RECAP: David Price Tosses Six Quality Innings as #RedSox Pick up Series Win Against Rays.

Coming off a series opening win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, the Red Sox looked to clinch the series and their fourth straight win with David Price on the mound last night. With Chris Archer getting the start on the other side of the Rays, we were treated to a great pitching matchup between former teammates and close friends.

In his 10th start of the season, fourth against the Rays, David Price was fantastic. Going against his old club, the lefty tossed six innings of one run ball, scattering three hits and three free passes while recording a season high nine strikeouts over that span.

The only costly mistakes the Tennessee native made did not transpire until his last inning of work. After walking leadoff man Denard Span on six pitches, CJ Con took Price deep to center field for what looked like a go-ahead two run home run. Instead, it bounced off the top of the wall and stayed in play. It did allow the speedy Span to score all the way from First, but Price settled down and retired the next three batters he faced in order. That was how the 32-year-old’s night would end. Not a bad way to follow-up a complete game.

Ever since that awful start against the Rangers in Texas, David Price has looked like the David Price of old. He gave up seven earned runs in that outing back on May 3rd, but in three starts since then, the lefty owns a 2.21 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched. The haters and doubters will say that the teams Price has been pitching against aren’t playoff teams, and that may be true, but opponents are hitting a measly .183 against him over his last three starts. Regardless of the opposition, those numbers are impressive. He’ll look to build on this momentum in his next outing, which should come against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Memorial Day.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen shut the Rays down for the second straight night, as Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel combined to toss three perfect innings to go along with four strikeouts. For Kimbrel, last night’s save opportunity went much more smoothly than the one on Tuesday. That was reassuring to see, and he picked up his 15th save of the season to lock up his teams 34th win of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup did not have an answer for the way Rays starter Chris Archer was pitching last night. They had a golden opportunity to tack on their first run of the game in the fifth, after Eduardo Nunez tried to score from first on a two out double off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. Unfortunately, Nunez was tagged out at the plate in a somewhat bizarre sequence.

I mean, you have to slide in that situation, right? Christian Vazquez definitely deserves a fair amount of blame here, but there was no real urgency in Nunez either. Whatever the case, that blunder cost the Red Sox a run, but it did not cost them the game.

An inning later, after the 9-1-2 hitters loaded the bases with no outs, the Red Sox scored their first run of the game when Hanley Ramirez grounded into his second double play of the night. That allowed Christian Vazquez from third, and the Red Sox had their first run of the game and a one run lead.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, and things are all knotted up at one run a piece. With closer Alex Colome on the mound for the Rays, JD Martinez led the inning off by reaching base on a throwing error committed by shortstop Willy Adames and making it to second in the process.

Now, with the go-ahead run in scoring position, a fairly cooled off and hitless Xander Bogaerts came to the plate looking to put this game away. On the fourth pitch of the at bat, he did just that.

Bogaerts’ 13th double of the season allowed Martinez to easily score from second to put the Red Sox on top.

After Rafael Devers followed that RBI double up with a five pitch walk, Eduardo Nunez’s sacrifice fly to center scored Bogaerts from third to add a little insurance and advanced Devers to third.

Devers would cross the plate on a wild pitch from Colome with Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, and that was the last run the Red Sox scored last night. A nice three run ninth to put this one out of reach for the Rays.

Some notes from this one:

Despite neither of them getting a hit, Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi reached base a combined five times on five walks on Wednesday.

Hanley Ramirez is in the middle of a slump right now, as he is slashing .143/.182/.214 in 44 plate appearances over his last 10 games. Like I have been saying, might be time to get Mitch Moreland some more at bats.

Next up for the Red Sox is the series finale with the Rays later tonight. Looking for the sweep and their fifth straight win, Rick Porcello will be matched up against impressive lefty Blake Snell. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

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RECAP: Chris Sale Fans Nine and Mookie Betts Hits 16th Homer as #RedSox Pick up Series Opening Win in Tampa Bay.

