Red Sox Blow 16th Save of Season, Fail to Sweep White Sox in Demoralizing 8-7 Loss

After coming from behind in a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, the Red Sox opened the official second half of the 2019 season by nearly completing the three-game sweep over the South Siders, but instead blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning on Wednesday and fell by a final score of 8-7 in their final contest before heading to London for the weekend.

Making his 17th start of the season for Boston, Chris Sale was not his usual self to begin things in the series finale, but he settled in towards the end.

Tossing six full innings in this one, the left-hander surrendered five runs, all earned, on six hits, two HBPs, and one walk to go along with exactly 10 strikeouts on the afternoon.

All five of those Chicago runs came within Sale’s first three frames of work, with the first four batters of the ballgame all reaching base safely while plating their side’s first two runs.

In the third, a leadoff home run off the bat of backstop James McCann, as well as a two-out RBI infield single from Ryan Cordell to score Jon Jay, who was hit by a pitch, from third made it a 5-2 game. The thing is, that fifth run never would have crossed the plate had Michael Chavis turned his attention towards home instead of focusing on the first base umpire after Cordell beat out that infield single. But, a rookie made a rookie mistake, and Jay took full advantage.

Following that whole sequence, Sale locked in and proceeded to retire the next 10 hitters he faced in order leading into the middle of the sixth inning, the point in which his outing came to a close on a much more positive note than it seemed destined to earlier.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 102 (71 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing 10 swings and misses and topping out at 97.4 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Hit with another no-decision, Sale’s streak of regular season starts without a win at Fenway Park now stands at 12, with the last one coming on July 11th, 2018 against the Texas Rangers. He’ll look for better overall results and to lower his 3.82 ERA in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays next weekend.

In relief of Sale, Marcus Walden came into the seventh with his side in a two-run hole, and he added on to that deficit by giving up one run on a Jose Abreu one-out RBI single in his lone inning of work.

Steven Wright, making his 2019 season debut after being activated from the restricted list on Tuesday, maneuvered around a one-out, runners on the corners in a two-run game situation by getting the pinch-hitting Yonder Alonso to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

And in the ninth, after the Red Sox had climbed their way back and taken a 7-6 lead in the bottom half of the previous inning, Matt Barnes gave it all away, blowing his sixth save and his team’s 16th by serving up a go-ahead, two-run homer to the slugging Abreu on a 2-2, 97 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate on the 10th pitch of the at-bat.

That put the White Sox up 8-7, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Chicago right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who just so happened to be opposite Sale the last time these two clubs met up in May.

Trailing by three runs before they even had the chance to take their first at-bats, JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston by pulling them back to within one run on his 17th big fly of the season, a 400-foot two-run shot in the first inning to plate both Rafael Devers and himself.

Fast forward to the third, and it was Devers getting himself involved yet again, this time leading the inning off with an opposite field double and coming in to score four batters later on a wild pitch from Lopez with Michael Chavis at the dish. 5-3.

In the seventh, Martinez struck once more with a two-out RBI double to right-center off left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer, this one driving in Devers all the way from first to pull Boston back to within two runs at 6-4.

Finally, in the eighth, with new reliever Evan Marshall in for Chicago, Eduardo Nunez reached base safely on a line-drive single up the middle.

Two batters later, after Brock Holt pinch-hit for Sandy Leon and advanced Nunez up to third on a tough, pop fly ground-rule double and was replaced by Brian Johnson, yes, Brian Johnson, as a pinch-runner, Mookie Betts made things interesting against White Sox closer Alex Colome with a single grounder to third.

Going on any sort of contact, Nunez hustled in from third and managed to evade the tag attempt from McCann to score his team’s fifth run and make it a one-run contest.

A soft grounder from Devers moved up both Betts and Johnson into scoring position at second and third for Xander Bogaerts with two outs in the frame.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Colome, the soon to be 2019 All-Star drilled a clutch single right back up the middle, giving Johnson and Betts plenty of time to come in and put the Red Sox up 7-6.

