RECAP: Ian Kinsler Drives in Three Runs as #RedSox Open up Series Against Braves with an 8-2 Win.

Following a series split with the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, the Red Sox headed to Atlanta, where they would be taking on a first place 76-60 Braves team in the first of a three-game set in their first ever visit to SunTrust Park on Labor Day.

In a rare Monday afternoon game, it was Nathan Eovaldi who got the start for Boston after only pitching two-plus innings due to rain in his last time out on Friday.

Entering the day with a 8.05 ERA in his last five starts, the right-hander looked to get back on track against a team he has a good history with in the Braves, and that is not exactly how things went down.

Pitching into just the fourth inning of this one, Eovaldi held Atlanta scoreless on two hits and four walks, a new-season high, to go along with four strikeouts on the afternoon.

On paper, that may not look like the worst line, especially when you consider the August Eovaldi just had, but the walks, along with a high pitch count, is what limited him to those three-and-one third innings pitched.

After walking three of the first hitters he faced in the first and escaping the inning unscathed, the Texas native did settle down a bit, but the Braves forced him to work hard by consistently working the count, which led to the high volume of pitches early on.

By the time his day came to a conclusion with one out and runners on first and third in the bottom of the fourth, Eovaldi’s pitch count was already north of 85.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (52 strikes), the 28-year-old relied on his three fastballs, four-seam, cut, and split-finger, a whopping 98% of the time he was on the mound. The other 2%? One slider and one curveball, that’s it.

Eovaldi also topped out at 100.9 MPH with his four-seam fastball to strike out Ronald Acuna Jr. in the first inning. According to MLB.com’s David Adler, “that’s the fastest strikeout pitch by a starter in MLB this season. It’s Eovaldi’s fastest pitch of the season.”

Unable to pick up the winning decision due to the length of the outing, Eovaldi did pitch well enough to help his team end the four-game losing streak they had in contests he had started since August 15th.

With his ERA on the season dropping down to a nice 4.20, the former 11th round pick will look to build on today’s start in his next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next Sunday.

In relief of Eovaldi, Alex Cora first turned to Brandon Workman with runners on the corners and two outs to get in the fourth.

Although he did walk the first hitter he faced in Dansby Swanson, Workman was able to escape the frame scot-free thanks to a 3-2 put out at home and a pop out off the bat of the dangerous Ronald Acuna to retire the side.

Steven Wright, making his first appearance since June 22nd, worked his way around a HBP and two out single in an otherwise clean fifth inning.

Joe Kelly was responsible for the sixth, and his string of scoreless appearances came to an end after giving up a leadoff home run to Ozzie Albies, but he sat down the next three batters he faced after that to end the frame.

Ryan Brasier started the seventh, but could not finish it, as he gave up one run on three hits and a sacrifice fly before making way for Heath Hembree with two outs.

Earning the trust of Alex Cora to come into games with runners on base and get out of innings cleanly, Hembree got the job done yet again by fanning Ozzie Albies on four pitches to end the seventh.

From that point on, Matt Barnes earned his 25th hold of the year in a scoreless eighth inning, and Craig Kimbrel, who had not pitched in a game since last Tuesday, walked one in a scoreless ninth and final frame to secure his team’s 95th win.

All and all, the Red Sox used seven total relief pitchers this afternoon, and only two runs, along with two walks, were given up. Not too shabby. Brandon Workman earned the winning decision.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Touki Toussaint for Atlanta, who had only made one career big league start against the Miami Marlins prior to Monday.

Ranked as the Braves’ number seven prospect, Toussaint, 22, had it going on early, as he held Boston hitless through the first four innings of this one. But once the fifth inning hit, it was the bottom of the lineup who got the scoring started.

Beginning with a one out double from Eduardo Nunez, two more doubles off the bat of both Ian Kinsler and Christian Vazquez all of a sudden had the Red Sox up by two runs.

Two batters later, a Mookie Betts RBI single that drove in Vazquez from second and increased the lead to three runs is what put an end to Toussaint’s second career big league start.

Fast forward to the eighth, with the Red Sox lead trimmed down to one run, and Ian Kinsler essentially put this game out of reach with a two out, bases-clearing three RBI double off Braves left-hander Jesse Biddle.

What was even better about that big hit is the fact that it would not have even happened had Freddie Freeman not committed a throwing error on an Eduardo Nunez ground ball that ended up loading the bases for Kinsler.

Finally, in the ninth, Xander Bogaerts made the Braves pay for intentionally walking JD Martinez to load the bases by ripping a two RBI double to center field to plate Brock Holt and Andrew Benintendi.

After another intentional walk of Mitch Moreland, Eduardo Nunez put this game on ice with a 341 foot sacrifice fly to drive JD Martinez in from third and make it a 8-2 game, which would end up being your final score.

Some notes from this 8-2 win:

The Red Sox are 12-3 in interleague play this season.

