RECAP: #RedSox Stage Epic Eighth Inning Comeback to Sweep the Rays.

Not too long ago, I thought this recap was going to go in a complete;y different direction. The Red Sox were trailing the Rays by five runs heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. Throughout the game, they really never put anything together against Rays pitching. Lo and behold, they erupted for six runs to take the lead and ultimately win the game. What an inning it was.

Eduardo Rodriguez got the start in this one, and the lefty did not look all that sharp in his 2018 debut. In 3.2 innings pitched, the Rays got to Rodriguez for three runs on five hits and two walks. After the first inning he had where he struck out the side, I did not expect to see Rodriguez struggle the way he did. I’d say things got shaky when the first batter Rodriguez faced in the top of the second, CJ Cron, launched a solo home run to center field, tying the game at one. Once that happened, the native of Venezuela needed a lot of pitches to get through the next two-plus innings, although he did strike out seven. When he departed with two outs in the fourth, his pitch count was at 92, which was right around his limit for today.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not able to keep the Rays in check. They obviously did enough to keep the team in the game, but it wasn’t great. Hector Velazquez tossed two innings, he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. Bobby Poyner came in with two outs in the sixth, he walked one and struck out another to end the inning. Brian Johnson made his first relief appearance of the season in the seventh, he gave up two runs to score while only recording one out. There was also a really scary moment for the Red Sox in the seventh. A triple off the bat of Joey Wendle to left field led to Xander Bogaerts recieving a relay throw from JD Martinez. While trying to get the ball to Rafael Devers, Bogaerts lost the ball and it rolled towards the Rays dugout. Trying to save the ball from rolling out of the field of play, the short stop slid down the dugout steps in order to push the ball back towards the field. Unfortunately, Bogaerts roughed up his left ankle on the slide and would have to leave the game. Brock Holt came in to take over at short.

Heath Hembree came in to finish the inning, he got the only two batters he faced to fly out and ground out. Carson Smith got the call for the eighth inning. He looked shaky yet again as he loaded the bases after recording the first two outs. However, he got out of the inning with a clutch strikeout and is credited with the win. After that epic eighth inning, Craig Kimbrel came on for the start of the ninth and he retired all three batters he faced for his third save of the season.

Offensively, the Rays pitching staff did just about everything right against the Red Sox up until the eighth inning. Hanley Ramirez was responsible for the first two runs scored by the Red Sox in the first and fifth innings, but that and just four hits is all the Red Sox lineup could muster over the first seven. Fast forward to the bottom of the eighth, and things got really exciting, all with two outs in the inning.

Hanley Ramirez led things off with a single. Two batters later and two outs later, Mitch Moreland got his first hit of the season with a vintage RBI double off the monster, scoring Ramirez from second and cutting the deficit to four.

An Eduardo Nunez single put runners on first and third for Rafael Devers, who drove in both Moreland and Nunez by lining a double into the left field corner. Deficit is now at two.

A pitching change by the Rays saw Alex Colome take things over for Matt Andriese. That did not make a difference. The first batter Colome faced, Christian Vazquez, ripped an RBI single to left center that scored Devers from second. All the sudden, we had a one run game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Back to the top of the order, Mookie Betts collected his second hit of hit the day with a game-tying RBI single to left, barely scoring Vazquez from second.

Next up, Andrew Benintendi had arguably the most important at bat of the game. On a 1-1 count, Benintendi took a cutter from Colome and just got enough of the monster to drive in Betts with a double. The score now was 8-7, and that’s how it would end.

A six run comeback to win your eighth straight game is a great way to end the weekend and go into an off day. The Red Sox are 8-1, at no point in their history have they ever been better through nine games.

The New York Yankees are next up on the schedule, as they come into Fenway for a three game set that starts Tuesday night. The pitching matchup will be Chris Sale versus Luis Severino, power arm versus power arm. Should be a good one. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

 

VERY LATE RECAP: Hanley Ramirez’s Go-Ahead 2 RBI Double Gives #RedSox the 4-2 Win in Extras.

Well I am very late with this recap blog. The game ended about 20 hours ago, so my thoughts on the game aren’t that fresh anymore. Instead of breaking down the entire game like I usually do, I guess I’ll just give the SparkNotes version of what went down last night to go along with some videos.

