Red Sox’ Michael Chavis’ Season Likely Over, Rookie Will Play Winter Ball in Puerto Rico

Red Sox rookie infielder Michael Chavis will more than likely play in the Puerto Rican Winter League this offseason, per his manager Alex Cora. That news came earlier Friday, while Cora also announced that Chavis had been shut down for the remainder of the 2019 regular season.

The 24-year-old has been out of action since August 12th after being diagnosed with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder sustained on this catch in the eighth inning of a 6-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on August 6th.

The Sox sent Chavis out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket back on August 23rd, one in which he went 8-for-30 (.267) over a nine-game span, but he began to felt discomfort in his right oblique while working out in Boston, and that put a real damper on things.

“He was sore the last few days,” Cora said of Chavis on Friday, who did not travel with the team for their weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays. “Too bad he has to end this way. He did his best to get back but obviously we’re going to take care of him.”

Called up for the first time on April 19th, the Georgia native slashed .254/.322/.444 with 18 home runs and 58 RBI over 95 games in his first big league season, playing first, second, and third base.

Going back to that Winter League part, the plan for Chavis is to play for the Criollos de Caguas of the Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente, the hometown team of one Alex Cora.

“Most likely, he’ll go to Caguas and play a month down there,” said Cora. “While he plays, he can stop by my house and we can cook some good Latin food and he can hang with me.”

That quote is really why I wanted to write about this, because it creates quite the visual, in my honest opinion.

According to MassLive.com‘s Chris Cotillo, Chavis will play around the infield while in Puerto Rico per usual, but he will also see playing time in the outfield for the first time.

“He’ll get at-bats,” Cora articulated Friday. “Not too much, only a month if that. I think it’ll be good for him to keep working at his craft and get ready for next year.”

Per MLB.com, the Puerto Rican Winter League typically begins play in the middle of November. Something to look forward to for sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some notes from this loss:

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

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

J.D. Martinez Crushes Two of Red Sox’ Five Homers in 16-4 Blowout Win over Angels

After shutting out the Los Angeles Angels behind eight dominant innings from Chris Sale on Thursday, the Red Sox picked up their second straight win over the Halos on Friday, as they took the second of the four-game set by a final score of 16-4 to improve to 62-56 on the season.

Making his fourth start of the season for Boston and second since being activated off the injured list this past Saturday was Brian Johnson, now taking the spot of the recently shelved David Price in Boston’s rotation.

Working into the third inning on Friday, the left-hander surrendered three runs, all of which were earned, on two hits and two walks to go along with one strikeout on the night.

All three of those Angels runs came around to score right away in the top half of the first, when with two outs and runners on first and second following a one-out double from Mike Trout and two-out walk drawn by Justin Upton, Albert Pujols unloaded on a 1-2, 77 MPH slider from Johnson and deposited it well over the Green Monster.

That three-run blast put Los Angeles up 3-0, but Johnson should have been out of the first before all that went down. Why? Because ball four on that walk to Upton should have gone for strike three for the final out of the frame. Instead, it wasn’t called a strike by home plate umpire Mark Ripperger, Upton was granted first, and that set up Pujols.

Other than that one major blip though, Johnson recovered nicely enough to sit down six of the next seven hitters he faced after serving up that bomb before getting the hook with Shohei Ohtani on first, two outs in the third, and Upton due up next to hit for the Angels.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 50 (28 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball 42% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing zero swings and misses and topping out at 90.8 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while bumping his ERA on the season up to 7.32, Johnson’s next start should come against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.

In relief of Johnson, Marcus Walden entered the top half of the third with one out still to get and one runner on, and he got that out thanks to Vazquez, who nabbed Ohtani at second on an unsuccessful stolen base attempt.

Walden also came back out for the fourth and fifth innings, where he faced the minimum of six Angeles hitters over two scoreless to eventually earn his seventh winning decision of the year before making way for Nathan Eovaldi in the sixth.

There, the right-hander began his evening by sitting down David Fletcher, Trout, and Ohtani in order on 20 pitches. Not too shabby.

