Red Sox Endure More Pitching Struggles Out of Bullpen in 8-2 Loss to Rays

It was a close game until it wasn’t. In other words, the Red Sox trailed the Rays by just one run going into the seventh inning of Tuesday’s contest, and wound up dropping their second straight to Tampa Bay by a final score of 8-2.

Martin Perez made his fourth start of the season for Boston in this one and his second straight against the Rays as he was coming off five strong, scoreless innings in his last time out on August 5 at Tropicana Field.

Working 5 2/3 innings at Fenway Park on Tuesday, the left-hander held the opposition to two runs while scattering three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first of those two Tampa Bay tallies came right off the bat in the first, when on his sixth pitch, Perez served up a leadoff homer to Mike Brosseau on a 3-2, 91 mph fastball on the outer half of the plate.

That certainly was not a promising way to begin a ballgame, but Perez was able to settle down a bit. As a matter of fact, the only other time the Rays got to the Sox starter came in the third inning on a one-out RBI single from Yandy Diaz.

Other than those two slight mishaps, Perez looked relatively solid once more, as he retired 10 of the final 11 hitters he faced before a two-out walk to Jose Martinez in the top of the sixth marked the end of his evening.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (57 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his vaunted changeup 34% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing seven swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 93 mph with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw seven times.

Unfortunately hit with the tough luck loss to fall to 2-2 on the season, Perez did manage to lower his ERA to 3.38. He’ll look to bring that down even more in his next time out, which could come against the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.

In relief of Perez, Austin Brice got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, inherited the man Perez had walked, and ended the top half of the sixth by getting Hunter Renfroe to ground out right back to him.

From there, well, let’s just say things got ugly, as Brice and the recently-recalled right-hander Robert Stock combined to surrender six runs on four hits and two walks in the seventh. Christian Vazquez was also charged with a passed ball in the process that saw the Sox’ deficit grow from one run to seven.

Stock came back out for the eighth, loaded the bases while recording the first two outs of the inning, and was replaced by another relative newcomer in Dylan Covey, who got out of the jam and also worked a scoreless ninth to hold the Rays at eight runs. Not like it mattered much in the end, but still another positive development there.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against Andrew Kittredge, who had closed things out for the Rays on Monday, yet opened for them on Tuesday.

The right-hander only recorded one out in the first inning though, as he had to depart earlier than expected due to an apparent right arm injury.

After the dust had settled from all that and right-hander John Curtiss was dispatched by Tampa Bay, Michael Chavis opened up the scoring for his side in the second.

Celebrating his 25th birthday on Tuesday, the second baseman followed up a Christian Vazquez two-out double with a hard-hit RBI single to drive in the backstop and tie things up at one run apiece.

Despite all that early adversity, Curtiss and the rest of the Rays pitching staff held things down against a rather stagnant Red Sox offense.

The only other run Boston pushed across in this one came in the eighth inning on an Alex Verdugo RBI single, but even then, Andrew Benintendi cost his side an out by tripping and getting caught in between second and third base on the play. Very on brand for this season.

Verdugo’s fifth RBI of the year made it an 8-2 game in favor of Tampa Bay, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

In his second straight start at third base in place of Rafael Devers, Jonathan Arauz went 2-for-3 after going 3-for-4 on Monday.

Michael Chavis, meanwhile, may have made a mental error at second base in that troublesome seventh inning, but he did go 2-for-4 at the plate on Tuesday and is now 6-for-his-last-13.

Andrew Benintendi also had a multi-hit game to raise his batting average on the season to .103.

Martin Perez has allowed four earned runs over his last 19 1/3 innings pitched.

Next up for the Red Sox, it doesn’t get any easier with Blake Snell getting the start for the Rays on Wednesday night. The Red Sox will send out Zack Godley to oppose the 2018 American League Cy Young winner.

Snell has yet to face the Sox this season, but he does own a lifetime 3.75 ERA and .683 OPS against in four career starts and 24 total innings pitched at Fenway Park.