Coming off a day off on Monday, the Red Sox kicked off another series against the 22-23 Tampa Bay Rays last night. Last time the Red Sox saw Tampa Bay, they took two out of three from them at Fenway Park and despite the low expectations going into this season, the Rays have not been that bad of a team.

Chris Sale made his eleventh start of the season in this one, and he was phenomenal once again on the mound at Tropicana Field. The lefty recorded his fourth start this month of seven or more innings pitched, as he surrendered two runs (one earned) on four hits, two walks, and a HBP while fanning nine Rays on the night. Up to this point in the season, there has been some talk about where the velocity of Sale’s fastballs are at, but that was not a concern last night. Right from the get go, the Florida native had his four-seamer working in his favor. In fact, the fastest pitch Sale threw came in the seventh inning when he reached 99 MPH on his 96th pitch of the game.

There were two costly mistakes that Sale made in his start last night, and they came in the fourth and fifth innings. With a three run lead going into the bottom of the fourth, the Rays put their first run on the board via a solo home run off the bat of their #1 prospect, Willy Adames. An inning later, after Rob Refsnyder led things off with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball with one out, Daniel Robertson scored the runner from third by flying out to left field. After getting out of the fifth with just that one run surrendered, Sale tossed two more scoreless innings and got the first two outs of the eighth before his departure. With his pitch count all the way up at 112 pitches (73 strikes), Sale was met with a standing ovation from the visiting crowd, which was more than likely consisted of mostly Red Sox fans, but it was still nice to see him get that sort of reception in a building he absolutely owns. As a matter of fact, after last night’s outing, Sale now owns a 1.92 ERA in 65.2 innings pitched at Tropicana Field. He’ll look to build on this start in his next time out against the Atlanta Braves this upcoming weekend.

In relief of Sale, Joe Kelly got the call out of the bullpen with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Responsible for one out, Kelly struck out the only batter he faced to pick up his seventh hold of the season.

Next out of the Red Sox bullpen was Craig Kimbrel. Looking to protect a two run lead and record his 14th save this season, getting there certainly was not an easy journey for the Red Sox closer. The Rays reached base three times in the inning, ultimately loading the bases with two outs for outfielder Mallex Smith. Thankfully, Kimbrel got Smith to ground into a force out, and this ballgame was over.

Looking at the numbers, we have not seen the best out of the 29-year-old this month. In nine appearances, Kimbrel has pitched 8.2 innings. Over that span, he has given up four earned runs (three home runs) on six hits and a walk. That’s good for a 4.15 ERA, and I expect those numbers to improve over the next nine games left in May, but I just wanted to point that out.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup got all their scoring done on two swings of the bat. The first came from Mookie Betts in the third inning, and the second came from Rafael Devers in the sixth inning.

Facing off against Rays starter Jake Faria with Jackie Bradley Jr. at first and Sandy Leon at second, Betts mashed his league-leading 16th home run of the season.

That 405 foot shot to left field was good for three, and it marked the third home run for Betts in his last four games.

Fast forward to the sixth, with the lead cut to just one run, Rafael Devers provided a little insurance with his ninth big fly of the season. This one coming off Rays reliever Austin Pruitt.

In the last 10 games he has played in, Devers is only slashing .167/.250/.417 with six hits. Half of those hits have been home runs.

That solo shot gave the Red Sox their fourth and final run of the game, which was good enough to pick up their league-leading 33rd win of the season.

Some notes from this one:

With another base knock last night, Sandy Leon is quietly has a slash line of .400/.478/.600 over the last seven games he has appeared in. With the way Christian Vazquez has disappointed this season, maybe Leon could see an increase in time behind the plate.

For only the fifth time this season, Jackie Bradley Jr. has recorded a base hit in consecutive games after his 2-for-4 performance at the plate on Tuesday.