Eovaldi’s second inning of work in the seventh though? Well, it could have gone better, as a leadoff double off the bat of Upton, a one-out HBP of Kole Calhoun, and two straight walks of Luis Rengifo and Brian Johnson brought Los Angeles’ fourth run of the night.

The Texas native did manage to escape any further damage in the seventh by getting Matt Thaiss to ground into an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play, but it certainly wasn’t pretty.

Regardless of that, Hector Velazquez and Josh Taylor wrapped things up in a contest the Sox ended up running away with by combining for two perfect innings of relief in the top halves of the eighth and ninth to secure the 16-4 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Angels right-hander Jaime Barria, who came into the weekend having yielded 17 runs in his last four starts since the All-Star break.

Kicking off the scoring started right away in the bottom half of the first, J.D. Martinez responded to an early three-run deficit by driving in Mookie Betts from second on a two-out, line-drive RBI double. 3-1.

Fast forward all the way to the fourth, and Martinez struck again, this time plating Xander Bogaerts, as well as himself, on a 402-foot, two-run shot off a 3-1, 93 MPH heater down the heart of the plate from Barria to knot things up at three runs apiece.

An inning later, a one-out single off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. would turn out to be the catalyst for another two-run rally in the fifth, as Betts followed suit with his 20th big fly of the year off a 3-2, 87 MPH slider on the inner half of the plate to give the Sox their first lead of the night at 5-3.

In the sixth, Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, and Vazquez all reached to fill the bases with one out for the pinch-hitting Sam Travis, who greeted new Angels reliever Adalberto Mejia by drawing a five-pitch walk, which brought Martinez in from third and made it a 6-3 contest.

Bradley Jr. collected an RBI despite driving in a pair with a grounder that got under the glove of Rengifo. 8-3.

A six-pitch walk of Betts re-loaded the bases for Rafael Devers, and the 23-year-old took full advantage by lacing another two-run single through the right side of the infield, putting his side up 10-3 in the process of going so.

A red-hot Martinez stayed hot in the seventh, mashing his second homer of the night and 27th of the season to lead the inning off against Angels right-hander Trevor Cahill. 11-4.

Benintendi and Vazquez followed that up by both reaching base on a HBP and walk, and Mitch Moreland came through with an RBI double of his own to drive in Benintendi and make it an eight-run game at 12-4.

In the eighth, after taking over for Bogaerts defensively in the top of the inning, Devers took the first pitch he saw from Cahill and led off with not only his 24th dinger of 2019, but also his first career homer as a shortstop.

Four batters later, a wild pitch allowed Martinez to go from second to third after he reached on a throwing error, and Vazquez proved once more that mistakes can be costly, as he plated Martinez with an RBI single to left. 14-4.

And finally, Moreland put the exclamation point on this blowout with his first home run in nearly three months. This particular one, his 14th of the year, was good for two runs as it soared over the Green Monster.

That opposite field blast gave the Red Sox a 16-4 edge, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

J.D. Martinez’s August thus far: .469/.553/.938 with four homers and eight RBI.

The Red Sox are 14-1 this season when scoring 10-plus runs in a game.

The Red Sox are 3-1 in their last four completed games.

With the win on Friday, the Red Sox now sit five games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Sox, it’s the third of this four-game weekend series on Saturday afternoon.

Right-hander Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston, while left-hander Andrew Heaney will do the same for Los Angeles.

Porcello is coming off his best outing in weeks in his last time out against the Kansas City Royals, as he held the opposition to just one run on four hits over six strong innings of work.

In his career against the Angels, the 30-year-old owns a lifetime 5.56 ERA and .291 batting average against over 18 starts and 103 2/3 total innings pitched.

Heaney, meanwhile, will be making his first start in over three weeks after being sidelined due to inflammation in his left elbow.

In one prior start at Fenway Park back on June 27th of last season, the 28-year-old allowed six runs in less than four innings in an eventual losing effort.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight win.

