Red Sox Bullpen Blows Another Save in 8-7 Meltdown Loss to Blue Jays

After battling their way back from a pair of four-run deficits in a 7-5 extra innings win on Friday, the Red Sox essentially did the exact opposite less than 24 hours later, as they blew a late six-run lead and fell to the Toronto Blue Jays by a final score of 8-7 on Saturday.

Making his second start of the season for Boston in this one was Brian Johnson, who worked in relief his last time out and ended up taking the loss in that 17-inning marathon against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.

This time around, the left-hander put together a solid performance, yielding just one unearned run while scattering four hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over five solid innings.

That lone Toronto tally came in the top half of the fourth, when with no outs and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at second following a leadoff single and a wild pitch from Johnson, a grounder off the bat of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. could not be handled cleanly by an off-balanced Xander Bogaerts, and he wound up unable to make a clean throw over to Michael Chavis at first, which gave Guerrero enough time to score his side’s first run of the afternoon.

Other than that one mishap, Johnson managed to sit down five of the last six Blue Jays hitters he faced leading into the middle of the fifth, where his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 83 (50 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 37% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 91.6 MPH with the pitch.

Unable to pick up the winning decision despite a worthy performance of one, Johnson will look to lower his ERA of 6.43 even further in his next time out, which at the moment, probably won’t happen until the Red Sox return from London.

In relief of Johnson, Mike Shawaryn entered the sixth with a five-run cushion and got things off to an encouraging start by retiring the side in order.

From there, though, is where this one began to fall apart for Boston. That would be because Shawaryn, in his second frame of relief, gave up three straight one-out hits, with the last two being home runs from Freddy Galvis and Rowdy Tellez to cut Toronto’s deficit to two.

Marcus Walden was inserted with the bases empty and two outs to get in the seventh, and he walked the first man he saw in Luke Maile.

Three batters later, with Maile having moved up to third on a Guerrero Jr. single, Walden complicated matters further by mislocating 1-1 slider that got past Christian Vazquez and allowed the runner from third to come in and score with Gurriel Jr. at the plate to make it a 6-5 contest. Walden was able to escape the inning with that slim lead still in tact, setting up Matt Barnes in the eighth.

There, the frequently used righty saw that one-run lead disappear on a one-out RBI single from Cavan Biggio that drove in Teoscar Hernandez from second and knotted this one up at six.

That stalemate would not last long, unfortunately, as Barnes walked the bases loaded to make way for Ryan Brasier, who proceeded to walk in the go-ahead run himself on four straight out of the strike zone against Blue Jays leadoff man Eric Sogard.

Another free pass drawn by Guerrero Jr., the fourth straight given up by Red Sox pitching, gave his side a two-run edge before Brasier stopped the bleeding by getting Gurriel Jr. to pop out to first.

And finally, Josh Smith struck out the side in order in the ninth to keep Boston within the two runs they trailed by, although the damage had already been done.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against right-hander Derek Law, serving as the opener for the Blue Jays on Saturday.

Jackie Bradley Jr. broke open the scoring for Boston in the second inning, where with JD Martinez at second and Brock Holt at first, the center fielder ripped an opposite field two-run double, plating both runners to make it a 2-0 game early on.

Michael Chavis added on to that while simultaneously extending his hitting streak to 11 games by driving in Bradley Jr. on a softy-hit RBI single back up the middle. That led to a pitching change that saw right-hander Sam Gaviglio take over for Law.

Walking the second hitter he faced in Mookie Betts to put runners on first and second, Andrew Benintendi made Gaviglio pay with a two-run, opposite field double on an 0-1 84 MPH slider that put the Sox up by five.

Friday night’s hero Christian Vazquez padded that lead in the bottom half of the third with his 10th home run of the season, a 340 foot shot just past Pesky’s Pole in right field that gave the Red Sox a six-run advantage.

With that large of a lead, you would figure with the way they’ve been playing lately, the defending World Series champions had this one in the bag. Sure, it’s easy to blame the bullpen for the way things turned out on Saturday, but to go hitless from the bottom of the fifth until the last half of the ninth isn’t great either.

In that ninth inning, trailing by two runs, Mookie Betts provided some life by drawing a one-out walk off Blue Jays closer Ken Giles after the pinch-hitting Rafael Devers fanned in the prior at-bat.

Betts managed to steal second off Giles, but Andrew Benintendi was unable to advance him any further, as he too struck out.

Down to their final out, it looked as though Xander Bogaerts was about to wrap this contest up by flying out to shallow left field, but with the way Toronto was playing him in the shift, said ball fell between Galvis and Hernandez and bounced over the wall into foul territory for a ground-rule double to score Betts from second.

