David Price Shines with Seven Scoreless Innings and Xander Bogaerts Drives in All Four Runs as #RedSox Blank Orioles

For the first time this season, the Red Sox will not lose a series, as they defeated the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday by a final score of 4-0 to at least guarantee a series-split with the finale between the two clubs set for Monday.

Starting pitching has been a hot topic in Boston lately, but it looks as though things may be turning for the better more than two weeks into the 2019 campaign.

Eduardo Rodriguez came through with a quality outing against the O’s to start the weekend, and less than 48 hours later, David Price was even better.

Making his third start of the season on Sunday, Price was borderline brilliant, holding Baltimore scoreless while limiting them to just three hits and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over seven impressive innings of work.

Retiring nine of the first 10 hitters he faced, the left-hander really was not under too much pressure in this one.

There was an instance in the fourth where Joey Rickard led things off for Baltimore by reaching second on a Rafael Devers throwing error, but Christian Vazquez was able to cancel that out by throwing Rickard out at third on a stolen base attempt.

And in the final two frames Price pitched in, the Orioles led each inning off with doubles from Richie Martin and Trey Mancini, and despite having the then tying run in scoring position with no outs, the 33-year-old managed to escape the sixth and seventh without a scratch.

Finishing with an economical final pitch count of 92 (64 strikes), Price relied heavily on his two-seam fastball, throwing the pitch 33 times and inducing five swings and misses with it. He also topped out at 94 MPH with both his two-seam and four-seam fastballs, according to Statcast.

Lowering his ERA from 6.00 to 3.79 in one outing, Price’s next start should come against the Tampa Bay Rays next weekend.

In relief of Price, the recently overworked Red Sox bullpen was only responsible for the final two innings on Sunday, and they capped off the shutout.

Working the eighth, Ryan Brasier danced his way around a one out walk and two out single to strand what would have been the tying run for Baltimore at third base, notching his first hold of the season in the process.

And in the ninth, after his team jumped out to a four-run lead, Matt Barnes also gave up one walk in one base hit while fanning a pair in a scoreless frame, locking down Boston’s third win in the last four days.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles left-hander John Means, whose big league debut came at Fenway Park last September.

Starting a relatively quiet day of scoring on Sunday was Xander Bogaerts, whose fourth inning RBI sacrfice fly to plate Steve Pearce would have been the only run the Red Sox would need to pick up the W in this one.

However, after squandering a couple of scoring opportunities over the middle portion of this contest, Bogaerts was it again in the bottom half of the eighth.

With one out in the inning and Mookie Betts and JD Martinez at first and second, Bogaerts essentially put this game away on one swing of the bat, launching a three-run, 418 foot home run to dead center for his second big fly of the season.

That made it a 4-0 game at the time it was blasted, and that would go on to be the final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi had to depart from this contest after fouling a ball off his right foot in the third inning. He did manage to stay in the game after the blow, and actually laced a double down the left field line, but his day came to a close before the Red Sox took the field in the fourth.

Blake Swihart filled in for Benintendi for the remainder of Sunday’s win. Benintendi was ruled day-to-day with a right foot contusion.

This comes on the same day that Jackie Bradley Jr. was ruled from the Red Sox’ lineup due to flu-like symptoms, so the outfield situation could be pretty interesting Monday depending on the statuses of those two.

The Red Sox are 3-1 in their last four games.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an early start for Patriots Day Monday.

Right-hander Hector Velazquez is slated to get the start for Boston, while fellow right-hander and former Miami Marlin Dan Straily will do the same for Baltimore.

In his last time starting a game, Velazquez dazzled against the Arizona Diamondbacks out in the desert, twirling three scoreless inning to go along with three strikeouts.

Straily, meanwhile, owns a lifetime 6.00 ERA over two previous starts at Fenway Park.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 11:05 AM EDT, weather permitting.

Happy Marathon Monday, everyone.

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Orioles’ Chris Davis Ends Hitless Streak with First Inning Two-Run Single off Rick Porcello

At long last, Chris Davis’ hitless streak for the Baltimore Orioles has come to an end after 54 consecutive at-bats without a base knock dating back to September of last season.

Davis, 33, entered Saturday with four career hits off Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, and capitalized on his first plate appearance of the afternoon, ripping a first inning two-RBI single to drive in Baltimore’s first two runs.

After reaching first base safely, Davis was able to get the ball back for his own keeping.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Davis’ 54 straight hitless at-bats are the most for a position player in the history of Major League Baseball.

