JD Martinez Goes Yard Twice, Michael Chavis Drives in Five Runs as #RedSox Finish off Sweep of Mariners for Fifth Straight Win

Don’t look now, but the Red Sox have won 11 of their last 13 games, as they extended their current winning streak to five on Sunday afternoon with an 11-2 Mother’s Day triumph over the Seattle Mariners to finish off the weekend sweep.

On what was more of a bullpen day for the Sox, it was Hector Velazquez making his sixth start of the season for Boston in this one.

Pitching in mostly unfavorable conditions at Fenway Park, the right-hander twirled five solid innings of work, limiting the M’s to just two runs on two hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts on the day.

Right from the get go, it did not look as though Velazquez was going to go too deep into his outing, as Seattle led things off in the first by having runners on second and third without an out yet recorded.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, the Mexico native held the opposition to one run in the frame on an Edwin Encarnacion sacrifice fly before really settling in.

Retiring 10 of the next 11 he faced following that Encarnacion at-bat, Velazquez did not run into any more trouble up until the start of the fifth inning, when Omar Narvaez launched a leadoff homer to right field for Seattle’s second run of the afternoon.

Still, Velazquez showed the ability to bounce back by again sitting down the M’s 7-8-9 hitters in order to retire the side in the fifth and end his outing on a more positive note by being eligible for the winning decision, which he did eventually pick up.

Finishing with a final economical pitch count of 63 (37 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his sinker 30% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing zero swings and misses and getting three called strikes with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he turned to 13 times with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Finally able to pick up that first W and improve to 1-2 on the year while lowering his ERA down to 3.95, the whereabouts on Velazquez’s next start are not yet known. I would expect him to make his next appearance out of the bullpen, though.

In relief of Velazquez, as has been the case regularly, Marcus Walden received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen to begin the sixth inning.

Making his 14th appearance out of the ‘pen this season, the right-hander continued to impress with two more scoreless innings of relief on Sunday in addition to just one hit given up and three punch outs.

That made way for Josh Smith, who worked his way around a single and a fielding error in the eighth before shutting things down with a clean ninth to secure the 11-2 win for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales, who picked up the win against the Sox in his second start of the year back on March 28th.

This time around, the Boston bats had a much better time of figuring out the Seattle southpaw, and the scoring got kicked off right away in the first inning.

Already trailing by a run, JD Martinez erased that deficit very quickly with a two out, 384 foot solo shot off of Gonzales to put the Red Sox on the board.

Three batters later, after Xander Bogaerts reached on a five-pitch walk and Rafael Devers advanced him to third on a line drive single, Michael Chavis broke out of an 0-for-19 slump by driving in Bogaerts on an RBI line drive single that should have been caught by Mariners rookie second baseman Shed Long.

That was followed up by another defensive miscue on Seattle’s behalf, with Rafael Devers coming in from third on a passed ball with Christian Vazquez at the plate. And just like that, the Red Sox had themselves a 3-1 lead.

An inning later, more two trouble for the Mariners led to more scoring for the Red Sox, this time with Andrew Benintendi scoring all the way from first on a Mookie Betts pop up that again should have been caught by right fielder Jay Bruce. Instead, Bruce never really had control of the ball, dropped it, and in came Benintendi on the fielding error. 4-1.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Chavis was set up in a prime RBI spot again thanks to Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers reaching base with two outs against Mariners reliever Parker Markel.

With both runners in scoring position, the Red Sox rookie infielder snuck a single through the right side of the infield, plating Bogaerts and Devers to give his team the 6-2 advantage.

Two innings later, three straight walks drawn by Betts, Martinez, and Bogaerts off righty Dan Altavilla put the Red Sox in a spot to put this one out of reach, and they did just that with a run-scoring groundout off the bat of Devers and a two-run single from Chavis to make it a 9-2 game.

For Chavis, those two runs marked his fourth and fifth RBI of the day, setting a new-career high for a single game. Quite a way to break out of an offensive slump.