It seemed crucial at the time, but as already mentioned, the White Sox responded with two runs of their own in their half of the ninth, while the Boston bats went down quietly in theirs despite Jackie Bradley Jr. drawing a leadoff walk in what would turn out to be a crushing 8-7 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

The Red Sox went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position Wednesday and left 10 men on base.

Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .538/.556/.846 with one home run, five doubles, and four runs driven in.

So, the Red Sox seem to be making blowing late leads a recurring theme. There was that loss against the Blue Jays this past Saturday, that 17-inning against the Twins on June 18th, and that loss against the Rangers on June 10th, to name a few.

The Red Sox also lead the American League with 16 blown saves on the year. That is far from ideal.

I’ve already written about how president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski needs to go out and acquire a closer, because clearly the current crop of Red Sox relievers are going to burn out pretty soon, if they have not already, a la Matt Barnes.

Wednesday was the last time the Red Sox will play a game at Fenway Park until after the All-Star break on July 12th.

Now, it’s on to London, where Boston will be hosting the New York Yankees in a historic two-game weekend set across the pond, which will mark the first time Major League Baseball has ever been played in Europe.

Right-hander Rick Porcello and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the starting nods for the Red Sox, while New York has only announced one starter, right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, for Saturday’s contest.

Currently sitting nine games back of the Yankees for first in the American League East, this weekend presents a huge opportunity for the Red Sox to jump start the second half of their 2019 season.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:10 PM EDT on FOX. Red Sox looking to make some history in England.

 

 

 

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Xander Bogaerts Goes Yard and Rafael Devers Collects Four Hits as Red Sox Take Series from White Sox with 6-3 Rain-Filled Win

After taking the first of their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox in walk-off fashion Monday, the Red Sox wrapped up the official first half of the 2019 season with a rain-filled 6-3 win over the South Siders on Tuesday to improve to 44-37 on the year.

Making his 14th start of the season for Boston in the middle game was David Price, fresh off a five-inning, 73-pitch performance in his last time out against the Minnesota Twins.

This time around, taking on another American League Central foe, the left-hander put together a solid outing, yielding three runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits and zero walks to go along with nine strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

The first of those three Chicago runs came around to score off of Price in the second, and it was the result of a throwing error from Xander Bogaerts at that, with James McCann leading off the frame by reaching second on said error, and advancing to third on a wild pitch with Jon Jay at the plate.

Jay would make the Red Sox pay for those mistakes by driving in McCann on a one-out, broken-bat RBI single to center, his first hit of the year.

In the third, it was more of the same, with a pair of doubles from Tim Anderson and James McCann plating another White Sox run, while an Eloy Jiminez single that snuck under Bogaerts’ glove made it a 3-1 game.

Other than that particular rough stretch though, Price rallied by retiring 10 of the last 12 Chicago hitters he faced going into the middle of the sixth, where his outing came to an end, but not before punching out the side in the fourth and receiving some assistance from Jackie Bradley Jr. and his arm in the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 97 (72 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his changeup more than 34% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing eight swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 94.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 24 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Improving to 5-2 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.36, Price will look to carry over his success from the first half of the year into the second half in his next time out, which will come against the Toronto Blue Jays sometime next week after the team returns from London.

In relief of Price, Matt Barnes entered the seventh with a three-run lead to protect, and he worked his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise clean frame of work.

Ryan Brasier gave up a two-out double in the eighth, but did not allow that runner to score.

And in the ninth, Brandon Workman stranded another runner at second en route to picking up his third save of the season and securing the 6-3 win for his team.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against an opener for the White Sox in right-hander Carson Fulmer, who, like David Price, is an alumnus of Vanderbilt University.

Rafael Devers, batting out of the two-hole for the third time this season, got Boston on the board almost immediately in the first inning, driving in Mookie Betts from second on a pop fly opposite field RBI double that probably should have been caught.