Now only trailing by one, JD Martinez came to the plate representing the go=ahead run.

With the chance to send the Fenway crowd home with a walk-off win for the second consecutive day, the Sox slugger came up swinging on a rising 2-2 98 MPH fastball from Giles, but could not come through with any contact, as he fanned to put this disappointing 8-7 loss to bed.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox have blown 15 saves this season, the most in the American League and second-most in all of baseball behind only the New York Mets.

Per FanGraphs, the Red Sox had a 97.4% chance to win this game after Teoscar Hernandez flew out to second for the first out of the seventh inning.

From the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to bounce back from this ugly loss in the finale of this three-game weekend set on Sunday.

Right-hander Rick Porcello is set to get the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Marcus Stroman will do the same for Toronto.

Fresh off seven scoreless innings and a win in his last time out against the Twins, Porcello has posted an ERA of 2.75 through three June starts.

In 26 career outings (25 starts) against the Jays, the 31-year-old owns a lifetime 5.39 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over 148 2/3 innings pitched.

Stroman, meanwhile, picked up the win the last time he faced off against the Sox back on May 21st at Rogers Centre, where he allowed one earned run over six quality innings of work.

In his career at Fenway Park, the Duke University product is 1-2 with a 3.70 ERA in four starts and 24 1/3 total innings.

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

 

 

 

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Red Sox’ Winning Streak Snapped in 17-Inning Marathon Loss to Twins

In their longest game of the season in terms of both innings and time, the Red Sox saw their six-game winning streak come to an end on early Wednesday morning, as they fell to the Minnesota Twins by a final score of 4-3 after 17 marathon innings.

Making his 13th start of the season for Boston in the middle game of this series was David Price, who like Rick Porcello before him, entered Tuesday with a solid history when working at Target Field.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the left-hander yielded just one earned run on four hits and no walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the night.

That one run came out in Minnesota’s half of the fourth, when back-to-back two-out knocks from Eddie Rosario and CJ Cron got the home side on the board immediately after the Red Sox had done so themselves.

Other than that, Price sat down three of the last four hitters he faced in the fifth, and that would be how his outing came to a somewhat abrupt end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of just 73 (49 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 44% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.9 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season lowered to 3.39, there should be no injury concerns involved with Price going forward. Per Sox manager Alex Cora, “[Tuesday] was one of those that we felt like I was going to take care of him. He threw the ball well but as you guys know, he’s a guy that we really have to take care of.” Price’s next start should come against the Chicago White Sox next week.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was put to the test similarly enough to the way they were this past Sunday in Baltimore.

Mike Shawaryn got a long night started for the ‘pen by putting men on the corners on the first two hitters he faced, but with the help of Christian Vazqez, did not allow either to score before loading the bases with two outs and again escaping a jam by fanning Miguel Sano on three straight strikes.

Ryan Brasier came on in the seventh moments after Rafael Devers had given Boston a 2-1 lead, and he too received some assistance from his defense, with Jackie Bradley Jr. doing his best Spider-Man impression to rob Jorge Polanco of extra bases and retire the side.

In the eighth, Brandon Workman was charged with his third blown save of the season after walking the leadoff man in Mitch Garver and allowing him to tie things up at two on an RBI single from Max Kepler.

2-2 is where this one stood for quite a while, as Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor, and Colten Brewer combined for four scoreless frames from the ninth until the 12th before making way for Hector Velazquez in the bottom of the 13th.

There, after his side had taken a one-run advantage in the top half of the inning, the right-hander gave that back right away by serving up a leadoff solo shot to Kepler, once again knoting things up at three runs each.

Velazquez did settle in after that mishap though, as he pushed his way through the 16th, but had to be removed after coming out for the 17th after being unable to continue.

And in that 17th, two days after he made his first start of the year in Baltimore, Brian Johnson allowed two of the first three Twins he faced to reach, although before doubling, Eddie Rosario’s right foot very well could have been out of the batter’s box while trying to lay down a bunt.

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Nothing came of it, however, and Rosario’s double would prove to be costly, as Johnson intentionally walked CJ Cron to load the bases, and Kepler ended things by ripping the game-winning RBI single down the right field line.

In total, Boston used eight pitchers on Tuesday/Wednesday not named David Price. Marcus Walden was not available.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar opponent in Twins right-hander Michael Pineda, who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Like Price, Pineda only limited his opposition to one lone run, and that came courtesy of a Mookie Betts leadoff walk and a Rafael Devers two-out RBI single in the fourth to put the Sox on the board.