Since August 24th, Ian Kinsler is slashing .351/.368/.514 with one home run and six RBI.

Looking to guarantee a series win tomorrow night, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for Boston.

In two interleague starts this season, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings pitched against the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies. He is also 2/5 with 3 RBI at the plate in those starts.

Opposite Porcello will be LHP Sean Newcomb for the Braves.

Newcomb, 25 and a native of Brockton, Massachusetts, has posted a 3.85 ERA over 26 starts with Atlanta in his first full season in the majors.

Back on May 26th, Newcomb was only able to pitch three innings while giving up three earned runs in a losing effort in his only other start against the Red Sox.

First pitch of the second game of the series is scheduled for 7:35 PM ET Tuesday.

Advertisements

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez Dominates with 12 Strikeouts in First Start Back from DL as #RedSox Cruise to 6-1 Win over White Sox.

On a day where rosters expand all across Major League Baseball, the Red Sox welcomed a total of eight players from both Triple A Pawtucket and the 10-day disabled list to increase their roster size up to 33.

Yes, Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, and Christian Vazquez were all activated from the disabled list on Saturday, while Sam Travis, Tzu-Wei Lin, Robby Scott, Bobby Poyner, and William Cuevas were all recalled from the PawSox.

Getting the starting nod in last night’s contest was none other than Rodriguez himself, and his battery mate for his first big league in-game action in exactly seven weeks was none other than Christian Vazquez, who caught E-Rod in one of his rehab starts in Portland.

In what was his 20th start of the season, the left-hander looked as though he had not missed a beat on Saturday, as he tossed nearly six innings of one run ball while scattering three hits and one walk to go along with a season-high 12 strikeouts.

For never pitching against the White Sox on the road before, Rodriguez began his night by fanning 11 of the first 12 hitters he faced while taking a perfect game into the fifth inning.

After giving up a leadoff single to Matt Davidson and a seven pitch walk to Ryan LaMarre in an otherwise clean fifth, the 25-year old’s evening would come to an end an inning later when Nicky Delmonico ripped a two out RBI double to score Adam Engel from first for Chicago’s lone run.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (60 strikes), Rodriguez would depart from this one with two outs and a runner on second.

Out of those 90 pitches, the Venezuela native turned to his four-seam fastball 44% of the time he was on the mound on Saturday. He topped out at 96.1 MPH with that same pitch in the second inning.

Improving to 12-3 and lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.34, Rodriguez’s scoreless innings streak did ultimately come to an end at 24.2, but regardless of that, Alex Cora and the Red Sox have to be encouraged with what they saw from their young lefty in his first meaningful start in over a month.

He’ll look to build on this dominant performance in his next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final 10 outs last night, and Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, and Joe Kelly dealt with the White Sox bats in decently short order to secure their team’s 94th win of the year.

For Barnes, a nice bounce back after surrendering seven earned runs in his previous four appearances.

And for the Red Sox pitching staff as a whole, well, they faced 32 total batters on Saturday and struck out 18 of them. Not bad.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against arguably the best starting pitcher the White Sox have to offer in Carlos Rodon.

A left-hander like Rodriguez, Rodon made his 2018 debut against Boston on June 9th, where he surrendered four runs (two earned) over six innings in a losing effort.

Unlike Friday night, when they were held to one run, the Red Sox were able to score multiple runs last night, and it started with a solo home run off the bat of Eduardo Nunez in the fifth.

An absolute line drive of a long ball, Nunez’s 10th of the season had a launch angle of 19 degrees.

Three batters later, Jackie Bradley Jr. took the first pitch he saw from Rodon, a 84 MPH, slider, and sent it 402 feet to right field to make it a 2-0 game.

Fast forward to the seventh, an inning that has treated the Red Sox quite nicely these past few days, and Christian Vazquez led things off by drawing an eight pitch walk.

After a Jackie Bradley Jr. fly out, Mookie Betts was able to advance Vazquez all the way to third on his 39th double of the year.

With runners in scoring position, Andrew Benintendi appeared to ground into a 1-3 put out for the second out of the frame, but an ugly throw from Carlos Rodon that got over the first baseman’s head allowed Vazquez to easily score from third to make it a 3-1 game.

Just a few moments after that all went down, Steve Pearce put an end to Rodon’s night by ripping a one out single to left field to plate Mookie Betts and advance Benintendi to third.

Following a pitching change that saw rookie Ryan Burr take over for Rodon, JD Martinez tacked on another insurance run and added on to his league-leading RBI count by singling to center and scoring Benintendi from third. Martinez now has 115 RBI on the season.

Finally, in the eighth, just for fun, Ian Kinsler went ahead and launched his first home run in a Red Sox uniform on a rocket sent to the White Sox bullpen. 6-1.