Eduardo Rodriguez Impresses, Andrew Benintendi Homers, and Jackie Bradley Jr. Dazzles with Glove as #RedSox Take Opener from Orioles

For the first time this season, the Red Sox have won back-to-back games following a 6-4 victory to open up a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.

Entering Friday, Red Sox starting pitchers ranked dead last in all of baseball in terms of ERA as a group (8.79). Eduardo Rodriguez had the chance to improve that mark in his first outing in front of the Fenway faithful since last year, and that he did.

Making his third start of the season overall, Rodriguez put together the best start from any Red Sox starter 14 games into 2019, as he surrendered just two earned runs on three hits and no walks to go along with eight strikeouts on the night.

Retiring the first 14 Orioles hitters he faced in this one, the left-hander’s bid for a perfect game came to an end when Hanser Alberto grounded a two-out single to left in the top half of the fifth.

After a seemingly clean sixth inning, Rodriguez’s evening would come to a close an inning later following a one out double from Trey Mancini and a two out, two-run home run off the bat of Dwight Smith Jr to make it a one-run contest at the time it was hit.

That homer, the third Rodriguez has yielded this season already, may have been on the last pitch the Venezuela native threw, but it was an impressive performance nonetheless, especially when you take the zero walks into consideration.

Working at a quick tempo all night, Rodriguez finished with a final pitch count of 93 (62 strikes). In total, he topped out at 95.7 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 48 times and got eight swinging strikes out of.

It was the first time a Red Sox starter has pitched into the seventh inning this season. Rodriguez’s next start should come against the New York Yankees next week.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen limited the Orioles bats to two runs over the final 3.1 innings of this one.

Matt Barnes, who entered this contest after Rodriguez gave up that two-run homer to Smith, retired the side in the seventh while also recording two strikeouts.

Brandon Workman worked his way around a two out walk and received some tremendous assistance from Jackie Bradley Jr. to keep it a one-run game in the eighth.

And in the ninth, Tyler Thornburg came on for his first relief appearance since Tuesday with a four-run cushion to work with, but trimmed his team’s lead in half after serving up another two-run dinger to Renato Nunez.

Thornburg did manage to record one out before making way for Ryan Brasier, who earned his third save of the season by retiring the final two hitters he faced, including Chris Davis on that third and final out. Davis is now 0-for-his-last-54 at the plate dating back to 2018.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles right-hander David Hess to start this one out on Friday.

It took a little while for them to get going, but once the Red Sox bats began to figure Hess out, the hard contact was consistently there, and that was evident by Andrew Benintendi going deep the first time this season with a third inning solo shot to give his team an early lead.

An inning later, Mitch Moreland got a two-run rally started by lining a leadoff single up the middle for his second hit of the night. He would come around to score on a 106 MPH RBI double courtesy of Xander Bogaerts, who also crossed the plate on another hard-hit RBI knock from Eduardo Nunez. 3-0.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, after Christian Vazquez had scored Boston’s fourth run on a wild pitch from Orioles reliever Paul Fry in the seventh, and Nunez was back at it again. This time delivering with his second RBI single of the night to plate JD Martinez from third and advance Xander Bogaerts from second.

Bogaerts, with one run scored under his belt already, would also score his team’s sixth and final run of the day thanks to a Jackie Bradley Jr. sacrifice fly. That made it a 6-2 game, which is all the runs the Red Sox would need to pick up the win.

Some notes from this win:

In 10 games, this month, Mitch Moreland is slashing .313/.371/1.152 with four home runs and nine RBI.

Through seven appearances this season, Brandon Workman has given up just one hit and three walks over 6.1 total scoreless innings.

The Red Sox are 2-0 in their last two games and 3-1 in their last four.

Next up for the Red Sox, it will be a starting pitching matchup that features two veteran right-handers in the form of Andrew Cashner for Baltimore and Rick Porcello for Boston.

Cashner, 32, last made a start at Fenway Park when he was the Texas Rangers in 2017. He gave up five runs over five innings in a losing effort in that outing, and comes into Saturday with a 5.28 ERA on the 2019 season so far.

Porcello, meanwhile, has yet to make it to the sixth inning through two forgettable starts this year.

In his career against the Orioles, the 30-year-old hurler is 6-11 with a lifetime 4.62 ERA over a span of 20 starts and 122.1 innings pitched.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third consecutive win.

