Red Sox Held in Check by J.A. Happ, Fall to Yankees as Xander Bogaerts Picks up 1,000th Career Hit

After taking the opener of a four-game weekend series against the New York Yankees with a commanding 6-1 win on Friday, the Red Sox fell back to Earth on Saturday, as they managed just one run themselves in a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Bronx Bombers to fall back to 76-66 on the season.

Making the first start of his big league career for Boston and 11th appearance overall was Travis Lakins, who was named the opener for this one on Friday in what was another bullpen day for the Sox.

Tossing two no-hit innings like Jhoulys Chacin the day before, the rookie right-hander kept the Yankees off the scoreboard while fanning three of the six hitters he faced on the afternoon.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 29 (17 strikes), Lakins relied on his four-seam fastball more than 48% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 96.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate. Four of those heaters were the hardest pitches Lakins has thrown this year, per Red Sox Stats.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.15, it will be interesting to see if the Red Sox turn to the 25-year-old hurler as an opener again given the level of success achieved in his first go at it.

In relief of Lakins, left-hander Bobby Poyner entered the top of the third in a scoreless contest, and he got another busy day for the Boston bullpen started by sitting down the only three Yankees he faced in order.

The fourth inning is where things got sticky, as Ryan Weber yielded a leadoff double to D.J. LeMahieu before punching out Aaron Judge on four pitches for the first out of the frame.

A line drive to right off the bat of Didi Gregorius should have gone for the second out of the fourth, but with the sun directly in his face, J.D. Martinez, not Mookie Betts, had trouble picking up the ball, and it ended up glancing off his glove before rolling to the wall for a one-out double.

So, with runners at second and third with only one out instead of one runner at first with two outs, Colten Brewer came on for Weber, and he got Gary Sanchez to hit a weak fly ball to shallow right field.

The only thing was, the ball was essentially in no-man’s land, and neither of Mitch Moreland, Brock Holt, nor Martinez were able to come up with it for what would have been the second out.

Nope, instead, Sanchez was credited with a two-run ground-rule double and the Yankees had themselves a 2-0 lead just like that.

Things would not improve for the Sox following that series of mishaps though, not with Edwin Encarnacion unloading on the very first pitch he saw from Brewer, a hanging 81 MPH curveball down the heart of the plate, and depositing it 423 feet over the Green Monster for a two-run blast to double his side’s lead at 4-0.

Brewer was able to escape the fourth without surrendering anything else following that Encarnacion homer, but the damage had already been done.

From there, Trevor Kelley worked his way around two walks in a scoreless fifth, Hector Velazquez stranded the bases loaded with the help of an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play in a shutout sixth, and Josh Smith walked one and struck out another in a clean seventh to make way for Mike Shawaryn in the eighth.

Shawaryn proceeded to punch out the first two Yankees he faced before allowing the next two to reach base, but got out of it by getting LeMahieu to ground into a force out at second to retire the side.

In the ninth, Shawaryn again got the first two outs of the inning in simple fashion, but was unable to keep New York off the scoreboard this time as he plunked Sanchez and served up an RBI double to Encarnacion to increase the deficit to five runs before ending the frame.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander J.A. Happ, who entered the weekend fresh off one of his better starts of the season in his last time out against the Oakland Athletics this past Sunday.

Winless against Happ in his first three outings against them this year, that trend continued for Boston on Saturday.

Two hits and one walk. That’s all the Sox bats could manage off of Happ, and none of those three runners made it up to second base either.

It was not until the bottom half of the eighth, with Happ out and right-handed reliever Tommy Kahnle in for the Yankees, when back-to-back one-out singles from Mitch Moreland and the pinch-hitting Marco Hernandez finally put a runner in scoring position.

That led to left-hander Zack Britton taking over for Kahnle, and all Brock Holt could do was watch as strike three blew past him on a 1-2, 95 MPH slider at the knees.

