RECAP: David Price Has Nice Start in Return from All-Star Break as #RedSox Win 69th Game of Season.

After enjoying a brief four days off while All-Star festivities were taking place in Washington D.C., the Red Sox were back at it on Friday night to take on a below average Tigers team in Detroit, Michigan.

As a unit, Boston was essentially firing on all units heading into the break, as they entered last night winners of six of their last seven games, so it was going to be interesting to see how they would respond after nearly a week of no baseball.

Making his 20th start of the season and coming off an outing in which he held the Toronto Blue Jays to three runs in nearly seven innings back on July 12th, David Price was once again matched up against a former team of his on Friday.

For Price, it really was a tale of two halves in this start. Through the first three innings, the lefty was perfect. Nine up, nine down, with the ninth out coming on this fantastic catch from JD Martinez in right field.

Couldn’t ask for much better there, but things got shaky for Price when the Tigers lineup got their second look at him starting in the fourth.

Back-to-back leadoff singles from Tigers infielders Niko Goodrum and Jeimer Candelario followed by an infield single off the bat of Nick Castellanos that deflected off of Price’s glove put the Tennessee native in his first jam of the night.

With the bases loaded for Detroit, Price managed to get out of the stressful situation by retiring the next three batters he faced, but it came at a cost.

Yes, as Andrew Benintendi caught a fly ball off the bat of John Hicks for the first out of the frame, an awry throw back into the infield to prevent the runner on third from tagging up created some confusion.

While it appeared Candelario was caught in a rundown between second and third, Brock Holt ended up being the recipient of a cleat to the right knee, as Candelario got him with his spike as he was sliding back into second with Holt covering the bag.

Replaced by Tzu-Wei Lin, Holt was later diagnosed with a right knee contusion, so it does not look like the Red Sox utility man will miss any significant time.

Anyway, Price somehow managed to escape that inning without getting seriously roughed up by a team that struggles to score runs, and went on to retire seven of the last 10 batters he faced.

After getting the first out of the seventh and hitting Leonys Martin with a pitch, the 32 year-old hurler was replaced in favor of Heath Hembree.

Finishing with 96 pitches (65 strikes) on the night, Price relied on his cutter the most, as he went to it approximately 32% of the time on Friday while also topping out at 94.4 MPH with it in the fifth inning.

At 11-6 on the season now, Price will look to build on what was no doubt his best start of July in his next time out, which should come against the Baltimore Orioles next Wednesday.

In relief of Price, the aforementioned Heath Hembree was inserted into this game with a runner on first and one out in the bottom half of the seventh. He needed just seven pitches to strike out the only two batters he faced to send this thing to the eighth.

Seemingly taking the main set up man role from Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes got the call for the eighth inning, and like he has done so much as of late, shut the door on the opposition.

It certainly was not an easy task, as the UCONN product struck out the first two batters he faced, but could only get one actual out due to two wild pitches on both strike threes.

Despite that, Barnes escaped the inning without surrendering a run and with the help of perhaps his best curveball of the season, picked up his 20th hold.

Finally, in the ninth, after not appearing in his seventh All-Star Game this past Tuesday, Craig Kimbrel came in, allowed the tying run to reach base with one out, retired the next two batters he faced, and picked up his 31st save of the season to ensure the 1-0 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup could not do much against a mediocre Tigers pitching staff, but luckily, they did not need to.

Facing off against lefty Matthew Boyd for Detroit, who in his only other start against Boston this season surrendered two earned runs in 6.1 innings pitched back on June 7th, the Red Sox could only manage one run on the entire night.

That lone run came in the top of the first, when with one out and runners on first and second, Steve Pearce came through with a line drive RBI double to left field, scoring Andrew Benintendi from second and making it a 1-0 game.

Other than that, the team certainly had other opportunities to tack some insurance runs on the board, like in the sixth and seventh innings, but could only strand runners in scoring position in what turned out to be a very tight win.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox have a nice 69-30 record and own a 5.5 game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East.

The Red Sox are 11-2 in David Price’s last 13 starts. Over that span, Price owns a 3.72 ERA and .239 BAA in 77.1 innings pitched.