Godley, meanwhile, is coming off four scoreless frames in his second start with the Red Sox against the Blue Jays on August 8. The 30-year-old has only pitched against the Rays twice before in his career and has given up three total runs in those outings.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time.

Red Sox Lineup: Michael Chavis Making First Start of Season at Second Base, Jonathan Araúz Starting in Place of Rafael Devers Once Again in Second of Four Against Rays

Michael Chavis will be making his first start of the season at second base for the Red Sox against the Rays on Tuesday night.

The just-turned 25-year-old (Happy Birthday) had seen all his playing time come at first base, but with right-hander Andrew Kittredge opening for the Rays in the second of this four-game set, Mitch Moreland will get the start at first, Chavis will get the start at second, and Jose Peraza will start the night on the bench.

Through his first nine games of the 2020 campaign, Chavis has gotten off to a rather slow start, slashing .233/.258/.467 with two home runs and four RBI over his first 31 plate appearances.

That being said, the Georgia native has looked more comfortable at the plate in recent outings, as he is 4-for-his-last-9 going back to August 5.

Chavis has only faced Kittredge one time before in his career, which actually came in Monday’s loss where he struck out for the final out of the contest, but he does own a lifetime .879 OPS in 48 career plate appearances against Rays pitching thus far.

Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up against Kittredge and behind left-hander Martin Perez, who will be working on six days rest after tossing five scoreless frames against this same Rays squad at Tropicana Field last Wednesday. Note that Jonathan Arauz is starting in place of Rafael Devers, who is dealing with a sore left ankle, once again.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN+ and WEEI. Red Sox going for win No. 7 in game No. 17.

Jonathan Arauz’s Three-Hit Night Goes for Naught as Red Sox Come up Short in 8-7 Loss to Rays

In a back-and-forth nine-inning contest that took nearly four-and-a-half hours to complete, the Red Sox came up just short in an 8-7 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

Ryan Brasier served as the opener for Boston in this one, and in doing so made his first career major-league start. The right-hander stranded two base runners and recorded one strikeout in a scoreless first inning. That was it for him.

From there, Colten Brewer was dispatched as the “bulk inning” guy out of the Red Sox bullpen to begin things in the second, and he surrendered three runs, two of which were earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the night.

The first of those three Tampa Bay tallies scored off Brewer came on a Kevin Kiermaier RBI single in the top of the second that could have been a double had it not been for Kevin Pillar gunning the speedster down at second base in the same sequence. The other two runs were pushed across with one out in the fourth, when Brewer served up a two-run single to Michael Perez. Again, the damage could have been even worse since Perez himself nearly scored moments later, but was instead nabbed at the plate off an Austin Meadows double.

Marcus Walden was next up for the start of the fifth, and he managed to only record two outs while walking a pair and yielding one run on a Joey Wendle RBI triple.

Upon giving old friend Manuel Margot a free pass on four straight balls, the righty was given the hook by Sox manager Ron Roenicke in favor of left-hander Jeffrey Springs.

Springs, coming off back-to-back scoreless outings out of the Boston bullpen, regressed a bit on Monday in that he escaped the fifth inning unscathed, yet conceded three runs while only being able to record three more outs on 51 total pitches (34 strikes) before Roenicke had finally seen enough.

With no outs in the seventh, a runner on second, and his side in a 7-5 hole, the Sox skipper turned to Phillips Valdez, who was able to get out of that mess before allowing a run of his own to score on three straight two-out hits and a walk in the eighth.

That all set up the recently-recalled Dylan Covey for the top of the ninth, and in what was now an 8-7 contest, the right-hander faced the minimum three batters to keep the deficit at one run. Not like it mattered much in the end, but still a somewhat positive development.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar face in the form of Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who had just started against Boston back on August 5 at Tropicana Field.

This time around, the Sox bats got to Yarbrough early once more, with Xander Bogaerts, Michael Chavis, and Kevin Plawecki all coming through with back-to-back-to-back run-scoring plays in their half of the first. That early rally resulted in a 3-0 advantage for the home side.