Mookie Betts followed by making hard contact, but only on a ball that was hit right to Aaron Judge in right field to extinguish the threat.

And in the ninth, J.D. Martinez made things a bit interesting against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman as he took the lefty deep to the Red Sox bullpen off an 0-1, 99 MPH heater on the inner half of the plate for his 35th home run of the season.

That 397-foot solo shot, Martinez’s 16th of the year off a left-handed pitcher, cut the deficit to four runs at 5-1, but that would ultimately go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. They left four men on base as a team.

Xander Bogaerts collected the 1,000th hit of his major league career on Saturday with a fourth-inning single.

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

As of right now, the Red Sox are 6 1/2 games behind the Oakland A’s for the second American League Wild Card Spot. That is sure to change with the A’s, Cleveland Indians, and Tampa Bay Rays all in action on Saturday night.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the third installment of this four-game set on Sunday Night Baseball, with right-hander Rick Porcello getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Masahiro Tanaka doing the same for New York.

Porcello struggled mightily in his first start of September against the Minnesota Twins, surrendering six earned runs on eight hits in an eventual 6-5 loss this past Tuesday.

In his last start against the Yankes, the 30-year-old toughed out a quality outing after allowing two runs in the second inning of a contest the Sox eventually won by a final score of 19-3.

Tanaka opposed Porcello in that game on July 25th, when he yielded 12 earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings of work and ultimately got hit with the losing decision.

The 30-year-old has recovered nicely since then though, posting an ERA of 3.38 and batting average against of .250 over his last seven starts and 42 2/3 innings pitched. The Yankees are 5-2 in those games.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 8:05 PM EDT on ESPN.

 

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Mitch Moreland Celebrates 34th Birthday with Three-Run Homer, Three-Hit Night as Red Sox Top Yankees in Jhoulys Chacin’s Debut

After falling to the Minnesota Twins in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday, the Red Sox bounced back and opened up a four-game weekend series against the New York Yankees with a commanding 6-1 victory on Friday to improve to 76-65 on the season.

Making his first start for Boston and 20th of the season overall was Jhoulys Chacin, less than a week after inking a minor-league deal with the club while they were in Anaheim this past weekend.

Working just the first two innings in his Red Sox debut, the right-hander was perfect as he fanned four of the only six Yankees he faced and was more of an opener than anything.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 35 (23 strikes), Chacin relied on his slider exactly 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing four swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw nine times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Not factoring into the decision of this one, I would think Chacin’s status going forward would depend on the health of David Price, as he was originally supposed to start on Friday.

If anything, the 31-year-oldwill likely work in short bunches rather than being stretched out too much.

In relief of Chacin, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the top of the third in a scoreless contest, and he kept it that way by punching out two in a 1-2-3 inning.

From there, Marcus Walden worked his way around a two-out double and walk with a three-pitch strikeout of Edwin Encarnacion, which eventually earned him his ninth winning decision of the year.

Andrew Cashner yielded New York’s only run of the night on a one-out solo blast off the bat of Brett Gardner in the fifth, Ryan Weber tossed a scoreless sixth before stranding a leadoff walk with the help of Jackie Bradley Jr. in the seventh, and Darwinzon Hernandez also walked one in an otherwise clean eighth.

And in the ninth, Bobby Poyner recorded a pair of strikeouts in another shutout inning to secure the 6-1 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who picked up the win the last time he made an appearance at Fenway Park back on July 28th.

Kicking off the scoring in the fourth, a leadoff double from Rafael Devers finally got Boston in the hit column, and a J.D. Martinez groundout, as well as an Andrew Benintendi walk, put runners on the corners with two outs for Brock Holt.

It was clear that German was concerned with Benintendi at first, and perhaps taking advantage, Holt took a 1-1, 91 MPH heater at the top of the zone following two straight unsuccessful pickoff attempts and laced an RBI single right past Gleyber Torres in shallow right to drive in Devers for his side’s first run.