Fast forward to the seventh, with Pineda out and new reliever Ryne Harper in for Minnesota, Devers struck again, this time launching his 12th home run of the season, a 374 foot leadoff shot to give his team the 2-1 advantage.

As mentioned before though, that advantage did not last all that long, and this contest headed into extras, where the Sox had plenty of chances to tack on some runs, but could only come away with one.

That one, a 380 foot solo shot off the bat of Mookie Betts to lead off the 13th inning against Mike Morin, probably should have been enough to send Boston home with a win. But, Hector Velazquez buckled in the latter half of the frame, and the Red Sox were unable to score again.

The offensive struggles were especially evident in the 17th, where Andrew Benintendi reached third with no outs on a leadoff single, a stolen base, and Minnesota throwing error.

The middle part of the lineup, JD Martinez, Devers, and Xander Bogaerts, all had their shot to drive Benintendi in, but came up short, and the Twins capitalized on that inability by walking things off a half inning later in a marathon game that ended in a 4-3 final.

Some notes from this loss:

Red Sox with runners in scoring position Tuesday/Wednesday: 1-for-13. They left 14 men on base.

JD Martinez on Tuesday/Wednesday: 0-for-8 with five strikeouts.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

With that, the Red Sox’ six-game winning streak has come to an end.

For the finale of this three-game series, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a left and right-handed pitcher, with Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and Kyle Gibson doing the same for Minnesota.

Coming off one of his better starts of the year in his last time out against the Orioles where he surrendered just one run over seven quality innings of work, Rodriguez brings with him a lifetime 5.91 ERA over two prior starts and 10 2/3 total innings pitched at Target Field.

Gibson, meanwhile, is also fresh off a dominant outing, as he held the Kansas City Royals scoreless on just two hits in an eight-inning win last Friday.

In his career against the Sox, the 31-year-old is 2-3 with a 2.68 ERA over six starts and 40 1/3 innings of work.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

 

Late Home Runs from Marco Hernandez and Rafael Devers Propel Red Sox to 8-6 Extra Innings Win over Orioles to Complete Three-Game Sweep on Father’s Day

In a game that took nearly five hours and an extra inning to complete, the Red Sox came away with their fifth consecutive victory and a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, as they took the series finale by a final tally of 8-6.

Making his first start of the season and first appearance since April 5th for Boston was Brian Johnson, who was just activated from the injured list this past Friday after missing more than 2 months of major league action due to inflammation in his throwing elbow.

Working his way into the fourth inning of this one, the left-hander yielded one earned run on five hits and two walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the afternoon.

Despite dealing with a decent amount of traffic on the base paths in such a short span of time, Johnson only gave up that lone Orioles run in their half of the third, when Keon Broxton came around to score on a one-out RBI single from Hanser Alberto.

Other than that, Johnson stranded runners at first and second to end the frame before allowing Anthony Santander and Jonathan Villar to reach with no outs in the fourth, which is the point where his day came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 70 (41 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his curveball more than 37% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 25 times with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Given the current state of the Red Sox’ rotation with Nathan Eovaldi still shelved for the foreseeable future, expect Johnson to make his next start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday if he isn’t used out of the bullpen before then.

In relief of Johnson, Colten Brewer was inserted into this contest with three outs to get in the fourth and runners on first and second.

With the help of Broxton interfering while running out a successful bunt attempt that would have plated the Orioles’ second run, the right-hander managed to escape the jam in the fourth with his team still in front. Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde, however, was ejected for arguing the ruling of that play.

From there, Mike Shawaryn got the first two outs of the fifth while loading the bases on a pair of walks and a single, and left-hander Josh Taylor, just recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, saved him by inducing a grounder off the bat of Villar to retire the side.

Taylor also worked his way around a fielding error in the sixth in an otherwise clean inning to make way for Marcus Walden in the seventh.

Making his 28th appearance out of the ‘pen, Walden sat down three of the four Orioles he faced in his first inning of relief before running into some trouble in the eighth, where Villar led things off by drawing a six-pitch walk and eventually scored courtesy of two swiped bags and a wild pitch.

That knotted things up at two runs a piece at the time, and Travis Lakins proceeded to give that up by serving up a pinch-hit triple to the first man he faced in Stevie Wilkerson before Hanser Alberto drove him in on another RBI base knock. Just like that, the Red Sox were trailing.

Fortunately though, Marco Hernandez pulled them even in the top half of the ninth, while Brandon Workman sent this one into extras with a scoreless bottom half.

