Red Sox held in check by Shohei Ohtani in 8-0 shutout loss to Angels

The Red Sox lost their series against the Angels at Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon. Boston fell to Los Angeles by a final score of 8-0 in Thursday’s series finale, thus dropping to 10-16 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his fifth start of the year for the Sox, allowed just one hit and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over a season-high five scoreless innings of work. The veteran left-hander took a perfect game into the fourth before issuing a leadoff walk to Taylor Ward. He then lost his bid for a no-hitter when Shohei Ohtani lifted a one-out single 389 feet single to deep center field that Jackie Bradley Jr. lost in the sun.

With runners on the corners, Hill did not falter and instead fanned Anthony Rendon on five pitches before getting Jared Walsh to pop out to Kevin Plawecki behind home plate. He ended his day by retiring the final three batters he faced in the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 68 (40 strikes) Hill induced three swings-and-misses each with his four-seam fastball, curveball, and slider while the velocity of his pitches ranged from 66.9 to 89.8 mph. The 42-year-old did not factor into Thursday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA on the season to 2.86.

In relief of Hill, Red Sox manager Alex Cora first used Tanner Houck to piggyback off the starter. Houck, in turn, struck out the side in the sixth before running into some trouble in the seventh. After walking Rendon with one out, the right-hander served up a go-ahead two-run home run to Walsh that traveled 344 feet down the right field line and hooked inside the Pesky Pole. It also put Boston in a 2-0 hole going into the seventh-inning stretch.

To that point in the contest, an Enrique Hernandez-less Boston lineup had been held in check by Ohtani, who was making his first career start as a pitcher at Fenway Park on Thursday. The Sox certainly had their chances, though. In the bottom of the third, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts hit back-to-back two-out singles but were stranded there by J.D. Martinez, who struck out swinging.

Two innings later, Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a hard-hit double off Ohtani to put a runner in scoring position with no outs. He, too, was left stranded there, as was Martinez in the sixth after he reached base via a one-out double and advanced to third base on an Alex Verdugo groundout.

Ohtani capped off his strong outing by giving up another hit to Bradley Jr. with one out in the seventh, but once again left him on base by getting Plawecki to fly out before punching out Trevor Story for a fourth time.

Houck, meanwhile, came back out for the eighth and allowed the first three Angels he faced to reach on a single, hit by pitch, and single off the Green Monster. With the bases loaded and the infield in, David Fletcher ripped an RBI single to left field to plate a run and keep the line moving. Ohtani did the very same by smoking a 103.7 mph run-scoring single off the left field wall himself. Rendon knocked Houck out of the game with an RBI groundout that gave the Angels a commanding 5-0 lead.

Kutter Crawford, making his first appearance since Sunday, took over for Houck and allowed both of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run single from Walsh before getting out of the inning. The Red Sox went down in order in their half of the eighth before Crawford gave up a solo homer to Brandon Marsh in the ninth.

Down to their final three outs and trailing by a whopping eight runs, Verdugo, Franchy Cordero, and Bobby Dalbec were all retired by Max Meyers to put the finishing touches on an 8-0 shutout loss for Boston. Sox hitters went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base as a team.

Next up: Welcoming in the White Sox

The Red Sox will kick off the final leg of this six-game homestand by welcoming in the White Sox for a three-game series that begins on Friday night. Boston will roll with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi in the opener while Chicago will turn to fellow righty Vince Velasquez.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on Apple TV+.

(Picture of Shohei Ohtani: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Christian Arroyo homers, Rich Hill takes perfect game into fifth inning as Red Sox hold on for 3-1 win over Orioles

The Red Sox kicked off the final leg of their road trip with a 3-1 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Friday night. With the win, Boston improved to 9-12 on the season.

Matched up against Kyle Bradish, who was making the first start of his big-league career for the O’s, to begin things on Friday, the Sox got on the board first in their half of the second inning.

Enrique Hernandez led off the top of the second with a single to shallow center field. After Franchy Cordero flew out, Christian Arroyo followed by clubbing a 408-foot two-run homer into Baltimore’s bullpen.

Arroyo’s first home run of the season gave Boston an early 2-0 lead. It was also the first home run hit by a Red Sox batter since Rafael Devers went deep off Corey Kluber in St. Petersburg last Friday.

Jackie Bradley Jr. kept the rally going by reaching base on an infield single. He then scored all the way from first when Christian Vazquez ripped a single to right field that got past Trey Mancini and rolled all the way to the wall. Vazquez was easily thrown out at third, but the damage had already been done.

Rich Hill, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, took full advantage of the three-run cushion he was given. The veteran left-hander allowed just one hit and no walks to go along with four strikeouts over four-plus innings of work.