Fast forward to the third, with reliever Juan Minaya in for Chicago, the bases loaded, and two outs in the inning with the Sox down by two, and Christian Vazquez came through in an early, but still important spot, as he drilled a 2-2 slider through the left side of the infield to plate both Devers and Xander Bogaerts to tie this contest back up at three runs a piece.

In the fifth, Devers struck again against new Chicago hurler Jose Ruiz by setting up Bogaerts with no outs and a runner in scoring position on a leadoff double.

Bogaerts capitalized on the run-scoring chance to the fullest, absolutely crushing an 0-1 97 MPH fastball right down the heart of the plate and depositing it 429 feet over the Green Monster. The eventual 2019 All-Star’s 15th big fly of the year put the Red Sox up 5-3.

Finally, an inning later, back-to-back base hits from Michael Chavis and Marco Hernandez led to Boston scoring their sixth run of the night, with Eduardo Nunez bringing in Chavis from third on a sacrifice fly to center field.

That gave Boston the 6-3 advantage, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Rafael Devers on Tuesday: 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs scored, and one RBI. His first four-hit game of the season and first three-double game of his career. All while playing on a sore right hamstring.

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David Price’s 2019 strikeout-to-walk-ratio: 82/15 or 5.47/1.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

So, exactly half of the 2019 season is complete. It’s been unusual at times to say the least, but the Red Sox have been playing at a .608 clip since the start of May and are 10-3 in their last 10 games. At 44-37, nothing is out of reach yet despite all the negativity that has surrounded this team to this point in the year.

The Red Sox will go for the three-game sweep over the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon, with left-hander Chris Sale getting the start for Boston and right-hander Reynaldo Lopez doing the same for Chicago.

Yet to win a decision at Fenway Park in 2019, Sale owns an ERA of 1.67 over his last four starts, including an outing in which he gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in his last time out.

In his career against the club he began his professional career with, the 30-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA over three starts and 19 total innings of work.

Lopez, meanwhile is averaging more than 10 hits allowed per nine innings through 16 starts with the White Sox this season. He currently leads the American League in earned runs allowed as well with 60.

In two prior starts against Boston, the 25-year-old has surrendered eight runs (seven earned), on 14 hits, 12 strikeouts, and six walks. That’s good for an ERA of 5.56.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Last game the Red Sox play stateside until July 5th.

Red Sox Reinstate Steven Wright, Option Josh Smith to Triple-A Pawtucket, and Transfer Nathan Eovaldi to 60-Day Injured List

Before taking on the Chicago White Sox in the second of a three-game series on Tuesday, the Red Sox reinstated right-hander Steven Wright from the restricted list. In order to make room for Wright on Boston’s 40-man roster, right-hander Nathan Eovaldi was transferred to the 60-day injured list. And in order to make room for Wright on the 25-man roster, right-hander Josh Smith was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. The club made the transactions official earlier Tuesday.

Suspended the first 80 games of the 2019 season back in March after testing positive for human growth hormone, Wright would be ineligible for the postseason.

The knuckleballer was sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on June 9th, where he allowed two earned runs on six hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts over five appearances (one start) and 9 2/3 total innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 1.86 and batting average against of .176.

Although he would not be able to pitch in October, the addition of Wright should still provide a boost to a Red Sox bullpen that appears to need one at the moment.

In 16 outings as a reliever last season before being shelved with inflammation in his left knee, Wright posted a 1.52 ERA and .618 OPS against over 25 2/3 frames of work.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora has already come out and said Wright will be strictly used as a reliever, which makes sense given the knee issues he had last year.

On October 6th, the 34-year-old was placed on the injured list because of that left knee, and that kept him out of Boston’s World Series run. A month later, Wright underwent successful left knee surgery in New York, where he received an arthroscopy and debridement on the joint.

Now, coming off his second suspension in as many seasons, Wright will look to give his team a different kind of look out of the bullpen.

