389-foot solo shot over the Monster. 2-1.

Fast forward to the fifth, and another right-handed hitter went deep for the first time this season, as Kevin Pillar led the inning off by depositing a 2-2, 87 MPH sinker from LeBlanc onto Lansdowne Street. His first homer as a member of the Red Sox made it a 6-2 game in favor of Baltimore.

In the sixth, a leadoff single courtesty of Jackie Bradley Jr. and a two-out double off the bat of Rafael Devers, his first hit of the year, chased LeBlanc out as the Orioles brought in right-hander Miguel Castro to face off against Xander Bogaerts.

After fanning against Castro on Saturday, Bogaerts rebounded by lacing a two-run double through the left side of the infield to score both Bradley Jr. and Devers. Just like that, Boston was only trailing by two.

A las, nothing more came for the Boston bats as they went down rather quietly in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings to ultimately come up short in this one by a final score of 7-4.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith: Ryan Weber has a 6.55 ERA in 12 major league starts (55 innings, 40 earned runs).

The Orioles went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and still managed to win this game by three runs.

Speaking of runs scored, the Red Sox have scored six over their last 18 innings. That’s not going to get the job done.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll welcome the New York Mets into town for a four-game, home-at-home series beginning on Monday.

Left-hander Josh Osich will serve as the opener for Boston and will be making the first start of his career in doing so, while the Mets will roll with veteran right-hander Michael Wacha.

Osich, who turns 32 in September, tossed a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday in his Red Sox debut.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox looking to halt a two-game skid.

 

Martin Perez Struggles in Debut as Red Sox Suffer First Loss of 2020 Season Against Orioles

The dream of the Red Sox going undefeated this season has flown out the window, as the club fell to the Orioles by a final score of 7-2 on Saturday afternoon.

Martin Perez, making his Red Sox debut, got the starting nod for Boston in this one, and let’s just say his Red Sox career did not get off to the best of starts.

That being the case because over five innings of work, the left-hander surrendered five runs, four of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the day.

If there are any positives to take away from Perez’s first outing of 2020, it’s the fact that all five runs he gave up to the Orioles came within the first two innings, as Renato Nunez clubbed a two-run double and proceeded to score on a Rafael Devers fielding error in the first, and Hanser Alberto and Jose Iglesias plated a pair on back-to-back one-out knocks in the second.

From there, Perez was able to escape the top half of the second thanks to some poor base running on the part of Alberto, then proceeded to sit down nine of the final 10 hitters he faced heading into the middle of the fifth to end his day on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (52 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his trusty cutter nearly 42% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing three whiffs with the pitch. He also topped out at 94 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw just eight times.

Falling to 0-1 on the young season, Perez will look to bounce back in his next time out, which should come against the Mets in Queens on Thursday.

In relief of Perez, the Red Sox bullpen combined to yield two runs over the final four innings of Saturday’s contest. Heath Hembree was not a part of that effort, though, as the right-hander looked solid in his season debut by working a scoreless top of the sixth.

Newcomer Dylan Covey, on the other hand, was the Sox reliever who gave up those two runs. The 28-year-old served up a two-run double to Anthony Santander in the seventh which saw his side’s deficit increase to five runs, but he did somewhat rebound by fanning two in a 1-2-3 eighth inning.

And in the ninth, just looking to keep the deficit the same as it was, another newcomer, left-hander Josh Osich, needed just eight pitches to toss a perfect frame of relief in his Red Sox debut.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup, fresh off plating 13 runs on Friday, was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles starter Alex Cobb on Saturday, and they had a much more difficult time getting anything across while matched up against the veteran right-hander.

In fact, the only time the Boston bats managed to get to Cobb came in his final inning of work, when with one out in the sixth, Mitch Moreland took the 32-year-old deep to right off a 1-1, 93 mph fastball for his and his side’s first home run of 2020.

At the time, that cut the Orioles’ lead down to four runs at 5-1, and after O’s manager Brandon Hyde swapped out Cobb for left-hander Paul Fry, three straight two-out hits from Alex Verdugo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Kevin Plawecki resulted in Boston’s second run of the inning crossing the plate courtesy of an infield RBI single off the bat of the Sox backstop. 5-2.

Another pitching change in the inning saw the pinch-hitting Xander Bogaerts come up to the plate representing the tying run with runners at the corners against Miguel Castro, but all the three-time Silver Slugger could do was whiff on three pitches to simultaneously kill the rally and end the inning.

That scoring chance would prove to be the Sox’ best chance to make things interesting, as J.D. Martinez and Verdugo were the only hitters to reach base for Boston the rest of the way in what would turn out to be a disappointing 7-2 defeat at the hands of the Orioles.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

Alex Verdugo collected three hits in his Red Sox debut, two of which came against left-handed pitching.

Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers are a combined 0-for-18 with nine strikeouts to begin the season.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is still an elite defensive center fielder. He also collected another two hits on Saturday.

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Following his Red Sox debut, Dylan Covey was subsequently optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look for their first series win of the year over Baltimore on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Ryan Weber, fresh off making his first career Opening Day roster, will be getting the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Wade LeBlanc will be doing the same for the Orioles.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI once again. Sox looking to bounce back.