And in the 10th, after they pretty much blew this one open to 8-3, Josh Smith nearly gave it all back by giving up a pair of homers, but held on to close out his third game of the season to secure an 8-6 win for Boston.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar and fairly tough opponent in Baltimore left-hander John Means, who entered Sunday having given up just two total runs in two prior starts this season against Boston.

This time around, Means held his own through the first three innings, but the Sox bats finally got to him in the fourth, with Xander Bogaerts getting his team on the board by driving in Rafael Devers all the way from first on a one-out line drive RBI double to left.

Bogaerts nearly scored the Sox’ second run as well, but was hung up to dry when trying to come home on a single from Michael Chavis. Instead of scoring, the young shortstop got caught in the middle of a rundown, all while Chavis advanced into scoring position.

So, with two outs and Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, the red-hot outfielder went ahead and extended his hitting streak to seven games, plating Chavis from second on a run-scoring double to give Boston their first lead of the afternoon.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, after they had fallen behind by a run yet again, and Marco Hernandez came through in the clutch by blasting a game-tying, 395 foot solo shot to center off new Orioles reliever Mychal Givens. His first homer since May 30th of 2016, which also happened to come off of Givens in Baltimore, to eventually send this contest into extras.

There, in the 10th, Devers broke the stalemate in his first at-bat against Givens, leading off the frame by depositing a 1-0 fastball 458(!) feet to the opposite field for his 11th big fly of the season.

Still in the same inning, a fielding error that allowed Bogaerts to reach safely, a Michael Chavis single, and a walk drawn by Brock Holt off Orioles reliever David Hess filled the bases with Red Sox for Mookie Betts,

Already with two hits of the day, the reigning American League MVP broke this one open with number three, ripping a two-run single to left to plate Bogaerts and Chavis to put his team up by three.

Christian Vazquez opened up that lead a little further with another two-run double to drive in the two men on ahead of him, and that would later prove to be vital.

That being the case because even though they went up 8-3 on Vazquez’s clutch two-base hit, the Orioles almost staged a rally of their own in their half of the 10th, cutting Boston’s advantage back down to two runs before Sunday’s contest ultimately came to a close with a final score of 8-6.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi was originally starting in left field and batting second Sunday, but was scratched due to a sore left quad. That’s why JD Martinez was out in left field.

From Red Sox Stats:

Rafael Devers during his six-game hitting streak: 11-for-27 with one double, one triple, two homers, and five RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last seven games: .357/.400/.714 with two stolen bases, two home runs, and six RBI.

For the third time this season, Michael Chavis has recorded multiple hits in three straight games.

The Red Sox swept the Orioles, as expected. Now comes the true test. We’ve seen it before from this team, they dominate an inferior opponent, then proceed to struggle against better teams, such as the Astros, Rays, or Yankees.

This time, it will be a three-game set in Minnesota against the rising 47-23 first place Twins.

Led by ex-Red Sox outfielder and first-year manager Rocco Baldelli, the Twins have taken off in 2019, and entered Sunday leading the American League in runs scored (411), doubles (149), home runs (135), team slugging percentage (.514), and team OPS (.854) among other categories.

For the opener on Monday, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of right-handers, with Rick Porcello getting the ball for Boston and Jose Berrios doing the same for Minnesota.

Porcello is coming off his best start in weeks in his last time out against the Texas Rangers, and brings with him a lifetime 2.96 ERA over 13 career starts and 82 total innings pitched at Target Field.

Berrios, meanwhile, has had himself a solid 2019 thus far. That much is evident bow how the Twins are 11-3 in games he starts.

In three career starts against Boston, the 25-year-old is 0-2 with an ERA of 4.15 over 17.1 total innings of work.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox have plenty to prove as they go for their sixth straight victory.

 

 

Xander Bogaerts Leads Power Surge for Red Sox in 7-6 Comeback Win over Rangers for Series Split

In a game that took well over four hours to complete, the Red Sox stormed all the way back to a four-game split against the Texas Rangers with a 7-6 win on Thursday night to close out a 3-5 homestand.

Making his 12th start of the season for Boston in the series finale was David Price, fresh off six quality one-run innings in his last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays.

This time around though, the left-hander struggled mightily against a team he has a rough history with, as he yielded six runs, all of which were earned, on five hits, two HBPs, and one walk to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the short-lived night.

The issues for Price were present right from the get-go, that much was clear by how he hit the first man he faced in Shin-Soo Choo, and proceeded to walk the next in Delino Deshields, which in turn led to Texas plating their first two runs on an Elvis Andrus RBI single and Hunter Pence RBI double that nearly left the yard, but bounced off the top of the short wall in right field and landed back in play.