Smith, meanwhile, appeared in two contests against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend in his fourth stint with Boston, allowing one run over four innings of relief.

On the 2019 season as a whole, the 31-year-old hurler owns a 5.40 ERA and .289 batting average against through 10 outings, two of which have been starts. He also picked up his first big league save on June 13th in a 7-6 win over the Texas Rangers.

As for Eovaldi, the move to the 60-day injured list has no effect on when he will be back, since the 29-year-old has already missed more than 60 days after being shelved back in April and undergoing successful surgery on his right elbow that same week.

Red Sox Complete 6-5 Comeback Win over White Sox on Marco Hernandez’s Walk-Off Infield Single

After dropping two out of three to the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, the Red Sox kicked off the second leg of their homestand with a walk-off 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox Monday, marking their second straight victory by way of the walk-off.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston in the series opener was Eduardo Rodriguez, fresh off consecutive outings of seven or more innings for the first time since 2015.

Working his way into the seventh inning of this one but not completing it, the left-hander surrendered five runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The first four of those Chicago runs came on a pair of homers and an RBI single, all off the bats of Cuban-born players.

Yoan Moncada, a former top prospect of the Red Sox, got the scoring started for his side with a two-out, two-run missile just over the Green Monster in left field for his 13th of 2019 and first ever at Fenway Park.

Rodriguez settled in a bit by retiring 11 of the next 13 White Sox he faced after serving up that bomb, but ran into more two-out trouble in the sixth, when with the bases empty, slugging first baseman Jose Abreu launched his 18th big fly to break up a 2-2 stalemate.

An inning later, with a runner on second and one out, the decision was made for Rodriguez to intentionally put Moncada on base in order to get to Yonder Alonso, who entered the new week sporting a .178 batting average.

Unfortunately for Boston, that decision proved to not work in their favor, as Alonso ripped a single through the right side of the infield, plating the runner, Eloy Jimenez, to make it a 4-3 contest and advance Moncada up to third. That was how Rodriguez’s evening came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (64 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his changeup more than 39% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing seven swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 33 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season inflated to 4.87, Rodriguez will look to end his month of June on a positive note in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees in London.

In relief of Rodriguez, Marcus Walden was inserted and officially closed the book on the starter’s outing by allowing Moncada to score on a Yolmer Sanchez RBI single, which put the White Sox up 5-3.

Colten Brewer got the call for the eighth, and he sat down two of the first three he faced before filling the count against veteran outfielder Jon Jay.

There, in that moment, Sox manager Alex Cora made the call for the left-handed Josh Taylor out of the bullpen.

Taylor’s first pitch to Jay was a ball, meaning the walk was charged to Brewer, but the southpaw rallied by getting out of the inning and also recording the first two outs of the ninth.

A two-out walk of Leury Garcia made way for Brandon Workman, who punched out the only hitter he faced in Tim Anderson on a nasty 81 MPH knuckle curve to send this one to the bottom of the ninth and later pick up his seventh win of the year.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, someone they got to for three runs in five innings the last time these two sides opposed each other back on May 2nd.

This time around, it was Jackie Bradley Jr. who got the scoring started for the Sox on Monday, as the red-hot outfielder mashed his eighth homer of the season, a booming 418-foot, 107.4 MPH off the bat solo shot, off Giolito to make it a one-run contest early on.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Eduardo Nunez came through with his first of two game-tying hits on the night, this one a one-out opposite field RBI single to drive in Michael Chavis from second. 2-2.

An inning later, Giolito ran into some trouble himself by loading the bases on a one-out walk of Rafael Devers, a line drive double from Xander Bogaerts, and an intentional walk of Bradley Jr. to get to Chavis.

Down to his last few pitches, the White Sox ace again lacked control, as he walked the rookie on five pitches, and that allowed Devers to make his way towards home to tie this one up at three runs each.

In the seventh, after falling behind by another two runs, Mookie Betts cut that deficit in half very quickly by taking Chicago reliever Aaron Bummer deep on the very first pitch he saw from the left-hander to lead off the frame. His 13th of the season made it 5-4.