Since joining the Red Sox on June 29th, Steve Pearce is slashing .433/.500/.700 with one home run and six RBI in 11 games played.

In his last 10 appearances, Matt Barnes has surrendered just one run in 10.1 innings pitched while holding opponents to a .419 OPS.

With game number 100 on deck, it will be a starting pitching matchup featuring Brian Johnson for the Red Sox and Mike Fiers for the Tigers. Fiers, a righty, has faced Boston three times in his career and owns a 2.76 ERA in those appearances.

Since rejoining the rotation on June 28th, Johnson has been a stable option in three starts. The lefty owns a 3.38 ERA over that stretch, and the Red Sox are undefeated in those three games.

First pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 6:10 PM ET.

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RECAP: Mookie Betts Blasts Monumental Grand Slam in Tenth Straight Win for #RedSox.

Coming off a sweep of the Texas Rangers, the Red Sox welcomed the fourth place Toronto Blue Jays into town for one last series before reaching the All-Star Break. In search of their tenth consecutive victory, David Price got the nod in what was simply an important night for the left hander.

Making his 19th start of the season, and third of what has been a frustrating month of July, David Price looked for some retribution in his last appearance in this opening half of the season.

Pitching into the seventh inning of this one, the lefty surrendered three runs, all earned, on six hits while recording eight strikeouts on the night.

In what was an otherwise impressive start for Price, the only thing that truly bit him was, once again, the home run ball.

Starting in the top half of the first, he tried to sneak a 0-1 93 MPH fastball by Teoscar Hernandez with two outs in the inning. Hernandez, one of Toronto’s best power hitters, took that fastball and sent it 434 feet, the farthest hit ball of the night, to the center field bleachers, putting the Jays up 2-0 early.

After that blast, Price did settle down and retire 16 of the next 18 batters he faced going into the top half of the seventh.

To leadoff that seventh inning, Kendrys Morales greeted Price by launching another home run, this one cutting the Red Sox lead to two runs.

Again, Price bounced back by retiring the next two batters he faced before Alex Cora came to get him with a 2/2 Devon Travis due up next for the Blue Jays.

In total, the Tennessee native pitched 6.2 innings, the deepest he has gone into a game since June 26th, and did not walk, or hit, a single batter in what turned out to be his 10th winning decision of the season.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (76 strikes), the 32 year-old hurler relied on his changeup the most on Thursday, as he went to it 34% of the time resulting in nine swinging strikes. He only went to his four-seam fastball a total of 12 times, and actually topped out at 93.5 MPH with his two-seamer in the third inning of his start.

Overall, putting David Price’s first half of the season into words is no easy task. We’ve seen how great he can be at times, and we have also seen how nonexistent on the mound he can be at times. For the remaining 64 games left on the schedule following the break, hopefully we see a David Price that is ready to positively contribute to a team heading towards postseason contention.

In relief of Price, Brandon Workman got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and after giving up a single to the aforementioned Devon Travis, retired the side in the top half of the seventh by getting Yangervis Solarte to line out to Mookie Betts in right field.

Over the final two innings of last night’s contest, Matt Barnes got hit decently hard by the top of the Jays lineup, as he allowed them to creep a little closer by making it a 6-4 game, but rallied with two huge strikeouts to retire the side and prevent any additional damage.

And in the ninth, on the day after recording a four-out save against the Rangers, Craig Kimbrel shut the door on Toronto in a clean frame of work, with none other than Mookie Betts, who we’ll get to momentarily, catching the final out to ensure Kimbrel’s 29th save and his team’s 66th win of the season in 6-4 fashion.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against an All-Star pitcher in the Blue Jays’ JA Happ.

Similar to Bartolo Colon, Happ, 35 has been doing this pitching thing for a while, and he proved why he is an All-Star this season by shutting down Boston’s bats over the first three innings on Thursday night.

The bottom of the fourth inning, though, well, that is where things started to drastically change for the better.

With one out in the frame and Xander Bogaerts at first following a line drive single, it appeared as if Brock Holt had grounded into a force out at second base on a failed double play by the Blue Jays. After further review however, it was determined that Toronto’s second baseman, Devon Travis, never applied the force at second, meaning Bogaerts was actually safe.