 

Chris Sale Dominates with 13 Strikeouts over Eight Shutout Innings as Red Sox Blank Angels 3-0

After their series finale against the Kansas City Royals was suspended earlier in the morning, the Red Sox opened up a four-game weekend set against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday with a 3-0 shutout victory to improve to 61-56 on the season.

Making his 24th start of the season for Boston and first against the Angels at Fenway Park was Chris Sale, who came into the week fresh off a frustrating performance in his last time out against the New York Yankees.

Flipping the switch this time around, the left-hander put together a dominating showing, as he yielded just two hits and zero walks to go along with 13 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings.

A two-out double from Shohei Ohtani in the first got the Angels in the hit column early, but Sale stranded the Japanese phenom at second with a four-pitch punchout of Justin Upton before stringing together 15 consecutive outs from the beginning of the second up until the middle of the sixth.

A leadoff single off the bat of Mike Trout in the seventh broke that dominating stretch up, but Sale retaliated yet again by fanning the side in order from there, and that included a 1-2, 98.4 MPH four-seam fastball blown past Albert Pujols to end the top half of the frame.

And in the eighth, the Florida native capped his night off with his 13th and final strikeout, this one coming on two-out, 2-2, 97 MPH heater to fan Wilfredo Tovar and retire the side in order.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (67 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer more than 45% of the time he was on the mound Thursday night, inducing nine swings and misses and topping out at 98.4 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 6-11 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.41, this was vintage Chris Sale in his first start of seven or more innings pitched since June 10th. He’ll look to ride this momentum in his next time out, which should come against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

In relief of Sale, Brandon Workman entered the ninth with a three-run lead to protect, and he did just that by sitting down Brian Goodwin, David Fletcher, and Trout in order on 16 pitches to notch his seventh save of the year and secure the 3-0 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Angels left-hander Dillon Peters, a former Miami Marlins prospect who had never faced off against Boston in his young career prior to Thursday.

Starting the scoring in the bottom half of the second, J.D. Martinez led things off with an opposite field single, and that would turn out to be the catalyst for a two-run inning, as Sam Travis followed that up by taking Peters deep to dead center off a first-pitch, 93 MPH heater right down the heart of the plate.

Travis’ fourth homer of the season, this one good for two runs, had an exit velocity of 107.7 MPH and traveled a projected 443 feet, per Statcast.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth, and Sandy Leon added on to his side’s two-run lead by unloading on a 1-1, 90 MPH four-seamer above the zone from Peters and sending it 389 feet over the Green Monster for his fifth big fly of the year.

That solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fifth put the Red Sox ahead 3-0, which would go on to be Thursday’s final score mostly thanks to the efforts of one Chris Sale.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Thursday’s game took two hours and 16 minutes to complete.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second of this four-game weekend series on Friday night.

Left-hander Brian Johnson gets the start for Boston in the place of the now-shelved David Price, while right-hander Jaime Barria will do the same for Los Angeles.

In his first action since being activated off the injured list on August 3rd Johnson allowed three runs over three innings while starting Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Yankees.

In his career against the Angels, the 28-year-old has allowed one run over two appearances (one start) and seven innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 1.29.

Barria, meanwhile, has posted an 8.31 ERA and .288 batting average against in four outings (three starts) since the All-Star break.

The 23-year-old out of Panama has made one career start against the Red Sox, one in which he took the loss despite only yielding two runs over 5 1/3 innings of work back on June 28th of last season at Fenway Park.

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

Andrew Cashner Gets Taken Deep Three Times as Red Sox Fall to Lowly Royals

After snapping an eight-game losing streak with a 7-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday, the Red Sox were unable to gain any momentum from that win, as they dropped the middle game of this three-game set by a final score of 6-2 to fall back to 60-56 on the season.

Making his fifth start for Boston and 22nd of the season as a whole was Andrew Cashner, who came into the week having only faced off against divisional opponents since being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles last month.

Working into the sixth inning of this one, the right-hander surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on seven hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The first two of those Royals runs came across on one swing of the bat in the top half of the fourth, when with two outs and a runner at first, Cashner served up a two-run mammoth shot to Jorge Soler on a first-pitch, 94 MPH four-seam fastball on the inner half of the plate.