Another inning later, Marco Hernandez came on to pinch-run for Vazquez at first and moved up to second on a wild pitch from right-hander Kelvin Herrera.

With two outs in the inning and the tying run 180 feet away from home, it was Eduardo Nunez’s time to shine once more, and he did just that by sneaking another RBI single past the outstretched Moncada at third, giving Hernandez enough time to score and pull even with the White Sox at 5-5.

And finally, in the ninth, the White Sox and lefty reliever Jace Fry intentionally loaded the bases with two outs for Hernandez, and he made them pay dearly with an infield single grounded just deep enough that Tim Anderson had to rush in order to make a throw over to first.

The throw was not handled cleanly by Abreu, however, while Hernandez was ruled safe and Andrew Benintendi coasted into home to give the Red Sox another walk-off win, this one finishing with a final score of 6-5.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last 30 games: .303/.415/.606 with six home runs and 17 RBI. He has raised his OPS from .491 to .713 in that span.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle and second of this three-game set on Tuesday night.

Left-hander David Price is set to get the ball for Boston, while right-hander Carson Fulmer will serve as the opener for Chicago. Two Vanderbilt alums going at it.

Only throwing 73 pitches over five innings in his last time out against the Minnesota Twins, it will be interesting to see how Cora manages Price’s workload on Tuesday.

In 16 career starts against the White Sox, the 33-year-old has posted a 3.45 ERA over 109 2/3 total innings of work.

Fulmer, meanwhile, was once drafted by the Sox in the 15th round of the 2012 amateur draft before he honored his commitment to Vanderbilt.

In two prior relief outings against Boston, the 25-year-old has allowed five runs (three earned) on two hits and five walks in a span of just one whole inning. He has never made an appearance at Fenway Park.

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

Rafael Devers Returns to Red Sox Lineup, Bats Cleanup Against White Sox in Series Opener

After exiting last Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins in the fifth inning due to right hamstring tightness, Rafael Devers is back in the Red Sox’ lineup, batting out of the cleanup spot and manning third, for their series opener against the Chicago White Sox Monday.

The 22-year-old was able to come off the bench twice over this past weekend, delivering with a clutch, game-tying RBI single in the eighth inning of Friday’s 7-5 extra innings win, and also punching out in the ninth inning of Saturday’s 8-7 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays. He did not play at all on Sunday.

On the 2019 season as a whole, Devers is slashing .309/.361/.503 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI over 76 games and 325 plate appearances.

Per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Devers was out on the field with a trainer prior to when Boston’s lineup was announced, so it looks as though the young infielder got the okay and is good to go.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up.

5 Relievers Red Sox Should Target Before July 31st Trade Deadline

I wrote on Sunday about how this Red Sox bullpen needs help from the outside. With the way things are trending, the three relievers Boston has frequently turned to so far this season will be burned out later in the year.

Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier have seen their share of struggles in June, Brandon Workman is averaging nearly seven walks per nine innings this season, and Heath Hembree has been missed during his time on the injured list.

It’s been well stated that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski should look to upgrade his bullpen before the July 31st trading deadline, so here are five names I think he and the Red Sox should target.

LHP Will Smith, San Francisco Giants

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                                                                                                                             Picture: NBC Sports Bay Area

As the featured image would indicate, Giants closer Will Smith first comes to mind for upgrading the Red Sox’ bullpen situation.

Set to turn 30 next month and become a free agent this winter, the left-hander has had a fantastic year in his second full season with San Francisco, posting a 2.01 ERA and 2.10 FIP over 32 appearances  and 31 1/3 innings while averaging more than 13 strikeouts per nine innings and holding opposing hitters to a .157 batting average against.

Given that Sox manager Alex Cora has decided to go without a traditional closer so far in 2019, Smith could provide the reigning World Series champs with what they have been missing in that traditional ninth inning man.