Still with two runners on, Mitch Moreland rallied from a second inning groundout by unloading on a 1-1, 81 MPH curveball from German and deposited it 389 feet into the right field seats.

Moreland’s 15th big fly of the year, this one good for three runs, had an exit velocity of 106 MPH, per Statcast, and it gave the Sox a four-run edge. On his birthday no less.

An inning later, a Mookie Betts walk with one out led to a Yankees pitching change, with Nestor Cortes Jr. taking over for German.

That move would prove to be quite costly for New York though, as Devers followed by drawing a six-pitch walk of his own to move Betts up to second, and Xander Bogaerts came through with a scorching, 108.4 MPH two-RBI double to plate both runners.

That run-scoring two-bagger, Bogaerts’ 49th of 2019, gave the Red Sox a 6-1 lead, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

Red Sox pitching combined for 13 strikeouts and just three walks on Friday.

Mitch Moreland went 3-for-4 with three RBI on his 34th birthday.

Xander Bogaerts is one hit away from 1,000 for his career.

With the Tampa Bay Rays winning and both the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics still in action Friday, the Red Sox currently sit 6 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second game of this four-game set on Saturday evening, with right-hander Travis Lakins getting the start as the opener for Boston, and left-hander J.A. Happ doing the same for New York.

Lakins allowed two earned runs over two innings of relief in his last time out against the Los Angeles Angels this past Sunday.

The 25-year-old has never started a big league game, but does have 41 under his belt at the minor-league level, with the last coming on July 18th of this year in which he tossed a scoreless first inning for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Happ, meanwhile, has for the most part struggled since the All-Star break, but is coming off an outing where he held the Athletics scoreless over six strong innings on September 1st.

In three starts against the Red Sox this season, the 36-year-old has posted a 4.24 ERA and .254 batting average against over 17 total innings pitched. The Yankees are unbeaten in those games.

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

Jhoulys Chacin Makes First Start for Red Sox in Series Opener Against Yankees

Newly acquired right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will make his first start for the Red Sox on Friday night, one day after left-hander David Price was scratched due to tightness in his left wrist.

Chacin, 31, inked a minor-league pact with Boston this past Saturday after a successful workout in Anaheim and was selected to the club’s major league roster the day after as part of the first round of September call-ups.

Released by the Milwaukee Brewers on August 26th, the Venezuela native posted a 5.79 ERA and .282 batting average against over 19 starts and 88 2/3 innings of work before that.

In two career starts at Fenway Park, Chacin is 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA and .409 batting average against over just 9 2/3 innings pitched. He has also made two career starts against the Yankees, and has posted a 4.09 ERA, as well as a .302 BAA over 11 total frames.

Friday will be the first in-game action since July 24th, when he surrendered four runs (three earned) on six hits and one walk over three innings pitched against the Cincinnati Reds in his final start for Milwaukee.

There was a point this past Tuesday in the opening game against the Minnesota Twins where Chacin was warming in the Sox’ bullpen, but he was not deployed from there.

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

David Price Surrenders Seven Runs, Can’t Escape Third Inning as Red Sox Get Swept and Drop Eighth Straight in 7-4 Loss to Yankees

After getting swept in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox were unable to avoid getting swept in four games by the New York Yankees on Sunday, as they fell by a final score of 7-4 to cap off a weekend in the Bronx that saw their losing streak grow to eight consecutive games.

Making his 21st start of the season and second against New York for Boston David Price, who was activated from paternity leave earlier Sunday afternoon.

Working into just the third inning, the left-hander’s post-All-Star break woes continued in this one, as he got lit up for a season-worst seven runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

The first of those seven Yankees runs crossed the plate right away in the bottom half of the first, with slugger Aaron Judge taking Price deep to right-center off a one-out, 2-2, 92 MPH two-seam fastball on the inner half of the plate for his 12th home run of the year.

In the third, the Tennessee native was one out away from stranding Judge at first following a one-out walk, but Gio Urshela had different plans, as he unloaded on a 1-1, 83 MPH changeup for his 12th homer to make it a 3-0 contest.