Since returning from that road trip that ended in Toronto less than two weeks ago, Hanley Ramirez owns a .172 slugging percentage. I won’t bring up the other numbers, which are also ugly, but that is borderline unacceptable for a player who is capable of putting up 30 home runs in any given season. Might be time to get Mitch Moreland more playing time at first base.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox will look to take the second game of this series against the Rays later tonight. Coming off a great start against the Orioles, David Price will be taking the mound against his old team, while it will be Chris Archer going for Tampa Bay. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Sandy Leon Drives in Go-Ahead Run in Eighth Inning as #RedSox Salvage Series Against Rays.

After dropping the first two games of this weekend series against the scorching Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox looked like a competent baseball team this afternoon.

Rick Porcello got the start for the Red Sox in this one, and he was looking for his fifth winning decision before we flip the calendars to May. That didn’t happen unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean Porcello had a bad day, because he looked like he has all season so far, that being one of the best pitchers in the American League. The lone righty in the Red Sox rotation tossed 7.2 quality innings and really only made two mistakes. The first being a two-run home run, the first Porcello has given up this season, off the bat of Denard Span in the third, and the second being an RBI single off the bat of Mallex Smith an inning later. Other than that, nothing much to complain about. In those 7.2 innings pitched, the New Jersey native scattered seven hits, including those two previously mentioned, struck out six, and did not allow a single walk. In six starts Porcello has made this season, he has given up three earned runs or less and pitched 5+ innings in all of them.

Finishing with a season high 116 pitches, 82 of which went for strikes, I was a bit surprised to see Alex Cora stick with Porcello for as long as he did, but it worked out. He could have pitched eight full innings if he didn’t give up a two-out single to CJ Cron. With the game tied at the time, that hit put the go-ahead run on base and Cora made the switch to his closer.

In a rare eighth inning appearance, Craig Kimbrel gave up a double that should have been an out to the first batter he saw. With runners on first and third, the Red Sox closer came back and struck Brad Miller out on three pitches to end the inning. After the Red Sox tacked on the go-ahead run in their half of the eighth, Kimbrel would come back out for the save in the ninth. He led the inning off by allowing the first two batters he faced to reach base and the third to move those runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt, but bounced back nicely. With the tying run just 90 feet away, Kimbrel struck out Jesus Sucre and Carlos Gomez back to back on seven pitches to end the game and pick up his first win of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup was held in check for the first five innings of this game. It wasn’t until Andrew Kittredge took the mound for the Rays and Eduardo Nunez led the sixth inning off with an infield single when the scoring finally commenced. After that infield single, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez both reached base to load things up for JD Martinez. On a 2-1 87 MPH slider from Kittredge, Martinez sneaked a ground ball just past Adeiny Hechavarria and put the Red Sox on the board for two.

That was followed up by a four pitch walk to Mitch Moreland which loaded the bases once again for Rafael Devers. Devers struck out, but Jackie Bradley Jr. drove Hanley Ramirez in from third on a sacrifice fly one batter later. Sandy Leon would reload the bases for the third time in the inning after taking a pitch from Sergio Romo off his foot, but Tzu-Wei Lin would fly out to end the inning. Game tied at three.

A 1-2-3 seventh inning from the top of the lineup made way for JD Martinez to lead off things for the Red Sox in the eighth against Rays closer Alex Colome. To cap off his great day at the plate, Martinez ripped a single to right field for his fourth hit of the game. After Mitch Moreland and Rafael Devers recorded outs, Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a five pitch walk to move Martinez into scoring position. That led to Sandy Leon stepping up to the plate in what would be the biggest at bat of the day. In a surprising move, Leon was not pinch hit for. Instead, he drove Martinez in from third on a line drive single to left field.

Leon’s first RBI since April 12th put the Red Sox up by one and essentially gave them their 20th win of the season. It certainly wasn’t easy, but taking the series finale is certainly better than getting swept. The 4-3 win also ends the winning streak the Rays had going on at eight games.