 

Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez Tosses Three Scoreless Innings as #RedSox Drop Third Straight

The Red Sox fell to 6-8 in Grapefruit League play on Friday afternoon following a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles marking their third consecutive defeat.

Top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez got the start for Boston in this one and was impressive yet again.

Working the first three innings, the left-hander held Baltimore scoreless while yielding just one hit, one walk, and two HBPs to go along with four strikeouts. He faced 11 Orioles hitters.

Through three outings (two starts) this spring, Hernandez has yet to allow a run to score while striking out 10 in seven total innings of work.

In relief of Hernandez, Bobby Poyner, Travis Lakins, Mike Shawaryn, and Jenryy Mejia combined to surrender four runs on seven hits, two walks, one HBP, and three strikeouts.

Poyner, who served up a fourth inning solo home run up to Renato Nunez, was charged with the loss.

Mejia, meanwhile, bounced back from a rough outing Tuesday with a pair of punch outs in a 1-2-3 ninth on Friday.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner for the Orioles and were limited to two runs or less for the third straight day.

Tzu-Wei Lin accounted for Boston’s lone RBI in this one with an RBI ground-rule double in the second inning of Cashner to score Sandy Leon from second.

Fast forward all the way to the top half of the ninth, and Austin Rei plated the Red Sox’ second and final run of the afternoon after Sam Travis reached first on a Baltimore fielding error.

Some notes from this 4-2 loss:

In 24 at bats so far this spring, Tzu-Wei Lin is slashing .375/.423/.667 with one home run and six RBI.

I know it’s just spring training, but the Red Sox have scored four runs in their last three games. Not ideal.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the New York Mets Saturday at JetBlue Park.

Right-hander Zack Wheeler, who posted a 3.31 ERA in 2018, will make the start for New York, while left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will do the same for Boston.

Following Rodriguez’s latest start this past Monday, which also happened to come against the Mets, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “He needs to get better. His stuff is really good. . . we have to be more efficient.” So, we’ll see how that goes.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 ET down at JetBlue. NESN has it covered.

 

Xander Bogaerts Launches First Home Run of Spring as #RedSox Get Blown out by Orioles

The Red Sox fell to 3-5 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday, dropping their second straight to the Baltimore Orioles by a final score of 9-1.

As the score indicates, the Red Sox pitching staff had themselves another tough afternoon in this one.

Colten Brewer, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres last November, made the start, serving as Boston’s ‘opener’, per Alex Cora.

The 26-year-old right-handed reliever picked up his second losing decision of the spring on Saturday, surrendering two runs (one earned), on two hits and three walks while pitching into the second inning.

In relief of the ex-Padre, right-hander Adam Lau struck out three of the four hitters he faced while cleaning up Brewer’s mess in that second inning.

From there, Travis Lakins, Dedgar Jiminez, Kutter Crawford, Matthew Gorst, Brian Ellington, Daniel Schlereth, and Daniel McGrath combined to surrender seven runs on 14 hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts over the final seven frames.

Ellington, who signed a minor league contract with Boston in early February, put together the best pitching performance of the day, as the right-hander fanned a pair in his lone inning of relief in the top half of the eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup featured JD Martinez for the first time in 2019.

The reigning two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, batting fourth and serving as Boston’s designated hitter, went 0/2 in his spring debut.

Similar to their performance against the Twins on Friday, the only run scored by the Red Sox against Baltimore came on a Xander Bogaerts fourth inning solo home run.

That moon shot of a homer off Orioles right-hander Yefry Ramirez marked Bogaerts’ first of the spring. He’s slashing .333/.333/.778 with that one long ball and two RBI in four games so far.

Bogaerts’ bomb cut Boston’s deficit to one run at the time it was hit, but as previously mentioned, the Orioles would go on to run away with this one in a 9-1 contest.

One note from this loss:

Mookie Betts broke out of his mini 0/5 slump by ripping a third inning single off Baltimore starter Mike Wright Jr. He also drew a walk in the first inning in his only other at bat of the day.

Next up for the Red Sox, they host the Twins, who will be sending a split-squad to JetBlue Park on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez is scheduled to get the start for Boston, while fellow southpaw Stephen Gonzalves will be starting for the Twins.

Hernandez, 22, has yet to start a game this spring. According to MLB Pipeline, the Venezuela native is ranked as the top left-handed pitcher in Boston’s farm system.

First pitch against the Twins is scheduled for 1:05 ET. NESN has it covered.