Back-to-back doubles from Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin increased that lead to four, and three more consecutive hits from Mike Ford, Kyle Higashioka, and Mike Tauchman increased the Yankees’ lead all the way up to seven.

A nine-pitch walk would ultimately spell the end for Price, as Red Sox manager Alex Cora was forced to turn to his bullpen earlier than he probably would have liked.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (46 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball 36% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 93.3 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 12 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually getting hit with his fifth loss of the year while inflating his ERA up to 4.36, Price has not been able to pitch deep into games at an effective rate since about the midpoint of July.

In five starts since the All-Star break, Price is 0-3 with an 8.59 ERA. He is averaging 4.4 innings per start over that span.

Price’s next start should come this Friday, back at Fenway Park against the Los Angeles Angels.

In relief of Price, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered with runners at first and second and one out to get in the third, and he got that out by getting Judge to line out to Jackie Bradley Jr., who covered a great deal of ground in a short amount of time to come up with a spectacular grab.

From there, the recently called up Ryan Weber came on in the middle of the fifth with his team trailing by five runs, and he retired 12 of the 13 hitters he faced with the help of Mookie Betts over four scoreless, one-hit frames of relief to hold the Yankees at seven runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander J.A. Happ, who like Price, was also activated off the paternity leave list earlier Sunday.

Getting little help from their starter and falling behind by seven before the start of the fourth inning, Christian Vazquez got things going for Boston with one out in the top half of the fifth by blasting his 17th home run of the year off a 2-2, 94 MPH heater from Happ.

Three pitches later, Michael Chavis followed suit with his 18th big fly of the season, this one coming off a 2-0, 91 MPH four-seamer and being sent 435 feet to left-center field. Per Statcast, it was the hardest hit ball all night in terms of exit velocity (109.9 MPH off the bat).

In the sixth, a two-out single from J.D. Martinez would wind up being the catalyst for a two-run rally, as Sam Travis moved Martinez up to second on a seven-pitch walk before a wild pitch from Happ with Andrew Benintendi at the plate advanced both runners into scoring position.

Taking full advantage of his opponent’s mistake, Benintendi broke out of an 0-for-9 spell by lacing a two-run single back up the middle to score both Martinez and Travis to pick up his 56th and 57th RBI of the year.

That base hit cut New York’s advantage down to three runs at 7-4, and it also knocked Happ out of the game.

The thing is, the reliever who came in for Happ, right-hander Luis Cessa, snuffed out any chance of that deficit shrinking, as he walked Vazquez on five pitches before fanning Chavis on six to escape the inning unscathed.

The trio of Bradley Jr., Betts, and Rafael Devers went down in order against Cessa in the seventh, and the trio of Xander Bogaerts, Martinez, and Travis did the same in the eighth.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth and facing off against Chad Green, who started for the Yankees in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader, Benintendi and Vazquez both grounded out, the pinch-hitting Brock Holt drew an eight-pitch walk, and Bradley Jr. struck out swinging for the third and final out, ending Sunday’s contest with a final score of 7-4.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position on Sunday to finish the four-game series hitting .158 (3-for-19) in that scenario. They also left men on base in this game alone.

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

The Red Sox have not won a game since last Saturday, and with a record of 59-55 now, they have already lost more games in the 2019 regular season than they did a year ago.

Sunday’s loss also drops Boston to 6 1/2 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card Spot.

In short, it was a terrible week. They began this now completed stretch of 14 straight games against the Rays and Yankees winners of five of their first six, and then went ahead and dropped eight straight.

Monday is a new day though, and the Red Sox will be opening up a seven-game homestand with the first of three against the Kansas City Royals.

Right-hander Rick Porcello is set to get the Ball for Boston in that one, while left-hander Mike Montgomery will do the same for Kansas City.