Some notes from this one:

Mookie Betts was held out of the lineup today after straining his right hamstring on Saturday.

With his four-hit and two RBI performance today, JD Martinez now ranks ninth in the AL in hits (32), fifth in RBIs (22), and 10th in OPS (.941). Not too shabby for someone who just wrapped his first full month with a new team.

The Red Sox have won their last 25 games with Rick Porcello on the mound when they give him at least three runs of support. (@SoxNotes)

Next up for the Red Sox is a three-game set against the lowly Kansas City Royals. At 7-20 on the year, the Royals are the worst team in the American League in terms of team ERA and runs scored. With that in mind, a sweep before heading back on the road would be nice. That’s all I”m going to say.

Eduardo Rodriguez gets the nod for the series opener tomorrow. He’ll be facing off against Jason Hammel, who owns a career 4.25 ERA in 55 innings pitched against the Red Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

RECAP: David Price Struggles as #RedSox Drop Second Straight Game to Rays.

A day after dropping a close game to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, the Red Sox did not look much better on Saturday. Although the game was tied up until the top of the sixth inning, the Rays found a way to run away and hide with this one. And for the second time in less than a week, the Red Sox find themselves in the midst of a losing streak, technically.

David Price made his sixth start of the season this afternoon, and he, like Drew Pomeranz on Friday night, was hurt by the home run ball, but not in the conventional way. In fact, the first two runs the Rays scored in the second inning came on an inside the park home run off the bat of Denard Span.

A bad hop seemed to have fooled Jackie Bradley Jr., and that’s how Span managed to score so easily. It was originally ruled a three-base error, but the scorers changed their mind soon after that.

The Rays tacked on another two runs in the third on a legitimate two run home run. This one coming off Wilson Ramos’ bat to put the Rays up 4-2.

Over the next three innings, Price would be charged with one earned run and one unearned run. The first of those came on a bases loaded walk to Daniel Robertson in the fifth, and the second came after he was already out of the game. After Adeiny Hechavarria led the sixth inning off with a single and David Price was removed after getting the first two outs of the inning, it would be Heath Hembree who got the call to end things in the inning.

Unfortunately, Hembree allowed Hechavarria to score and that closed the book on David Price’s day, The lefty finished with a line of 5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R (5 ER), 4 BB, and 5 K’s. That marks two straight sort of uncharacteristic starts for Price, as he gave up nine hits and four runs last Sunday in Oakland. He’ll look to bounce back next week when the Red Sox take on the Texas Rangers in Arlington.

Back to Heath Hembree, after putting together an impressive outing on Friday night, the righty could not do much right on Saturday. The righty allowed four of the five batters he faced to reach base, including a home run off the bat of Carlos Gomez, and could only record one out, that being the final out of the sixth inning. Matt Barnes would take over for him with runners on first and second and no outs in the inning.

Luckily, Barnes had what was the best performance out of a Red Sox pitcher on Saturday, as he retired all three batters he faced to go along with two strikeouts. That made way for Brian Johnson to start things in the eighth inning, and that’s when things really got away from the Red Sox.

In two innings pitched, the lefty surrendered five runs on seven hits, one of those being a three-run home run in the ninth inning. That put the 12th run of the game on the board for the Rays, and that pretty much killed any chances at a comeback. So, all in all, not a great night for the Red Sox pitching staff, as those 12 runs scored against them is a season high.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup could manage just six runs in this one. That may seem like a high enough number to get the win, but I think they could have scored more off Rays starter Yonny Chirinos. It was a back and forth kind of game for the first five innings, but then things fell apart in the sixth.

Xander Bogaerts drove in the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly in the first. That gave the Red Sox the early lead, but it would be short-lived. Bogaerts would go on to collect another RBI with a single in the third, and Hanley Ramirez would do the same with an RBI single in the fourth. Rafael Devers had the biggest day out of anyone in the Red Sox lineup, as he collected  a team best two RBIs, including a solo home run in the fifth inning, his fourth of the season.