And in the eighth, just like how he started this one off, JD Martinez put the exclamation point on his team’s fifth straight win by depositing his second big fly of the afternoon over the Green Monster to plate both Mookie Betts as well as himself.

That put the Red Sox ahead 11-2, which would go on to be the final score in this series finale. Sweep completed.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 16-6 in their last 22 games.

With yet another three-hit performance on Sunday, Rafael Devers is slashing .426/.462/.638 with two home runs and 13 RBI over 11 games this month.

Two from Red Sox Notes:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an off day on Monday before welcoming the Colorado Rockies into town for a quick, two-game interleague series on Tuesday.

The first of those two will feature a starting pitching matchup between left-hander Kyle Freeland for Colorado and fellow southpaw Chris Sale for Boston.

Coming off eight innings of one run ball in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles, Sale has posted a 1.73 ERA, .165 batting average against, and 14.54 K/9 over his last four starts. The Red Sox are unbeaten in the lefty’s last two outings.

Freeland, meanwhile, has never pitched at Fenway Park, nor against the Red Sox, as this is just his third season in the majors.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

 

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Eight-Run Third Inning Lifts #RedSox to 9-5 Win over Mariners for Fourth Consecutive Victory

After finally getting over the .500 hump on Friday, the Red Sox took their fourth straight contest on Saturday afternoon, improving to 21-19 with a 9-5 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Making his eighth start of the season for Boston in this one was Rick Porcello, who entred Saturday unbeaten in his last four outings.

Pitching into the seventh inning on Saturday, Porcello extended that run, as he surrendered four runs, all earned, on five hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the day.

All four of those Mariners runs and all five of those hits came around to score in the first, with Porcello getting downright bombarded, really.

Back-to-back RBI doubles from Dan Vogelbach and Domingo Santana, followed by a two-run shot off the bat of veteran slugger Jay Bruce put Porcello in a fairly deep hole early, but the righty turned things around.

In fact, from the beginning of the second all the way to the two out point in the top half of the seventh, Porcello did not yield a single hit, as he retired 17 of the final 19 Seattle hitters he faced.

A two out walk of Shed Long in that seventh inning would wind up being how the New Jersey native’s up and down afternoon came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 107 (76 strikes), Porcello relied on his four-seam fastball 38% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, as he induced six swings and misses and topped out at 92.5 MPH with the pitch.

Improving to 3-3 on the year, Porcello will look to extend his unbeaten run in his next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, Brandon Workman came on with a five-run lead to protect and one out to get with a runner on in the seventh.

Making his 20th appearance of the season, the righty worked his way around walking the first hitter he faced by getting JP Crawford to ground out to first and retire the side.

From there, Ryan Brasier needed just 14 pitches in a 1-2-3 eighth frame of work before Colten Brewer served up a solo home run to Omar Narvaez in the ninth in an otherwise clean inning, thus securing the 9-5 win for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Felix Hernandez for Seattle, and for the second time in less than 24 hours, a Mariners starting pitcher was charged with seven runs.

The scoring for Boston opened in the second, when already faced with an early four-run deficit, Mitch Moreland put the Red Sox on the board with his 12th home run of the year and second of the series, a 384 foot solo shot to right field. 4-1 Mariners.

Just an inning later, as they seem to be making a habit of doing lately, the Sox bats broke out for eight runs, and it all started with Mookie Betts drawing a one out walk off of Hernandez.

Following consecutive singles from JD Martinez and Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers chipped in with RBI base hits of their own, driving in the first three hitters to reach base in the third to tie this thing up at four runs a piece.

That tie would not last long, however. Not with Michael Chavis drawing another walk to reload the bases and end the day for Hernandez after only recording seven outs.

Enter ex-Red Sox lefty Reonis Elias for Seattle, who was greeted immediately by a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI single up the middle to plate Bogaerts and Devers and put the Red Sox ahead for the first time.

A few moments after that commotion, Sandy Leon, manning the ninth spot in Boston’s lineup, essentially delivered the finishing blow in this one, taking Elias deep over the Monster for a three-run dinger.