Porcello is coming off a July where he posted a dismal 7.94 ERA and .333 batting average against over five starts and 28 1/3 innings pitched. Somehow, the Red Sox went 4-1 in  those games.

In 23 career starts against the Royals, the 30-year-old owns a lifetime 4.66 ERA and .292 batting average against over 137 total innings of work.

Montgomery, meanwhile, was acquired by Kansas City in a deal that sent catcher Martin Maldonado to the Chicago Cubs on July 15th.

Since then, Maldonado now plays for the Houston Astros once again, and Montgomery has allowed 10 runs on 18 hits over 11 1/3 innings in his first three starts as a Royal.

Against the Red Sox, Montgomery is 0-1 with an ERA of 12.27 and batting average against of .444 over three career appearances (one start) and 7 1/3 total innings pitched.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to finally put an end to this skid back at Fenway Park.

 

 

Red Sox Get Swept in Doubleheader, Drop Seventh Straight Overall in 6-4 Loss to Yankees

After dropping the opener of a day-night doubleheader and holding a team meeting in between games on Saturday, the Red Sox were unable to turn things around in the night cap, as they fell to the New York Yankees by a final score of 6-4 to mark their seventh consecutive loss.

Making his eighth overall appearance and third start for Boston this season was Brian Johnson, who came into the weekend having not appeared in a big league game since June 22nd after missing more than a month on the injury list due to a non-baseball related medical issue.

Tossing three full innings in his first start since June 16th, the left-hander surrendered three runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits and zero walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

All three of those Yankees runs came in the bottom half of the third, when after scattering four hits over two scoreless frames to begin things, Johnson served up a one-out solo shot to a red-hot Gleyber Torres off a 1-1, 94 MPH at the top of the strike zone.

Back-to-back singles from Aaron Hicks and Gio Urshela brought Cameron Maybin to the plate with runners at first and second, and he emptied the bases by lacing a two-run double to left field. Just like that, the Sox’ two-run lead had turned into a one-run deficit.

A line-out off the bat of Mike Tauchman and a mental lapse made from Maybin allowed Johnson to escape the inning thanks to an unconventional 8-6 double play, but the damage already been done.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 70 (44 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler relied on his slider nearly 36% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 21 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision due to the short outing while raising his ERA on the season up to 6.88, Johnson will more than likely be used in a long-relief/spot start role in the Sox’ pitching staff for the foreseeable future.

In relief of Johnson, Marcus Walden entered the fourth with his side up a run, and he maintained that lead by stranding a runner at first in an otherwise clean frame.

Left-hander Josh Taylor got the call for the sixth, and he too fell victim to Gleyber Torres, as the Yankee All-Star led the inning off by mashing his second solo shot of the night, this one to tie the ballgame up at four runs apiece.

Taylor got out of the fifth and got the first two outs of the sixth before giving up a ground ball single to D.J LeMahieu, which in turn led to Sox manager Alex Cora turning to Matt Barnes.

Barnes stranded LeMahieu by getting Aaron Judge to ground out to short and also came back out for his second inning of work in the seventh.

There, the right-hander proceeded to fill the bases with Yankees on a Torres leadoff double and back-to-back walks of Hicks and Urshela.

A four-pitch punchout of Maybin made it seem as though Barnes was making progress, but a two-run single off the bat of Tuachman on a 2-1, hanging 86 MPH curveball changed all that.

Torres and Urshela scored as a result, and New York had themselves a 6-4 lead.

To make matters worse, Barnes again loaded the bases with a seven-pitch walk of Austin Romine, thus leading to another pitching change.

Colten Brewer was inserted into a game for the second time in the same day, and he sat down the only two hitters he faced in order to leave the bases loaded.

Finally, Brandon Workman maneuvered his way around a Judge leadoff single in a scoreless bottom of the eighth to keep the deficit at two runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against right-hander Chad Green in what was a bullpen game for the Yankees.