That home run looked like it could be meaningful at the time, but like I said, things fell apart for the Red Sox after they took their at bats in the fifth. Devers would go on to collect another RBI in the ninth. He is now in a tie with JD Martinez for the team lead in RBIs with 20 of them on the season.

So where do the Red Sox go from here, coming off their fifth loss in their last seven games? Well, taking the finale against the Rays today would be great, and then the Kansas City Royals come to town for three games before this homestand ends.

Rick Porcello gets the start later today against Rays righty Matt Andriese. Hopefully Mookie Betts will be alright after he exited yesterday’s game with tightness in his right hamstring. First pitch is at 1:05 PM, if the rain holds up.

 

 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz Serves up Three Home Runs as #RedSox Drop Series Opener to Rays at Fenway.

After taking two out of three from the Blue Jays earlier in the week, the Red Sox welcomed the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays into town for a three game weekend set. The Rays, who entered last night’s contest with six straight wins, sent their best starter, Blake Snell to the mound, while Drew Pomeranz got the nod for the Red Sox in what would be his second start of the season.

To be fair, I don’t think Pomeranz was awful last night. Yes, he gave up three home runs, but the only other hits he gave up were three singles, and he only walked two. So really, it was a typical early season Drew Pomeranz start. If all three of those homers were solo shots, then he would have only surrendered three runs in five innings. Not bad, but unfortunately, one of those homers was a two-run blast, and that put the Red Sox down by two runs before they even got their first at bats. Fast forward to Pomeranz’s last inning of work, and Christian Vazquez showed off his cannon behind the plate with this impressive strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.

The lefty also fanned three and finished with just 81 pitches, 49 of which went for strikes. He’ll look to rebound next time out when he goes up against the Kansas City Royals.

In relief of Pomeranz, the Red Sox bullpen shut the Rays down for the next four innings. In a sort of long-relief role, Hector Velazquez impressed yet again as he held Tampa Bay scoreless in 3.1 innings pitched while walking one and scattering four hits.

After Velazquez walked Denard Span with one out in the ninth, it was Heath Hembree who would get the call to keep the Red Sox within the one run they were trailing by. Well, with some help from Christian Vazquez, who caught Span stealing second, and a five pitch strikeout of Matt Duffy, Hembree got out of the inning unscathed.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup could not do much against Rays lefty Blake Snell. He held the Sox hitless through the first four innings and scoreless through the first five. It wasn’t until Christian Vazquez led the sixth inning off with a double where the Red Sox finally got some runs on the board. Mookie Betts drove the catcher in on a double to center field, picking up his 18th RBI of the season, and two batters later, JD Martinez did the same thing with a double of his own to right field. That scored Betts from Second and cut the Rays lead in half.

Move ahead to the eighth, and Betts and Martinez came through once again. After a one out double from Betts, Martinez barely got a single through the infield that scored Betts from second. That RBI single put the Miami native at 20 for the season and it cut the Red Sox deficit to just one run.

With one last chance in the ninth, Xander Bogaerts got the inning started by singling off Rays closer Alex Colome. Good start, but Eduardo Nunez and Jackie Bradley Jr. followed that up by popping out and striking out. Andrew Benintendi came on to pinch it for Christian Vazquez, and it was all up to him with two outs. After filling the count at 3-2, Colome got Benintendi looking at a 94 MPH fastball on the outside edge to end things.

No excuses there, that is definitely a pitch you should be swinging at with a full count in the ninth inning.

Anyway, on a more positive note, Xander Bogaerts made his return to the Red Sox lineup for the first time since April 8th and he reached base three times. Solid night, and it could not come at a better time with Brock Holt headed to the disabled list with a hamstring issue.