Leon’s first big fly of the season, registering at a nice 369 feet and 95.5 MPH off the bat, put the Sox ahead 9-4, and they would not have to look back in this eventual four-run victory.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox drew 11 walks on Saturday, with each starter one through nine accounting for at least one. According to @RedSoxStats on Twitter, that’s the first time that’s happened in the majors since 2010.

Felix Hernandez became the sixth-youngest and 36th overall pitcher in major league history to record 2,500 career strikeouts.

With another three-hit performance on Saturday, Rafael Devers has lifted his on-base percentage up to .402, currently second best on the team behind only Mookie Betts.

12 of Mitch Moreland’s 27 hits this season have gone for home runs. His slugging percentage currently stands at .566 on the year.

The Red Sox are 15-6 in their last 21 games.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to complete the three-game sweep of the Mariners on Mother’s Day.

Hector Velazquez will be getting the ball for Boston, as announced by Sox manager Alex Cora postgame Saturday.

As a starter this season, the Mexico native owns a 4.40 ERA over five outings and 14.1 innings of work.

Opposite Velazquez will be Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales, who surrendered four runs over six innings in a winning effort against the Red Sox back on Opening Day.

First pitch Sunday afternoon is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Both clubs will be donning pink caps and pink ribbons on their uniforms to support the fight against breast cancer.

#RedSox Homer Three Times in 14-1 Rout over Mariners to Improve to 20-19 on Season

Coming off a 5-2 road trip and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox opened up an eight-game homestand on Friday with a blowout 14-1 win over the Seattle Mariners to improve their record to 20-19 and pass the .500 plateau for the first time this season.

Making his eighth start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered the weekend fresh off a six strikeout performance in his last time out against the White Sox.

Tossing seven full innings in this one, the left-hander held the Mariners scoreless while scattering just five hits and one walk to go along with five K’s on the night.

Retiring nine of the first 10 he faced, Rodriguez faced more than four hitters in an inning just two times in the fourth and seventh, stranding the runners on base on both occasions to preserve the shutout effort.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (68 strikes), the 26-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 39% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch and topping out at 93.8 MPH with it. He also induced a team-high eight swinging strikes with his changeup, a pitch he threw 26 times.

The Red Sox are now 6-0 in Rodriguez’s last six starts. Over that span, the Venezuela native himself is 4-0 and owns an ERA of 2.78. They’ll look to make it seven wins in a row in Rodriguez’s next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next week.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not faced with much pressure, as their team’s lead stood at 10 runs by the time Tyler Thornburg took the mound to begin the eighth inning.

Having given up runs in his last four appearances out of the ‘pen before Friday, Thornburg saw his ERA inflate to 8.04 on an Edwin Encarnacion RBI double in his lone inning of relief.

And in the ninth, making his second appearance for the Sox since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket last Monday, Ryan Weber closed things out in a scoreless frame to secure the blowout victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners rookie left-hander Erik Swanson, and they really had their way with them beginning in the third inning.

After collectively going 0-for-their-first-7, a Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff double in that third would turn out to be the catalyst for a four-run inning to get the scoring started in this one.

All coming with two outs, back-to-back singles from Mookie Betts and JD Martinez plated Bradley Jr. and put runners on the corners for Mitch Moreland, who absolutely demolished a first pitch fastball and deposited 436 feet into the bleachers with an exit velocity of 109 MPH. 4-0, just like that.

An inning later, Rafael Devers joined in on the moon bomb party, leading off the fourth with a 397 foot shot off Swanson to pad the Red Sox’ lead even further.

In the fifth, the pair of corner infielders were at it again, with Moreland collecting his fourth RBI of the night on a line drive double to the opposite field to score Andrew Benintendi all the way from first and Devers driving in Moreland on an RBI single off new M’s reliever Mike Swarzak to make it a 7-0 contest.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Benintendi went yard for the second time in the last two games, as he took Swarzak 393 feet deep to right for his fifth big fly of the season. That ball had an exit velocity of over 106 MPH.

