Red Sox and Mets Engaged in ‘Early Trade Talks’ Regarding Right-Hander Zack Wheeler

On the same day rumors broke out that the Red Sox were looking to add to their starting rotation, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported on Tuesday that the Sox and New York Mets have had trade talks regarding right-hander Zack Wheeler.

Sherman cites that, “the [trade] talks were described as in the early stages and that Boston is not the only club with whom the Mets are discussing Wheeler.”

Wheeler, 29, is set to become a free agent for the first time following the 2019 season, a season in which the righty has posted a not-so-nice 4.69 ERA and 3.81 xFIP through 19 starts and 119 total innings pitched.

As things stand right now at the All-Star break, the Mets have the second-worst record in the National League at 40-50. They are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and are using their first three contests out of the break against the Miami Marlins to determine whether they should be sellers ahead of the July 31st trade deadline, per a club official.

During the 2018/19 offseason, the Mets added two Red Sox execs to their own executive staff, with former Sox senior vice president of player personnel Allard Baird coming on as vice president and assistant GM of scouting and player development, and former vice president of player personnel Jared Banner coming on as executive director of player development under general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

With that, the Mets probably have a solid idea of what prospects Boston has to offer in any potential trade for Wheeler.

Sherman also notes that Wheeler was made availabe at last year’s deadline as well, and you have to figure that the clubs that miss out on names such as Madison Bumgarner or Marcus Stroman this year will be in on the Mets hurler.

Since these trade talks are only in the early stages, it seems likely that more information will become available if/when these rumors heat up, so stay tuned for that.

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Bullpen Falls Apart Again as Red Sox Get Swept by Yankees in London Series

After combining for 30 runs in the London Series opener on Saturday, the Red Sox and New York Yankees were back at it again on Sunday, this time combining for 20 runs on 28 total hits in a 12-8 loss for the Sox.

Making his 17th start of the season for Boston and first against New York was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered Sunday having gone at least 6 1/3 innings deep in three straight outings for the first time in his career.

Working into the sixth inning of this one, the left-hander yielded just two runs, both earned, on four hits and a season-high four walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

Both of those Yankees runs came in the second inning, when after his team built an early four-run lead, Rodriguez gave two back right away by loading the bases with the first three hitters he faced to bring Gio Urshela to the plate.

Urshela drove in Edwin Encarnacion from third by grounding into a force out at second that very nearly could have been a double play had it been handled cleanly by Xander Bogaerts, and Brett Gardner made it a 4-2 game by scoring Didi Gregorius on an RBI single to right.

Other than that, Rodriguez proceeded to fill the bases again with two outs by walking Aaron Judge on six pitches, but managed to escape the jam by fanning Aaron Hicks on a 1-2, 95 MPH slider.

From there, Rodriguez sat down 10 of the final 12 Yankees he faced, and his outing came to a close on a positive note with a strikeout of Gregorius on a 94 MPH fastball for the first out of the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 115 (64 strikes) to set a new season-high, the 26-year-old hurler relied on his four-seamer nearly 42% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing five swings and misses and topping out at 96.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Not able to pick up the winning decision due to what transpired later, Rodriguez finishes his month of June with an ERA of 4.38 over his last six outings. He’ll look to build on this performance in his next time out, which should come against the Detroit Tigers next weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, Colten Brewer came on with two outs to get in the top half of the sixth, and he did just that by stranding a runner at first thanks to two straight punchouts.

Marcus Walden got the call for the seventh, and this is the point where things really took a turn for the worst for Boston, as DJ LeMahieu led the inning off with a double and Judge followed that up by drawing a walk.

Back-to-back RBI knocks off the bats of Hicks and Gary Sanchez put three runs on the board for the Yankees, and just like that, the Red Sox were down 5-4. Another blown save, the club’s 17th of the year.

A struggling Matt Barnes was up next out of the Sox bullpen, and he walked and fanned the two first two men he faced before giving up an infield single to Gleyber Torres and a two-run single to Urshela, making it a 7-4 contest.

Josh Taylor entered the seventh in place of Barnes, and he too put the first man he faced on base with a free pass, which set up the scorching LeMahieu in a prime run-scoring spot, and he took full advantage by lacing a two-run, ground-rule double down the eight field line. 9-4.