In the third, J.D. Martinez, who had scored one of those runs in the first, followed an Alex Verdugo groundout by taking a 2-2, 84 mph cutter on the inner half of the plate from Yarbrough and crushing it 425 feet over everything in left field for his long-awaited first home run of the 2020 season. The solo shot put the Red Sox up 4-1 headed into the fourth.

Flash forward all the way to the sixth, after the Rays had bounced back to take a 5-4 lead, Chavis led things off against tight-hander Chaz Roe by lacing a double down the left field line and was promptly driven in by Plawecki on an RBI single. 5-5.

That stalemate did not last long though, as Tampa Bay jumped out to an 8-5 lead in their half of the eighth, which meant the Sox had more work to do on the offensive side of the ball. And that they did.

Down to their final two outs in the bottom half of the eighth inning, Jonathan Arauz came to the plate, already with the first and second hits of his major-league career under his belt, with the bases loaded and Jose Alvarado on the mound for the Rays.

After watching the first two pitches go by, the 22-year-old took a 97 mph slider on the outer half of the plate and ripped what would turn out to be a two-run single to an empty patch of grass in left-center field.

Arauz’s third hit of the night brought his team within one run of the Rays at 8-7. Alas, any shot at another rally fell short in the ninth, and 8-7 would go on to be Monday’s final score. What a doozy.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

J.D. Martinez went 3-for-4 with that home run and one RBI on Monday. Kevin Plawecki also went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second game of this four-game set against the Rays on Tuesday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston, while Andrew Kittredge, who picked up the save for the Rays on Monday, will open for Tampa Bay.

Perez put together five solid shutout innings in his last time out against the Rays at Tropicana Field on August 5. He’ll be going for his first home win of the season.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN+ and WEEI.

Red Sox Lineup: Ryan Brasier Set to Serve as Opener for Boston in First of Four Against Rays

As the Red Sox open up a four-game series against the Rays at Fenway Park to begin the week, Ryan Brasier will be making the first career start of his major-league career on Monday night, the club announced.

Brasier, who turns 33 later this month, will serve as the opener for the Sox against the Rays to kick off the new week before making way for Colten Brewer, who will serve as the “bulk inning guy.”

The right-hander out of Wichita Falls, Texas owns an ERA of 9.00 and an xFIP of 3.84 through his first five appearances and four innings pitched of the 2020 campaign.

As previously mentioned, Brasier has never made a start at the major-league level before, but he does have 38 career minor-league starts under his belt. Although, his most recent start came all the way back in 2015.

In his career against Tampa Bay, the former sixth-round pick of the Angels has yet to surrender a run over 12 outings and 12 1/3 innings of work, all while holding opponents to a .481 OPS against.

By rolling with Brasier here, the Red Sox will have already used eight different starting pitchers just 16 games into the season.

Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox will line up behind Brasier and against Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who got shelled for five runs over five innings pitched in his last time out against Boston on August 5:

Note how the left-handed bats of Andrew Benintendi, Mitch Moreland, and Rafael Devers are all absent here in favor of Kevin Pillar, who will be starting in right, Michael Chavis, and Jonathan Arauz, who is a switch-hitter.

Also worth mentioning, Kevin Plawecki is making his fourth start of the season behind the plate in favor of Christian Vazquez.

Among these nine hitters, J.D. Martinez has seen Yarbrough the best, as the Sox DH is a lifetime .636 (7-for-11) hitter off the Rays southpaw to go along with one home run and two RBI.

On top of that, both Chavis and Alex Verdugo took Yarbrough deep at Tropicana Field last Wednesday.

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

Michael Chavis, Alex Verdugo Both Homer While Martin Perez Tosses Five Scoreless Innings Against Rays as Red Sox Halt Losing Streak at Four

The Red Sox capped off their first road trip of the season on a positve note on Wednesday night, topping the Rays by a final score of 5-0 to put an end to their four-game losing streak.

Martin Perez made his third start of the year for Boston in this one, and he picked up where he left against the Mets with another solid outing on Wednesday.