Starting the scoring with one out in the top half of the third, after Green had already been placed by Nestor Cortes Jr., Rafael Devers got his team on the board first by scoring Marco Hernandez, as well as himself, on his 22nd homer of the season.

That booming, 433-foot two-run blast put Boston ahead 2-0, but a three-run rally from New York in their half of the same inning turned that two-run lead into a one-run hole.

Fast forward to the fourth, a leadoff walk from Sam Travis and double from Christian Vazquez against new Yankees reliever Chance Adams put the Red Sox in a prime run-scoring spot.

Michael Chavis and Marco Hernandez were unable to do anything off Adams, but fortunately for Boston, Mookie Betts came through with a two-out, two-run single, plating Vazquez and Travis from second and third to make it a 4-3 contest.

The Yankees’ pen held the Sox in check from there though, as Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman combined to toss four shutout frames from the beginning of the sixth until the end of the ninth.

That’s not to say that Boston did not have any chances to score off those three, because they did.

Like in the sixth, when after falling behind by a run, Sam Travis reached second on a leadoff single and stolen base. Christian Vazquez and Brock Holt both had their shot to drive the runner in, but came up short before Marco Hernandez reached on an eight-pitch walk.

Again, Betts came to the plate with the chance to re-take the lead and instead flew out to center.

In the seventh, a two-out walk drawn by J.D. Martinez off of Kahnle presented Andrew Benintendi with the chance to drive in a run. He struck out on five pitches.

What transpired an inning later was clearly their best scoring chance, as Devers came to the plate with two outs and runners at first and second following a Betts walk.

Having faced the Yankees left-hander four times before Saturday, the 23-year-old took the first two pitches he saw for strikes and opted to take a hack at a third-pitch, 83 MPH sinker in the dirt to retire the side.

And in the ninth, another Martinez free pass, this one with one out, brought the tying run to the plate on two separate occasions against Chapman.

Neither Benintendi, who picked up the Golden Somberero with his fourth strikeout, or Travis, who also fanned, could deliver in the clutch though, and the Red Sox dropped this one by a final score of 6-4 as Chapman notched his 29th save of 2019.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position on Saturday night. They left 11 men on base as a team.

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

With their losing streak growing to seven games on Saturday, the Red Sox now stand 13 1/2 games back of the Yankees for first place in the American League East and 5 1/2 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

It’s been seven full days since the Red Sox last won a game. That’s hard to believe given how it seemed like this turn was about to turn a corner last weekend against these same Yankees.

For the series finale, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of left-handers both making their return from paternity leave, as David Price will get the ball for Boston, while J.A. Happ will do the same for New York.

Since the All-Star break, Price has experienced quite the regression, posting a 6.52 ERA and .301 batting average against over his last four starts and 19 1/3 innings pitched.

The 33-year-old’s only other start at Yankee Stadium so far this season also came on Sunday Night Baseball back on June 2nd, when he held the opposition to just two runs over 6 1/3 quality innings en route to a much-needed win.

Happ, meanwhile, has also struggled since returning from the All-Star break, as he owns an ERA of 5.95 in his last four starts dating back to July 13th.

In two starts against Boston this year, Happ is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA and .220 batting average against over 11 1/3 total innings of work. The Yankees are 2-0 in those games.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on ESPN. Red Sox looking to get back in the win column and avoid the four-game sweep.

 

 

 

Chris Sale Gets Lit up for Eight Runs in Shortest Start Since Opening Day as Red Sox Fall to Yankees in First Game of Doubleheader

After being limited to two runs on three hits on Friday, the Red Sox were held in check by the New York Yankees yet again on Saturday, as they dropped the first of a day-night doubleheader to extend their losing streak to six.

Making his 23rd start of the season and fourth against New York for Boston was Chris Sale, who came into the weekend fresh off surrendering five runs in less than six innings in his last time out against this same Yankees squad this past Sunday.

The losing streak for the Sox began that night, and it increased to six in this one, as the left-hander got lit up for a season-high eight runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work.