Jackie Bradley Jr. Homers Again and Other Notes from Wednesday’s #RedSox Split-Squad Action

The Red Sox partook in some split-squad action Wednesday, hosting the Baltimore Orioles at JetBlue Park and making the trek to Port Charlotte to face the Tampa Bay Rays.

In Fort Myers, reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts made his 2019 spring debut, starting in right field and batting in the two-hole behind Jackie Bradley Jr.

Speaking of Bradley Jr., the outfielder stayed hot on Wednesday as he led things off against Orioles starter Gabriel Ynoa with his second home run of the spring, a line drive to dead center.

Bradley Jr. also collected a single in the fourth inning, a hit he said, “that’s a ball I would roll over. And I was able to hit the path correctly and I was able to get it over the infielder’s head.” It looks like that modified swing is already paying off for the 2018 Gold Glove winner.

Betts, meanwhile, failed to collect a hit a hit in three at bats, striking out once. Remember, in 2018, the Tennessee native started his spring by going 0-for-his-first-16. Nothing to worry about there.

Top prospect Michael Chavis was also in Wednesday’s lineup against Baltimore, and he picked up right where he left off from this past weekend by mashing another three-run home run in the bottom half of the fourth off of Bo Schultz, his third in the last five days.

Chavis, 23, is slashing .444/.500/1.944 with three homers and nine RBI so far this spring.

Tzu-Wei Lin and Oscar Hernandez also collected RBI in the ninth inning of this one in a 7-6 loss for Boston.

Pitching wise, Eduardo Rodriguez made his 2019 spring debut against the team he originally signed with as an international free agent in 2010.

The left-hander started things off by working the first two innings on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of earned runs on three hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts.

Tyler Thornburg also made his first relief appearance of 2019 in the fourth, surrendering two runs on two hits, one of which a two-run homer off the bat of Orioles catcher Chance Sisco.

Darwinzon Hernandez and Marcus Walden each impressed to close this thing out, putting together a combined four shutout innings and holding Baltimore to four baserunners.

Meanwhile, in Port Charlotte, Rafael Devers had himself a fine day at the plate against the Rays, finishing 3/3 with a home run and two RBI batting third in the Red Sox lineup.

Pinch-running specialist Tony Renda also went deep in this contest, taking Tampa Bay right-hander Jacob Faria yard with a solo home run of his own in the seventh inning.

Boston’s eighth-ranked prospect CJ Chatham also drove in a run on a fourth inning RBI single.

RHP Mike Shawaryn made his first official start of the spring on Wednesday. The University of Maryland product surrendered two runs on two hits, one strikeout, and one walk in the lone frame he appeared in.

Opening Day roster hopeful Travis Lakins had the best day of any Red Sox hurler in this second game of a split-squad doubleheader, as the right-hander worked two scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out one as well.

The Red Sox fell to the Rays by a final score of 5-4.

Next up for Boston, they’ll welcome the Washington Nationals into JetBlue Park on Thursday afternoon.

Scheduled to start for the Nationals is three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, while Hector Velazquez is set to get the ball for the Red Sox.

Should be an exciting one.

First pitch on Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET and the game will air on Boston 25 if you’re in the Boston market, and NESN if you are not.

Rest in Peace, Romell Jordan.

 

New York Yankees Agree to Three-Year Deal with LHP Zach Britton.

After losing out on David Robertson to the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, the New York Yankees have brought back left-handed reliever Zach Britton on a three-year contract, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Britton, 31, was acquired by New York from the Baltimore Orioles last July, and posted a 2.88 ERA and 7.6 K/9 over 25 relief appearances and exactly 25 innings pitched while manning the back-end of the Yankees bullpen.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Britton’s three-year contract will be worth approximately $40 million, meaning the southpaw will earn about $13 million per season.

Britton’s contract also includes a $14 million team option for a potential fourth year that would need to be activated after the second year, meaning he could earn more than $50 million over the life of his new deal. The Texas native could also opt out if the Yankees fail to pick up that option following the 2020 season.

From the perspective of the Red Sox, this acquisition marks the second time in the past week that intriguing free agent bullpen options have been taken off the board by teams intending to contend in 2019.

It is unclear how hard the club pushed for the services of the oft-injured Britton, but I would like to imagine this increases their chances of retaining Craig Kimbrel at the moment.

Former Colorado Rockie Adam Ottavino remains an option on the relief market as well, but Rosenthal did previously reported Saturday that it’s, “not out of the question [the Yankees] will sign [Britton and Ottavino],” so we’ll have to wait and see if anything picks up on that front.