RECAP: Chris Sale Tosses Three Scoreless Innings and Brock Holt Stays Hot as #RedSox Take Series from Mets with 4-3 Win.

After splitting the first two games of this three-game series against the New York Mets over the last two days, the Red Sox looked to head into an off day with their second consecutive series victory and 103rd win of the season on Sunday.

Making his 25th start of the season and second since returning from the disabled list on Tuesday, Chris Sale took the mound at Fenway Park for his second ever appearance against the Mets.

Pitching three full innings in this one as planned, the left-hander held New York scoreless while allowing just one hit and zero walks to go along with a single strikeout on the afternoon.

Facing the minimum nine batters thanks to a caught stealing in the top of the second, Sale needed 42 pitches (27 strikes) to complete the three frames of work.

Out of those 42 pitches, the Florida native threw 20 four-seam fastballs, 11 sliders, seven changeups, and four two-seam fastballs, which resulted in a total of six swinging and eight called strikes.

He also topped out at 96.8 MPH with that four-seamer in the first inning.

Lowering his ERA on the season down to an American League best 1.92 with this solid performance to wrap up the weekend, Sale will look to ramp it up to four innings in his next time out, which will come against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland this upcoming Friday.

In relief of Sale, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final six innings of Sunday’s win, but nothing certainly came easy for them.

Entering this contest first with a fresh three-run lead to protect, Hector Velazquez, who was scratched from his previous start with illness on Friday, tossed a scoreless fourth inning.

Drew Pomeranz was next up, and after retiring all three batters he faced in the fifth, surrendered the first two Mets runs of the day in the sixth while recording the first two outs of the inning.

Heath Hembree cleaned up Pomeranz’s mess in that top half of the sixth, but failed to record an out in the seventh by walking one and hitting another.

Joe Kelly, like Hembree, did manage to clean up a bit of a sticky situation in his 69th relief appearance of the year, but not before allowing one of the inherited runners to score on a two out Amed Rosario RBI single.

From that point on, Brandon Workman worked a scoreless eighth inning to keep this thing tied at three runs a piece, and after his team jumped out to a 4-3 advantage in their half of the eighth, Steven Wright came in and picked up his first career save with a clean ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against arguably the best pitcher in the National League in the Mets’ Jacob deGrom, who entered Sunday with a miniscule 1.71 ERA over 29 starts this season.

After failing to reach base once through the first two-plus innings of this one, it was Rafael Devers who got a huge bottom of the third started by ripping a one out single back up the middle to center field.

One Christian Vazquez single later that allowed Devers to advance all the way to third thanks to a little hit-and-run action, Mookie Betts drove in the first run of the afternoon with a 380 foot sacrifice fly to center field that plated Devers and made it a 1-0 game.

With one out and one runner on, the red-hot Brock Holt came to the plate, batting in the two-hole for a change, and came through with yet another game-changing hit, a two-run home run sent 402 feet to the Red Sox bullpen.

For Holt, just his fifth big fly of the season, and for deGrom, just the 10th homer he has given up all season.

A las, that was all the Red Sox could get off of New York’s ace, and it was not until the eighth when they would get on the scoreboard again.

Tied at 3-3 now, Andrew Benintendi came to the plate with one out, Tzu-Wei Lin at third following a leadoff double, and Seth Lugo on the hill for the Mets.

On the second pitch he saw from Lugo, Benintendi al but sealed the deal in this one with an RBI sac fly to center that was more than good enough to plate Lin from third for what would end up being the game-winning run.

Some notes from this 4-3 win: 

Injury-related: Mookie Betts had to leave this game in the sixth inning with left side soreness after making an awkward throw home in right field, but he should be good to DH in New York on Tuesday, per Alex Cora.

Through 150 games, the Red Sox have a winning percentage of .687.

Brock Holt is hitting .400 with two home runs and seven RBI in his last five games.

Chris Sale has not surrendered an earned run in his last 25 innings pitched, which dates back to July 11th.