The first of those eight Yankees tallies came right away in the bottom half of the first, with D.J. LeMahieu leading things off by blasting his 16th home run of the season, a 389-foot solo shot that got his side on the board first.

Sale did settle in a bit from there, retiring eight of the next 10 hitters he faced following that homer before running in to a great deal of trouble in the bottom of the fourth.

There, an Edwin Encarnacion leadoff single, as well as one-out and two-out singles from Gio Urshela and Kyle Higashioka, filled the bases for Breyvic Valera, who drove in the runner from third on an RBI single to right to break the 1-1 tie.

Now, there had been instances of Sale getting squeezed by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook, so when Sox manager Alex Cora came out to talk to his starter directly, he also exchanged some words with Estabrook on his way back to the visitor’s dugout, which resulted in him getting ejected from this game.

Once the dust had settled from that, Brett Gardner picked up where Valera had left off by lacing a two-run single up the middle. 4-1.

LeMahieu added on to that, taking Sale deep once more off a 2-1, 89 MPH changeup on the outer half of the zone that he snuck just over the right field wall for a three-run homer. 7-1.

An Aaron Judge ground-rule double would be how Sale’s afternoon came to a frustrating close, but it should not have even happened, as the pitch before the double clearly should have been called strike three, but it was called a ball by Estabrook instead.

Following said double and receiving the hook from bench coach Ron Roenicke, Sale let some of his frustration out on Estabrook as he was headed back to the Sox’ dugout, and he too was ejected as a result.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (52 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his slider more than 39% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing four swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 96.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he went to 20 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 5-11 while inflating his ERA on the season up to 4.68, Sale’s struggles against the Yankees continue. His next start should come against the Los Angeles Angels back at Fenway Park on Thursday.

In relief of Sale, Colten Brewer entered the fourth with one runner on second and one out to get, and he allowed that runner to score on an RBI base hit from Encarnacion to close the book on Sale’s outing before escaping the inning.

Josh Smith, just recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, took over in the fifth, and he took over by yielding one run on an Encarnacion RBI single in the sixth in an otherwise four solid innings of mop up duty.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who also opposed Sale last Sunday.

Starting the scoring in the top of the second, a red-hot Andrew Benintendi led off the inning by mashing his 12th big fly of the season, this one coming off a 3-2, hanging curveball from German that was sent a booming 436 feet to right-center field.

That knotted things up at one run apiece, but German did not buckle, and the only run the Boston bats got off him came in the fifth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. led the frame off with his 12th homer of 2019.

A 344-foot solo shot for Bradley Jr. off a first-pitch, 85 MPH changeup from German made it an 8-2 contest in favor of New York.

As it turns out though, the Sox did not get a single hit the rest of the way, as German and right-hander Jonathan Holder combined to sit down the last 15 Red Sox who came to the plate in order. And that is how 9-2 went on to be the final score in Game 1 on Saturday.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. They left three men on base as a team.

Andrew Benintendi’s last seven games: .500/.516/1.067 with four homers and nine RBI.

From MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

From Red Sox Stats:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Left-hander Brian Johnson will get the start for Boston in the second installment of this doubleheader, while right-hander Chad Green will do the same for New York.

Johnson had been out since June 29th with a non-baseball related medical issue before being activated off the injured  list earlier Saturday.

Through seven appearances (two starts) with the Sox this season, the 28-year-old owns an ERA of 6.43 and batting average against of .349 over 14 total innings pitched.

Green, meanwhile, has posted a a 5.06 ERA and .303 batting average against over 36 outings (eight starts) and 42 2/3 innings of work.

Neither starter is expected to pitch deep into his game, I would assume.

First pitch Saturday night is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to put a stop to this skid.

Red Sox Held in Check by James Paxton, Drop Fifth Straight in 4-2 Loss to Yankees

After getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park during the week, the Red Sox’ fortunes did not change in the first of a four-game set against the New York Yankees on Friday, as they dropped the series opener by a final score of 4-2, marking their fifth consecutive loss.