The Texas native had been cruising up until that point, retiring nine of the first 11 hitters he faced before walking Hunter Dozier on seven pitches to set up Soler in that spot.

A Cheslor Cuthbert ground out Cashner out of the fourth, but the home run ball came back to bite him an inning later, when Ryan O’Hearn led things off in the fifth by crushing a solo homer to right off a 3-2, 85 MPH changeup at the top of the zone to make it a 3-1 game.

In the sixth, a Whit Merrifield single, followed by a Cashner wild pitch and Alex Gordon groundout to short, set up Dozier in a prime run-scoring spot with a runner at third, and he capitalized with an RBI single to right. 4-1.

With Soler due up next to hit for Kansas City, Cashner remained in the game and proceeded to give up another two-run shot to the Royals slugger, this one coming off a 1-0, 87 MPH slider down the middle of the plate.

That put the lowly Royals up 6-1, and a single off the bat of Cuthbert would signal the end of the line for Cashner.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 83 (58 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler relied on his four-seamer nearly 46% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 96.2 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 10-7 while raising his ERA on the year up to 4.68, Cashner’s first five starts with the Red Sox have been far from memorable.

Since the beginning of play of on July 16th, Cashner has given up six home runs in 28 2/3 innings pitched. Compare that to just the 11 homers he gave up in 96 1/3 innings pitched as an Oriole, and it becomes clear that something isn’t quite right.

Regardless, Cashner’s next start should come against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

In relief of Cashner, Josh Taylor entered the top of the sixth with one runner on and two outs to get, and he got both of those outs with the help of a 4-6-3 double play started by Michael Chavis off a ground ball from O’Hearn.

Taylor also worked his way around a two-out walk in a scoreless seventh before making way for Marcus Walden in the eighth.

There, Walden received some great help from a sprawling Chavis on a pop fly off the bat of Dozier while also walking one in another scoreless frame of relief.

And in the ninth, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez came on for his 11th appearance out of the Red Sox ‘pen, and he punched out the side on 20 pitches to keep the deficit at four runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Royals right-hander Jakob Junius, who only had one prior start at Fenway Park under his belt before Tuesday.

Kicking off the scoring in the bottom half of the third, Andrew Benintendi got his side on the board first by knocking in Rafael Devers from second on a two-out bloop of an RBI single to right.

Brock Holt managed to move Benintendi up to third on a single of his own, but Christian Vazquez could not come through, as he flew out to center to strand Benintendi and Holt at the corners.

An inning later, after falling behind by a run in the top half of the fourth, Devers had the chance to take that lead back with two outs and runners at first and second following a Betts walk.

Instead, the 23-year-old flew out to center on the first pitch he saw from Junis, thus extinguishing another threat.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, with reliever Richard Lovelady in for Kansas City and the Red Sox trailing by five runs, and J.D. Martinez broke up a string of 10 straight Boston hitters being retired by lacing a leadoff ground-rule double down the right field line.

Neither Benintendi nor Holt were able to do anything with that, but Vazquez cut the deficit down to four runs with a line-drive RBI single to left-center.

That made it a 6-2 contest in favor of Kansas City, and that would go on to be Tuesday’s final score after Vazquez was stranded at second and Chavis, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Betts were retired in order by Ian Kennedy in the ninth.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday. They left eight men on base as a team.

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

So, the Red Sox are 1-9 in their last 10 games and now stand 6 1/2 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

They still have the chance to take this series from the Royals on Wednesday, but you have to beat inferior teams at home. Playing .500 baseball at Fenway Park is simply not a sustainable model of success.

With that, it will be left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston in the series finale, while right-hander Glenn Sparkman will do the same for Kansas City.

Rodriguez took the loss in his last time out against the New York Yankees this past Friday, allowing four earned runs over 6 2/3 innings of work to mark his worst start in terms of runs given up since June 24th.