An intentional walk of Judge reloaded the bases for New York, and a sacrifice fly from Hicks, as well as Sanchez reaching first on a fielding error committed by Chavis, capped off a nine-run frame for the Yankees high-octane offense and gave them an 11-4 lead.

Ryan Brasier served up a leadoff solo homer to Gregorius in the eighth to make it a 12-4 game, and Steven Wright tossed a 1-2-3 top half of the ninth to give his team one last shot in their half, although that attempt came up short, which is what we’ll get to next.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against left-hander Stephen Tarpley, serving as the opener for New York in this one.

Similar to what went down on Saturday, the Boston bats got the scoring started right away in the first inning on Sunday, with Rafael Devers reaching on a one-out single and Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Christian Vazquez all homering off Tarpley giving the Sox an early four-run advantage in doing so.

Since Tarpley was only the opener though, his day came to an end after that bottom half of the first, and the Yankees bullpen really limited what the Red Sox could do up until the eighth, as they did not send more than four hitters to the plate in any of the next six innings.

In that eighth, having fallen behind 12-4 with right-hander Chance Adams on the mound for New York, back-to-back one out singles from Marco Hernandez and Martinez, followed by a wild pitch, put runners in scoring position for Vazquez, who capitalized on that mistake by driving in both runners on a two-run single to left to cut the deficit to six runs at 12-6.

A Jackie Bradley Jr. single put runners at the corners for Eduardo Nunez, and he too came through in a run-scoring spot with a line-drive RBI double to right, plating Vazquez and moving Bradley Jr. up to third. 12-7.

A pitching change for the Yanks saw left-hander Zack Brittion take over for Adams, and Sam Travis promptly greeted the new pitcher by ripping another RBI single through the left side of the infield, scoring Bradley Jr. and trimming New York’s advantage down to four at 12-8.

Mookie Betts drew a walk to fill the bases for Rafael Devers, now representing the tying run, but in a tough lefty-on-lefty matchup, the young infielder could only ground a 3-2 slider weakly to first base, and the rally was dead.

Finally, in the ninth, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman yielded a leadoff double to Hernandez before proceeding to punch out the next three Red Sox hitters he faced to wrap up this 12-8 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

From MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

From The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato:

The Red Sox are 1-6 against the Yankees this season and are now 11 games back of first place in the American League East.

The London Series experience was not much a positive one for the Red Sox, as they leave the United Kingdom in a worse position than when they arrived there.

Sox manager Alex Cora still has the belief that this club can compete at a high level, but given the product recently, it has become difficult to determine whether or not they can compete with the best teams in the American League.

The Red Sox lost two home games for this. Not like they were playing at a high level at Fenway Park anyway, but yeah.

It’s already been say, but the Red Sox got embarrassed on a national stage by their biggest rival. Their bullpen melted down not once, but twice, and now they have an extremely slim chance of catching up to the Yankees in the race for the AL East.

If Boston wants to get back in to this, they have to start winning games at a high rate, and that starts on Tuesday in the first of a three-game set against the lowly Toronto Blue Jays north of the border.

Left-hander David Price is expected to get the ball for the series opener, while rookie right-hander Trent Thornton will do the same for Toronto.

Since allowing six runs in 1 1/3 innings against the Texas Rangers on June 13th, Price has surrendered just four (three earned) in his last two starts and 11 innings pitched.

In 18 career outings at Rogers Centre, the 33-year-old has posted a lifetime 3.17 ERA over 116 1/3 total innings of work. He is 13-1 in those starts.

Thornton, meanwhile, last faced Boston on June 21st, where he gave up two runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings in a losing effort.

When pitching at home this season, the 25-year-old is 0-3 with a 6.39 ERA in seven starts and 31 innings pitched.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:07 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to get on a roll.

 

Rick Porcello Allows Six Runs, Only Records One out as Red Sox Fall to Yankees 17-13 in Historic and Wild London Series Opener

NOTE: The information I would usually include from Baseball Savant was only made available while this game was happening, so that is why it is not presented here. Sorry about that.

After two days off, the Red Sox and New York Yankees finally kicked off the highly anticipated inaugural London Series at Olympic Stadium on Saturday, and the Sox lost the first ever Major League Baseball game played on European soil by a final score of 17-13 to fall 10 games off the pace for first place in the American League East.