Working five scoreless innings, the left-hander worked a bit of a tight-rope act, but still managed to keep Tampa Bay off the board while scattering four hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

Part of the reason Perez was able to avoid any real damage was his ability to induce soft contact on Wednesday, as he got the Rays to ground into a double-play on two separate occasions.

On top of that, the Sox starter also did an adequate job of dealing with traffic on the base-paths. Among the 20 batters he faced, Perez allowed seven to reach base, yet none of them scored thanks in part to the Rays going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, with the last of those chances coming with two outs in the fifth.

There, Yandy Diaz reached base on a line-drive double off Perez, but the 29-year-old countered by getting the dangerous Austin Meadows to fly out to right and that was that.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91, only 48 of which were strikes, Perez relied on his cutter and changeup a combined 53% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing eight swings-and-misses with the pair of pitches while also topping out at 93.6 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 20 times en route to picking up his second consecutive winning decision.

With that, Perez is now 2-1 on the season with an ERA of 3.45. His next start will also come against the Rays, this time at Fenway Park, sometime next week, likely on Tuesday.

In relief of Perez, Colten Brewer got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the middle of the sixth, and he maneuvered his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise perfect inning of work.

From there, Austin Brice tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, Matt Barnes bounced back with a quick and painless bottom of the eighth, and Brandon Workman closed things out and preserved the shutout by striking out the side in the ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup, absent the likes of Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr., was matched up against Rays southpaw Ryan Yarbrough to kick things off on Wednesday.

As it turned out, Boston’s first runs of the night were driven in by a left-handed bat. That hitter’s name? Alex Verdugo.

Yes, it took until the fourth inning, but after Michael Chavis reached base on a two-out double, the 24-year-old outfielder followed by crushing a 0-1, 71 mph curveball from Yarbrough just over the fence in right field for his first Red Sox home run.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Chavis was in the offensive spotlight once more, this time coming to the plate against Yarbrough with no outs and a runner on first following a Christian Vazquez RBI single that brought in Xander Bogaerts.

On the sixth pitch he saw from the Rays starter, Chavis unloaded on a 3-2, 78 mph changeup down the heart of the plate and deposited it 421 feet to the seats in left field, right off a cardboard cutout.

Chavis’ second big fly of 2020 and his second within the last five days put his side up 5-0, which as previously mentioned, would be all the Red Sox would need to pick up their fourth win of the season in this one.

Some notes and observations from this victory:

Michael Chavis on Wednesday: 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. His first multi-hit game of the season, and he also looked really sharp at first base.

Since giving up five runs (four earned) in his first two innings pitched as a member of the Red Sox back on July 25, Martin Perez has yielded just two earned runs over his last 13 2/3 innings of work.

Xander Bogaerts over the course of this seven-game road trip: 10-for-23 (.435) with two homers and four RBI.

From Red Sox Notes:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s a happy flight back home to Boston, another off day on Thursday, and the first of three against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park to kick off the weekend on Friday.

As things currently stand, the Sox will roll with right-hander Ryan Weber on Friday, right-hander Zack Godley on Saturday, and an opener on Sunday. The Jays have yet to name any of their starters for the three-game set.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI.

Before that though, major-league rosters across baseball have to go from 30 players down to 28 by Thursday morning, so stay tuned for that.

Could Michael Chavis Be at Risk of Losing Spot on Red Sox Roster?

Major-league rosters across baseball on Thursday will shrink down from 30 players to 28 players for the remainder of the 2020 season, meaning most clubs will have to demote two players from their active rosters within the next 24 hours.

The Red Sox, of course, are no exception to this rule, and will be subject to doing the same on Thursday, which just so happens to be an off-day for the last-place club.

That being said, a team averaging just over 4.2 runs per game through its first 11 games of the season may be willing to shake things up offensively, and in order to do that, a player struggling at the plate may have to take a back seat for the time being. That player, in this scenario, is Michael Chavis.