Price escaped the first after surrendering another pair of runs on two-out, two RBI double from Logan Forsythe, but more trouble arose an inning later, and it was once again started by beaning Choo with one out on a 1-2 changeup.

A double from Deshields put both runners on base in scoring position for Andrus, who capitalized on a 1-0 changeup from the Tennessee native and grounded another two-run hit through the left side of the infield to make it a 6-0 game. That was how Price’s evening came to a disappointing close, less than an hour after it had began.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 49 (27 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 37% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing five swings and misses and topping out at 92.3 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

When asked about his performance, Price simply said, “I sucked. That’s it.” With his ERA jumping up by 8/10 of a run up to 3.52 on the season, he’ll look for better results in his next time out against the Minnesota Twins next Tuesday.

In relief of Price, Sox manager Alex Cora turned to every reliever in his bullpen sans Heath Hembree, who later said he wasn’t available to pitch due to right forearm tightness.

Mike Shawaryn, Colten Brewer, and Travis Lakins, all of whom have been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket in the last few weeks, set the groundwork by working a combined four scoreless, no-hit frames of relief, scattering five walks along the way to set up the more high-leverage arms.

Entering the sixth with the score at 6-6, Marcus Walden bounced back from a two-run outing this past Saturday by working his way around two two-out singles in an otherwise clean frame with some help from Andrew Benintendi.

Another tightrope was walked in the seventh, when, still in a tie game, Brandon Workman walked the bases loaded with two outs, took Deshields to a full count after falling behind 3-0, and came through with a huge punchout on an 82 MPH slider to strand the go-ahead run at third.

In the eighth, after his side had plated what would turn out to be the winning run in their half of the inning, Matt Barnes also bounced back from what has been a subpar month of June so far by fanning the final two Rangers he faced to leave Hunter Pence at second following a one-out double.

And in the ninth, with Heath Hembree unavailable, Josh Smith, yes, Josh Smith came on for his first ever big league save opportunity.

It didn’t look great when he hit the first batter he faced, but the 31-year-old got Rougned Odor to ground into a force out at second to keep the tying run out of scoring position before the Rangers second baseman stole the base anyway, and he also struck out pinch-hitter Nomar Mazara seven pitches later.

With one out still to get, this contest nearly ended on a pick-off move made by Smith on a retreating Odor as he was sliding back to second.

Xander Bogaerts was confident he had the runner on the tag, but second base umpire Angel Hernandez ruled him safe, and that ruling was upheld despite a Red Sox challenge.

The man who was at the plate while that transpired, Choo, was intentionally walked, and Smith succeeded against his next opponent in Deshields, as he got the speedy outfielder to fly out to center, thus securing his first career save and completing the comeback.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rangers right-hander Adrian Sampson, who hadn’t pitched against the Sox nor at Fenway Park since his rookie year in 2016, when he was with the Seattle Mariners.

Starting the scoring for Boston in this one was JD Martinez in the first inning, mashing his 13th home run of the year on a 418 foot solo shot to center to cut the early deficit to three runs.

An inning later, that deficit would be trimmed down even further to two thanks to back-to-back leadoff singles from Bogaerts and Vazquez and a 403 foor three-run dinger off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr., his sixth of the year.

Fast forward to the fourth, and Michael Chavis came alive and made it a one-run game by depositing his first homer since the 22nd of May into the third row of Monster Seats down the left field line. 6-5.

Rafael Devers joined the home run party in the fifth, tying this wild one up by absolutely crushing an 0-2 hanging slider from Sampson and sending it 443 feet over everything in center field. Per Statcast, the 22-year-old’s 10th big fly of 2019 had an exit velocity of 110 MPH.

Finally, in the seventh, down to their final out of the inning with right-hander Peter Fairbanks in for Texas, Xander Bogaerts gave the Sox their first lead of the night, collecting his 14th home run of the season on an 0-1 slider, one that the budding shortstop mashed 386 feet over the Monster.

That put the Red Sox ahead 7-6 after trailing by as many as five runs, and that would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox had nine hits Thursday. Five were home runs.

Jackie Bradley Jr. in June: .257/.366/.514 with two home runs, three doubles, and seven RBI.

Xander Bogaerts in June: .304/.382/.630 with three doubles, four home runs, and seven RBI.

The Red Sox bullpen Thursday: 7 1/3 innings pitched, four hits, one HBP, eight walks, nine strikeouts, ZERO earned runs.