After retiring each of the first 12 batters he faced, Hill took a perfect game bid into the fifth inning but yielded a leadoff single to Austin Hays, which is how his night would come to an end. Finishing with a final pitch count of 50 (35 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw threw 24 curveballs, 20 four-seamers, four sliders, and two changeups while lowering his ERA on the season to 3.71.

In relief of Hill, Tanner Houck got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the bullpen. Houck, fresh off being activated from the injured list, stranded the lone base runner he inherited in the fifth despite allowing one hit and one walk in the inning. The right-hander sat down the side in order in the sixth but ran into additional trouble in the seventh when he loaded the bases with two outs.

Houck did not falter, though, as he punched out the pinch-hitting Rougned on three straight strikes to escape the jam and hand things over to Jake Diekman in the eighth. Diekman, in turn, needed 17 pitches to toss a scoreless frame.

Hansel Robles was dispatched for the ninth and immediately served up a solo home run to Ryan Mountcastle that was followed by a line-drive single off the bat of Hays.

With the tying run at the plate, Robles issued a balk that allowed Hays to advance to second. He then got Ramon Urias to fly out and Tyler Nevin to line out to right for the first two outs.

Cora went back into the bullpen and gave Robles the hook in favor of Matt Strahm, who walked Anthony Santander on five pitches to put the tying run on base with runners at first and second. The lefty, however, did not give in as he fanned the pinch-hitting Chris Owings to slam the door on Baltimore and earn the first save of his major-league career.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Watkins

The Red Sox will go for the series win over the Orioles by sending right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound on Saturday night. Fellow righty Spenser Watkins will get the ball for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Red Sox muster just 3 hits off Alek Manoah in 1-0 loss to Blue Jays

The Red Sox had an opportunity to salvage a series split against the Blue Jays but, much like their lineup, were unable to take advantage of it. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 1-0 at Rogers Centre to lose the four-game series and drop to 8-12 on the season.

Garrett Whitlock, making his second start and sixth overall appearance of the year for the Sox, was not as sharp as he was in his last time out but was still effective nonetheless. The right-hander allowed just one unearned run on four hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts over three innings of work.

The lone run the Jays scored off Whitlock came as a result of a Christian Arroyo fielding error in the bottom of the third inning. Lourdes Gurriel reached base on Arroyo’s miscue, advanced to second base on a walk drawn by Raimel Tapia, and scored from second on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Alejandro Kirk.

Kirk’s run-scoring base hit gave Toronto an early 1-0 lead and was the precursor to Whitlock’s day ending once he recorded the final out of the third. Of the 61 pitches the 25-year-old hurler threw on Thursday, 41 went for strikes. He threw 37 sinkers, 17 sliders, and seven changeups.

In relief of Whitlock, Austin Davis received the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen in the middle of the fourth. The left-hander notched the first two outs of the frame and issued one walk before making way for John Schreiber, who ended things in the fourth while also working his way around a two-out double in an otherwise clean fifth inning.

Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes followed with a scoreless frame each in the sixth and seventh, while Hansel Robles sat down the side in order in the eighth.

To that point in the contest, a Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez-less Red Sox lineup had already squandered multiple scoring chances against Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah.

It took until the fifth inning for a Boston batter to get into scoring position when Arroyo reached base via a one-out single and immediately stole second. He was, however, stranded there after Bobby Dalbec and Travis Shaw both struck out swinging to extinguish the threat.

Fast forward to the seventh, and Enrique Hernandez led the inning off with his eighth double of the season. With Manoah seemingly on the ropes, Bradley Jr. advanced Hernandez to third on a softly-hit groundout, but neither Arroyo nor Dalbec could drive him in.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth with Jordan Romano on the mound for Toronto, Alex Verdugo grounded out to second, and Rafael Devers laced a 100.3 mph single back up the middle to put the tying run on base for Hernandez, who hit the ball hard himself but right into Gurriel’s glove in right field. Bradley Jr., on the other hand, struck out on four pitches to seal the 1-0 defeat for Boston.

All told, Red Sox hitters went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base as a team en route to losing three out of four to the Blue Jays north of the border.

Next up: On to Baltimore

The Red Sox will now conclude their lengthy road trip with a three-game weekend series in Baltimore that begins on Friday night. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston in the opener and will be piggybacked by Tanner Houck. The Orioles have yet to announce who will be starting for them opposite Hill.

Regardless, first pitch from Camden Yards on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alek Manoah: Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Rich Hill from bereavement list, option Tyler Danish to Triple-A Worcester

Before dropping Sunday’s series finale against the Rays by a final score of 5-2, the Red Sox activated Rich Hill from the bereavement list and, in a corresponding move, optioned Tyler Danish to Triple-A Worcester.