In his career against the Royals, the 26-year-old owns a lifetime 5.46 ERA and .285 batting average against over six starts and 31 1/3 innings pitched. That includes an outing back on June 4th at Kauffman Stadium, where he held the opposition to two runs over 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win.

Sparkman, meanwhile, has yielded 14 earned runs over his last two starts and 9 2/3 innings to raise his ERA on the season up to 5.58.

The 27-year-old also opposed Rodriguez in that June 4th tilt, and he too put together a solid performance where he allowed just one run over 5 1/3 innings of work.

Sparkman has never pitched at Fenway Park.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

Red Sox Unveil 2019 Players’ Weekend Nicknames, Uniforms

Major League Baseball unveiled all uniforms and nicknames more than two weeks ahead of the third installment of Players’ Weekend, which will take place from August 23rd through the 25th.

All 30 clubs will be wearing all-black or all-white uniforms, per Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net.

The Red Sox will be spending Players’ Weekend in Sunny southern California, taking on the San Diego Padres at Petco Park for the first time since late in the 2016 season.

As indicated by Creamer, the Sox will be the team wearing all-black, while the Padres will be wearing all-white.

Given how a white cap might affect how a hitter picks up the ball from the pitcher’s hand, “pitchers on Team White will be wearing a black cap with their uniform to avoid any issues with hitters seeing the ball,” per Creamer.

Despite being the road team for this series, the Red Sox will not be wearing uniforms that sport the word ‘BOSTON’ across the chest and will instead wear uniforms that resemble the ones they wear at Fenway Park.

As for the nicknames on the back of the uniforms, MLB.com lists 27 different Red Sox players with their nicknames. Here they are in alphabetical order, courtesy of MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Notables on this list include rookie Michael Chavis going with “Chief” instead of “Ice Horse”, Nathan Eovaldi going with “Nitro” instead of “Evo”, Brock Holt going with “BH” instead of “Brock Star”, David Price going with “X’, presumably for his son, Xavier, Chris Sale going with “The Conductor”, and Sam Travis going with “Dr. Chill.”

Since its inception in 2017, the Red Sox are 0-6 all-time in Players’ Weekend games. They were swept in three games at home by the Baltimore Orioles two years ago and were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays on the road last August, which turned out to be the only time they got swept in 2018.

Mookie Betts was named as the Sox’ ambassador for Players’ Weekend 2019. He will be going with “Mookie” as his nickname once again.

 

 

Rick Porcello Allows One Run over Six Strong Innings as Red Sox Halt Losing Streak at Eight Games with 7-5 Victory over Royals

At long last, the Red Sox have won a baseball game, as they opened a seven-game homestand on Monday with a 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals to halt their losing streak at eight.

Making his 23rd start of the season for Boston to begin the new week was Rick Porcello, coming off a month of July where he went 4-1 despite allowing 25 earned runs over his last five starts and 28 1/3 innings pitched.

Tossing six full innings in this one, the right-hander surrendered just one earned run on four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night, marking the first time since Friday that a Sox starter had made it to the sixth.

That lone Kansas City tally came in the top half of the sixth inning, when with two outs and the bases empty, Porcello served up a solo home run to Cheslor Cuthbert off a 1-2, 84 MPH slider on the outer half of the plate.

The New Jersey native had retired nine of the the last 10 hitters he faced before giving up that bomb to make it a 4-1 contest, but Porcello did not falter, as he got Ryan O’Hearn to pop out to first to end the frame and thus end his evening on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (67 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 31% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 93.2 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 10-8 while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.54, Porcello now has quality starts in two of his last three outings, both of which have come at Fenway Park. He’ll look to keep that trend going in his next time out, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.

In relief of Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi entered the seventh with a three-run lead to protect, and he, in his first action since Friday, saw that lead shrink to two by giving up a one-out solo homer to Meibrys Viloria off an 0-2, 97 MPH heater at the top of the zone.

That made it a 4-2 game, but Eovaldi rebounded well enough to strand another runner at first following a two-out walk and get out of the inning with the two-run lead still intact.