Chris Sale tossed five innings last night and gave up one run.

Jackie Bradley Jr. made a fantastic catch.

JD Martinez drove in the first run of the game in the top of the first for his second RBI of the season.

After the Marlins tied the game in the fourth, the next run of the game was not scored until the top of the eleventh, when Andrew Benintendi drove in Eduardo Nunez from second with a one out RBI single, his first of the season.

Later in that inning, it looked like Matt Barnes was about to get the save for the Red Sox, but he allowed the tying run to score. Luckily, Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts were able to get Justin Bour out at the plate, leaving the game tied heading to the twelfth.

Hanley Ramirez continued his mean streak against his former team, as he finished the game with two hits, including this very clutch two-run double in the top of the thirteenth.

That would all but lock up the victory for the Red Sox in this one. Heath Hembree was rewarded with his first win of the year, thanks to the two shutout innings he pitched. Here’s his last pitch:

Before I forget, JBJ was not the only center fielder to make an impressive catch last night. Marlins rookie Lewis Brinson robbed Mookie Betts of  a potential go-ahead solo blast back in the eleventh.

Impressive to say the least. Good thing the Marlins never got the chance to capitalize on it.

Five straight wins for the Red Sox heading into Opening Day at Fenway Park. I will not be there, but I will be watching. And I will have a normal recap blog to post after, hopefully.

Okay, that will do it for this shortened recap. Shoutout Hanley Ramirez, the real Mr. 305. Dale!

 

RECAP: Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts Both Go Yard as #RedSox Win Fourth Straight.

Making a quick stop in South Beach, the Red Sox looked to take advantage of their matchup against a Marlins team not expected to do much this season. In the first of their two game set, Brian Johnson was matched up against Trevor Richards, who was making his Major League debut for Miami.

Like Hector Velazquez, Johnson is most likely an injury fill-in in the Red Sox rotation. The former Florida Gator got the job done on Monday, as he allowed one earned run over six full innings pitched, striking out five along the way. There were times where it looked like the Marlins were about to get to Johnson, since they did reach base eight times on him, but the southpaw avoided any major damage. The only run he gave up came on a solo shot off the bat of third baseman Brian Anderson in the second inning, which put the Marlins up 1-0 at the time. When he departed after retiring the side in the sixth, Johnson had thrown 82 pitches, 49 of which went for strikes.

The Red Sox only needed two relief pitchers to wrap up the win last night. Heath Hembree tossed a scoreless seventh inning, and Marcus Walden allowed two runs to score while pitching the last two innings. Not a great look for Walden, honestly. He has got hit pretty hard in the two games he has pitched in, but he was able to finish the game. The Red Sox did not have to go to Craig Kimbrel in this one, that’s always  a good thing when you can save him for more appearances later in the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup had its best day of the season so far. They scored a season high seven runs on 12 hits and three walks. After Trevor Richards held them scoreless through the first three innings, the bats woke up in the fourth. With two outs in the inning, Xander Bogaerts got the rally started with an infield single down the third base line. Eduardo Nunez then drove Bogaerts in from first on an RBI double. A Jackie Bradley Jr. walk set up Christian Vazquez for an ideal RBI opportunity with runners on first and second. On the first pitch he saw, the catcher ripped a line drive down the third base line, scoring both Nunez and Bradley for his first RBIs of the season.

In the very next inning, the Red Sox tacked on two more runs to up their total to five. With one out and Andrew Benintendi at first thanks to his first hit of the season, Hanley Ramirez did some damage. The former Marlin must enjoy playing in Miami, because he looked really comfortable at the plate and at first base last night.

On a 1-1 slider, Ramirez took Richards deep to left field for his first long ball of the season, putting his team up by four runs.

Ramirez guaranteed a 30 HR, 30 SB season earlier in Spring Training, and he’s only 29 home runs and 28 stolen bases away from that now with the performance he put on last night.

Hanley wouldn’t be the only one to hit his first home run of the year. Fast forward to the top of the seventh, and Mookie Betts went yard to left field as well. He golfed it to put the Red Sox up by five at the time.

The last run the Red Sox scored came two innings later. Wanting to add to his team high of four RBI’s, Rafael Devers ripped a double to center for his second hit of the game, scoring Hanley Ramirez from from second after he stole his second base of the season, and all but guaranteeing the win for his club.