Making his 17th start of the season and second against New York was Rick Porcello, who made history Saturday by becoming the first big league pitcher to make a start on the other side of the Atlantic.

Recording just the first out of this one, the right-hander was downright walloped by the Yankees high-octane offense, as he surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and one walk to go along with zero strikeouts on the afternoon.

That one out came on a flyout off the bat of Aaron Judge after DJ LeMahieu had reached base to start things off.

Other than that, Porcello followed with a one-out walk of Gary Sanchez before serving up back-to-back-to-back run-scoring doubles to Luke Voit, Didi Gregorious, and Edwin Encarnacion, which put the Yankees up four.

With two outs still to get, Porcello’s outing came to an abrupt close six pitchers later when Aaron Hicks took him deep to right on a 2-2 pitch to give his side a new six-run lead.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 33 (20 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler had Christian Vazquez, not Sandy Leon, behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision in the shortest start of his big league career, Porcello wraps up a dismal month of June in which he posted a 6.46 ERA over six starts and 30 2/3 innings of work, including that seven-inning shutout performance against the Minnesota Twins on the 17th. He’ll look for improved results in his next time out, which should come against the Detroit Tigers next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen had their work cut out for them Saturday, as they would wind up responsible for the final 8 2/3 frames of this contest.

Colten Brewer entered with one out and the bases empty in the first, and he walked the first man he faced in Gleyber Torres before retiring the last two hitters of the inning.

Steven Wright, in his second appearance since returning from an 80-game suspension, yielded a pair of Yankees runs on a two-out, two-run homer off the bat of Brett Gardner in the fourth, which gave New York a brand new 8-6 advantage, and that is how the knuckleballer was saddled with his first losing decision of the year.

From there, rookie right-hander Mike Shawaryn got rocked for eight earned runs, six of which came in consecutive order in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Gardner, a bases-clearing double from LeMahieu, and another two-run dinger from Aaron Judge to make it a 14-6 game.

In the fifth, three more Yankees runs crossed the plate on an RBI base knock from Didi Gregorious while Shawaryn was still out there, and a two-run single from the red-hot LeMahieu while the left-handed Josh Taylor, who ended the inning, was on the mound.

At 17-6, it looked like this one was all but over for Boston, but with the efforts of Ryan Brasier, Hector Velazquez, and Marcus Walden combining for four frames of scoreless baseball from the beginning of the sixth up until the middle of the ninth, the Red Sox were nearly able to climb their way back, which is what we’ll get into next.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a formidable opponent in Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who had yet to face Boston this season before Saturday.

Coming to the plate for the first time already down a sizable margin, Rafael Devers got the scoring started for his side by driving in Mookie Betts all the way from first following a leadoff single on a long double to right field. 6-1.

Two walks of JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts later to fill the bases, Christian Vazquez cut into that deficit even further, plating Devers from third on a sacrifice fly to right for the second out of the inning.

Brock Holt cut the initial six-run hole in half with an RBI single to score Bogaerts and move Martinez up to second, and Michael Chavis erased the original deficit entirely by mashing a three-run home run to left center field for his 13th of the season.

That bomb knotted things up at six, but the Yankees pulled away once more, at one point padding an 11-run lead until the Red Sox got on the board again in their half of the sixth.

There, with reliever Nestor Cortes Jr. in for New York, Jackie Bradley Jr. stayed hot by leading the inning off with his ninth big fly of the year, a long solo shot to bring the Sox back to within 10 runs.

Given that large of a deficit in the later stages of this contest, manager Alex Cora went ahead and removed Andrew Benintendi and Devers to begin the seventh, replacing them with Sam Travis and Marco Hernandez respectively while also moving Vazquez to third and putting Sandy Leon in behind the plate.

In that seventh inning, the Boston bats continued to dig with four straight two-out hits against Cortes Jr., the third of which was Chavis’ second two-run dinger of the night to make it a 17-10 game in favor of New York.

A Bradley Jr. single got Cortes out and brought right-hander Tommy Kahnle in, who proceeded to walk Betts and throw a wild pitch in his matchup against Hernandez, which allowed both runners to move into scoring position.