The magic number for the Red Sox to clinch their third consecutive American League East title now stands at two games, meaning they could be crowned division champs at Yankee Stadium for the second time in the last three seasons.

All that is needed for that to happen is one win in the team’s next three games against the Yankees, which will take place after an off day on Monday.

Starting pitching matchups for that upcoming series go as follows:

9/18: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-7 4.22 ERA) vs. LHP JA Happ (16-6 3.75 ERA)

9/19: LHP David Price (15-6 3.42 ERA) vs. RHP Luis Severino (17-8 3.46 ERA)

9/20: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (13-4 3.53 ERA) vs. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (12-5 3.47 ERA)

The Yankees have lost six of their last ten games.

First pitch of the series opener in the Bronx is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Tuesday, weather permitting.

 

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RECAP: Andrew Benintendi Comes up Clutch with Walk-Off Single in Extras as #RedSox Finish off Sweep of Yankees.

In a game that started on Sunday night and ended early Monday morning, it was the Red Sox who came out on top in ten innings of play for their fourth-straight win over the Yankees, opening up a 9.5 game lead atop the American League East.

Started by David Price, who was surprisingly outstanding against a team he owned a 24.92 ERA against in two outings prior to Sunday, the Red Sox managed to fight their way back on a night it looked like they could have settled for taking three out of four from their division rival.

Pitching into the seventh inning of this one, Price surrendered two earned runs, both of which were scored with him out of the game, on four hits, three free passes, and one HBP to go along with five punch outs on the night.

The lefty found himself dealing with traffic on the base paths right away in the first, as he allowed three of the first five hitters to reach, loading the bases with two outs in the frame. Fortunately, a 1-3 put out on a softly hit ground ball from Luke Voit allowed Price to escape unscathed.

Including the Voit ground out, the 32 year-old hurler retired 16 of the next 19 Yankees batters he faced going into the middle of the sixth inning in a 1-0 game in his team’s favor.

At that point, Price’s pitch count had reached 95, and given the fact he had just completed his sixth scoreless frame against a team he has a bad history with, maybe that was a good time for Alex Cora to call it a night for the big left-hander.

Instead he came back out for the seventh, gave up a leadoff single that was followed by a walk to put runners at first and second with no outs, and that was how Price’s fine night would come to a bit of a disappointing end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 108, the second most he has thrown all season, 85 of which went for strikes, the Tennessee native relied heavily on his changeup Sunday night, as he went to it more than 31% of the time he was on the mound. He also topped out at 94.1 MPH with his two-seam fastball in the third inning. Although nothing has been announced by the team yet, I would expect Price’s next start, which would be his 23rd of the year, to come next weekend in Baltimore.

In relief of Price, Heath Hembree, who has turned into one of the best relievers with runners on base, got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen to try and get out of a seventh inning jam.

Instead, with runners on first and second, Hembree refused to give up a sacrifice bunt to Yankees right fielder Shane Robinson, as he threw up and near his head on three consecutive occasions, which eventually led to a seven pitch walk to load the bases.

From there, New York tacked on all four of their runs in a rather lengthy sequence. Gardner and Austin Romine scored on an E6 committed by Xander Bogaerts to close the book on David Price’s start and Robinson came around to cross the plate on a Giancarlo Stanton single a few minutes later. 3-1 Yankees.

Two batters and one pitching change later, Ryan Brasier, in the game for Boston now, got Gleyber Torres to fly out to center for the second inning, but that allowed Aaron Hicks, who reached base on the E6, to tag up from third and score his team’s fourth and final run of the frame.

Brasier, while escaping the seventh, also tossed a scoreless eighth inning to make way for Tyler Thornburg in the ninth.

Thornburg, who had not gotten any work since July 30th, worked his way around two walks to retire the side and give the Red Sox one last chance in their half of the ninth trailing by three runs.

After a crazy ninth that eventually saw these teams tied up again, Matt Barnes, who was also making his first appearance of August, retired all three Yankees he faced in order to send this thing to the bottom of the tenth, where he would eventually collect his fourth win of the season thanks to the heroics of Andrew Benintendi.