Next up for the Red Sox is the middle game of this series. David Price will be getting the ball against Rays righty Yonny Chirinos. First pitch is at 4:05 PM. Time to end the Rays winning streak at seven games.

RECAP: #RedSox Stage Epic Eighth Inning Comeback to Sweep the Rays.

Not too long ago, I thought this recap was going to go in a complete;y different direction. The Red Sox were trailing the Rays by five runs heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. Throughout the game, they really never put anything together against Rays pitching. Lo and behold, they erupted for six runs to take the lead and ultimately win the game. What an inning it was.

Eduardo Rodriguez got the start in this one, and the lefty did not look all that sharp in his 2018 debut. In 3.2 innings pitched, the Rays got to Rodriguez for three runs on five hits and two walks. After the first inning he had where he struck out the side, I did not expect to see Rodriguez struggle the way he did. I’d say things got shaky when the first batter Rodriguez faced in the top of the second, CJ Cron, launched a solo home run to center field, tying the game at one. Once that happened, the native of Venezuela needed a lot of pitches to get through the next two-plus innings, although he did strike out seven. When he departed with two outs in the fourth, his pitch count was at 92, which was right around his limit for today.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not able to keep the Rays in check. They obviously did enough to keep the team in the game, but it wasn’t great. Hector Velazquez tossed two innings, he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. Bobby Poyner came in with two outs in the sixth, he walked one and struck out another to end the inning. Brian Johnson made his first relief appearance of the season in the seventh, he gave up two runs to score while only recording one out. There was also a really scary moment for the Red Sox in the seventh. A triple off the bat of Joey Wendle to left field led to Xander Bogaerts recieving a relay throw from JD Martinez. While trying to get the ball to Rafael Devers, Bogaerts lost the ball and it rolled towards the Rays dugout. Trying to save the ball from rolling out of the field of play, the short stop slid down the dugout steps in order to push the ball back towards the field. Unfortunately, Bogaerts roughed up his left ankle on the slide and would have to leave the game. Brock Holt came in to take over at short.

Heath Hembree came in to finish the inning, he got the only two batters he faced to fly out and ground out. Carson Smith got the call for the eighth inning. He looked shaky yet again as he loaded the bases after recording the first two outs. However, he got out of the inning with a clutch strikeout and is credited with the win. After that epic eighth inning, Craig Kimbrel came on for the start of the ninth and he retired all three batters he faced for his third save of the season.

Offensively, the Rays pitching staff did just about everything right against the Red Sox up until the eighth inning. Hanley Ramirez was responsible for the first two runs scored by the Red Sox in the first and fifth innings, but that and just four hits is all the Red Sox lineup could muster over the first seven. Fast forward to the bottom of the eighth, and things got really exciting, all with two outs in the inning.

Hanley Ramirez led things off with a single. Two batters later and two outs later, Mitch Moreland got his first hit of the season with a vintage RBI double off the monster, scoring Ramirez from second and cutting the deficit to four.

An Eduardo Nunez single put runners on first and third for Rafael Devers, who drove in both Moreland and Nunez by lining a double into the left field corner. Deficit is now at two.

A pitching change by the Rays saw Alex Colome take things over for Matt Andriese. That did not make a difference. The first batter Colome faced, Christian Vazquez, ripped an RBI single to left center that scored Devers from second. All the sudden, we had a one run game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Back to the top of the order, Mookie Betts collected his second hit of hit the day with a game-tying RBI single to left, barely scoring Vazquez from second.

Next up, Andrew Benintendi had arguably the most important at bat of the game. On a 1-1 count, Benintendi took a cutter from Colome and just got enough of the monster to drive in Betts with a double. The score now was 8-7, and that’s how it would end.

A six run comeback to win your eighth straight game is a great way to end the weekend and go into an off day. The Red Sox are 8-1, at no point in their history have they ever been better through nine games.