Hernandez took full advantage of that mistake from Kahnle by driving in Bradley Jr. on an RBI infield single, and Betts scored as well on another wild pitch from the Yankees reliever on ball four to Bogaerts. 17-12

Another pitching chane for New York saw Adam Ottavino take over for Kahnle, and Martinez greeted him promptly with an RBI double, allowing Hernandez to score from second and bring the Red Sox back to within grand slam range, or four runs.

Unfortunately, that would wind up being the last Boston run to cross the plate, as Travis popped out to first with runners at second and third to end the seventh, Hernandez grounded out to third with the bases loaded to end the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman faced the minimum three batters in a scoreless ninth, sealing a 17-13 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

Xander Bogaerts departed in the seventh inning Saturday due to cramping in both of his calfs. He is day-to-day and is hopeful to play Sunday.

Saturday’s nine-inning game lasted four hours and 42 minutes. Both teams combined for 30 runs on 37 hits and 12 walks, all without committing a single error.

DJ LeMahieu recorded the first hit in Europe in Major League Baseball history, while Aaron Hicks recorded the first home run.

Michael Chavis’ last 15 games: .318/.357/.530 with four home runs and 14 RBI.

More from Chavis, courtesy of The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato:

Rafael Devers’ last 15 games: .443/.460/.754 with three home runs and 10 RBI.

The first Major League Baseball game to ever be played in Europe was a wild one, but at the end of the day, the Red Sox dropped a contest to a divisional opponent and are now 10 games back of the Yankees for first place in the American League East.

With that third straight division title becoming more and more out of reach, how the Red Sox go about the next few weeks leading to the July 31st trade deadline should be worth paying attention to.

Anyway, next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this two-game London Series against the Bronx Bombers on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston, and will probably be asked to pitch deep into his 17th start of the year, while fellow southpaw Stephen Tarpley will do the same for New York by serving as their opener.

Neither Rodriguez nor Tarpley have faced the Yankees or Red Sox so far this season.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 10:10 AM EDT on ESPN. Red Sox going for the split before taking off for Toronto.

 

 

David Price Steps Up, Limits Yankees to Two Runs as Red Sox Halt Losing Streak and Avoid Sweep with 8-5 Series Finale Win in New York

After coming up empty-handed in their first four tries, the Red Sox have finally taken a game from the New York Yankees with an 8-5 win over their division rivals Sunday night to avoid the three-game sweep and a double-digit game deficit in the American League East standings.

That much was made possible by David Price, who made his 10th start of the season for Boston to cap off the weekend.

Known for his career struggles inside Yankee Stadium, the left-hander put a halt to that narrative for the time being by twirling 6 1/3 solid innings Sunday, limiting the Yankees to just two runs on six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts of the night.

Both of those New York runs came around to score in the fourth, where after taking a perfect game that far into it, Price buckled a bit by serving up a one-out solo home run to Luke Voit to break up the no-no, and then proceeded to allow the next three hitters he faced to reach base as well to fill the bases with two outs still to get.

So, after a terrific start to his outing, it looked as though things were going to take a turn for the worst for Price, but the southpaw responded well, yielding only one more run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Gio Urshela before getting out of the jam with a failed attempt of stealing home on behalf of Aaron Hicks. Heads up play by Sam Travis there.

From the middle of the fifth on, Price relatively cruised through the fifth and sixth innings before more trouble arose in the seventh.

There, a pair of singles to two of the first three hitters he faced in that frame would ultimately see Price’s night come to an end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (65 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler turned to his cutter 36% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing five swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 17 times with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Later picking up his third winning decision while his ERA on the season remained at 2.83, Price will look for win number four in his next time out, which will come against his old club in the Tampa Bay Rays sometime next weekend.

In relief of Price, Heath Hembree took over in the seventh with inherited runners on first and second and one out in the inning.

Making his 27th appearance of the year already, Hembree needed all but five pitches to fan Austin Romine, but needed double that in an intense matchup against Brett Gardner.

Fortunately for Boston though, Hembree ultimately won the battle, as he got the Yankees veteran to sharply ground out to Michael Chavis at first, who made a great diving play to prevent a hit that would have seen at least one run cross the board.

In the eighth, Matt Barnes worked in less than favorable conditions with thrashing downpours and lightning making its way through the Bronx. It had to have been a quick moving cell though, because there was no real indication that this contest was going to go into a delay besides the effort what went into making field playable.