Another inning later, with lefty Zac Rosscup on for Seattle, Xander Bogaerts got on the board with his 24th ribbie of the year, plating Steve Pearce, who pinch-hit for Moreland the at-bat prior, on a screamer of a double to right field.

After advancing to third on a Rafael Devers groundout, Bogaerts scored his club’s 10th run on another RBI groundout from the slumping Michael Chavis. 10-0.

And in the eighth, even with this one already out of reach, the Red Sox went ahead and struck four more times off Mariners reliever and former Baltimore Oriole Mike Wright.

Benintendi, Betts, and Eduardo Nunez got the rally started by loading the bases without recording an out to begin the inning, and Xander Bogaerts drove in the reigning AL MVP by grounding into a force out at third to put runners at first and second for Devers.

On the very first pitch he saw from Wright, the 22-year-old capped off a stellar night at the plate in style, emptying the bases on a two out, two-run, 100 MPH double to right to give Boston the 14-1 advantage, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

In nine games this month, Rafael Devers has recorded multiple hits in six of them. He is currently batting .314 with an OPS of .826.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set on Saturday afternoon with a starting pitching matchup featuring two veteran right-handers.

For Boston, it will be Rick Porcello making his eighth start of the season. Since April 20th, the 30-year-old is 4-0 over his last four starts with an ERA of 2.45.

Opposite Porcello will be the 33-year-old righty Felix Hernandez for Seattle, who owns a lifetime 4.09 ERA over nine career starts and 57.2 innings of work at Fenway Park.

It took more than six weeks to get there, but the Red Sox are back to playing winning baseball with a record of 20-19.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their first four-game winning streak of the season.

 

 

 

 

 

Mitch Moreland Comes Through with Go-Ahead, Pinch-Hit Three-Run Home Run as #RedSox Rally to Top Mariners

After dropping their first game of the season on Thursday night, the Red Sox, like they did last year, bounced back with a come from behind 7-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners, marking their first win of 2019.

Making his first start of the 2019 season in this one was Nathan Eovaldi, who had only ever pitched at T-Mobile Field once before in his career.

Following up a performance in which Chris Sale surrendered seven runs and three home runs to Seattle on Opening Day, Eovaldi himself struggled on Friday.

Working the first five innings, the right-hander allowed six runs, all earned, on eight hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts. Similarly to Sale, three of those Seattle hits were home runs, courtesy of Mallex Smith and Domingo Santana in the first, and Omar Narvaez in the second.

It wasn’t just the home runs that were concerning though, it was the fact that Mariners hitters were making really solid contact off of Eovaldi’s pitches.

According to Statcast, the 29-year-old hurler gave up hits that had a registered exit velocity of 108.4 MPH, 107.7 MPH, 106 MPH, and 105.9 MPH.

If there is a positive to be taken away from this outing, it’s that Eovaldi’s arsenal is still as nasty as ever, he retired the final three hitters he faced in order in the fifth, and Jackie Bradley Jr. defensive highlights are back.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (63 strikes) and a top velocity of 99.5 MPH with his four-seamer, Eovaldi’s next start should come against the Oakland Athletics next Thursday.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen was actually nearly perfect, with Colten Brewer, Brandon Workman, Brian Johnson, and Matt Barnes combining to hold the Mariners scoreless on just two walks over the final four innings on Friday.

Brewer, in his official Red Sox debut, worked his way around those two walks by getting Jay Bruce to ground out to second to end the sixth.

Workman retired the side in order in the seventh, while Johnson, appearing in a game for the second consecutive night, struck out the side in the eighth. He was also credited with Boston’s first winning decision of the 2019 season.

And finally in the ninth, after his team had just gone up by one run, in came Matt Barnes, Red Sox closer.

Barnes, in his fourth full big league season now, did not need to over-exert himself in his first relief appearance of 2019, as he sat down the Mariners in 1-2-3 fashion to earn his first save since 2017.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners left-hander Yusei Kikuchi to start things out on Friday.

In his first season in the majors after coming over from Japan last offseason, Kikuchi did a solid job of holding the Boston bats in check in his first start in Seattle.