So, the Red Sox video room saw that from their vantage point, contacted the dugout, and Alex Cora ended up with a winning challenge, meaning both Bogaerts and Holt were safe with only one out in the inning.

Following that bit of craziness, an infield single from Eduardo Nunez loaded the bases for the Red Sox, and Sandy Leon came through first with an RBI force out that allowed Bogaerts to score from third.

After Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a six pitch walk to reload the bases, Mookie Betts went ahead and had one of the more dramatic at bats these eyes have seen.

Lasting 13 pitches total, Betts fouled off SEVEN pitches from Happ and watched three go for balls to eventually fill the count at 3-2.

On the 13th pitch of the endeavor, the Red Sox outfielder must have had enough, because he took a 95 MPH fastball from Happ and pulverized it 407 feet over the Green Monster for his second grand slam of the season.

Just Betts’ reaction alone is something else.

Never mind the fact that he just capped off one of, if not the best at bat of the season with a GRAND SLAM, good for his 23rd homer of the season, too.

That is how All-Stars are made, and that is how JA Happ’s night would end for Toronto in an inning he needed 46 pitches to record two outs in.

Fast forward to the seventh inning now, and it was Betts coming up big again, as he delivered what turned out to be a very important insurance run by driving in Jackie Bradley Jr. on an RBI single off the Monster, making it a 6-3 game to pretty much put this thing out of reach.

Some notes from this win:

Injury related: Steve Pearce had to exit from Thursday night’s contest after taking a 94 MPH fastball of his left shin in the first inning. He’s been diagnosed with a left shin contusion and is day-to-day.

The Red Sox have now won 10 games in a row, marking their longest such streak this season. Here are some nuggets from @SoxNotes pertaining to that streak:

At 66-29 (.695), the Red Sox are 37 games over .500 for the first time since 1949.

They are 38-15 (.717) in their last 53 games, including 17-3 (.850) in their last 20.

Boston’s 10-game winning streak is the club’s longest since September 2016 (11 games).

Just saying, but that is pretty good.

In the month of July, Mookie Betts is slashing .409/.490/.705 with three home runs and eight RBI. He is currently in the midst of a 10 game hitting streak.

Going for their 11th straight win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for the Red Sox. Following a so-so outing against the Kansas City Royals this past Sunday, I’m sure Porcello will be wanting to end his first half on a positive note against a team he has pitched well against this season.

He’ll be matched up against lefty Ryan Borucki, who in his rookie year with the Blue Jays, owns a 2.25 ERA in his first three career starts.

First pitch of the second game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Two RBI Each from Benintendi, Bogaerts, Bradley Jr., and Moreland Lift #RedSox to Eighth Straight Victory.

On a night they were planning to rely heavily on their bullpen due to Brian Johnson hitting the DL on Sunday, the Red Sox looked to take the series against the Texas Rangers for their eighth straight win.

Although he was not expected to pitch very deep into this game, Hector Velazquez made his first start since April 14th on Tuesday night, and despite not being totally in command, he did a solid job to start this one out.

In three frames of work, the righty scattered one run while allowing two hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night. The only real mistake Velazquez committed came in the second, when Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor smacked a 92 MPH sinker 447 feet to right field to put his team on the board first.

Other than that, Velazquez got out of another jam in the same inning, and went on to work his away around a leadoff walk in a scoreless third. So, overall, not too shabby for the 29 year-old.

Since he was limited in what he could do, Velazquez finished with a pitch count of only 47 (32 strikes) and topped out at 93.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball.

Depending on the status of Steven Wright in this next turn around the Red Sox rotation, it will be interesting to see what the team does this coming Sunday, which would be Velazquez’s, or Wright’s, next scheduled start. But, given the fact it’s the last day before the All-Star break, it would not surprise me if we had another bullpen day on our hands. We’ll have to wait for that announcement.

Anyway, in relief of Velazquez, Jalen Beeks, who was recalled from Pawtucket Tuesday morning, made his first appearance with the Red Sox since his major league debut on June 7th.