Some notes from this 6-1 win: 

The Red Sox won their 94th game of the 2018 season on Saturday night. That is more than they had in both 2016 and 2017 and there are still 25 games left.

Over his last 10 appearances, Joe Kelly has posted a 0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings of work.

In his last five games, Ian Kinsler is batting .474 with one home run and three RBI.

With hits in eight of his last 10 games, Mookie Betts owns a 1.061 OPS with two homers and six runs driven in since August 22nd.

JD Martinez has 9 RBI in his last 10 games. Like I mentioned above, his 115 RBI on the year is the most in all of baseball.

Going for the series win later this afternoon, it will be Brian Johnson getting the start for the Red Sox in the Windy City finale.

Now, Johnson has neither pitched at Gauranteed Rate Field nor against the White Sox in his three-year career, but he did post a 5.27 ERA in six appearances (five starts) over 27.1 innings pitched in August.

Opposite Johnson will be veteran right-hander James Shields for Chicago, who owns a 4.54 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 29 games, 28 of which are starts, in what is his 13th year in the big leagues.

Known mostly for his time with the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals, “Big Game James” has faced off against the Red Sox 28 times in his career, and is 9-14 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in those starts.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 2:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Eduardo Nunez Walks It off in the Ninth as #RedSox Bounce Back Multiple Times to Put an End to Losing Streak.

Coming off their worst weekend of the season and an off-day on Monday, the Red Sox welcomed the National League East’s Miami Marlins into town for a quick two-game interleague series before heading back out on the road later this week.

Getting the start for Boston in this opening game was Brian Johnson, his 11th of the season, who also started against the Marlins back on April 2nd, where he allowed just one run to score in six quality innings of work in a 7-3 win for Boston.

Only pitching into the fifth in this one, the left-hander once again gave up one run while scattering five hits and a lone walk to go along with three punch outs on the night.

What cost Johnson that one earned run came in the top half of the third, when with one out and the bases empty, Marlins rookie outfielder Isaac Galloway launched his second home run of the season to pull this game even at one run a piece.

Other than that, the Florida native certainly dealt with a fair amount of traffic on the base paths, but he did a solid job of limiting what the Marlins could get off him. Especially when you consider that Starlin Castro led the fourth inning off with a triple and could not come around to score.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (44 strikes), Johnson’s night came to a conclusion after giving up a one out single to Rafael Ortega.

Out of those 73 pitches, the 27-year-old relied on his four-seam fastball 48% of the time on Tuesday and topped out at 91.9 MPH with that same pitch in the first inning.

Unable to pick up the win due to the length of his outing and the fact that the Red Sox had a bit of a meltdown later on, Johnson will look to build on this so-so start in his next time out, which will be coming against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had themselves a night to forget from the eighth inning on.

Up until that point, Brandon Workman, with the help of Blake Swihart, and Joe Kelly looked decent in their combined 2.2 scoreless frames of relief.

Once Matt Barnes took the mound to begin the eighth though, well, let’s just say things got ugly real quick.

Entering the inning with a 4-1 lead, Barnes allowed two of the first three hitters he faced to reach, including back-to-back homers off the bats of JT Realmuto and Starlin Castro to pull the Marlins back to even.

Six batters and one pitching change later, with the bases loaded and Heath Hembree in for Barnes, it was Rafael Ortega who struck again, as his one out, two RBI single gave his club a brand new 6-4 lead before the side was retired.

In the ninth, moments after the Red Sox had jumped out to a one-run lead of their own, Craig Kimbrel could not shut the door on the Marlins.

Nope, he allowed three of the six batters he faced to reach, which led to Miami scoring what looked to be the go-ahead run on a Magneuris Sierra RBI single. Just demoralizing.

Thanks to efforts from his team in the bottom half of the inning though, Kimbrel did manage to notch his fourth winning decision of the season while also collecting his fourth blown save. Granted, he has not pitched much recently, but it’s still not a great look.

To summarize, here’s the final pitching line from Red Sox relievers after the seventh inning:

2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR. That’s a 27.00 ERA, which is far from ideal.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Marlins right-hander Jose Urena, who held Boston to one run in seven innings in his only other start against them back on April 3rd. That is not how things went on August 28th, though.

Starting the long night of scoring was Ian Kinsler, whose one out RBI single to plate Xander Bogaerts from third put the Red Sox on the board first.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts both reached base to leadoff the third, which set up Andrew Benintendi for an ideal scoring spot.

On a 1-2 96 MPH fastball from Urena, Benintendi ripped a RBI double to right field, driving in Bradley Jr. to retake the lead at 2-1.

With Mookie Betts advancing to third on the play, Xander Bogaerts was able to score the outfielder on a sacrifice fly to left. 3-1.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Eduardo Nunez made some noise by mashing his eight big fly of the year, a 380 foot shot hit just over the top of the Green Monster to increase his team’s lead to three runs.