So, after going down two games in a four-game series, the Red Sox respond by taking the next two for the split. That’s encouraging to see, especially with a three-game weekend series against the lowly Baltimore Orioles set to begin on Friday.

The starters for that series go as follows: Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, TBD (Could be Brian Johnson).

Meanwhile, for Baltimore, they have yet to announce a starter for either Friday or Sunday. Right-hander Dylan Bundy will be matched up against Sale on Saturday.

The Sox took two out of three from the O’s in their first trip to Baltimore back in May. A sweep this time around seems more ideal.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight win.

 

 

 

Darwinzon Hernandez Struggles in First Start, Alex Cora and Andrew Benintendi Get Tossed as Red Sox Fall Back to .500 in 9-5 Loss to Rangers

After blowing a late lead to open up a four-game series against the Texas Rangers on Monday, the Red Sox fell behind early Tuesday and could never really recover, as they dropped their third straight contest to fall back to .500 on the season in a 9-5 loss.

Making his first career start and second appearance for Boston was top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez, who was recalled from Double-A Pawtucket earlier Tuesday.

Last working as a reliever in his first stint with the club back in April, the left-hander surrendered four runs, three of which were earned, on three hits and five walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

Despite fanning 77% of the nine hitters he faced, control remained Hernandez’s biggest issue in this one, as it has been in his time with the Sea Dogs.

From the jump, the Venezuela native dazzled, punching out the side in the first while also leading off the second with his fourth K.

The trouble began with a one-out, seven-pitch walk of Hunter Pence, which was followed with a four-pitch walk of Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Rangers their first two baserunners.

Two pitches later, Rougned Odor drove in his team’s first run by ripping an RBI ground-rule double over Mookie Betts’ head in right field, which came at the benefit of the Red Sox with Cabrera being held up at third.

In the third, the free pass bit Hernandez yet again, this time with three of the first five Rangers hitters to come to the plate in the inning reaching base by way of the BB, loading the bases for Cabrera.

After falling behind 3-0 and battling back to fill the count, Cabrera ultimately won his second battle against the young southpaw, as he made it a 3-1 contest with a two-run single to center.

Hernandez would fan Odor for his seventh and final strikeout, and proceeded to allow the first two Rangers he faced to reach in the fourth with the help of a Rafael Devers fielding error before getting the hook from Sox manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (42 strikes), the 22-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 76% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing seven swings and misses while also topping out at 97.7 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

It’s never been a question about Hernandez’s stuff, that is certainly there. It’s the control that’s the issue, and for whatever reason, he just folded after recording the first out of the second inning.

Can’t say for sure that Hernandez will make another start, but if he does, it will most likely come against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

In relief of Hernandez, Colten Brewer came on in that fourth inning, yielded a six-pitch walk to the first man he saw to fill the bases, and officially closed the book on Hernandez’s first big league start by giving up a sacrifice fly to Danny Santana to make it a 4-3 game.

From there, after Brewer escaped the fourth with back-to-back punchouts, Bobby Poyner came on for his first appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, and he, at the very least, ate some innings.

To put it bluntly, the left-hander entered with his team trailing by one run, and left with them down by six, with those last two runs coming on a two-run inside-the-park home run off the bat of Hunter Pence that was just out of Brock Holt’s reach in the top half of the sixth.

And finally, Mike Shawaryn continued to impress out of the bullpen by fanning four Rangers in two perfect frames of relief to wrap up what was another underwhelming night from Red Sox pitching.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rangers right-hander Ariel Jurado, who had never pitched against Boston nor at Fenway Park before Tuesday.

Already down a run by the middle of the second, Xander Bogaerts answered back and got his side on the board by blasting his 13th home run of the season, this one a 422 foot shot over the Green Monster.

An inning later and trailing by a pair this time, Rafael Devers erased that deficit quickly, following by back-to-back two-out walks with a two-run triple off Jurado to break out of an 0-for-20 slump. He was stranded at third.

Fast forward to the bottom of the fifth, and some drama arose when Andrew Benintendi had a few choice words for home plate umpire Angel Hernandez following a groundout to short.

The thing was, Hernandez couldn’t hear Benintendi’s words, but first base umpire Vic Carapazza could, and without giving a warning, ejected the Red Sox outfielder as he was heading back towards his dugout.

That led to even more pandemonium, and ultimately resulted in Cora’s ejection and more colorful language from Benintendi.

Once all was settled, the Sox still trailed by three runs going into the sixth, and that deficit did not shrink.

A Michael Chavis leadoff double in the seventh off new Rangers reliever Jose LeClerc, followed by an RBI two-bagger from JD Martinez two outs later gave Boston their fourth run of the night.