Still, it was clear to see that Barnes was frustrated having to pitch in such miserable conditions, even more so since he filled the bases on the first three hitters faced in the inning and balked in a run as well.

But, after allowing two more runs to cross the plate on an RBI groundout from Aaron Hicks and sacrifice fly from Gleyber Torres, Barnes did escape the eighth without giving anything else up by striking out Gio Urshela on three straight strikes.

And in the ninth, with an 8-5 lead to protect, Brandon Workman came on to close the door on the Yankees, and he did just that by working his way around a leadoff single and sitting down the last three hitters he faced to notch his second save of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another veteran left-hander in CC Sabathia for the Yankees, making his first start since being activated from the 10-day injured list that same day.

After being held to just seven total runs in their first four meetings against New York, JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston right away in this one by launching a two-out, 387 foot solo shot to left field to put his team on the board first with his 12th home run of the season.

An inning later, back-to-back one-out singles from Christian Vazquez and Michael Chavis put runners on the corners for Eduardo Nunez, who took full advantage by swinging at the first pitch he saw from Sabathia and grounding an RBI single through the right side of the infield to make it a 2-0 game early.

In the fourth, Xander Bogaerts led things off the same way he did in the fourth inning on Saturday, that being, demolishing a solo home run to left field. This one, good for his 12th of the season. 3-0 Boston.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, after the Yankees had trimmed their deficit down to one run and Luis Cessa had taken over for Sabathia, it was the bottom of the Red Sox lineup getting things done once again, with Nunez plating Michael Chavis all the way from first while also advancing to third on another one-out RBI single to go along with a fielding error committed by Clint Frazier in right field.

Four pitches later, in came Brock Holt pinch-hitting for Sam Travis out of the nine-hole and the 2018 ALDS hero delivered with a run-scoring base knock that probably would have been a pop out had DJ LeMahieu not been playing in with a runner at third in a tight game. But, baseball’s baseball, and Holt came away with his fourth RBI of the season to give his team a three-run advantage.

Still in the seventh, with two outs now, Andrew Benintendi came through in a big spot, scoring Holt from first on an RBI single just out of the reach of a sprawling Frazier in right field. 6-2.

And in the eighth, a Xander Bogaerts leadoff double would translate into Boston’s seventh run coming around to score on an RBI single off the bat of Rafael Devers, who would wind up being the last batter Cessa faced.

In came reliever David Hale with his team trailing by five runs, and he would see that deficit inflate up to six thanks to Michael Chavis’ first career triple that drove in Devers from second to make it an 8-2 contest.

The Yankees did make things interesting by adding three runs of their own in their half of the eighth, but not enough in an 8-5 victory for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox entered Sunday having scored seven runs against the Yankees all season. They scored eight runs in their only win against them thus far.

Since his return from the injured list on May 27th, Brock Holt is 6-for-his-last-18 with one double and three RBI.

In his last 15 games, Xander Bogaerts is slashing .406/.441/.750 with five home runs and 13 RBI.

The next time the Red Sox take on the Yankees will be later this month in London, England.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an off day on Monday before a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals kicks off at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.

For the opener of that three-game set, it will be left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston, while right-hander Glenn Sparkman does the same for Kansas City.

Last working on May 26th, Rodriguez’s latest turn through the rotation was skipped due to that rainout on Friday.

In one prior start at Kauffman Stadium, the 26-year-old allowed one run over 6 1/3 innings in a winning effort way back on June 19th, 2015.

Sparkman, meanwhile has given up 10 earned runs in just 2.2 career innings against the Red Sox. That’s good for an ERA of 33.75.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:15 PM EDT on NESN.

 

 

 

 

Rick Porcello Can’t Make It Through Five Innings as Red Sox Drop Fourth Straight, Fall Back to .500 in 5-3 Loss to Yankees

After wrapping up their May with a series-opening 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees Friday night, the Red Sox opened up their June in similar fashion Saturday, falling to the Bronx Bombers by a final of 5-3 to mark their fourth consecutive defeat and fall back to 29-29 on the season.

Making his 12th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who came into the new month fresh off a win in his last time out against the Cleveland Indians last Monday, which just so happens to be the last time the Red Sox won a game.