Speaking of Andrew Benintendi, the Red Sox lineup really saved their best for last on Sunday night/Monday morning, because they really could not do anything off of Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka.

Despite pitching less than five innings, Tanaka made just one costly mistake, and that was serving up a solo home run to Mookie Betts in that fifth inning to put the Red Sox on the board. Betts’ 26th long ball of the year traveled 437 feet into the night sky, per Statcast.

Up until this thing reached the ninth inning with their backs against the wall, that home run was the only scoring the Red Sox could manage off the likes of Tanaka, Zach Britton, and Dellin Betances.

With Aroldis Chapman in to close this game out in the ninth with a three-run lead to protect, it was Sandy Leon who got the rally started by drawing a one out walk.

Keep in mind, Chapman hadn’t blown a save since May 4th, yet he always seems to struggle at Fenway Park.

Three walks in the frame, one to Leon, one to Mookie Betts, and one to Steve Pearce, who was replaced by Jackie Bradley Jr., loaded the bases for Boston with two outs and JD Martinez coming to the plate.

On the first pitch he saw from Chapman, the Red Sox’s slugger scorched a 99.1 MPH single into center field to drive in Leon and Betts and cut the Yankees lead to one run.

With Xander Bogaerts at the plate looking to redeem himself for the previous error over at short, a 1-1 85 MPH slider from Chapman resulted in Bogaerts tapping a grounder to third in what appeared to be the final out of the contest.

Instead, a bad throw from Yankees’ third baseman Miguel Andujar over to Greg Bird at first base allowed both Bogaerts to reach first safely and Bradley Jr. to come in to score. Tied game headed into extra innings.

Fortunately for those who had to wake up early in the morning, extras did not take all that long, thanks to old friend Jonathan Holder, who gave up seven earned runs on Thursday, making an appearance out of the Yankees bullpen in the tenth.

It all happened with two outs in the inning, but a Sandy Leon single followed by an intentional walk of Mookie Betts put the go-ahead run for the Red Sox at second base.

Given the difference in speed around the base paths, Leon was replaced by the recently called up Tony Renda to represent the winning run.

Following a brief mound visit, Andrew Benintendi put an end to this marathon game by delivering the clutchest hit of the night, an RBI single to center field to score Renda from second and give the Red Sox the 5-4 win. Sweep completed.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 79-34. They are now 9.5 games up on the Yankees in the American League East. Also, the Red Sox have not lost a game against New York since Brian Cashman said this:

Against the Yankees in 2018, the Red Sox are 8-5 in head-to-head matchups, including a 6-1 record at Fenway Park.

In his first appearance in a Red Sox uniform, Tony Renda scored the winning run to complete a four-game sweep over the Yankees. That’s pretty cool.

From @RedSoxStats: Since Price’s meltdown on Sunday Night Baseball he’s made 5 starts, pitching into the 7th 4 times, with a 2.84 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, and 5.3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Andrew Benintendi’s career numbers against the Yankees: 39 G, .293/.355/.493 slash line, 6 HR, 27 RBI.

After enjoying the well-deserved off day on Monday, the Red Sox will open up a three-game series in their last trip to Toronto of the season against the 51-60 Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Chris Sale was schedules to start one of these games, but he has been pushed back. Instead, Drew Pomeranz, Brian Johnson, and Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston in games one, two, and three of this series, and then it’s on to Baltimore for the weekend.

First pitch of the first game north of the border is scheduled for 7:07 PM ET on Tuesday. This team is special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#RedSox Complete Four-Game Sweep of Yankees with Andrew Benintendi’s Walk-Off Single in Extras.

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What a night it was for the 79-34 Boston Red Sox.

Trailing by three runs heading into the bottom half of the ninth, come back to tie at up at four against one of the best closers in all of baseball, and finish it off with an Andrew Benintendi walk-off single in the tenth. David Price was also good.

Full recap of this wild win is coming later in the morning. For now, let’s just enjoy the 9.5 game division lead atop the American League East heading into the off day on Monday.