And in the ninth, Mookie Betts swung at the very first pitch he saw from right-hander Chris Martin, and came away with his 11th dinger of the year, although it didn’t make much of a difference in what would go down as a 9-5 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox are 34-34 on the season and 5-6 in June.

Mike Shawaryn is averaging 16.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

JD Martinez’s last two games since returning from back spasms: 4-for-7, two doubles, one run scored, one RBI.

Andrew Benintendi on his ejection:

Alex Cora on his:

Brock Holt, who was in right field because of the Benintendi ejection, on what happened on the inside-the-park homer:

It was a bizarre night, really. Both managers got ejected, the Red Sox didn’t use one pitcher who appeared in a big league game before the start of the 2018 season, and Mookie Betts had himself a rough time of things in center field.

Next up for the Sox, it’s the third game of this four-game set, which was moved up three hours from its original start time because of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Right-hander Rick Porcello, will be getting the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Lance Lynn will be doing the same for Texas.

In his career against the Rangers, Porcello (4-6, 4.86 ERA) owns a lifetime 5.16 ERA over 12 prior starts and 68 total innings pitched.

Lynn (7-4, 4.39 ERA), meanwhile, has posted a career 2.40 ERA in three previous appearances (two starts) and 15 innings of work at Fenway Park.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 4:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox need to wake up.

 

 

 

Red Sox Fall Flat Against Ryan Yarbrough in Second Straight Loss to Rays

After seeing their four-game winning streak come to an end on Friday night, the Red Sox dropped their second straight to the Tampa Bay Rays in the first of a day-night doubleheader Saturday, falling back to 33-31 on the year.

Making his second start and fifth overall appearance this season for Boston was Josh Smith, who was recalled from Triple-Pawtucket to serve as the club’s 26th man for Saturday’s twin bill.

Working his way through the fourth inning of this one, the right-hander surrendered four runs, all of which were earned, on seven hits, one walk, one HBP to go along with three strikeouts on the afternoon.

All four of those Tampa Bay runs came in their half of the second, with Travis d’Arnaud blasting a two-out, three-run home run to put his team on the board first, and Brandon Lowe following that up with an RBI single three batters later to make it a 4-0 game.

From there, Smith only faced the minimum six hitters over his final two frames, with Sam Travis making a fantastic diving play in left and Jackie Bradley Jr. snuffing out Yandy Diaz at second to retire the side in the third.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 83 (49 strikes), the 31-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.5 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Since he was Boston’s 26th man in this one, Smith will be returned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

In relief of Smith, Colten Brewer walked three in a one-run fifth, Mike Shawaryn punched out three and hit two over a scoreless sixth and seventh, and Ryan Brasier sat down the only three hitters he faced in a 1-2-3 eighth to set up Josh Taylor in the ninth.

Only trailing by a reasonable three runs entering the inning, Taylor seemingly let this contest get away from the Sox, as he yielded six singles, allowed four earned runs, and faced all nine Rays hitters before finally escaping the inning with his team now down 9-2.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who came into Saturday with a 6.23 ERA through eight outings (three starts) so far this season.

Despite what those numbers may say,  Yarbrough, like Yonny Chirinos the night before, was essentially lights out, limiting the Boston bats two just two runs on the day.

That first run came courtesy of Sam Travis in the bottom half of the second, when with Christian Vazquez at third following a fielding error that allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach base safely, the 25-year-old ripped a 2-0 changeup from Yarbrough through the middle of the infield, plating Vazquez and getting his team on the board.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, after the Rays starter retired 16 of the preceding 18 Red Sox hitters he faced, Jackie Bradley Jr. broke out of a 2-for-20 skid by mashing his fifth home run of the season, a 427 foot shot off Pesky’s Pole that at the time cut the Rays lead down to three runs.

And although they didn’t stage an epic comeback in the ninth in what would turn out to be a 5-2 loss, it was really cool to see Marco Hernandez back on the field and picking up his first base hit in over two years.

Remember, the 26-year-old underwent surgery on his left shoulder in November of that year and just got back to being able to participating in baseball activities this spring.

He was activated from the 10-day injured list Saturday and went ahead and ripped a double in his first big league at-bat since May 3rd, 2017.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second game of this day-night doubleheader later on Saturday.

Left-hander David Price will be getting the start against his former team for Boston, while right-hander Ryne Stanek will serve as the opener for Tampa Bay.

First pitch of Game 2 is scheduled for 6:10 PM EDT. Red Sox turning to David Price for an important outing yet again.