Beginning in the second inning, Xander Bogaerts provided the Red Sox with their first run of the evening by mashing his first home run of the year. He’s coming off a 2018 season in which he belted a career-best 23 of those.

Fast forward to the fifth, after the Mariners had jumped out to a 6-1 lead, and it looked like a promising start to the inning with both Rafael Devers and Sam Travis reaching base with no outs, but just one run would manage to score on a GIDP off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. with Devers coming in from third. 6-2 Seattle.

That deficit for the Red Sox would shrink a bit an inning later though, as JD Martinez, like Bogaerts, also delivered with his first homer of the season, a two out 428 foot shot to dead center to make it a 6-3 contest.

In the eighth, with reliever Zac Rosscup now in the game for Seattle, a Christian Vazquez leadoff home run probably should have been the catalyst of a mult-run Red Sox rally.

Instead, after Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Xander Bogaerts all reached base to load the bases and the Mariners swapped out Rosscup for Cory Gearrin, Eduardo Nunez fell short by hitting into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.

A bizarre play to say the least, given the fact that Nunez just stopped and watch the play transpire rather than run to first base after avoiding the tag from Gearrin.

It looked as if it was going to be all gloom and doom from there, and the Red Sox were about to start a season 0-2 for the first time since 2012

But, in similar fashion to what they did in 2018, they rallied back in a tremendous way in their half of the ninth.

With new Mariners closer Hunter Strickland, a former Red Sox draft pick, in to protect a two-run lead, Rafael Devers got the late rally started with a line drive double to the opposite field.

Blake Swihart, who came on to pinch-hit for Sam Travis, unintentionally advanced Devers to third thanks to a passed ball and was awarded first after taking a slider from Strickland off his left toe.

Coming to the plate with the opportunity to make it a one-run game at the very least, Bradley Jr. was unable to score Devers, as the young third baseman was thrown out trying to score on a soft grounder to first.

Down to their final two outs with runners at first and second, in came another key substitution in Mitch Moreland, pinch-hitting for Christian Vazquez.

Similarly enough to what he did for the Red Sox coming off the bench in last year’s World Series, Moreland came through in the clutch yet again, delivering big time with the go-ahead three-run bomb to right field.

It was pretty evident that Strickland wasn’t exactly himself in this one, and that home run, which registered an exit velocity of 114 MPH, was quite evident of that.

Moreland’s first long ball of 2019 put the Red Sox up 7-6, and that would go on to be the final score in Boston’s first win of the season.

Some notes from this win:

As I mentioned earlier, the Red Sox hadn’t started a season 0-2 since 2012, and some guys seemed to be aware of that following Friday’s win.

Including the postseason, the Red Sox are 12-0 in games when Christian Vazquez hits a home run.

The Brock Holt/JD Martinez bromance is back in our lives.

More from Holt:

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to improve to 2-1 on the young season later Saturday night.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be getting the ball for the first time in 2019 for Boston, while right-hander Mike Leake will do the same for Seattle.

Rodriguez, 25, owns a 3.57 ERA over 17.2 innings pitched in three career starts at T-Mobile Field.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 9:10 PM EDT on NESN.

Chris Sale Gets Lit up for Seven Runs as #RedSox Get Blown out by Mariners on Opening Day

Exactly five months after clinching their ninth World Series title in franchise history, the Red Sox set out on the journey to defend that crown, starting with an Opening Day showdown against the Seattle Mariners at the newly-minted T-Mobile Park out in the Pacific Northwest.

Getting the start for Boston in this one, as announced last week, was none other than ace left-hander Chris Sale.

The new $145 million man, who also recorded the last out of that 2018 World Series against the Dodgers, did not have himself an Opening Day to remember in this one.

Working just the first three innings on Thursday, Sale surrendered seven earned runs on six hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with four strikeouts on the night. Three of those Mariners hits were home runs, with a pair coming from infielder Tim Beckham and the other coming from Edwin Encarnacion.