Best team in baseball and the damage has been done.

RECAP: Nathan Eovaldi Silents Former Club with Eight Shutout Innings as #RedSox Guarantee Series Win with 4-1 Victory over Yankees.

Nathan Eovaldi has been with the Red Sox for less than two weeks, yet he has already made a bit of a name for himself with his new club.

In his most recent start before today and first in a Red Sox uniform, Eovaldi tossed seven scoreless frames in a winning effort over the Minnesota Twins last Sunday.

Six days and one turn through the rotation later, it was more of the same for the right-hander on Sunday.

Lest we forget, Eovaldi was once a New York Yankee himself. He spent two seasons with the club, posted a 4.45 ERA in 51 total appearances (48 starts), and was released during the 2016 offseason.

How did that factor into Eovaldi’s Saturday? Well, to put it simply, he SILENCED his former team.

Making his 12th start of the season and pitching eight full innings, the Houston native scattered three hits and one walk to go along with four punch outs on the afternoon.

Starting right away in the first, Eovaldi appeared to send a message to the Yankees dugout after what happened the night before by throwing a 76 MPH curveball right by Giancarlo Stanton’s head.

Nothing came as a result of that pitch selection though, and Eovaldi ended up making Stanton look foolish in the same at bat.

With the help of two double plays in the first four innings, the ex-Ray ended up needing just 93 pitches (65 strikes) to pick up his second straight winning decision.

Out of those 93 pitches, Eovaldi relied on his fastball, four-seam and cutter, 73 times on Saturday and topped out at 100.4(!) MPH with the four-seamer in the eighth. He’ll look to build on this successful outing in his next start against the Baltimore Orioles sometime next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, Alex Cora, who was congratulated by Dustin Pedroia via text on his first ejection as a manager yesterday, had to turn to his bullpen for one lone inning to wrap this win up.

Having not made an appearance since last Sunday, Craig Kimbrel was the one who got that call for the ninth, and he had a four run lead to protect with three outs to get.

It certainly was no cakewalk, as the Yankees reached base four times and tacked on one run with two outs in the frame off of Kimbrel. But the Red Sox closer buckled down, got Greg Bird to fly out to center field for the third and final out, and secured his team’s 78th win of the season despite not picking up the save.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher who had never seen a Major League mound before Saturday in Yankees rookie Chance Adams.

Adams, 23 and ranked as New York’s 13th best prospect, was certainly not awful in his big league debut, but he was not phenomenal either.

Beginning in the first inning, Mitch Moreland greeted the Yankees’ newest hurler by launching a two-run home run 407 feet into the Red Sox bullpen. 2-0 game.

Three innings later, JD Martinez retook the league lead in homers with his 33rd big fly of the season, this one a 390 foot shot pulled by the Red Sox DH into the Monster seats in left field.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh now, with Adams out and AJ Cole in for New York.

With one out and runners on first and second, Sandy Leon provided some late game insurance with an RBI ground-rule double that was initially ruled foul, but was overturned to fair following a lengthy review.

Credit to Alex Cora and the Red Sox video room for challenging that.

Leon’s 20th run driven in of the season would score his team’s fourth and final run of the afternoon, which is all they would need in this one.

Some notes from this win: 

Two starts into his Red Sox tenure, Nathan Eovaldi has thrown 175 total pitches in 15 scoreless frames. That’s just under 12 pitches per inning.

From @SoxNotes: Nathan Eovaldi has allowed 0 runs in 15.0 innings since joining the Red Sox. The last pitcher to begin a Red Sox career with a scoreless streak that long—all as a starter—was Billy Rohr in 1967 (16.0 IP).

This is from last night, but still pretty cool regardless.

Two straight 4-1 wins, three straight wins over the Yankees overall, and a 8.5 game lead atop the American League East. That is some serious damage done if you ask me.

Going for the four-game sweep on ESPN tomorrow night, it will be David Price getting the ball for Boston.

Known for his struggles against New York, Price surrendered eight runs in 3.1 innings pitched at Yankee Stadium back on July 1st.