Matt Barnes came in right after his team had gone up 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh only to give all three of those runs back on a three-run homer off the bat of Bubba Starling. Granted, it was a bit of a Fenway Park special, as it only traveled 332 feet and had an expected batting average of .040, but it was good for three runs nonetheless, and that cut Boston’s lead down to 7-5.

Like Eovaldi, Barnes was also able to recover by punching out Viloria on five pitches, making way for Brandon Workman in the ninth.

There, Workman allowed the tying run to come to the plate following a Whit Merrifield one-out double, but ultimately finished things off by getting Alex Gordon to ground out to first before striking Dozier out on six pitches to secure the 7-5 victory and notch his sixth save of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against left-hander Mike Montgomery, someone who had surrendered 10 runs in his first three starts as a Royal since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs last month.

Kicking the scoring off in the bottom half of the third after Xander Bogaerts was called out at home for the final out of the first, Bogaerts made up for his earlier mistake by lacing a hard-hit grounder to Nicky Lopez over at short, one hit so hard that the rookie infielder could not field it cleanly, and that allowed Mookie Betts to score from third for his side’s first run.

Two batters later, with two outs in the frame and Rafael Devers at third, Sam Travis unloaded on a 2-1, 92 MPH sinker from Montgomery and sent it a booming 429 feet over the Green Monster to make it a 3-0 game.

Fast forward to the fifth, Rafael Devers put his opposite field power on display, as he deposited a one-out, 1-0, 77 MPH curveball 364 feet to left for his 23rd big fly of 2019. 4-0.

And in the seventh, Sandy Leon and Betts both greeted new Royals reliever Tim Hill by reaching base on a leadoff walk and single, allowing Devers to move Leon up to third on a fly out to right field.

Another Kansas City pitching change saw right-hander Scott Barlow take over for Hill, and he proved to be pretty wild, as he let Leon coast in from third in the process of walking Bogaerts on four straight pitches.

With runners at first and second now, Andrew Benintendi came to the plate having faced off against Barlow on three separate occasions before Monday, and he came through by dropping to one knee and ripping a two-run double through the right side of the infield.

That two-RBI double put the Red Sox ahead 7-2, and after the Royals made things a bit interesting in the eighth, 7-5 would go on to be Monday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Mookie Betts had to be removed from Monday’s game before the start of the eighth inning after taking a foul ball off his left shin in the bottom of the seventh. He was later diagnosed with a left shin contusion and has been ruled day-to-day, but is expected to be good to go for Tuesday. This comes on the same night that J.D. Martinez was scratched from Boston’s starting lineup due to back soreness.

From Red Sox Notes:

Andrew Benintendi’s last 15 games: .415/.433/.785 with five homers and 17 RBI.

With the Red Sox winning on Monday night and the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, and Tampa Bay Rays all losing, the Sox are back to within 5 1/2 games back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Now that that eight-game nightmare is done and over with, the Red Sox should adopt a one-game-at-a-time kind of mentality for the remaining two months of the 2019 season.

As things stand right now, the defending World Series champions are viewed as long shots to make it back to the postseason. That much is evident by how Fangraphs is giving the Sox just a 20.4% chance to get back to October baseball.

With that, Boston needs to take advantage of all the doubt surrounding them.

It starts with this soft spot in their schedule, but picks up next week when they head to Cleveland for a pivotal three-game series against the Indians.

Many have said that the Red Sox are done. I’m saying that they are 1-0 in their last one game.

Anyway, this series against the Royals picks up again on Tuesday night, with right-hander Andrew Cashner getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Jakob Junis doing the same for Kansas City.

This will be Cashner’s first start as a member of the Red Sox where he is not facing off against a division rival.

In his career against the Royals, the 32-year-old owns a lifetime 3.29 ERA and .271 batting average against over five prior starts and 27 1/3 innings pitched.

Junis, meanwhile, has surrendered 11 earned runs over 26 innings in four starts since the All-Star break. That’s good for an ERA of 3.81.

In one prior start at Fenway Park, Junis took the no-decision while allowing two runs on seven hits over six quality innings in a game the Royals eventually won back on May 1st, 2018.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to make it two wins in a row.