Control was clearly an issue for Sale in his first meaningful start of 2019, and according to Statcast, the 29-year-old failed to induce one swing and miss when throwing his four-seam fastball, which he went to 25 times.

Also using Statcast, Sale’s fastball topped out at 94.5 MPH in the first inning. His average fastball velocity on the night was 92.3 MPH, which incrementally decreased from inning to inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (45 strikes), Sale’s next start should come against the Oakland Athletics next Wednesday. Perhaps with some more innings under his belt after a fairly light spring, we’ll see a more improved Sale in his next time out.

In relief of Sale, Hector Velazquez. Heath Hembree, Tyler Thornburg, and Brian Johnson combined to give up five more runs, four of which were earned, on six hits, two walks, one HBP, and five strikeouts over the final five frames on Thursday.

Velazquez, who figures to take on a long-relief/spot start role this season, was responsible for three of those runs, with one of them coming on a Ryon Healy fifth inning solo homer.

After loading the bases with one out in the sixth, Heath Hembree would enter his first contest of 2019 to try and escape the jam, but would give up an additional pair of runs on a bases-loaded walk and Eduardo Nunez fielding error. Both runs (one earned) were charged to Velazquez.

From there, Tyler Thornburg’s 2019 debut didn’t go quite as planned, as the ex-Brewer allowed two more Mariners runs to score while serving up Seattle’s fifth home run of the evening courtesy of Domingo Santana.

And finally, Brian Johnson, who should be starting Tuesday in Oakland if the Red Sox remain committed to a six-man rotation, had the best outing of any Boston reliever, limiting Seattle to just one base runner in a scoreless eighth inning of work.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales to start things out in Seattle’s home opener.

Entering Thursday having already made an official start last week in Tokyo, Gonzales looked fairly shaky early against the defending World Series champions.

In fact, three straight one out first inning hits from Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, and JD Martinez resulted in Boston’s first run of the season to cross the plate on an RBI single from Martinez.

Just an inning later, a Mariners E3 that allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach first to leadoff the second allowed another Red Sox run to score, this one coming after Nunez had advanced to third and Andrew Benintendi had driven him in with an RBI sacrifice fly to shallow left field.

So, with an early 2-0 lead, things were looking pretty good for the Red Sox, until they weren’t, because Gonzales got into a bit of a groove from the beginning of the third inning up until the sixth.

There, Nunez was at it again, this time leading the inning off with a line drive double.

After a Jackie Bradley Jr. strikeout and an apparent balk committed by Gonzales, Christian Vazquez came through with his first RBI of 2019 by pulling a double to left field, allowing Nunez to score.

That run-scoring two-bagger would mark the end of the night for Gonzales, who was replaced in favor of fellow southpaw and ex-Red Sox hurler Roenis Elias.

Matched up against Benintendi in his first action of the game, Benintendi won the lefty-on-lefty matchup, pulling an RBI single to right to drive in Vazquez.

At the time, that cut Seattle’s lead to four runs, but as the final score of 12-4 indicates, the Mariners would go on a little run of their own to put this one out of reach for the Red Sox in their first loss of the 2019 season.

Some notes from this loss:

The seven runs given up by Chris Sale are tied for the most he has given up in a Red Sox uniform.

Per WEEI’s Evan Drellich, “the 2018 Red Sox allowed 12 runs or more only three times. The season high for runs allowed was 13.”

From the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, when speaking with Red Sox manager Alex Cora:

An ugly loss to be sure, but let’s not forget how Opening Day last year went with that blown lead in Tampa Bay.

Compared to other teams, this Red Sox club had an atypical spring coming off a 2018 in which they played deep into October. It could take some time until we see this team at their full capacity. That’s what I’m trying to say.

Anyway, next up for the Red Sox, it will be a starting pitching matchup featuring right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and rookie left-hander Yusei Kikuchi on Friday

Eovaldi, entering his first full season with Boston, has only pitched at T-Mobile Field once before in his seven-year career.