Pitching into only the fifth inning this time around, the right-hander yielded five runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first three of those five New York runs came around to score in the second, an inning in which Porcello struggled mightily, to be frank.

In total, the Yankees sent eight men to bat in their half of the second, with five of the first six reaching and Gio Urshela and Brett Gardner driving in a combined three runs on a pair of RBI singles to put their team ahead by two runs early.

From there, Porcello settled in by retiring the next nine hitters he faced in order and it looked as though he was on his way to a quality outing heading into the fifth.

There, Luke Voit put an end to Porcello’s impressive run by reaching base on a one-out single to center.

A one-pitch groundout from Aaron Hicks put the New Jersey native just one out away from escaping another potential jam, but slugging Yankees backstop Gary Sanchez ceased any hope of that happening by working his way back from an 0-2 hole and demolishing a 2-2 slider 403 feet to center field.

That two-run shot, Sanchez’s 18th of the season, put New York up 5-3.

Porcello’s night would come to a close shortly after serving up that bomb, as he allowed the next and last two hitters he faced in the fifth in Gleyber Torres and Kendrys Morales to reach base and give the Yankees another opportunity to tack on some more runs.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (65 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his slider more than 34% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 23 times and got four swings and misses on with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Dropping to 4-5 while his ERA on the season inflated up to 4.76, Saturday marked the first time since April 13th that Porcello was unable to provide the Red Sox with at least five innings pitched. He’ll look for improved results in his next time out, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays sometime next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen put together another solid performance, and it started with Marcus Walden working his way around the mess he inherited and a HBP of Clint Frazier to keep the Yankees off the scoreboard with the bases loaded in the fifth.

Walden also added on to what was a bounceback effort after a rough outing in his last time out against the Indians by twirling a scoreless sixth.

From the middle of the seventh inning on, Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes both contributed with a scoreless frame a piece to keep their team within the two runs they trailed by. And although it didn’t make all that much a difference in the end, the Red Sox bullpen has yet to give up a single run in this series.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander and American League wins leader Domingo German, who entered Saturday with nine winning decisions on the season to this point.

Facing off against Boston for just the third time in his career, German was vulnerable, and it was Xander Bogaerts who exposed that first with a leadoff single in the second.

One Brock Holt single and two additional batters later, Sandy Leon got his team on the board first by ripping a two-out RBI single to right-center field, plating Bogaerts from second and giving the Red Sox the early one-run advantage.

Fast forward to the fourth, and it was Bogaerts leading things off with a bang yet again, this time mashing his 11th home run of the season off the Yankees right-hander to pull his team back to within one run.

That one-run deficit would not last too long though, as Leon, like Bogaerts, came through once more with a one-out RBI single to drive in Holt from second and knot this one up at three runs each.

German would be chased from this contest in the inning, which you would think to be a positive development for the Red Sox. Instead, the Yankees bullpen proved how much of a beast they are by holding the Boston bats in check over the final 5 1/3 Saturday.

Oh, they had their chances, like in the fifth, with JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts at second and third with one out in the inning. Nothing against Chad Green.

Or how about the sixth against Tommy Kahnle and then Adam Ottavino? Betts and Leon at first and second with one out. Nothing again.

In the eighth, the Sox had the tying run at the plate after Eduardo Nunez drew a one-out, pinch-hit walk off left-hander Zack Britton. In comes Christian Vazquez, pinch-hitting himself for Sandy Leon following his first three-hit game of 2019, and he grounds into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

And in the ninth, facing off against vaunted closer Aroldis Chapman, both Betts and Andrew Benintendi reached base to leadoff the inning, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of JD Martinez, the ideal hitter for the job.

Instead of reaching base himself or at least advancing the runners though,  Martinez grounded into another 4-6-3 double play to snuff Benintendi out at second and leave Betts alone at third.

Down to their final out and still representing the tying run, Rafael Devers hacked at the first pitch he saw from Chapman, perhaps thinking fastball, but instead got an 86 MPH slider towards the outer half of the plate, one in which the young infielder grounded to Luke Voit at first, and this contest came to a close with a final score of 5-3. Another frustrating night.

Some notes from this loss:

Rafael Devers’ 11-game hitting streak has come to an end.