Going up against Price will be Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees, who owns a lifetime 4.18 ERA in 16 career starts against the Red Sox, with the most recent one coming on May 9th. An outing in which the righty gave up four runs on eight hits in less than six innings pitched. That was not a quality start.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET Sunday.

Xander Bogaerts Returns to #RedSox Lineup and Bats Fifth Saturday.

For the first time since this past Tuesday, Xander Bogaerts will be in the starting lineup for the Boston Red Sox tonight.

After taking a 99 MPH fastball from Phillies reliever Seranthony Dominguez off his right hand the other night, it was clear to see that the Red Sox shortstop was in a serious amount of pain before he headed towards first base.

He was able to stay in for the remainder of Tuesday night’s contest before getting diagnosed with a right hand contusion later on.

X-Rays came back negative and all signs pointed to this potential scare not being too serious, but given the fact Bogaerts has had issues with the same hand before, he was still unsettled.

Following the 3-1 loss at the hands of the Phillies, the Aruba native had this to say about his HBP, “As soon as I got hit, I was like ‘I can’t believe it.’ … Last year was kind of the same thing. I don’t want that feeling again.”

What Bogaerts was referring to occurred in Tampa Bay right before last season’s All-Star Break on July 6th.

In a similar situation, Bogaerts took a 92 MPH fastball, this time from Rays starter Jacob Faria, off his right hand in the first inning and would be unable to continue. X-Rays later came back negative.

Given how much he struggled during the second-half of the 2017 season, I believe Bogaerts said himself that he wished he spent time on the disabled list instead of playing through the pain.

Anyway, Bogaerts made his return to the field on Friday night as a defensive sub in the eighth inning against the Yankees and actually recorded the final out of the 4-1 win.

He’s back in full capacity tonight and batting fifth in the lineup as the Red Sox face off against rookie hurler Chance Adams for New York in game three of this four-game series.

On the season as a whole, Bogaerts is slashing .275/.342/.513 with 16 home runs and 65 RBI in 90 games played.

Ian Kinsler Headed to Disabled List with Left Hamstring Strain.

Not great.

After being removed from last night’s contest against the New York Yankees in the second inning, the Red Sox have announced that their new second baseman is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a strain in his left hamstring.

The injury appeared to happen in the bottom of the first, when after drawing a walk and stealing second base, Kinsler came around to score on an Eduardo Nunez RBI single.

While he was heading towards home, a replay of what happened showed that Kinsler was in some pain as he crossed the plate in the first.

A half inning later, he was out of the game, and by the time Alex Cora got to his press conference at around 9:30, a trip to the DL seemed pretty imminent.

Although the Red Sox are being cautious here, similar to the Chris Sale injury, it certainly is a bummer to lose a guy who just got here, especially someone who was going to be a full-time player over at second base.

In Kinsler’s place, the team has announced that infielder Tony Renda has been added to the 25-man roster from Triple A Pawtucket.

Renda, 27 and a former second round pick of the Washington Nationals in 2012, is in his first year with the Red Sox organization.

Most notable for being part of the trade that sent Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Yankees, Renda, a native of California, owns a big league slash line of .183/.246/.217 in 32 games with the Reds back in 2016.

Playing in both Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket this season, Renda owns a .928 OPS to go along with five home runs and 24 RBI in 47 games with the Sea Dogs and PawSox.

Capable of playing second and third base, I can’t imagine Renda will have that large of a role with the big league club.

Eduardo Nunez has done a fine job filling in at third base for Rafael Devers, who should return from the DL himself very soon, and Brock Holt is more than competent over at second base.

We’d usually see Tzu-Wei Lin get the call up in this situation, but he is hurt himself with bruised ribs.

Brandon Phillips, another former Red who hit a three-run walk-off homer for the PawSox last night, could have gotten the promotion as well, but the team decided to roll with Renda.

Dustin Pedroia has also been transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

First pitch of tonight’s game against the Yankees is scheduled for 4:05 PM ET, weather permitting.