LHP Tony Watson, San Francisco Giants

Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants
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Another left-handed Giants reliever, Watson’s current contract runs through the end of the 2019 campaign and includes a player option for next year.

Now in his second season with San Francisco, the 34-year-old hurler hasn’t picked up a save in a game since he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017, but he can still provide help and experience to a club that is in need of it.

Through 33 appearances and 30 2/3 frames of work in 2019, Watson owns an ERA of 2.64 and a slightly higher FIP of 3.87. He is averaging nearly seven strikeouts per nine and opponents are hitting .250 off of him.

Obviously, these numbers are not as elite as Smith’s, but I think it would be worth the Red Sox’ time and effort to look into acquiring Watson, especially if the former has a hefty asking price.

LHP Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals

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The third and final southpaw on this list, Doolittle has a team option attached to his deal that runs through the end of this season.

The 32-year-old has been a bright spot in what’s been another disappointing year for the Washington Nationals to this point, posting a 3.13 ERA and 2.87 FIP over 33 relief outings and 31 2/3 innings pitches.

A one time Oakland Athletic, Doolittle has converted 16 out of a possible 19 saves while averaging nearly 11 punchouts per nine and holding opposing hitters to a .254 batting average against.

With plenty of late-game experience in hand, Doolittle is another option that could alleviate some stress for the back end of the Boston ‘pen.

RHP Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers

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Now on to the American League arms, and we’ll start with Tigers closer Shane Greene.

Acquired from the New York Yankees in December of 2014 when Dombrowski was still at the helm in Detroit, Greene has evolved from a failed starter to one of the better relievers in the AL in his time with the Tigers.

The 30-year-old righty, who still has one year of arbitration left, owns a minuscule ERA of 0.93 to go along with a FIP of 3.56 through 29 games this season. He has converted 21 of a possible 22 saves while limiting the opposition to a .154 clip.

In his time running baseball operations with Boston, Dombrowski has built a reputation of going out and acquiring or signing players he has had a history with. David Price, J.D. Martinez, and Ian Kinsler all come to mind. So, why not do it again by bringing in Greene to be the new Red Sox’ closer? The asking price may be high given the years of control and what not, but this is an avenue that at least needs to be explored.

RHP Ken Giles, Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
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Finally, someone the Red Sox just saw this past weekend in Blue Jays closer Ken Giles.

Like Greene, the 28-year-old right-hander still has another year of arbitration remaining before hitting free agency following the 2020 season.

Since being acquired by Toronto from the Houston Astros last July, Giles has been solid, especially this season with an ERA of 1.33 and FIP of 1.07 through 27 appearances and 27 innings of work.

In those 27 outings, Giles has averaged 15.7 punchouts per nine innings while holding opposing hitters to just a .202 batting average against. He has also converted 12 of a possible 13 save opportunities.

Giles missed a little more than a week of action earlier this month due to inflammation in his right elbow, so that may be something to monitor.

The trade deadline is just over a month away and the Red Sox currently sit eight games back of the New Yankees for first place in the American League East.

Red Sox Fail to Take Series, Fall to 18-19 at Fenway Park in 6-1 Loss to Blue Jays

After blowing a five-run lead to the Blue Jays on Saturday, the Red Sox came out absolutely flat Sunday, as they fell to Toronto by a final score of 6-1 and dropped the three-game weekend set in the process of doing so.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston in the series finale was Rick Porcello, who entered Sunday both coming off one of his more impressive outings of the year against the Minnesota Twins, as well as a not so impressive track record when opposed by the Jays.

That much held true in this one, with the right-hander surrendering five runs, all earned, on eight hits and four walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the afternoon. Those four free passes were the most Porcello has given up in over two months, when he walked five on April 13th against the Baltimore Orioles.

A scoreless first, followed by back-to-back two-out hits, one being a ground-rule double down the right field line and the other a broken-bat RBI single, from Rowdy Tellez and Brandon Drury in the second would be how Toronto got on the board. Neither ball was hit particularily hard, but it got the job done nonetheless.