Fresh off making his first career Opening Day roster last month, Chavis has gotten his first full season in the majors off to a dreadful start. Through seven games played, six of which have been starts, the 24-year-old is 3-for-his-first-21 at the plate, resulting in a dismal .143/.182/.286 slash line to go along with just one home run and one RBI thus far.

In those 21 at-bats, or 22 plate appearances to be more specific, Chavis has struck out nearly 41% of the time, which according to FanGraphs is the sixth-highest mark in the American League among hitters who have accrued at least 20 plate appearances at this point in the season.

On top of that, the former first-round pick has the second-highest swing-and-miss rate (22.5%) in the junior circuit behind only White Sox rookie phenom Luis Robert (26.2%).

Long story short, Chavis, who still has three minor-league options remaining on his current contract, seems like the “perfect” candidate to get sent down to the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket so that he can sort some things out in a less stressful environment.

In the meantime, the Sox have some things to figure out themselves in terms of roster construction at the major-league level. Top prospect Bobby Dalbec, who has fully recovered from his asymptomatic bout with COVID-19, is “swinging the bat better all the time” while playing in intrasquad games in Pawtucket, according to Boston manager Ron Roenicke.

“[It’s] still hard to tell because they aren’t real games that they’re playing in,” Roenicke said of Dalbec’s performance. “We just get reports on how he does and hopefully that translates into, if you need to, good at-bats in the game.”

Swapping Chavis for Dalbec does not seem too far out of the realm of possibilities for the Sox seeing how the latter can play both corner infield positions relatively well. Then again, a straight swap wouldn’t mean as much with roster sizes shrinking down to 28 players on Thursday.

All in all, whether it is Chavis or another pair of players that get demoted, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. certainly have their work cut out for them over the next few hours.

Red Sox Waste Big Offensive Nights From Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers in Soul-Crushing 9-7 Loss to Yankees

In their highest-scoring game since Opening Day, the Red Sox still found a way to lose to the Yankees on Sunday night, as they fell to the Bronx Bombers by a final score of 9-7 and were unable to avoid getting swept by their division rivals.

Utilizing the opener strategy in this one, the Sox first turned to right-hander Austin Brice on Sunday, who was technically making his first career major-league start although he only pitched a scoreless first inning while walking two and striking out the side.

From there, left-hander Matt Hall, who served as an opener for Boston last week, had a tougher time of things from the middle of the second on. That being the case because the 27-year-old served up a three-run blast to Aaron Judge in his first frame of work and back-to-back, two-out RBI doubles to Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela in his second.

Heath Hembree was next up, and after tossing a perfect bottom of the fourth, the veteran righty got taken deep by Luke Voit on a two-out solo shot in the fifth. At the time, Voit’s homer pulled the Yankees back even with the Sox at 6-6.

The Boston offense was able to tack on another run in between Marcus Walden’s two shutout frames of relief in the sixth and seventh, but things took a turn for the worse for the Red Sox bullpen in the bottom of the eighth.

There, Matt Barnes entered with his side up one run at 7-6, got the first two outs of the inning rather easily, and then walked Mike Tauchman, the Yankees’ No. 9 hitter, on five pitches.

As the saying goes, “walks will haunt,” and that walk certainly would come back to haunt Barnes later on.

With New York’s lineup turning back over, Tauchman took off for second base with D.J. LeMahieu at the plate and got to the bag safely. Having to deal with a runner in scoring position now, Barnes couldn’t sneak a 2-2, 96 mph fastball past the Yankees second baseman and instead gave up a game-tying, run-scoring single back up the middle. 7-7.

It would have been one thing if Barnes managed to escape the eighth with the 7-7 stalemate still intact, but the ever-dangerous Judge had other ideas in mind.

Arguably the girthiest No. 2 hitter in baseball, the Yankees slugger took a 2-0, hanging 84 mph curveball from Barnes and deposited it 468(!) feet to the bleachers in left field.

That soul-crushing missile of a two-run home run put the Yanks up 9-7, which would ultimately go on to be Sunday’s final score as Barnes was hit with his first loss and blown save of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another familiar foe in the form of Yankees southpaw James Paxton.