For Seattle, Kikuchi allowed two runs (one earned) over 4 2/3 innings in his first career start against the Oakland Athletics last week in Tokyo.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:10 PM EDT on NESN. Time to put that first win on the board.

#RedSox Manager Alex Cora Announces Opening Day Starting Lineup, Featuring Andrew Benintendi Leading off and Christian Vazquez Catching Chris Sale

With Opening Day just mere hours away, Red Sox manager Alex Cora on Wednesday announced the starting lineup for his team’s first game of the 2019 season against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

  1. Benintendi, LF
  2. Betts, RF
  3. Devers, 3B
  4. Martinez, DH
  5. Bogaerts, SS
  6. Moreland, 1B
  7. Nunez, 2B
  8. Bradley Jr., CF
  9. Vazquez, C
    Sale, SP

To nobody’s surprise, Andrew Benintendi will be serving as Boston’s leadoff man for the majority of the season, as announced by Cora himself last December.

In 97 career plate appearances batting leadoff for Boston, the 24-year-old outfielder, who is entering his third full big league season, is slashing .322/.381/.598 with seven doubles, one triple, five home runs, and 15 RBI.

After Benintendi, Mookie Betts will be sliding into the two-hole, which was also expected.

What may not have been expected is what comes next, with third baseman Rafael Devers getting the chance to bat in between Betts and JD Martinez.

According to Cora, the third spot in Boston’s lineup will not be reserved for one specific hitter over the course of the season, with Devers, Mitch Moreland, and Steve Pearce also in the mix depending on pitching matchups. But, with Pearce currently on the injured list back in Fort Myers, it will go to the young corner infielder for Opening Day.

“Steve is not here and (Devers) did a good job,” Cora said to reporters on Wednesday afternoon. “So go get ‘em, kid.”

Devers, 22, made his major league debut in Seattle back in July of 2017.

From there, as it reads above, we have Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Mitch Moreland making up a pretty solid 4-5-6 portion of the lineup

And to round it off, it will go Eduardo Nunez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Christian Vazquez, who of course will be catching Chris Sale in Game 1 of 162 on Thursday.

Per Baseball Reference, Sale owns a 3.40 ERA and .643 OPS against in 53 total innings pitched over 11 outings with Vazquez behind the plate.

He had been mostly working with Sandy Leon in his first three seasons with the Red Sox, but with Leon now off Boston’s 40-man roster, it will be interesting to see how the left-hander performs with Vazquez, or even Blake Swihart, serving as his catcher.

Whether or not Vazquez will be Sale’s personal catcher has yet to be revealed, but I doubt that.

Anyway, it looks like I’m going to run out of time to post a huge 2019 preview blog, but first pitch against the Mariners is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT Thursday on ESPN. Get excited.

 

Chris Sale Named #RedSox’ 2019 Opening Day Starter

Prior to Sunday’s split-squad action against the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced that Chris Sale will get the start for Boston on Opening Day in Seattle on March 28th.

Fresh off a seven-strikeout performance in his spring debut yesterday, Sunday’s announcement marks the second consecutive season the ace left-hander will make his first start of the year in a Red Sox uniform on Opening Day.

This bit of news was originally supposed to be revealed by Cora following Saturday’s win over the Atlanta Braves, but he decided to hold out and add some drama to what appeared to be a pretty easy choice to make.

Entering his eighth full major league season, Sale owns a 1.93 ERA while fanning 32 over 28 innings in four previous Opening Day starts with both the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.

In five career appearances (four starts) at T-Mobile Park against the Mariners, the left-hander has surrendered six earned runs and struck out 44 over 29.1 innings of work.

As things are currently lined up with the Red Sox going to a six-man rotation to start their 2019 season, it appears as though Sale will also be getting the start for the home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 9th at Fenway Park.

Regarding how the remainder of Boston’s rotation will fill out to at least start the season, that is not yet known due to David Price being scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday because of an illness.

Sale, 29, went 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA and 13.5 K/9 in 32 games started for Boston in 2018.

His next and what should be final Grapefruit League start will more than likely come against the Tampa Bay Rays at JetBlue Park on Thursday.