In just over two innings of work, Beeks got hit fairly hard, as the Rangers tacked on their final three runs of the night with the Arkansas native on the mound. Despite that, it could have been worse for Beeks, had he not received some serious help from Mookie Betts in the fifth…

…and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the sixth.

With one out in that sixth inning, Brandon Workman came on for Beeks with runners on second and third and a four run lead to work with.

On the fifth pitch he threw, noted slugger Joey Gallo nearly took a 93 MPH fastball from Workman and sent it out of the park. He did it 394 feet, but it was only good for a two-run double off the tallest part of the Monster in left field.

Cutting the lead to just two runs now, Workman recovered by retiring the next two batters he faced on six pitches to end the top half of the sixth.

From that point on, with the aid of an increased lead, the Red Sox bullpen was essentially money from the seventh until the last out of the ninth. Matt Barnes earned his third wining decision of the season thanks to a scoreless seventh, Joe Kelly held down the fort by tossing a scoreless eighth, and for the second straight night, the new guy, Ryan Brasier saw this win through with a scoreless final frame.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against 12-year veteran starter Yovani Gallardo for the Rangers, who entered Tuesday night with an unsightly 8.17 ERA on the season.

Six hits in the third inning is what got the scoring started for Boston, and surely enough, the five-run rally was initiated by back-to-back doubles from the 8-9 hitters in Blake Swihart and Jackie Bradley Jr. to put the first run on the board.

Two batters later, an Andrew Benintendi double to drive in Bradley from second started a string of four straight knocks for the Red Sox 2-5 hitters, including a JD Martinez single to advance Benintendi to third, a Mitch Moreland RBI single, and to cap it off, a 2 RBI triple off the bat of Xander Bogaerts to clear the bases and put Boston up 5-1.

Fast forward to the fifth now, with Gallardo still on the mound for Texas, and Mookie Betts led things off with his 25th double of the season to put a runner in scoring position right away. Following a JD Martinez walk two batters later, Mitch Moreland came through with his second RBI of the night on a sac fly hit far enough to center field to allow Betts to score from third and make it a 6-2 game.

In the next two innings, the Red Sox padded their lead, which did shrink a bit in the top half of the sixth, with a run in each frame.

First, in the bottom of the sixth, with the score at 6-4, it was the 8-9 hitters who showed up for Boston once again, as a two out Blake Swihart single set up Jackie Bradley Jr. with another RBI chance, and he capitalized on it with his second RBI double of the night.

An inning later, Andrew Benintendi padded on to his All-Star hopes by notching his 57th RBI of the season on another double to drive in Mookie Betts from first and wrapping up the scoring at 8-4.

Some notes from this win:

I failed to mention this earlier, but Blake Swihart started at catcher for only the second time this season. Given the fact that Christian Vazquez is out with a broken pinky finger for the forseeable future, Swihart will be getting a decent amount of playing time, and he impressed both behind the plate and with a bat in his hands last night.

The Red Sox are 35 games over .500 at 64-29.

From @SoxNotes: This is the Red Sox’ third win streak of 8+ games this season. It had been 40 years since they had as many as three win streaks of 8+ games in a single season (four in 1978).

In nine games this month, Andrew Benintendi has a 1.179 OPS. Today is the last day to vote for the final All-Star on each roster, so don’t forget to #VoteBenny before 4 PM on Wednesday.

redsox.com/vote

Going for their ninth consecutive victory and third straight sweep on Wednesday, it will be a pitching matchup featuring Bartolo Colon for Texas and Chris Sale for Boston.

At the age of 45, Colon owns a 4.65 ERA in 18 appearances with the Rangers in what is his 21st season in the big leagues.

He’ll be going up none other than Chris Sale, who in his last six starts, is putting up ridiculous numbers for the Red Sox en route to what could be his third straight start for the American League in this year’s All-Star Game.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez Bounces Back with Six Shutout Innings as #RedSox Complete Sweep of Nationals on Independence Day.

After dropping two out of three to the Yankees in New York to start a nine-game road trip, the Red Sox had the opportunity to improve to 4-2 on the trip yesterday thanks to two straight wins over the Washington Nationals in DC.