Hill spent five days on the bereavement list after his father, Lloyd, passed away at the age of 94 last week. The 42-year-old had been away from the team to attend his father’s services in Milton.

In his return to the mound on Sunday, Hill was certainly not at his best, but he still grinded his way through four scoreless innings of work at Tropicana Field. Over those four frames, the veteran left-hander yielded four hits and three walks while hitting one batter and striking out another.

With some defensive help from the likes of Rob Refsnyder and Christian Vazquez, Hill finished with a final pitch count of 62 (35 strikes) on Sunday. He relied primarily on his four-seam fastball and curveball combo and induced a total of three swings-and-misses on the afternoon.

While he did not factor into Sunday’s decision, Hill did lower his ERA on the season to 4.85 through three starts spanning 13 innings pitched. It is unclear when the Massachusetts native will make his next start, though it will likely come in Baltimore at some point next weekend.

With the Red Sox activating Hill earlier Sunday morning, they cleared a spot for the lefty by sending down Danish. Danish, 27, was called up from Worcester for the first time last Tuesday and appeared in two games with the big-league club.

In those two outings, the right-hander twirled three cumulative scoreless innings while allowing no hits and two walks. He also struck out five of the 10 batters he faced.

On the surface, it may appear as though Danish will be returning to the WooSox. That said, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports that Danish is still with the Red Sox and is a candidate to be called up once more ahead of this week’s series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

To add on to that, The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham tweets that Danish is indeed flying with the team to Toronto and will be replacing a pitcher who is placed on the restricted list on Monday.

As noted by Cotillo, the Sox will be leaving a number of players — including Tanner Houck — behind for their trip north of the border since they are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Regardless of the number of players placed on the restricted list on Monday, Danish will find himself back in the big-leagues and presumably pitching out of Boston’s bullpen at Rogers Centre.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Red Sox score early, but not often in 5-2 loss to Rays

The Red Sox dropped the finale of their three-game weekend series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Sunday. Boston fell to Tampa Bay in the rubber match by a final score of 5-2, marking their fourth loss in their last five games to drop to 7-9 on the season.

Both runs the Sox scored on Sunday came right away in the first inning off Rays starter Shane McClanahan. Trevor Story led off with a hard-hit double and immediately scored on a groundball single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez. Xander Bogaerts advanced Hernandez into scoring position and Alex Verdugo brought him in on an RBI single of his own.

So, on nine pitches, the Red Sox found themselves in possession of an early 2-0 lead to give Rich Hill a nice cushion out of the gate. Hill, making his third start of the year and first since returning to the bereavement list, managed to keep the Rays off the scoreboard while scattering four hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with one strikeout over four innings of work.

Rob Refsnyder, starting in right field, aided Hill in the second inning when he gunned down Randy Arozarena, who was trying to stretch a two-out single into a two-out double, at second base for the final out of the frame.

Hill finished his day retiring five of the final eight batters he faced. 35 of the 62 pitches the left-hander threw went for strikes.

Before first pitch on Sunday, it was expected that Tanner Houck would piggyback off of Hill since Boston cannot use the right-hander during their series in Toronto. Rather than have Houck take the mound in the fifth, however, acting manager Will Venable first turned to Phillips Valdez out of the bullpen.

Valdez, in turn, recorded just one out while loading the bases on one walk and two hit batsman. Ryan Brasier then came on and allowed all three of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run double from Ji-Man Choi and RBI groundout from Manuel Margot that gave Tampa Bay their first lead of the day at 3-2.

Matt Barnes got the call for the sixth inning and yielded back-to-back one-out singles to Kevin Kiermaier and Arozarena. Kiermaier, the hero of Saturday’s contest, moved up to third on a Wander Franco groundout. Following a pitching change that saw Jake Diekman take over for Barnes, the speedy outfielder scored on a wild pitch to make it a 4-2 game.

Diekman remained in the game in the seventh and served up a solo home run to Yandy Diaz that gave the Rays a 5-2 edge. It was not until later in the inning when Houck finally emerged and sat down the only five hitters he faced in order to keep the three-run deficit intact at the end of eight.

Down to their final three outs of the ninth, Verdugo, Bobby Dalbec, and Travis Shaw went down in order against Ryan Thompson to seal a 5-2 defeat for the Red Sox.

Next up: On to Toronto

The Red Sox will board a flight to Toronto while leaving unvaccinated players such as Houck behind to open a four-game series against the Blue Jays on Monday night.

In the opener, it will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Jose Berrios doing the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centere is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Red Sox break up no-hitter in 10th inning, then get walked off on by Kevin Kiermaier in wild 3-2 loss to Rays

The Red Sox delivered a late birthday present to Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier on Saturday night. Kiermaier, who turned 32 on Friday, crushed a two-run walk-off home run off Hansel Robles in the 10th inning to lift Tampa Bay to a stunning 3-2 win over Boston at Tropicana Field.