The New York Yankees are next up on the schedule, as they come into Fenway for a three game set that starts Tuesday night. The pitching matchup will be Chris Sale versus Luis Severino, power arm versus power arm. Should be a good one. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

 

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Drives in Career Best Six Runs as #RedSox Win Seventh Straight Game.

After an off day on Friday, the Red Sox picked up where they left off against the Tampa Rays Today.

Making his second start of the season, Rick Porcello impressed in his 2018 Fenway Park debut. The righty got off to a rough start, as he allowed the Rays to score twice in the top of the first, but he really settled down after that. At one point, Porcello had retired 17 batters in a row from the second to the seventh inning. He finished with a line of 7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, O BB, and 7 K’s. With those two runs the Rays scored in the first, the Red Sox streak of seven straight games where starters allowed less than one earned run ended, but it was a solid outing from Porcello nonetheless. The New Jersey native exited in the eighth after throwing 94 pitches, 66 of which went for strikes.

When Porcello departed with one out in the top of the eighth, it was righty reliever Marcus Walden who took over for him. Walden got the only batter he faced in the inning, Mallex Smith, to ground out into a 1-6-3 double play, thus ending things in the inning. Fast forward to the ninth, and Walden retired the side in order, striking out two and getting some help from Andrew Benintendi with the second out.

This performance was good to see out of Walden compared to how he looked last week against the Rays and Marlins. He’ll be optioned to Triple A Pawtucket to make room for Eduardo Rodriguez, who will be activated from the 10-Day Disabled List and will start in the series finale tomorrow.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup had their way with Rays pitching in this one. After going down by two runs very quickly, the Red Sox headed to the second inning up by two. Mookie Betts got things started right away with a leadoff double, and that was followed by a Andrew Benintendi walk and a Hanley Ramirez bloop single. With the bases loaded and no outs, JD Martinez came extremely close to launching  a grand slam to right field, but Rays center fielder Carlos Gomez came up with it. That did allow Betts to score from third and the Red Sox were on the board. The very next batter, Xander Bogaerts, got his great day at the plate started by lacing a double off the left field wall, clearing the bases and putting his team up by one. Rafael Devers was up next, and he drove Bogaerts home with an RBI single to right, and the Red Sox were up 4-2 in a very exciting first inning.

In the very next inning, the Red Sox lineup matched the total of runs they scored in the first by putting up another four runs, all on one swing of the bat from Xander Bogaerts. After Rays starter Jake Faria had walked three of the first five batters he faced in the second inning, Bogaerts took things into his own hands yet again and delivered big. Again.

That slam was the first from the Red Sox since September 24, 2016, which Dustin Pedroia was responsible for. That also came against the Tampa Bay Rays.

With that grand slam, Xander Bogaerts had upped his RBI total in the game to six, a new career high for the short stop. He is now hitting .371 on the season with an OPS of 1.148.

The bats went silent for a while after those first two innings, as Rays pitching held them to zero runs over the next four innings. Fast forward to the bottom of the seventh though, and things started to pick up again.

With Chaz Roe on the mound and JD Martinez at the plate, can you guess who won in this matchup? If you guessed Martinez, you would be correct because the Red Sox slugger launched his first home run of the season over the Green Monster to put his team up 9-2.

Gotta love the silent treatment when Martinez made his way back to the dugout after rounding the bases.

Two batters later and we had Rafael Devers launching his first home run of the season off of Roe as well, giving the Red Sox their tenth and final run of the contest.

All and all, it was a great day for the Red Sox lineup. Not only did they score a ton of runs, but they drew a total of six walks and forced the Rays to use five pitchers, including a position player, the day before their “bullpen day”.

The Red Sox are now 7-1. This is the best start to a season they have had since 1920. Like I said, Eduardo Rodriguez will be getting the start tomorrow afternoon, with Andrew Kittredge “starting” for the Rays. First pitch is at 1:05 with the Red Sox going for their eighth straight win.