Making his 17th start of the season and coming off back-to-back poor outings against the Mariners and Yankees, Eduardo Rodriguez toed the rubber for his first time ever at Nationals Park.

In six quality innings pitched, the lefty failed to surrender a single run as he held the Nationals to just three hits and one walk while fanning six on the day. If it weren’t for his spot in the order due up in the top half of the seventh, I’d like to think Rodriguez could have gone even deeper, but considering that the Red Sox were threatening with runners in scoring position, I understand the decision to pinch-hit Andrew Benintendi in that spot.

Regardless, the Venezuela native only needed 84 pitches (54 strikes) to get through those six scoreless innings, and he really dazzled to pick up his 10th winning decision of the season.

Out of those 84 pitches Rodriguez went to his deadly changeup a total of 26 times, which resulted in five swinging strikes, one called strike, and seven balls in play. He also topped out at 95.7 MPH with his four-seam fastball in the fourth inning.

Building off a successful start to the new month, the 25-year-old hurler will look to carry over this new-found momentum in his next start, which should come back at Fenway Park against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen carried on and completed the shutout with three scoreless frames of their own. Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel locked down their teams 59th win of the season, and in doing so, Kimbrel, despite allowing the tying run to come to the plate, notched his 26th save of 2018.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was limited in what they could do yesterday and that was mostly because of a solid performance out of the Nationals bullpen.

In fact, Washington’s starter for this series finale, Erick Fedde, had to leave in the second inning with what was later diagnosed as right shoulder inflammation. That really did not matter though, because the Red Sox failed to plate a run until the top half of the seventh.

Going into the frame with this thing still tied, Rafael Devers got the rally started with a leadoff double off of Nats reliever Ryan Madson. Two batters later, after Devers had moved up to third on a Eduardo Nunez single, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with the clutch sacrifice fly to finally put the Red Sox on the board.

Two batters later, with Andrew Benintendi pinch-hitting for Eduardo Rodriguez, a wild pitch on ball four from Madson allowed Eduardo Nunez, who had advanced to third on that Bradley sac fly, to easily score and put his team up by two runs.

Fast forward to the ninth, and another Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI, this one coming on a double to score Eduardo Nunez all the way from first, pretty much put this game away from the Red Sox by putting them up 3-0.

One note from this W:

It is July 5th and the Red Sox are 30 games over .500. That is all.

With a trip to Kansas City up next on the schedule, the Red Sox will find themselves enjoying a day off on Thursday before kicking off a three-game weekend series against the lowly Royals on Friday. Chris Sale, who owns a career 3.16 ERA in 16 games at Kauffman Stadium, gets the ball for the opener. He’ll be matched up against veteran righty Jason Hammel for the Royals. First pitch of the first game on Friday is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET.

Also, happy belated Independence Day.

 

RECAP: Chris Sale Fans 13 in Seven Shutout Innings as #RedSox Take Series from Mariners.

For the second time in less than 24 hours, a left-handed pitcher tossed a shutout at Fenway Park. Mike Leake did it for the Mariners with eight scoreless innings in a win last night, and Chris Sale did it for the Red Sox with seven scoreless frames this afternoon.

In his 17th start of the season on Sunday, Sale looked as dominant as ever. Coming off a performance against the Twins in which he took a perfect game into the fifth inning last Tuesday, the lefty did not give up his first hit in this one until there were two outs in the third.

Ending his day with a line of 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB Sale never found himself in too much troubles in his ninth career start against the Mariners. After he gave up his first hit of the game to Denard Span in the third inning, the 29-year-old escaped any further stress with a nice pick-off move on Span to retire the side.

An inning later, another two out situation arose when Nelson Cruz ripped a triple off of Sale. Regardless of the fact that Cruz should have been out at third base, the Red Sox hurler rebounded by striking out Ryon Healy on four pitches to escape the jam.

In the sixth, it looked as though the Mariners were about to tack on their first two runs of the day when, after Andrew Romine reached first on a bunt single, Mitch Haniger hit a sharp line drive towards Seattle’s bullpen. Instead of  a home run though, Mookie Betts came up with the clutch inning-ending snag to rob Haniger of what would have been his 17th long ball of the season.