RECAP: Alex Cora Gets Ejected, Steve Pearce Homers Again, and Rick Porcello Tosses Complete Game as #RedSox Take Game Two from Yankees.

One night after taking the opening game of this series against the New York Yankees in blowout fashion on Thursday, the Red Sox were back at it again with another convincing win on Friday.

Rocking the red tops, as is tradition for Friday home games to kickoff the weekend, Rick Porcello had himself a night to remember in one of the biggest games of the season.

Making his 23rd start of the season, Porcello was the only Red Sox hurler to take the mound tonight. He made sure to see this win through to its completion.

Pitching nine full innings, the righty hit the very first batter he saw in Brett Gardner, which led to some drama a few moments later.

After Alex Cora got ejected in the bottom half of the first, which I’ll talk about more down below, Porcello went on to give up just one run on one hit in the final eight frames he appeared in.

That one run, a solo shot off the bat of Yankees’ DH Miguel Andujar on a 0-1 89 MPH changeup in the third, was just about the only mistake the New Jersey native made all evening.

To go along with the lone run, Porcello tied his season-high in strikeouts with nine and sat down the final 21 Yankees he faced to notch his 14th winning decision of the year.

Finishing with an efficient 86 pitches, 79% of which went for strikes, the 10-year veteran relied on his fastball, both two and four-seam, 46 times on the night and topped out at 93.3 MPH with his four-seamer in the second inning.

In two starts against New York at Fenway Park in 2018, the former Cy Young Award winner is 2-0 with zero earned runs in 16 total innings pitched.

He’ll look to build on this success in his next time out, which should come against the Blue Jays up north in Toronto sometime next week.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup may not have put up as many runs as they did on Thursday evening, but they took an early lead and would not have to look back in this win.

Facing off against one of the better pitchers in the American League in Luis Severino, who entered Friday with a 8.84 ERA in his last four starts, Mookie Betts set the tone right away even though he did not reach base.

After Brett Gardner was hit by a pitch in the Yankees half of the first, Severino more than likely retaliated by airing a 96 MPH fastball right by Betts’ head on his first pitch of the night.

Obviously, Mookie, along with the Red Sox dugout, did not take too kindly to that gesture, and Alex Cora ended up getting tossed as a result.

Once the dust settled from that incident and Andrew Benintendi ripped a one out ground-rule double, Steve Pearce, fresh off a three homer game on Thursday, continued to mash by launching ANOTHER home run, this one good for two to put his team’s first runs of the contest on the board.

Three batters later, after Ian Kinsler had singled and swiped second, Eduardo Nunez came through with his second RBI knock in as many days by hitting a bloop single to shallow center to drive in Kinsler from second.

Unfortunately, the newest member of the Red Sox would have to depart from this game with tightness in his left hamstring after he came up gimpy while crossing the plate.

Because of that injury, we did get to see Mookie Betts patrolling a second base, his “natural position”, for the first time since 2014 and made a nice play on the very first ball hit to him in the second.

Anyway, Mitch Moreland, who did not start this game but came in because of the Kinsler injury, wrapped up the scoring for the Red Sox in the fifth, as he drove in JD Martinez from second while collecting his 49th RBI of the season. That made it a 4-1 game and that would be the final score in a game that took two hours and 15 minutes to complete.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 77-34. They are 7.5 games up on the Yankees in the AL East. Talk about damage.

From @SoxNotes: Rick Porcello is the first Red Sox pitcher to allow 1 or 0 hits in a 9.0-inning complete game against the Yankees since Pedro Martinez did so on September 10, 1999.

Having already guaranteed a series split, Nathan Eovaldi gets the start tomorrow afternoon going for the series victory.

A former Yankee, Eovaldi spent two seasons (2015-16) rocking the pinstripes and has only started against New York once in his seven-year career.

He’ll be matched up against rookie Chance Adams for New York, who will be making his big league debut on the biggest stage possible on Saturday.

First pitch of the third game is scheduled for 4:05 PM ET.