Michael Chavis is 1-for-his-last-15 with one RBI and one walk.

The Red Sox’ 1-4 hitters went 3-for-19 with two walks and six strikeouts Saturday.

The Red Sox went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position Saturday and left a total of 10 men on base.

Xander Bogaerts has multiple hits in four of his last five games.

The Red Sox are 0-4 against the New York Yankees this season.

Losers of four in a row now, the Sox now sit 9.5 games behind the Yankees in the American League East standings on just the second day of June.

Again, if they have any plans on contending for the division this season, now would be the time, but that’s not how things are looking at the moment. I don’t know what it is, but it just feels like this team is missing something.

Looking to avoid the sweep on Sunday, it will be David Price getting the ball for Boston under the lights at Yankee Stadium, a venue that has given the left-hander plenty of issues over his illustrious career.

In his latest start after dealing with flu-like symptoms in Houston, Price fanned six and scattered three hits over six quality innings against the Indians this past Tuesday.

Opposite Price will be another veteran southpaw in CC Sabathia for New York, making his first start since May 22nd after spending time on the injured list with right knee inflammation.

Currently sitting at 3-1 with a 3.48 ERA on the season, Sabathia owns a lifetime 4.14 ERA over 42 career starts against the Red Sox.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on ESPN. Red Sox looking to avoid a double-digit game deficit in the division.

 

 

 

Chris Sale Allows Four Runs over Six Innings, Gets No Run Support as #RedSox Fall to Yankees to Extend Losing Streak to Three

After their initial series opener was rained out on Thursday, the Red Sox opened up a now three-game weekend series against the New York Yankees in disappointing fashion Friday night, as they fell to 0-3 on the season against their division rivals in another frustrating 4-1 loss in the Bronx.

Making his 12th start of the season and second at Yankee Stadium for Boston was Chris Sale, who gave up four earned runs in five innings of work against New York back on April 16th.

This time around, more than six weeks later, the left-hander had a similar experience, as he yielded another four earned runs on seven hits and just one walk to go along with 10 strikeouts over six so-so innings.

From the jump, it seemed as though Sale was locked in with three consecutive punchouts on 13 pitches in the first and another quick 13 pitch scoreless inning in the second. But, that good fortune all changed beginning in the third.

Allowing four of the seven hitters he faced in the frame to reach base, the initial blow came on a one-out double from DJ LeMahieu to plate Gio Urshela from second to tie this game at one and also advance Brett Gardner to third.

A four-pitch strikeout of Luke Voit gave Sale the chance to escape the third with just the one run given up, and that looked even more possible when he had Aaron Hicks down 0-2 on the first two pitches of his his at-bat.

Instead of getting out of the jam though, the Florida native folded a bit with three straight out of the strike zone, and then left a hanging 82 MPH slider out on the outer-middle part of the plate, one in which Hicks took full advantage of by driving in both runners on a two-run single through the infield to left.

Fast forward to the fifth, and it was LeMahieu who got to Sale yet again, as the ex-Rockies infielder belted his sixth home run of the year off the Red Sox lefty, a solo shot to right-center that put his team up 4-1.

Capping off his night by sitting down the last four hitters he faced through the conclusion of the sixth, Sale finished with a final pitch count of 108, 72 of which went for strikes.

Out of those 108, the 30-year-old turned to his slider more than 46% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing 11 swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at a modest 97.4 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 30 times with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Falling to an unsightly 1-7 while his ERA jumped back up to 4.35 on the season, Sale will look to get back on track in his next time out, which should come next Thursday against the Kansas City Royals.

In relief of Sale, Ryan Brasier bounced back from a rough Tuesday night against the Cleveland Indians with a two-strikeout, scoreless seventh inning, while rookie Josh Taylor fanned one and stranded one in a shutout eighth to keep it a three-run game.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in veteran left-hander JA Happ for the Yankees, who entered Friday with a 5.61 ERA in five starts since the beginning of May.

Despite those recently poor numbers though, Happ held the opposition in check, as he limited the Sox bats to one lone run over the first five innings Friday night.

That lone run came courtesy of the red-hot Rafael Devers, whose solo blast to leadoff the second extended his hitting streak to 11 games and also put Boston on the board first. Devers’ eighth of the year.