If not this catch, the highlight of the afternoon might just be how Sale ended his day in his final frame of work. It was more than likely the Florida native’s toughest inning, as he allowed two to reach on a single and a walk and needed 19 pitches, but it was all worth it thanks to his last pitch against Mike Zunino.

100.5 MPH(!!!) on that fastball, the fastest pitch recorded by Sale on 93 attempts, 71 of which went for strikes. Going to his four-seamer 44% of the time on Sunday, 20 of the 21 fastest recorded pitches in this game belonged to Sale.

With the Red Sox lineup actually giving the southpaw some run support today, Sale was able to notch his seventh winning decision of the season.

And thanks to two additional scoreless innings from Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes out of the bullpen, the Red Sox recorded their sixth shutout win on the year as well.

On the flip side of things, Mariners starter Marco Gonzales was the one starter the Red Sox did not see in Seattle. With a cumulative .685 OPS against lefties this season, it was going to see how the lineup would stack up the day after getting shutout by another left-handed starter.

After being held to one hit over the first four innings, Xander Bogaerts got a three-run rally started in the fifth with a leadoff double. Following that up with a single off the bat of Eduardo Nunez, Rafael Devers put his team on the board first by ripping an RBI double to the right field corner to score Bogaerts from third. Two sacrifice flies from Sandy Leon and Mookie Betts later, and the Red Sox found themselves up by three going into the sixth inning.

In the bottom half of the sixth, Mitch Moreland stayed hot and wrapped up the scoring on the afternoon by mashing his 11th home run of the season, a 415 foot two-run missile hit to dead center field.

That put the Red Sox up by five runs, which is all they would need to pick up their 52nd win of the season.

Some notes from this W:

The Red Sox improved to 2-4 in games started by Chris Sale when he records 10 or more strikeouts. Maddening stuff.

Per @RedSoxStats: Most swing and misses by a Sox starter in the pitch tracking era:
26 of 93 Chris Sale, today
26 of 114 Clay Buchholz, April, 2010
26 of 116 Chris Sale, May 2018

With that home run, Mitch Moreland extended his hitting streak to seven games. Over that stretch, the Red Sox first baseman is 12/27 with seven RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3/3 at the plate batting ninth today, his first multi-hit game since June 5th against Detroit.

After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox will welcome the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim into town for a three-game series set to kick off Tuesday night. In a matchup of elite outfielders in Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, I’m fascinated to see how much national attention this series will receive.

For the opener, it will be another starting pitching matchup featuring two lefties. John Lamb will be making his third start of the season for the Angels, and David Price will be making his 16th start of the season against the Red Sox. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Tuesday.

 

RECAP: The #RedSox Opened up a Six-Game Homestand on Friday by Unloading 14 Runs Against the Mariners.

Coming off a long road trip in which they averaged 4.2 runs scored per game, the Red Sox opened up a three-game weekend series against the Seattle Mariners in eventful fashion last night. The weirdest part of this game was that Steven Wright had his worst start of the season and they still found a way to win.

Having just gotten swept by the Yankees in New York, the Mariners came into Boston looking to get off to a quick start offensively. And with Steven Wright on the mound making his fourth start of the season on Friday, they did just that.

Yup, the knuckleballer, who in his last time out against the Mariners this past Saturday tossed seven one run innings in a losing effort, got rocked for the first time this season. Right from the get go, the Mariners were on top of Wright and his knuckleball, as they pounced for four runs in the first on two home runs, two in the second, and four again in the fourth with another home run mixed in there before the righty departed with two outs in the inning.

In those 4.2 frames of work, Wright got hit ten times for TEN earned runs. For the Mariners, Nelson Cruz was the main enforcer here. Old friend Denard Span was once again a bit of a headache, but by the time this thing reached the middle of the fourth inning, Cruz had already driven in SEVEN of his teams 10 runs, six of which came on two moon shots off of Wright.

The life of a knuckleballer, huh? One start you look like a magician, the next you look like absolute trash. Steven Wright’s ERA inflated from 1.23 all the way up to 3.38 after this stinker of a start, but he would not be pinned with the losing decision.