 

Rick Porcello, Red Sox Have No Answer for Yonny Chirinos in 5-1 Loss to Rays to Snap Four-Game Winning Streak

Coming off a 4-2 road trip that was capped off by a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals, the Red Sox entered the weekend with the chance to gain some serious ground in the American League East, and they came out completely flat in their first go at it, falling to the second-place Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 5-1.

Making his 13th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, whose June struggles continued after taking the loss in New York last Saturday.

Tossing six full innings in this one, the right-hander yielded four runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

Issues arose for Porcello beginning in the second, where after working his way around a two-out double in a scoreless first, Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi led things off by blasting his sixth home run of the season, a 394 foot shot to the Red Sox bullpen to put his team on the board first.

Retiring the next six Tampa Bay hitters he faced following that mishap leading into the fourth, a pair of back-to-back leadoff singles from Brandon Lowe and Avisail Garcia, as well as a wild pitch from Porcello, put runners in scoring position without an out yet to be recorded in the inning.

It did seem as though Porcello was going to be able to get out of the jam by sitting down the next two batters without allowing either runner to advance, but a poor 3-2 slider to Kevin Kiermaier changed all that, as the speedy Tampa Bay outfielder ripped the 85 MPH pitch through the right side of the infield, plating both Lowe and Garcia in the process of making it a 3-0 game.

From there, the New Jersey native made his way through another shutout frame in the fifth before giving up three more singles, one to Garcia, one to Choi, and another one to Kiermaier, who put his team ahead by four by driving in Garcia from third on an RBI base knock to left in the sixth, which would wind up being being Porcello’s final inning of work.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 100 (68 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 45% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch while topping out at 93.4 MPH with it while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Falling to 4-6 with his ERA on the season jumping up to 4.86, Porcello will look to turn around his month of June thus far in his next time out, which should come against the Texas Rangers next week.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Josh Taylor maneuvered his way around a leadoff single from Austin Meadows in what would turn out to be an otherwise seventh inning before making way for Mike Shawaryn in the eighth.

Making his big league debut eight days after being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, Boston’s 12th-ranked prospect picked up his first career punchout in a perfect eighth and also served up his first home run to the aforementioned Kiermaier in a one-run ninth where he struck out the side after.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against 25-year-old right-hander Yonny Chirinos, who has been used as both a starter and reliever by Tampa Bay this season.

Entering the weekend with just three prior appearances at Fenway Park since the start of last season, Chirinos flat out dominated Friday, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning by retiring the first 15 hitters he faced in order.

A leadoff walk drawn by Brock Holt in the sixth broke the perfecto up, and a single off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. two pitches later broke up the no-no.

Following a change that saw Christian Vazquez pinch-hit for Sandy Leon and fly out to right, Mookie Betts found his way to first by drawing another free pass off Chirinos, and just like that, the Red Sox had the tying run at the plate in the form of Andrew Benintendi with two outs to work with.

Unfortunately though, both Benintendi and Devers after him whiffed, meaning Chirinos got out of the jam unscathed, and he was clearly happy about it.

That, as you may have already guessed, was the best chance for Boston to get back into this contest, because they didn’t score again until Chirinos had already gotten through eight shutout innings and they were down to their last three outs in the ninth.

There, with right-hander Emilio Pagan in for the Rays, a pair of doubles from Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts drove in their first run with one out in the frame, but nothing more came out of it and this one ended with a final score of 5-1.

Some notes from this loss:

Mitch Moreland departed from Friday’s game in the seventh inning due to right quad tightness hours after he just returned from the 10-day injured list. He is presumably day-to-day.

Rick Porcello has given up 14 runs (12 earned) on 25 hits over his last three starts going back to May 27th.

Xander Bogaerts in June so far: .375/.407/.750 with two homers, three doubles, and four RBI.

Mookie Betts’ June: 3-for-23 (.130) with one double, one homer, and two RBI.

Next up for the Red Sox, it doesn’t get an easier with a day-night doubleheader set for Saturday.

In the first of the two contests, it will be a pitching matchup featuring both a left-handed and right-handed pitcher, with southpaw Ryan Yarbrough getting the ball for Tampa Bay and righty Josh Smith getting the ball for Boston.

Smith is not yet on Boston’s roster, so he will serve as their 26th-man for Saturday only.

And in the doubleheader finale, it will be David Price getting the start for the Red Sox while the Rays have yet to name a starter themselves.

First pitch for each game is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT and 6:10 PM EDT respectively.

Although the Red Sox may have lost Friday, at least we got this moment between Brandon Workman and his son.