With the Canadian-born Paxton on the hill, the Boston bats actually got on the board in the first inning for the first time all weekend when after J.D. Martinez reached base on a two-out double that could have been caught, Xander Bogaerts crushed his second big fly of the season 386 feet to right-center field to put his side up two early on.

In the third, more damage off Paxton came when Kevin Pillar led things off with a ground-rule double and came around to score moments later on a Rafael Devers RBI base knock to right.

A Martinez strikeout followed by consecutive one-out, run-scoring singles off the bats of Bogaerts and Christian Vazquez brought in two more runs, and the Red Sox had themselves a 5-3 lead just like that.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Bogaerts struck once more, this time taking Yankees reliever Michael King 437 feet to left-center field for his second dinger of the evening. 6-5 Boston.

And in the seventh, it was Devers’ turn to put his pull-side power on display, as he watched King hang a 2-1, hanging changeup on the inner half of the plate and proceeded to send it all the way to the right field bleachers, or more specifically, 427 feet away from home plate.

Devers’ long-awaited first long ball of the new season looked to be the all-important go-ahead hit in this one as it put the Sox up by one run at 7-6. A las, as previously mentioned, the Yankees staged a rather soul-crushing comeback in their half of the eighth, and 9-7 would go on to be your final score. Red Sox get swept.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

The Red Sox are 3-7 through their first 10 games of 2020.

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Despite the loss, Rafael Devers had an impressive night on both sides of the ball.

10 games into the season, the Red Sox have one of the worst records in baseball. Not great! It’s not a total surprise, but it’s still not great!

Anyway, the Sox have an off day on Monday before opening up a rare two-game set against the Rays in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and left-hander Martin Perez are slated to start for Boston, while right-hander Charlie Morton and left-hander Ryan Yarbrough are lined up to do the same for Tampa Bay.

This will be the first of two trips to St. Pete for the Sox this season. They won 60% of their games at Tropicana Field in 2019.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Enjoy the off day.

Ryan Weber’s Struggles Continue as Red Sox Muster Just One Run in Series-Opening Loss to Yankees

In what could potentially be the final weekend of Major League Baseball this year, the Red Sox saw their mini two-game winning streak come to a close on Friday night in a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Yankees in the Bronx.

Ryan Weber got the start for Boston in this one, and like his 2020 debut last Sunday, he was unable to make it through four full innings, instead going 3 1/3 while surrendering three runs, all of which were earned, on four hits and four walks to go along with zero strikeouts on the night.

All three runs yielded by the right-hander to the Bronx Bombers came by way of the home run ball, with Aaron Judge following up a D.J. LeMahieu leadoff single in the third with a two-run blast just barely over the wall in left field, and Gio Urshela doing nearly the same thing on a leadoff homer an inning later.

Just like that, the Red Sox’ one-run lead had turned into a two-run deficit, and Weber’s evening came to a close rather quickly after he gave up that solo shot to Urshela, walked Brett Gardner, and got Kyle Higashioka to ground into a force out at second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 74 (43 strikes), the 29-year-old turned to his sinker more than 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing just one swing and miss while topping out at 90.3 mph with the pitch.

Hit with his second consecutive losing decision to start the new season, Weber’s spot in Boston’s rotation could very well be in jeopardy seeing how he has pitched seven total innings thus far without even striking out a single batter. I’m sure Sox manager Ron Roenicke will have more to say about that soon.

Anyway, in relief of Weber, right-hander Phillips Valdez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, escaped the bottom of the fourth unscathed, and proceeded to toss two more scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth.

From there, Austin Brice faced the minimum three hitters in the seventh thanks to an inning-ending strike ’em out, throw em’out twin killing, and Colten Brewer served up a two-run bomb to Gardner in the eighth, which put the Yankees up 5-1 and would go on to be Friday’s final score.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who was making his 2020 debut for New York.

After going down in order in the first and second innings against the southpaw, Michael Chavis, fresh off a two-hit game on Thursday, led the top half of the third off by taking Montgomery deep to left field off a 1-0, 91 mph heater on the inner half of the plate for his first big fly of the season.