Nope, thanks to 5.2 scoreless frames of relief from the Red Sox bullpen and an explosion of runs from the lineup, the California native did not factor into the decision. Finishing with 59 pitches on the evening, Wright went to his knuckler 54 times and only got 4 swings and missed out of it. He’ll look to rebound next time out against the LA Angels on Thursday.

As I just mentioned, the Red Sox bullpen was nails last night. Starting in the top half of the fifth with two outs and a five run deficit, Brian Johnson, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel combined to toss over five shutdown innings while holding the Mariners to four hits and one walk.

For Barnes, this was his second straight scoreless appearance since giving up two runs in Seattle last Friday night. He struck out the side in the seventh. And for Kimbrel, who had not made an appearance since June 14th, he struck out one while tossing a scoreless ninth inning to wrap this crazy game up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup went off for the second day in a row. They tallied nine runs in Minnesota on Thursday, and they added on that by plating 14 runs on 20 hits last night. Eight players finished the game with at least one run driven in. Let’s get to it.

Already trailing by four runs in the bottom of the first, the Red Sox made the most of their first at bats in this one.

Facing off against a pitcher who had just shut them out less than a week ago in M’s righty Wade LeBlanc, the top of the lineup got things started right away by recording four straight hits. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi set the table by hitting back to back singles, and JD Martinez and Mitch Moreland followed that up with a pair of RBI knocks to make it a 4-2 game.

Two batters later, a Brock Holt RBI single, a Rafael Devers RBI groundout, and a Christian Vazquez RBI double plated another three runs, and just like that, the Red Sox were up by a run going into the second inning.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth, after the Mariners had gone up big again, Devers came through by cutting the Red Sox deficit to four with another RBI, this one coming on a single to score Mitch Moreland from third, making it a 10-6 ballgame.

An inning later is where things got really interesting. Similar to Thursday, when the Red Sox scored seven of their nine runs over the last three innings in Minnesota, they struck for eight runs in their last three innings with at bats on Friday as well.

Starting in the sixth, with LeBlanc now out of the contest and Mariners reliever Nick Vincent in, a two out walk of Andrew Benintendi led to another pitching change. So with James Pazos in the game now and Benintendi over at first, JD Martinez ended his homerless streak of at bats at 30 by mashing a 427 foot two-run shot to dead center. His 23rd big fly of the season.

The third run of the inning came around to score when Xander Bogaerts drove in Mitch Moreland on another RBI single to make it a one run game going into the seventh.

Trailing by one run now, two singles from Rafael Devers and a Mookie Betts walk loaded the bases for Andrew Benintendi. With Juan Nicasio on the mound for the Mariners, Benintendi ripped his second hit of the day, a single, to score Devers from third to tie the game and reload the bases for JD Martinez. With three hits on the day already, the Red Sox slugger collected his fourth and fifth RBI of the night by grounding a single up the middle to score Swihart and Betts. 12-10.

Two batters later, with Eduardo Nunez in the game pinch-hitting for Xander Bogaerts, two straight wild pitches from new pitcher Nick Rumbelow allowed Andrew Benintendi to score from third and allowed JD Martinez to advance from second to third.

To cap off a wild night of scoring, Eduardo Nunez collected his 17th RBI of the season by lining a single to center field to drive in Martinez for his teams 14th run of the night. That’s all the support the bullpen would need to secure win number 51.

Some notes from this W:

14 runs tied a season-high for the Red Sox. The only time they have scored as many runs this season came back on April 10th against the Yankees. The 20 hits did mark a new season-high.

Xander Bogaerts had to leave this game in the seventh inning after spraining his left index finger on an awkward slide into second base on a swiped bag in the sixth. He will not be in the lineup tonight.

After only hitting one home run and driving in one run on the road trip, JD Martinez came through with FIVE RBI on four hits last night.

Everyone in the Red Sox lineup, including Eduardo Nunez, reached base at least once. In total, the Red Sox went 20/43 with one home run and 13 RBI last night.