After Miami went off for five runs in their half of the eighth, the Red Sox responded right away with a rally of their own in their half of the same inning.

With hard-throwing reliever Tayron Guerrero on the mound for the Marlins, three of the first four Boston hitters reached to load the bases with one out for Blake Swihart, who struck out on six pitches.

Fortunately, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through big time, as with the count full, he delivered with a two RBI single to drive in a pair of runs to tie this game up.

Next up was Mookie Betts, who came to the plate with runners on the corners and got ahead in the count against Guerrero at 3-1.

On the very next pitch of the at bat, Guerrero sailed a 98 MPH fastball right over Betts’ head and that allowed Ian Kinsler to slide in and score what appeared to be the run that would finally put an end to this losing streak.

That would not be the case however, and it was not until with one out in the ninth and runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth where this marathon of a game would finally come to an end.

With Drew Steckenrider pitching, Eduardo Nunez came to the plate with one big hit under his belt already, and he came up clutch without recording a base knock in his final at bat.

 

Yup, a game-winning force out that probably should have been an inning-ending double play but was not because of a throwing error committed by JT Riddle at shortstop.

With the ball rolling all the way to the camera well, JD Martinez had no problem scoring from second, and just like that, this game was over.

A fitting end to a game as ugly as this one, but nonetheless, the Red Sox losing streak has come to an end at three. They remain as the only team this season to have yet drop four consecutive contests.

Some notes from this 8-7 win:

Including last night, JD Martinez is slashing .405/.488/.568 with one home run and six RBI.

Dating back to July 27th, Craig Kimbrel has surrendered runs in five of his last 10 relief appearances and owns a 5.23 ERA over that span.

In his last 10 appearances, Matt Barnes has given up 10 earned runs in only 9.1 innings pitched.

Heath Hembree has allowed eight runs to cross the plate (six earned) on 10 hits in his last 7.1 innings of work going back to the fifth of August.

In hopes of picking up the quick two-game sweep later tonight, it will be the red-hot David Price toeing the rubber for the Red Sox.

Since the All-Star break, Price owns a 1.09 ERA over his last six starts. The Red Sox are also unbeaten in Price’s last eight starts.

Only making four starts against the Marlins in his 11-year career, the recently turned 33-year-old hurler owns a 3.42 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched to go along with a 1-3 record in those outings.

Opposite Price will be rookie right-hander Trevor Richards for Miami, who made his first career big league start against the Red Sox on April 2nd, where, in less than five innings pitched, he surrendered five earned runs on eight hits in a losing effort.

Since then, Richards has had a solid rookie campaign for himself, as he owns a 3.94 ERA and .250 BAA in 17 starts and 91.1 innings pitched.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET Wednesday.

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Homers Twice as #RedSox Halt Losing Streak at Three in 10-4 Win over Indians.

Everybody, take a deep breath and relax, the three-game losing streak the Red Sox had is over. Let’s get into how they got it done.

Looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak since last season, the Red Sox turned to Brian Johnson against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.

Making his 10th start of the season and first ever against the Indians in his three-year career, Johnson had himself a so-so evening on the mound.

Pitching into the fifth inning of this one, the left-hander surrendered three earned runs on five hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with three punch outs.

In those near five-frames of work, Johnson was greeted right away by the top of the Indians lineup in a not so pleasant manner, as Francisco Lindor ripped a leadoff double in the top half of the first, which was followed up by a two-run home run off the bat of the just-activated Edwin Encarnacion, who has a history of dominating at Fenway Park, to make it a 2-0 game early.

Fortunately, the Florida native settled down a bit and held the Tribe scoreless up until the fifth inning, when six of the first eight pitches he threw went for balls against Lindor and Michael Brantley.

With one out and Lindor at first, Johnson’s night would come to a rather short conclusion just 82 pitches into his outing.

Out of those 82 pitches (51 strikes), the 27-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball, a pitch he topped out at 92.7 MPH with, 37 times on the night. And that resulted in five total swinging strikes.

Unable to pick up the winning decision because of the length of his start, Johnson will look build on this outing in his next time out, which should come against the Miami Marlins sometime next week.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had another decently long night ahead, and Heath Hembree was the one to get the first call.

Able to get out of the fifth, but not before serving up another two-run dinger to Edwin Encarnacion to both close the book on Johnson’s night and cut his team’s lead down to two runs, Hembree struck out the final batter he faced in Yandy Diaz to retire the side.

From that point forward, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, who picked up the win, Joe Kelly, and Ryan Brasier held down the fort while the Red Sox extended their lead in a combined effort that consisted of four scoreless frames to wrap up the team’s 89th win of the year.

Shoutout to Jackie Bradley Jr. for this fine outfield assist in the sixth that nabbed Yan Gomes trying to turn a single into a double as well.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who entered Wednesday with a 7.07 ERA in four career appearances at Fenway Park. Those struggles continued once again last night.