Making his 23rd start of the season and third against New York for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who picked up the win while allowing three runs over 5 2/3 innings in his last time out against these same Yankees to close out a strong July.

Working into the seventh inning this time around, the left-hander surrendered four runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and a season-high six walks to go along with eight strikeouts on the night.

All four of those Yankees runs came right away in the bottom half of the first, immediately after the Sox had jumped out to an early two-run lead in their half of the first.

With one out and the bases filled following a leadoff single from D.J. LeMahieu and back-to-back walks drawn by Aaron Judge and Edwin encarnacion, Gleyber Torres unloaded on the very first pitch he saw from Rodriguez, a 95 MPH four-seam fastball on the inner half of the strike zone, and deposited it 384 feet into the right field seats.

The second grand slam of Torres’ young career put his team ahead 4-2, which as already indicated, would be all they needed.

Other than that one huge blip though, Rodriguez settled in nicely from the middle of the second inning up until the bottom of the seventh, retiring 15 of the next 21 hitters who came to the plate with the help of two double-plays before giving up a two-out double to the last Yankee he faced in the form of LeMahieu.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 113 (65 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer nearly 37% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 95.4 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 13-5 while inflating his ERA on the season up to 4.19, Rodriguez hadn’t lost a decision before Friday since June 9th, or 10 outings ago to be exact. He’ll look to get off to a better start in his next time out, which should come against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

In relief of Rodriguez, Marcus Walden entered the seventh with one runner on second and one out to get in the frame, and he got that out fairly easily by fanning Aaron Judge on four pitches to retire the side.

Nathan Eovaldi got the call for the eighth inning, and he punched out one while putting together his first 1-2-3 appearance as a reliever since being activated off the injured list last month to preserve the two-run hole his side was in. It’s not like it made that much of a difference in the end, but a positive development nonetheless.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander James Paxton, someone they took deep four times and got seven runs off of last Friday.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the top half of the first, a two-out walk drawn by Xander Bogaerts brought J.D. Martinez to the plate with the chance to strike early.

On the second pitch he saw from Paxton, Martinez did just that, as he punished an 0-1, 87 MPH cutter that was down and inside and pulled it 355 feet over everything in left field for his 24th big fly of the season.

That gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead, and it looked as though they were on their way to teeing off against Paxton once again.

But, to his credit, Paxton held the Boston bats in check the rest of the way and never faced more than five hitters in a single frame from the beginning of the second through the middle of the sixth.

New York’s bullpen didn’t simplify things either, as Tommy Kahnle yielded a two-out single to Christian Vazquez in a scoreless seventh inning, Zack Brittion sat down Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, and Bogaerts in order in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman notched his 28th save of the year by retiring Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, and Sam Travis in consecutive order in the ninth.

4-2 would go on to be Friday’s final score, extending the Sox’ current losing streak to five, which is the most regular season games they have lost consecutively since 2015, when they dropped eight straight from July 12th to July 23rd.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position on Friday. They left four men on base as a team.

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

Having lost five games in a row, the Red Sox now stand 11 1/2 games back of the Yankees for first place in the American League East and four games back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

The Red Sox are also now 5-6 since July 22nd, when that crucial stretch of 14 straight games against Tampa Bay and New York started.

A day-night doubleheader is set to take place on Saturday, with left-hander Chris Sale opposing right-hander Domingo German in the first installment, and southpaw Brian Johnson making his return against TBD in the second.

Sale struggled mightily in his last time out against the Yankees this past Sunday, surrendering six earned runs on five hits in less than six innings in a contest the Red Sox eventually lost.

On the 2019 campaign as whole, the 30-year-old is 0-3 with an ERA of 7.71 and batting average against of 2.79 over three starts and 16 1/3 innings of work against New York.

German, meanwhile, also opposed Sale last Sunday and picked up the win, as he held the Sox to three runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings pitched.

First pitch for the first game on Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to snap this skid.