RECAP: Chris Sale pitches another gem; #RedSox offense does nothing in 1-0 loss in series finale.

Five out of their last six. That’s how many games the Red Sox have won since Friday. Against a pretty bad team in the Phillies, it was looking like a team led by Chris Sale was about to go into Houston fresh off a four game sweep. Since the beginning of May, Sale has an ERA north of 4, which is unlike him. Thursday’s start was peak Chris Sale, as the southpaw pitched a complete game of one-run ball. He also struck out ten batters for the first time since May 19th. The only damage the Phillies did off of Sale came in the eighth, when pinch hitter Ty Kelly drove in Andrew Knapp on a one out RBI double. Sale only allowed four other hits, so this loss cannot be pinned on him, especially since he almost helped his own cause with a bat in his hand. The greatest takeaway from this start is the fact that Chris Sale gave the bullpen a day of rest before an important series in Houston, in which Drew Pomeranz is pitching in today.

As it has already been said, the Red Sox offense did virtually nothing last night. Tip off the cap to the pitcher Nick Pivetta and Howie Kendrick, who both played huge roles in limiting the Red Sox to zero runs and only five hits over nine innings. They had their chances, but strike outs in key situations and bad base running didn’t do any good. The last good opportunity to score any runs came in the eighth, where Chris Sale lined a double to left to lead off the inning and smiled.

He got to third on a line out, but Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts failed to score him. Another chance presented itself in the ninth, with Jackie Bradley on first with two outs, Pablo Sandoval came to the plate representing the go-ahead run. To nobody’s surprise, Sandoval struck out on three ugly pitches, like the waste of money he is.

Next up, the Red Sox spend the weekend in Houston. A decimated Astros rotation should help the cause, but that lineup is still pretty lethal. Eight o’clock start, Pomeranz on the mound, what could go wrong???

37 down, ? to go. 

 

RECAP: Brian Johnson exits early; Mookie Betts homers twice; #RedSox take Game 3 7-3.

After winning the first two games of this home-at-home series, the Red Sox made a visit to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, their first since 2015. Brian Johnson got the start, and Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval were on the field together for the first time in nearly two years. Johnson did not stay in the game long, as the 26 year-old left in the third with left shoulder discomfort. It doesn’t appear to be too severe, but Johnson will be heading back to Boston for more tests anyway. Prior to the game yesterday, Hector Velazquez was recalled from Pawtucket while Deven Marrero was sent down. As it turns out, the Red Sox needed Velazquez to limit the work of the bullpen. The Mexico native finished the third, and then went on to get through the sixth while only surrendering one hit. The bullpen wrapped things up from there, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, and Robby Scott pitched three scoreless innings, only allowing three baserunners over that span. With Johnson’s health in question, it looks like Velazquez could make his second start of the season next time Johnson’s spot comes up in the rotation.

Jeremy Hellickson did not stand a chance against the Red Sox offense last night. Five runs crossed the plate over the first two innings, highlighted by RBI doubles from Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts. Speaking of Betts, what a night he had. In the first four innings, Betts already had three quarters of the cycle down, only needing a triple. No more runs would come until the ninth. With Mookie Betts up with the chance to hit for the cycle, he went deep again, his eleventh of the season, giving the Red Sox a 7-3 lead and essentially the win.

Now a season best nine games over .500, The Red Sox have the best record in Major League Baseball since they won that finale in Oakland. Last year at this time, they actually had the same record as they do now. So, for as frustrating this season has seemed at times, it’s not that bad.

37 down, ? to go. 

 

RECAP: David Price notches quality start; Andrew Benintendi plays hero as #RedSox walk it off in the twelfth.

Who would have thought it would take 23 innings to beat the worst team in baseball twice? Well, that’s the way it has gone over the past two days. In fact, the last three games the Red Sox have played in have taken over 12 hours to complete. They’ve won two of those games, and now, they are a season best eight games over .500.

Let’s get to the game itself. David Price was matched up against Ben Lively, a 25-year-old who has won Minor League Pitcher of the Year in two different organizations. Surprisingly, Lively outpitched Price, going an inning more than the southpaw. The first three innings were interesting, as Price only needed six pitches to get through the first, but needed around 60-70 pitches to get through the next two. The Phillies tacked on their first runs in the third, when Price surrendered a two run home run to Aaron Altherr with one out in the inning. The only other real trouble Price ran into came in the sixth, when the Phillies scored their last run of the game on a fielder’s choice. All and all, not a great start, but certainly better than his last start in New York. Again, the bullpen was basically flawless last night. Robby Scott, Blaine Boyer, Craig Kimbrel, Heath Hembree, and Fernado Abad shut out the Phillies over the last six innings of the game, striking out five over that span. I believe David Price will be making his next start in Houston, on Sunday Night Baseball, which should be interesting to watch.

The Red Sox offense started things out with three runs in the first three innings. Benintendi drove in a run in the first, Christian Vazquez drove in the second run, and Mitch Moreland stayed hot, launching his ninth home run of the year in the third. No more runs would score until the twelfth, but the Red Sox did have their chances. Like in the tenth, Dustin Pedroia was faked out by Maikel Franco, ending the inning by getting tagged out at third base. In the twelfth, Andrew Benintendi came up to the plate with one out and runners on first and third. The rookie walked it off, his first career walk off hit, giving the Red Sox the 4-3 win.

About two years ago, Benintendi was in the process of getting drafted in the first round by the Red Sox, today, he is the every day left fielder and an important member of this Red Sox team.

36 down, ? to go.

RECAP: Porcello struggles; Hanley homers; Pedroia walks it off as #RedSox win 6-5.

With the Phillies in town, there was a sense that the Red Sox needed to take both games in order to stay in striking distance of the hot Yankees. It didn’t look good at first, I mean, the Phillies scored four times in the first. I don’t know what to think about Rick Porcello right now. Statistically, he’s looking like 2015 pre DL Porcello, but when I watch him pitch this season, I have this confidence in him since he won the Cy Young last season. After giving up four in the first, Porcello would go on to pitch five more innings, only giving up one run in that span. After that, the Red Sox bullpen was incredible. Joe Kelly, Roby Scott, Craig Kimbrel, and most importantly Matt Barnes, combined to pitch five innings while only allowing four hits, zero hits, and striking out seven, including five from Barnes. Good stuff from the pen, Porcello makes his next start in Houston, so hopefully he can have a nice rebound start there.

Offensively, the Red Sox had plenty of work to do right from the start. Andrew Benintendi got the scoring started in the second, mashing his ninth home run of the season to center field. In the third, two more runs were tacked on. The first came on a Dustin Pedroia ground out that scored Mookie Betts. The second came off the bat of Andrew Benintendi again, this time an RBI single that scored Mitch Moreland. Another run would cross the plate in the fourth when Jackie Bradley Jr. scored on a Mookie Betts double. Fast forward to the eighth when the Red Sox trailed by one, Hanley Ramirez came to the plate with the chance to tie, and that’s exactly what he did, blasting a solo shot, his ninth, completely over the Green Monster. The game would stay tied until the eleventh, when Dustin Pedroia drove in the game-winning run on a walk-off single.

A win is a win, and that was definitely fun to watch, but it really shouldn’t take that much to beat the worst team in baseball.

35 down, ? to go.