Looking to pick up the series win later tonight, it will be Eduardo Rodriguez making the start for Boston. He’ll be matched up against Mariners righty Mike Leake in the same pitching matchup we saw this past Sunday. The Red Sox had their way with Leake in that one, and they’ll look to do the same on Saturday. Going for his team-leading 10th winning decision of the season, Rodriguez owns a career 2.66 ERA in four starts against Seattle. With that in mind, first pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET on FOX.

 

 

RECAP: Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts Homer as #RedSox End Series in Seattle with a 9-3 Win.

Entering Sunday having lost their last two games against the Mariners, the Red Sox looked to even the series up before heading to Minnesota for the final leg of their road trip that starts on Tuesday.

Coming off a quality outing in his last time out against the Orioles, Eduardo Rodriguez  put together yet another solid performance on the mound yesterday afternoon. In six full innings pitched, the first time he’s gone that deep this month, the lefty surrendered two runs on six hits and one walk while notching nine strikeouts on the day.

Rodriguez’s first three innings went fairly smoothly, as he scattered two hits and that one walk while recording the first nine outs quietly, but the fourth and the fifth were a different story.

With notable slugger Nelson Cruz in for his second at bat of the day to lead off the fourth, the native of Venezuela served up a 3-2, 89 MPH two-seam fastball to the Mariners DH, and he took it 442(!) feet to left to put his team on the board. His first career hit off of Rodriguez in eight tries.

An inning later, three straight singles from the 8-9-1 hitters in the Mariners lineup loaded the bases with no outs for Jean Segura. A run came around to score when Segura grounded into a force out at second, but that was all Rodriguez gave up in an 18 pitch inning.

With his pitch count at 96 going into the bottom half of the seventh, Alex Cora must have wanted to get the most out of Rodriguez, because he came back out and proceeded to retire the side in order to end his day on a more positive note.

Now finishing with a grand total of 113 pitches (70 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler topped out at 95.1 MPH with his four-seam fastball, which he threw 29% of the time. Later improving to 9-1 on the season, Rodriguez will look to continue this successful run he’s been on as of late in his next time out, which should come against the Mariners once again back at home next weekend.

Needing nine more outs to clinch the series-split, the Red Sox bullpen, with an initial three-run lead to work with entering the bottom of the seventh, took care of business against a pesky Mariners lineup.

Bouncing back from a blown save on Friday night, Matt Barnes tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning on 13 pitches. Making his fourth appearance of the road trip in the eighth, Brandon Workman could only record the first two outs of the inning while the Mariners plated a run. Hector Velazquez would be inserted into a bit of a jam, end the inning, and wrap this thing up by pitching a scoreless final frame with a pure display of athleticism on the final out. 49th win of the season secured.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup rebounded from getting shutout on Saturday night in a big way.

In the third, after Leake had retired the first two batters he faced, two singles from Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts and a JD Martinez walk loaded the bases for Mitch Moreland.

Entering yesterday’s contest 1-for-his-last-18, the first baseman broke out of that slump by ripping a two-run single to center field to put the Red Sox on top early.

Having just seen his 10-game hitting streak come to an end the day before, Rafael Devers followed up that Moreland RBI knock by mashing his 11th home run of the season to right field.

408 feet with an exit velocity of 106 MPH on that one for Devers, in the place where he hit his first career homer as well.

Fast forward to the seventh and the Red Sox bats struck again, this time for three runs on two home runs.

Leading off the inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. took M’s reliever Chasen Bradford yard for his fourth big fly of the season.

And three batters later, after Andrew Benintendi singled before him, Xander Bogaerts stayed hot by launching his third home run in his last four games to pretty much put this thing out of reach. 436 feet, 109 MPH exit velo. on the shortstop’s 12th long ball of the season.

One note from this win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox improve to 13-1 in Eduardo Rodriguez’s starts this season. Rodriguez is 9-1 with a 3.59 ERA, including 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA in his last 6 starts.

With an off day today in Minnesota, the Red Sox will look to take advantage of below-average Twins team starting tomorrow. The last time Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello were lined up to pitch in the same series, the Red Sox dropped two out of three to the White Sox. This time though, they’ll be looking for different results against another AL Central team. Chris Sale gets the ball in the series opener, as does Jose Berrios for the Twins, with first pitch scheduled for 8:10 PM ET on Tuesday.