Starting right away in the first, minutes after the Tribe had jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, JD Martinez cut that in half by driving in his 107th run of the season on a two out RBI single that plated Andrew Benintendi from third.

Fast forward to the fourth, and in what turned out to be a five-run inning, it was a Xander Bogaerts one out solo home run that got the rally started.

Eventually chasing Carrasco out of this game in the same inning, additional RBI knocks from the likes of Blake Swihart and Andrew Benintendi, who cleared the bases on a two out three RBI double, mixed in with three more hits and two walks, saw Boston go from trailing to jumping out to a 6-2 advantage in a matter of minutes.

Two innings later, after the Indians had made things interesting again thanks to Encarnacion’s second home run, Mitch Moreland essentially put this game to bed by mashing a two-run homer off of Dan Otero in the sixth.

A two-run shot that scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from third along with Moreland, was good for the first baseman’s 15th big fly of the season.

In the seventh, Bogaerts struck again by blasting his second homer of the evening to leadoff the inning against Otero.

That home run, Bogaerts’ 19th of the year, upped the Aruba native’s RBI total to 80.

Finally, after failing to get to Indians closer Cody Allen on Monday, JD Martinez put the final nail in the coffin of this one in the eighth with an RBI single, his 108th, to score Jackie Bradley Jr. from second and plate Boston’s 10th and final run of the night.

And there you have it, the three-game losing streak is over. Back to 50 games over .500.

Some notes from this win:

Per @Indians, Edwin Encarnacion’s last three games at Fenway Park: .500 BA (6-12), 5 HR, 10 RBI. Preposterous numbers.

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox remain the only team without a losing streak of 4+ games this season.

Xander Bogaerts’ last multi-homer game took place on June 18th, 2017 against the Houston Astros.

Going for the series-split later this afternoon, it will be David Price getting the ball for the Red Sox.

Owning a solid 2.24 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians, Price has been on fire since the All-Star break.

Over his last five outings, the left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and .210 BAA in 33.1 innings pitched.

Opposite Price will be another rookie starter for Cleveland in RHP Adam Plutko, who has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park in his young career.

On the season as a whole, Plutko, 26, owns a 4.62 over ten games, seven of which were starts.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Thursday.

RECAP: Chris Sale Dazzles in Return from DL as #RedSox Complete Four-Game Sweep of Orioles in Three Days.

Less than 24 hours after sweeping the Orioles in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox were looking for the real four-game sweep this afternoon to head into an off day on a positive note.

Making his 23rd start of the season and first since July 27th due to a 10-day disabled list stint caused by left shoulder inflammation, Chris Sale picked off right where he left off and flat dominated at Camden Yards on Sunday.

Granted, it was against a last place Orioles team, but still, for not pitching in a big league game for over two weeks, Sale really did pick up right where he left off in this one.

Pitching five complete frames, the left-hander held Baltimore scoreless on one hit, a single, while not walking a single batter on the afternoon.

The most incredible part of this Sale start, at least for me, had to be the number of strikeouts.

As he faced 16 total Orioles through those five scoreless innings, Sale managed to punch out 12(!!!). 12! In five innings! That’s 80% of the outs he recorded. All done with just 68 pitches. Truly surreal.

Out of those 68 pitches thrown, 48 of which were strikes, the Florida native induced 15 total swings and misses on the day.while

Relying on his four-seam fastball 31 times, the seven-time All Star topped out at 99.7 MPH with it in the third inning. Another sign that Sale’s left shoulder is feeling quite fine.

Alex Cora made it clear following the game that Sale was going to be limited to 75 pitches no matter what happened. And given the fact he completed five innings in such a convincing fashion with those 68 pitches, it makes sense why they did not want to put him back out there only to have him not finish the sixth.

It’s also worth noting that this was the 29-year-old’s first in-game action this month, so easing him back into things isn’t such a bad plan either.

Regardless, Sale maintained the stellar form he has put on display time in and time out this season, and because of that, he increased his scoreless innings streak up to 28 dating back to July 6th.

Including today, Sale owns a nice 0.69 ERA over his last 10 starts with 109 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched over that span. He has not given up a home run in a start since the first day of June.

As he improved to 12-4 on the season, the lanky lefty will look to build on an impressive return to the rotation in his next time out, which should come sometime next week against either the Tampa Bay Rays or Cleveland Indians, depending on how the upcoming off days impact pitching matchups.

In relief of Sale, the Red bullpen was once gain turned to at a rather early spot starting in the sixth inning.