That makes four straight wins for the Red Sox, and by all means they should be 5-0. That’s in the past though, so I’ll take 4-1. Through their first go around in the rotation, Red Sox starters own a line of 30 IP, 22 H, 3 ER, 7 BB, and 28 K’s. With two-fifths of their regular starters missing, those are some impressive numbers.

Chris Sale gets the start an hour earlier than usual tonight. He’ll be squaring off against Marlins “ace” Jose Urena. First pitch is at 6:10 PM.

Also, almost forgot to mention the fact that the greatest Designated Hitter of all time was in attendance for last night’s win.

 

Mookie Betts Has Priceless Reaction to a Fly Ball Going over His Head in Right Field.

The Red Sox are playing their last spring training game of 2018 today, and ESPN just so happens to be televising it. In the third inning, they stuck a microphone on Mookie Betts and started interviewing him while he was patrolling right field. These have been happening throughout spring training because why not? The games don’t hold any meaning, might as well get something out of them that you really can’t get during the regular season. I believe this Bryce Harper interview during last year’s All-Star Game on FOX is what started this trend:

Now, ESPN is doing it and they got the best position player on the Red Sox to answer some questions. I wasn’t able to watch the whole thing, but I was able to catch the highlight of it.

Kris Bryant slaps a ball to right as Mookie Betts is answering a question, and what ensues is hilarious.

I don’t know what it is, but hearing, “I ain’t getting this one, boys” as Mookie is chasing down a fly ball was funnier than I thought it would be. The moment may provide some insight into what goes through the heads of these athletes as they are chasing down a ball, or it could be Betts knowing he is on camera and making a joke. Either way, we got  a viral moment in the last spring training game of the year. I doubt Major League Baseball would allow these interviews to be conducted during meaningful games, but maybe we will see these occur more next spring training across the league.

The #RedSox Wrapped up Grapefruit League Play Today by Defeating the Twins 6-1.

Although they are not done playing exhibition games, the Red Sox did move one step closer to playing meaningful baseball today, as they defeated the Minnesota Twins 6-1 in their last Grapefruit League game of the spring. They finish Grapefruit League play at 20-8-1.

Like Chris Sale did yesterday, David Price made his final start before the regular season begins today. The lefty tossed three innings of one run ball while facing 12 batters and fanning four of them. The only run he gave up came on a solo shot off the bat of Twins slugger Brian Dozier in the second inning. He’ll be on the mound again next Friday, facing off against the team he began his career with in the Tampa Bay Rays.

Bobby Poyner, Craig Kimbrel, Matt Barnes, and Dedgar Jiminez also got some work in today, and they all combined to throw six shutout innings while only allowing three total runners to reach base.

Offensively, the Red Sox were carried by the top half of the lineup. Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Hanley Ramirez, and Andrew Benintendi were responsible for all six runs scored. The three home runs the team hit today belong to just Betts (2) and Benintendi. To put it simply, all three were hit far.

As for what’s next, the Red Sox will be hosting the Chicago Cubs over the next two days at Fenway South. After that, it’s an off day, then we finally arrive at Opening Day in St. Pete on Thursday. It took a while, but we are just FOUR days away from meaningful baseball being back in our lives for the next seven months. I’ll make sure to have a season preview out soon.

Mookie Betts Hit His First #RedSox Home Run of 2018 Today.

For Mookie Betts, this spring has been a bit of a struggle at the plate. It’s nothing to worry about, but it is worth noting that entering today, Betts had only collected one hit in his first 19 at bats. Why is a hitter as talented as Betts having a tough go of things? Well, it’s hard to say, but it looks like he may be coming out of this slump, given how good he was today against the Baltimore Orioles. The 25 year-old took to the plate three times today, and reached base all three times, including a solo home run to lead off the first inning.

A line drive over the Fenway South monster is vintage Betts. According to FanGraphs, all but one of the 24 long balls Betts hit last year were hit to left / left-center field. In fact, the only one that wasn’t, was this one:

https://streamable.com/s/o6t7z/cqdzfe

Today was a step in the right direction for Mookie. With 18 days until Opening Day, I’ll be interested to see what he can do to bring up his numbers before the season starts.