Back-to-back one-out singles off the bats of Jose Peraza and Kevin Pillar in the same inning made it seem as though the Sox were going to add on to their early one-run lead, but a J.D. Martinez lineout to right ended any hopes of that happening since Pillar was doubled up at first base to end the inning in disappointing fashion.

In the fourth, Chavis had a chance to do even more damage as he came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded against Montgomery, but instead of going deep for a second time, the 24-year-old grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to extinguish the threat.

Other than that, the Boston bats really never challenged the Yankees again the rest of the way, as Chad Green, Adam Ottavino, and Jonathan Holder came out of the New York bullpen and combined to toss 3 1/3 scoreless frames in relief of Montgomery.

Holder recorded the final out of the night by getting Alex Verdugo to ground out to short, and that was that as the Red Sox dropped their first game of the season against the Yankees by a final score of 5-1.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

Xander Bogaerts had a fine day at shortstop by flashing the leather and showing off his arm on Friday.

Michael Chavis’ first home run of the season traveled 410 feet.

Phillips Valdez has yet to give up a run since making his Red Sox debut on Opening Day.

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to bounce back against these same Yankees on Saturday night.

Right-hander Zack Godley will be making his first start of the year for Boston, while veteran righty Masahiro Tanaka will be getting the ball got New York.

In his Red Sox debut against the Mets on Monday, the 30-year-old twirled four scoreless innings of relief. He has only made one career appearance against the Yankees in which he gave up three runs in three innings as a reliever.

Tanaka, meanwhile, will also be making his first start of the season after sustaining a concussion in an intrasquad game earlier this month. In 21 career starts against the Sox, the 31-year-old hurler owns a lifetime 5.76 ERA and .278 batting average against over 11 5 2/3 innings of work.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FOX and WEEI. Red Sox looking to improve to 4-5 on the season.

 

Christian Vazquez Comes Through With Two Homers as Red Sox Sweep First Part of Road Trip Against Mets

For the first time this season, the Red Sox have strung together consecutive victories, as they defeated the Mets by a final score of 4-2 on Thursday night to sweep the mini two-game series at Citi Field.

Martin Perez got the start for Boston in this one, and contrary to his team debut at Fenway Park over the weekend, the left-hander was much more impressive in his first start of the year away from home. That being the case because over 5 2/3 innings of work, Perez yielded just two runs, both of which were earned, on two hits, four walks, and one hit batsman to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

Both of those Mets tallies scored off Perez came in the bottom half of the third, when with one out and runners on the corners, the 29-year-old single to Jeff McNeil, which at the time put New York up 2-1.

Fortunately for the Sox, Perez was able to avoid any further damage in the frame and proceeded to sit down seven of the final nine hitters he faced from the middle of the fourth up until when there were two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the point in which his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 88 (49 strikes), the Venezuelan southpaw relied on his changeup more than 35% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing nine swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 91.5 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 15 times.

Able to pick up his first winning decision as a member of the Red Sox, Perez will look to carry this momentum into his next start, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

In relief of Perez, Heath Hembree came on with one out to get in the sixth, got that out by fanning Yoenis Cespedes on seven pitches, and proceeded to toss a scoreless seventh inning as well.

From there, Matt Barnes labored in the eighth with a one-run lead to protect, but despite dealing with runners on the corners with one out and the bases loaded with two, the flame-throwing right-hander escaped the inning unscathed by getting Mets rookie Andres Gimenez to ground out to first.

In the ninth, Brandon Workman appeared in a game for a third consecutive day, struck out the final two hitters he faced, and secured his second save and the Red Sox’ third victory of the season as 4-2 would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against an unfamiliar opponent in the form of Mets left-hander Steven Matz, who was making his first career start against Boston in this one.

A scoreless first inning against Matz didn’t damper the Sox’ mood too much, as Christian Vazquez led off the top of the second by crushing a 2-1, 85 mph changeup down the heart of the plate 411 feet to left-center field to give his side an early lead.