  • Tyler Thornburg entered in a 2-0 game and retired the first two batters he faced, but followed that up by loading the bases on a single and two walks in a frame he was unable to finish. Out of the 24 pitches Thornburg threw, 10 went for strikes. That is not good.
  • Ryan Brasier would have to come on and attempt to get out of the jam Thornburg had created, and he managed by getting Trey Mancini to strikeout in a nerve-wracking seven pitch at bat that ended the inning and left the bases juiced.
  • Brian Johnson, despite moving up to the rotation earlier in the week, got the call for the seventh, and he needed just 16 pitches to work his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise scoreless frame of work.
  • Matt Barnes’ August struggles continued in the eighth, as he allowed three of the first four Orioles he faced to reach and load the bases in a two-run game. Fortunately, after surrendering Baltimore’s lone run on a Trey Mancini sacrifice fly, the UCONN product buckled down and fanned Tim Beckham on four pitches to retire the side.
  • Finally, Craig Kimbrel came on for the save in the ninth with a brand new three run lead to work with. He too continued some recent struggles by allowing the tying run to come to the plate with runners on first and second, but struck out the final pair of Orioles hitters he faced to notch his 35th save and secure his team’s 85th win of 2018.

So, over the past three days/four games, Red Sox relievers has been responsible for 19.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen en route to the four-game sweep. Having two off days in the next four days will certainly come in handy to get those guys some rest.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles RHP Alex Cobb.

Despite the rough first year he has had in Baltimore, Cobb was certainly more reminiscent of his days with the Tampa Bay Rays in one of his better outings of the season on Sunday.

Starting the scoring right away in the top half of the first was none other than Steve Pearce, who greeted Cobb by mashing a solo shot to left field to give the Red Sox an early advantage. Yet another big fly off a former team for Pearce, his 10th of the year.

Fast forward to the fourth, and a leadoff double off the bat of Brock Holt would turn into Boston second’s run of the afternoon thanks to a fielding error in right field on a JD Martinez single. Despite Holt coming in to score on the E9 committed by Adam Jones, Martinez was not credited with an RBI on the play.

Five innings later and going into the ninth with a one-run lead, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts provided some late game insurance with a pair of RBI base knocks.

Bradley Jr. drove in Eduardo Nunez, who technically got the rally started with a leadoff single off of O’s reliever Mychal Givens, from second to make it a 3-1 game.

In the very next at bat, Mookie Betts, in a 2-0 hitter’s count, ripped an RBI double off of Givens to score Bradley Jr. all the way from first and extend his hitting streak to eight games.

4-1 on Betts’ 63rd RBI of the season, which would turn out to be the final score in favor of the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox’ 85 wins are their most ever through 120 games. They are 50 games above .500 for the first time since 1946.

Another one from @SoxNotes: Chris Sale has a 0.20 ERA in his last 7 starts (44.0 IP, 1 R). According to , that is the lowest ERA by a Red Sox pitcher over any 7-start span since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. In those 7 starts, Sale has 79 K and 6 BB.

At 85-35, the Red Sox will head to Philadelphia via train for a quick two-game set against the Phillies that begins on Tuesday.

Rick Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi will get the starting nod for Boston in those two interleague contests, as they will be matched up against RHPs Nick Pivetta and Vince Velazquez in that order.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET on Tuesday.

 

RECAP: Five-Run Tenth Inning Rally in Toronto Leads #RedSox to 80th Win of Season.

Coming off a weekend in which they swept the New York Yankees in four games, the Red Sox headed north of the border to Toronto on the first leg of a three-city, nine game road trip looking to become the first team in the majors to reach 80 wins, which is exactly what happened on Tuesday.

Drew Pomeranz made his third start since returning from the 10-day disabled list on July 24th, and despite what the numbers say, was far from proficient in this one.

Pitching into the fifth inning, the lefty surrendered two earned runs on four hits, yet walked FIVE and only struck out one.

Those two runs came on swing of the bat from Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis, a one out, two-run home run in the third inning that put Toronto on the board first.

That may have been the only real damage Pomeranz sustained on the night, but it truly goes deeper than that.

The pitch count, velocity, and what appears to be a lack of motivation or confidence while on the mound all seem to be prevalent in Pomeranz’s case. Bottom line: it does not look like he wants to be there and he rarely ever gives his team a chance to win.

In total, the Tennessee native found himself behind in EIGHT three-ball counts, including the five free passes, which came at a pace of one per inning ending in the fifth.

All and all, it’s difficult to say Pomeranz did not give the Red Sox a chance to win this game, because he left with them trailing by just one run, but how he performed last night was far from encouraging.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (44 strikes), the 29 year-old hurler induced three total swings and misses. That is far from ideal, especially when you’re topping out at 91.8 MPH with your four-seam fastball in a game against big league hitters. Makes for an ugly outing, and Pomeranz may as well consider himself lucky for only giving up two runs.