Other than that, there wasn’t much to talk about up until Happ’s final frame of work in the top half of the fifth.

With two outs, Eduardo Nunez at second following a leadoff single, Mookie Betts at first following an intentional walk, and Andrew Benintendi at the plate in a then two-run game, the Red Sox saw their best run scoring chance of the night go by the wayside as Nunez was picked off by Gary Sanchez at second after trying to over-extend his lead.

An embarrassing and frustration decision to say the least would be how Boston’s fifth inning came to a close, and they did not advance a runner past first for the remainder of the night in what would turn out to be a 4-1 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

Steve Pearce, who initially started at first and batted fourth, departed from this contest in the second inning after only one at-bat due to back spasms. He was ruled day-to-day and replaced by Michael Chavis.

Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, JD Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts, the top four in Boston’s lineup, went a combined 1-for-13 with three walks, three strikeouts, and three left on base Friday.

Rafael Devers in May: .351/.380/.640 with eight home runs and 24 RBI. Should be a serious contender for American League Player of the Month.

With another two hits on Friday, Jackie Bradley Jr. now has a total of seven base knocks over his last four games. His OPS is up to .612.

Chris Sale finishes his May with 66 strikeouts in 38.1 total innings pitched. That’s good for a K/9 of 15.6.

The Red Sox finish May losers of their last three and are now 8.5 games off the pace for first place in the American League East.

With two more games remaining in their series against the Yankees, now would be the time to make up some ground if you’re serious about contention this season.

For the middle game in the Bronx, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of right-handers, with Rick Porcello getting the ball for Boston and Domingo German doing the same for New York.

In his last five starts, Porcello, a native of New Jersey, is 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA and .218 batting average against over 32.1 innings pitched. The Red Sox are 4-1 in those games.

In seven career starts at Yankee Stadium, Porcello owns a lifetime 5.56 ERA over seven starts and 43.2 innings of work.

Opposite Porcello, German, a 26-year-old hurler out of the Dominican Republic, has been a huge boost to the Yankees pitching staff with ace Luis Severino currently on the injured list.

Through 11 games (10 starts this season), German currently leads all of baseball with nine wins to go along with a 3.43 ERA over a span of 60.1 total innings pitched.

In his career against the Red Sox, German has posted a 2.08 ERA in a very small sample of two games (one start) and 4.1 innings pitched.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:15 PM EDT on FOX. Red Sox looking to get back on track. for real this time.

 

 

#RedSox Place Hector Velazquez on 10-Day Injured List, Select No. 12 Prospect Mike Shawaryn from Triple-A Pawtucket

Prior to their game against the New York Yankees Thursday night, the Red Sox placed right-hander Hector Velazquez on the 10-day injured list due to a lower back strain.

In a corresponding move, the Sox also added right-hander Mike Shawaryn to their 40-man roster and recalled him from Triple-A Pawtucket. The club made the move official earlier Thursday.

Last working in Wednesday night’s loss to the Indians in an outing where he gave up four earned runs over two innings of relief, Velazquez has provided Boston with depth in both the rotation and bullpen this season.

Through 18 appearances, seven of which have been starts, the 30-year-old has posted a 5.97 ERA and 1.44 WHIP while striking out 32 batters over 34.2 total innings pitched in 2019.

Since there was no real indication that Velazquez was dealing with any back discomfort following Wednesday’s loss, there’s a real chance that this is just another move made by the Red Sox to get another fresh arm up with the big league club.

That fresh arm, of course, would be Mike Shawaryn.

Ranked as Boston’s No. 12 prospect per MLB.com, Shawaryn opened the 2019 season with Triple-A Pawtucket, where he currently owns an ERA of 4.72 over 10 International League Starts. This will be his first major league stint.

Selected by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2016 amateur draft out of the University of Maryland, the 24-year-old New Jersey native has risen up to become the third-highest ranked right-handed pitcher in the club’s farm system.

According to SoxProspects.com, Shawaryn features a 91-93 MPH fastball that can top out at 95 MPH, a 84-87 MPH slider, and a 85-87 MPH changeup.

If he does make his big league debut during this upcoming series against the Yankees, Shawaryn will become the fifth such Red Sox to do so in 2019 behind Darwinzon Hernandez, Travis Lakins, Josh Taylor, and Michael Chavis.