Later on in the fourth, the red-hot Boston backstop struck once more, this time following up a Xander Bogaerts leadoff single with a 373-foot two-run blast off an 0-2, 94 MPH sinker from Matz. That put the Sox up by one once again at 3-2.

Flash forward all the way to the ninth, with the score still 3-2, and the Red Sox took advantage of a Mets reliever struggling with his command, as Alex Verdugo, Michael Chavis, and Andrew Benintendi all reached base off Edwin Diaz with no outs in the inning.

Rafael Devers punched out while pinch-hitting for Jonathan Arauz, but by taking a 90 mph slider off his elbow a few moments later, Jose Peraza was able to drive in a very important insurance run from third in the form of Verdugo.

That put the Red Sox up 4-2, which as previously mentioned, would go on to be the final score in Boston’s second straight win.

Some notes and observations from this victory:

Michael Chavis broke out of an 0-for-9 slump to to start the season by going 2-for-4 on Thursday.

Christian Vazquez’s OPS on the season is now up to 1.555.

From NESN’s Tom Caron:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

From Red Sox Notes:

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll open a three-game weekend series against the Yankees in the Bronx on Friday.

Right-hander Ryan Weber will get the ball for Boston, while left-hander Jordan Montgomery will do the same for New York.

Weber, 29, will be looking to rebound from a tough start against the Orioles last Sunday in which he surrendered six earned runs over 3 2/3 innings pitched. In three career outings against the Yankees, all of which have come in relief, the St. Petersburg native owns a lifetime 2.84 ERA and .182 batting average against over 6 1/3 total innings of work.

Montgomery, meanwhile, will be making his first appearance of the 2020 season for New York. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.40 ERA over three starts and 14 1/3 innings pitched against Boston.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN, MLB Network, and WEEI. Red Sox going for their third straight win.

 

Red Sox Lineup: Jonathan Arauz Set to Make First Big-League Start in Series Finale Against Mets

After barely holding on for their second win of the season on Wednesday, the Red Sox will look to put together their first winning streak of the year on Thursday against Steven Matz and the New York Mets.

Left-hander Martin Perez will be making his second start in a Red Sox uniform and his first away from Fenway Park. The 29-year-old surrendered five runs (four earned) over fine innings of his work in his team debut against Baltimore last Saturday, but he did end his outing by twirling three scoreless consecutive frames en route to picking up the losing decision.

In two career appearances (one start) at Citi Field, Perez owns a 3.60 ERA and .171 batting average against over 10 total innings pitched. Here’s how the Red Sox will be lining up behind the Venezuelan southpaw.

With the left-handed Matz getting the ball for New York in this one, the left-handed bats of Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr. Mitch Moreland will start Thursday’s contest on the bench.

Taking that into consideration, Jose Peraza will be making just his sixth career start at third base in place of Devers while batting out of the leadoff spot, Kevin Pillar will be making his first start at center field as a member of the Red Sox in place of Bradley Jr. while batting out of the five-hole, and Michael Chavis, who is off to a 0-for-9 start at the plate, will be getting the start at first in place of Moreland while batting out of the seven-hole.

Alex Verdugo and Andrew Benintendi, who collected his 500th career hit Wednesday, are the only two primary left-handed hitters in Boston’s starting lineup Thursday.

Rookie infielder and 2019 Rule 5 Draft selection Jonathan Arauz will be making his first career major-league start at second base. The 21-year-old out of Panama, who will be batting out of the No. 9 spot, can hit from both sides of the plate and is still looking for his first big-league knock.

Other than that, J.D. Martinez has been dropped to the No. 3 spot after starting his team’s first six games in the two-hole, Xander Bogaerts is back in the cleanup spot after being limited to pinch-hitting duties on Wednesday, and Christian Vazquez, fresh off clobbering his second homer of the season, will be catching Perez while hitting out of the five-hole.

That just about covers everything as the Red Sox look to split this four-game, home-at-home series with the Metropolitans. First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FOX and WEEI.