With Chris Sale set to return from the disabled list this weekend in Baltimore, it will be interesting to see what becomes of the Red Sox rotation. Sale, Porcello, Price, and Eovaldi are all obvious locks. Then it comes down to two lefties: Brian Johnson, who starts on Wednesday, or Pomeranz? Who would you rather have as the fifth starter? My money is on BJ.

In relief of Pomeranz, the Red Sox bullpen certainly had themselves a night to forget starting in the middle of the seventh.

Heath Hembree rebounded from a rough appearance on Sunday night by retiring the only batter he faced in the fifth to make way for Brandon Workman in the sixth.

Despite loading the bases on the first three batters he faced, Workman escaped the frame scot-free with the help of some clutch defensive play from Sandy Leon to keep the Red Sox within one run.

From that point on, a combination of Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, Craig Kimbrel, and Tyler Thornburg surrendered five runs over the final four innings of last night’s contest.

Kelly’s run put Toronto up 3-1, Barnes’ run cut the Red Sox lead to 5-4, Kimbrel’s run, a Justin Smoak solo home run, resulted in a blown save and a 5-5 game heading into the tenth, and Thornburg’s two runs broke up the reliever’s streak of six straight scoreless appearances.

Fortunately, the ex-Brewer held things together, recorded the third and final out of the tenth, and locked down his team’s 80th win of the season with the 10-7 victory. Oddly enough, Craig Kimbrel was credited with the winning decision.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Toronto’s “ace” in right-hander Marcus Stroman.

Although he has not pitched much like an ace for the majority of this season, Stroman had his way with Boston on Tuesday.

Tossing seven innings of one run ball, with that lone run coming on a JD Martinez RBI single in the fourth, the thing that really killed the Red Sox while Stroman was on the mound had to be ground ball outs.

The Duke product induced 14 of them on the night, which also resulted in two double plays early on.

With his pitch count at 92, it looked like Stroman was ready for another frame of work in the eighth, but a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand forced his night to come to a close, and that’s where this game turned around in the right direction for Boston.

Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera took over for Stroman in the eighth with a two run lead to protect.

After Bruck Holt struck out to lead off the inning, a Sandy Leon double, Mookie Betts walk, and Andrew Benintendi single loaded the bases with Mitch Moreland due up.

On the second pitch he saw from Tepera, grounded a ball sharply to second base for the force out there, but Leon managed to score without a throw home to make it a 3-2 game with two outs for JD Martinez.

In a 2-0 hitter’s count with Betts at third and Moreland at first, Martinez launched a 95 MPH fastball over the wall in the left field corner for his league-leading 34th big fly and 97th RBI of the year. 5-3 game.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, that clutch home run would not amount to much a few minutes later when the Blue Jays stormed back to send this thing into extras tied at five runs a piece.

Starting the tenth with the 9-1-2 hitters due up and former Astros closer Ken Giles on the hill for the Blue Jays, Mookie Betts got a five-run rally started with a one out triple.

Two batters and one Andrew Benintendi walk later, Mitch Moreland came through with his 14th homer of the season, another three-run bomb sent 381 feet into the seats in right field to give the Red Sox a 8-5 lead.

After JD Martinez grounded out to short for the second out and Xander Bogaerts reached first on a single up the middle, Jackie Bradley Jr. really put this game out of reach with his ninth long ball of 2018 to put his team up 10-5, which, despite a last-ditch two run rally from the Jays in their half of the tenth, is all they would need to secure this series opening win.

Some notes from this win:

Over his last five appearances, Craig Kimbrel has allowed five runs to score in 5.1 innings pitched. According to @RedSoxStats: Kimbrel’s 3.32 FIP (fielding independent pitching) ranks 64th/157 qualified relievers this year.

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox are 80-34 (.702), their most wins ever through 114 games.

This is the first time since 2007 the Red Sox are MLB’s first team to reach 80 wins.

Since going 13-13 from April 21-May 18, the Sox are 50-19 (.725).

Boston is 24-5 (.828) in its last 29 games.

As is mentioned above, the Red Sox are 80-34 and the first team in baseball to reach that mark this season. Both statements are insane.

With a potential series win at hand later tonight, it will be a pitching matchup featuring Brian Johnson for Boston and rookie Mike Hauschild for Toronto.

Johnson is coming off an outing in which he got roughed up for five runs in five innings against the Yankees this past Thursday and owns a lifetime 7.47 ERA in five career appearances against the Blue Jays.

Hauschild, 28 and a right-hander, will be making his first career start in the majors after five career relief appearances between Houston and Toronto the past two seasons. As you may have guessed, he has never faced the Red Sox in his short stint in the big leagues.

Rafael Devers is expected to be activated from the 10-day disabled list today while infielder Tony Renda, who scored the game-winning run against the Yankees on Monday morning, will be optioned back down to Pawtucket.

Chris Sale, Ian Kinsler, and Blake Swihart are also expected to be activated from the DL in the coming days.

First pitch of the second game of the series in Toronto is scheduled for 7:07 PM ET Tuesday.