An inning later, and more two-out trouble bit Porcello in the third, this time with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ripping a single over Jackie Bradley Jr.’s head in center field and coming in to score on an RBI double off the bat of rookie Cavan Biggio.

From there, Porcello settled in a bit with a quick fourth and fifth, but a leadoff walk to Biggio in the sixth would ultimately prove to be the New Jersey native’s demise.

Freddy Galvis moved Biggio to third with another double, and Porcello had no one to blame but himself for how the Blue Jays plated their third run, on a balk.

Porcello told reporters postgame that he thought Christian Vazquez had been granted time from home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi, but that proved not to be the case, as Biggio was waved in.

More one-out walks to Tellez and Drury loaded the bases for Toronto backstop Danny Jansen, who essentially delivered the final blow with a two-run single through the left side infield to put his side up 5-0.

Porcello managed to keep the Jays off the scoreboard again by retiring the last two hitters he faced in the sixth, and that is how his day came to a disappointing close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (62 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 34% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 92.2 MPH with the pitch while Vazquez was behind the plate.

Getting hit with his seventh losing decision while his ERA on the season jumped up to 4.52, Porcello will look for improved results in his next time out, which should come in uncharted territory: London, England, when the Sox travel there to take on the New York Yankees later this week.

In relief of Porcello, Josh Smith gave the rest of Boston’s bullpen a day of rest by finishing this contest off with three innings of one-run ball. That one run came on an eighth inning solo homer from Eric Sogard.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar foe in Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, who held Boston to one run over six innings the last time he opposed them on May 21st.

This time around, it was more of the same for the Toronto ace, with the only difference being that he didn’t give up any runs on Sunday.

The Sox’ best, most opportune scoring chance came in the bottom of the second, when with one out and Christian Vazquez and Brock Holt at first and second, Jackie Bradley Jr. nearly drove in his club’s first run with an opposite field single to left, but perhaps in a spot where Holt should have been held up at third, interim third base coach Andy Barkett waved him in, and a solid throw from Gurriel Jr. to Jansen at home was enough to snuff out the runner.

Holt was also seen reaching for his left hamstring as he was headed towards home, and he was removed in the fourth because of it. Red Sox manager Alex Cora ruled the utility man day-to-day.

If Holt had scored there in the second, that would have knotted things up at one run a piece. Instead, it went for nothing, and the Blue Jays continued to add on to their lead while the Red Sox finished the afternoon 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

It wasn’t until the ninth when they finally get on the board, and that came when with one out and Eduardo Nunez at second following a leadoff double, Bradley Jr. reached first base safely on a fielding error committed by Jays reliever Joe Biagini, which provided Nunez with enough time to come in and score.

That’s it. One unearned run and no RBI, as the Red Sox would go on to fall by a final of 6-1.

Some notes from this loss:

Xander Bogaerts’ run of consecutive games with a double has ended at seven.

From Red Sox Stats:

JD Martinez is 7-for-his-last-39 (.179) in eight games going back to June 15th.

So, the Red Sox were nine outs away from at least guaranteeing a series win on Saturday, and less than 24 hours later, they find themselves losers of their last two against an opponent bound to finish with one of the worst records in the American League this season.

A three-game set against the 36-39 Chicago White Sox is next on deck.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the start for Boston, while right-hander Lucas Giolito will do the same for Chicago.

The winner in four of his last five outings, Rodriguez is coming off back-to-back starts of seven innings or more for the first time since 2015.

In four prior starts against the White Sox, including six one-run innings in a win back on May 4th, the 26-year-old has posted a lifetime 2.66 ERA over 23 2/3 innings of work.

Giolito, meanwhile, gave up three runs over five innings in his last start against Boston on the second of May. Since then, the 24-year-old has won eight of his last nine outings, posting an ERA of 1.75 and batting average against of .168 in 61 2/3 innings pitched.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to start another winning streak.