 

 

RECAP: #RedSox Held to One Run by Phillies’ Jake Arrieta in 3-1 Series Splitting Loss.

On a day where Chris Sale was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, Drew Pomeranz did not put forth his best effort to make Red Sox fans feel a little more comfortable with the fact they will be with out their ace for the time being, although Sale’s injury does not appear to be all that serious.

Anyway, making his 10th start of the season last night, Pomeranz was far from awful against the Philadelphia Phillies, that much is certain, but he was from great as well.

In five full innings, the lefty somehow managed to hold the Phils to just two runs while surrendering four hits, four walks, and two hit batsmen to go along with three punch outs on the night.

It was not pretty by any means, but by the time Pomeranz’s day came to an end in the middle of the fifth with his team trailing by just two runs, it’s difficult to say that he did not give the Red Sox a chance to win this game, because he kept them in it and worked around plenty of traffic on the base paths to hold Philadelphia to two runs.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95, the 29-year old hurler only threw strikes about 53% of the time on Tuesday night. He also topped out at 92.3 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he went to 30 times, in the third inning while lowering his ERA on the season to an unsightly 6.56.

Due to the fact that Brian Johnson has taken over for Chris Sale while he is on the DL, all signs point to Pomeranz maintaining his spot in the Red Sox rotation. If nothing were to change, the Tennessee native would start again sometime next week against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In relief of Pomeranz, the Red Sox bullpen had themselves another solid night up until the ninth inning.

Joe Kelly, with the help of Blake Swihart’s cannon of an arm, worked his way around a leadoff single to face the minimum three batters in the lone inning he pitched in the sixth.

Heath Hembree too worked his way around a leadoff walk to toss a scoreless seventh and Matt Barnes, despite loading the bases, escaped any damage in the eighth inning with a big time strikeout of Cesar Hernandez.

In the final frame though, with the Red Sox trailing by just one run, Hector Velazquez, who had pitched on Monday, allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach base, which drove in the Phillies’ third and final run of the night to create some distance between them and the Red Sox going into the bottom half of the inning.

On the other side of things, similar to what Aaron Nola did for the Phillies in the series opener, Jake Arrieta had his way with the Red Sox lineup on Tuesday.

Tossing seven innings of one run ball, the ex-Cub held Boston to one lone run on six hits and one HBP with seven strikeouts.

That one run came in the sixth inning on a Xander Bogaerts RBI groundout. That’s all the scoring the Red Sox could manage in this one, although they did have plenty of opportunities.

I won’t break down all of them, but I will highlight the most crucial of these scoring chances that came in the ninth.

With Seranthony Dominguez on the mound for Philadelphia to protect a two run lead, a leadoff walk drawn by JD Martinez appeared to be a step in the right direction for a second walk-off hit in as many nights.

However, that optimism was quickly wiped away when Xander Bogaerts took a 99.1 MPH fastball off his right hand in the very next at bat. The same right hand that impacted Bogaerts’ 2017 campaign when he was hit with a pitch in Tampa Bay right before the All-Star break.

Despite the obvious pain he was in, Bogaerts was able to stay in this game and represent the tying run at first base with no outs.

From that point, Dominguez really buckled down for the Phillies, as he consecutively sat down the next three hitters he saw to pick up the save.

Ian Kinsler, who was making his Red Sox debut, Mookie Betts, who came on to pinch hit for Eduardo Nunez, and Brock Holt were all retired on just 11 pitches, and that was how last night’s contest would come to a close with a final score of 3-1.

Some notes from this one:

From @EvanDrellich: Right hand contusion for Xander Bogaerts. X Rays negative. Same spot as last year. He sounded worried just because of the similarity but good news again is X Rays are negative.

From @PeteAbe: Dombrowski said Sale was “adamant” he would miss only one start. Suspicion is how he throws his slider could be the cause. Team is being cautious. MRI was not needed.

In his aforementioned Red Sox debut, Ian Kinsler went 1/4 at the plate with two strikeouts batting in the six-hole. He was also solid at second base.

Extending his hitting streak to 11 games with a sixth inning single, Blake Swihart finishes his month of July with an outstanding slash line of .412/.474/.618 in 14 games.

Ending July with a 19-6 record, the Red Sox have Wednesday off before hosting the New York Yankees for a four-game set that begins tomorrow.

With a 4-5 record against the Bombers this season and a five game division lead to protect, you don’t need me to tell you that this upcoming series is meaningful.

Brian Johnson starts in the place of Chris Sale in the opener on Thursday. He’ll be matched up against CC Sabathia for New York, who has both struggled and succeeded against Boston in two separate starts at home this season.

As for Johnson, well, he’s never started against the Yankees, but he has yet to give up a run against them in three relief appearances as well. Should be an interesting matchup of two left-handers.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Thursday.