With the loss, the Sox fall to 7-8 on the season. They have not won consecutive ballgames since April 16-17.

Garrett Whitlock, making his first start and fifth overall appearance of the year, absolutely dominated the Rays’ lineup. In what was his first career big-league start, the right-hander yielded just one hit and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over four scoreless, near-perfect innings of work.

After taking a perfect game into the fourth inning, Whitlock gave up a leadoff double to Brandon Lowe. He then stranded Lowe at second base by retiring the final three batters he faced in order. The 25-year-old finished with a final pitch count of 48 (33 strikes) and turned to his sinker 58% of the time he was on the mound.

In relief of Whitlock, Austin Davis received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from acting manager Will Venable. The left-hander maneuvered his way around a two-out walk in an otherwise clean frame before making way for Kutter Crawford, who twirled three scoreless innings of his own while striking out five.

Tyler Danish walked the first batter he faced in the ninth to put the potential winning run on base, but left him there to send this 0-0 game into extra innings.

To that point in the contest, the Red Sox lineup had been no-hit by six different Rays pitchers in J.P. Feyereisen, Javy Guerra, Jeffrey Springs, Jason Adam, Ryan Thompson, and Andrew Kittredge. They reached base six times over that stretch via five walks and a fielding error, but were unable to do anything with those base runners.

In the top of the 10th, Matt Wisler took over for Kittredge and Jackie Bradley Jr. became the automatic runner at second base. On the third pitch he saw from Wisler, an 0-2 slider, Bobby Dalbec came through in the clutch by lacing an RBI triple down the right field line.

Dalbec’s 322-foot foot triple left his bat at 97.1 mph. It also provided the Sox with their first hit of the night and drove in Bradley Jr. to give them a late 1-0 lead. Dalbec then scored on a Christian Vazquez sacrifice fly to double that advantage to 2-0.

That sequence led to Venable going with Robles in the bottom half of the 10th. With Randy Arozarena at second base and the potential tying run at the plate, Robles fanned Ji-Man Choi and Josh Lowe for the first two outs of the inning.

A balk from Robles allowed Arozarena to advance to third. With the Rays down to their final out, Taylor Walls reached base on a throwing error committed by Trevor Story and Arozarena scored to cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to one.

Robles then fell behind in the count against Kiermaier and served up the game-winning, two-run homer on a 96 mph four-seamer down the heart of the plate. Kiermaier deposited it 372 feet into the right field seats to send the Rays home with a come-from-behind victory.

Next up: Hill vs. McClanahan in rubber match

Despite losing in heartbreaking fashion, the Red Sox still have a chance to win this three-game series against the Rays on Sunday afternoon. Boston will turn to left-hander Rich Hill as he makes his return from the bereavement list in the series finale. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, will roll with fellow southpaw Shane McClanahan.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hansel Robles and Kevin Kiermaier: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock to make first career start for Red Sox on Saturday

Garrett Whitlock will make his first career start for the Red Sox when they go up against the Rays on Saturday, acting manager Will Venable told reporters at Tropicana Field on Friday evening.

Rich Hill, who has been on the bereavement list since his father, Lloyd, passed away last week, was originally slated to start Saturday’s contest. The Red Sox, however, opted to move Hill’s start to Sunday so that the left-hander could get an extra day of rest after being away from the team to attend his father’s services over the last few days.

With Hill’s spot in the rotation becoming vacant, Boston decided it would be best to have Whitlock fill in for the veteran southpaw on Saturday night.

Since coming over from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, Whitlock has only been used by the Sox as a reliever. So far this season, the right-hander has posted a miniscule 0.93 ERA and 2.74 FIP to go along with 11 strikeouts to two walks across four appearances spanning 9 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.

On Saturday, the plan will be for Whitlock to throw three or four innings, as he will only be working on three days rest. Though it will be his first time doing it at the big-league level, starting games is nothing new for the 25-year-old, who made a total of 38 starts over three seasons (2017-2019) in the Yankees organization.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, the Red Sox view Whitlock as a starter in the long-term. They made that much clear when they signed the righty to a four-year extension earlier this month that includes escalators based on the number of innings he pitches.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rich Hill gives up pair of 2-run home runs as Red Sox drop series finale to Twins, 8-3, on Patriots’ Day

The Red Sox fell behind early and could never recover in an 8-3 loss to the Twins at Fenway Park on Marathon Monday. By dropping the finale, Boston split its four-game series with Minnesota and are now 5-5 on the young season.

Rich Hill, making his second start of the year for the Sox, could not go deeper than five innings once again. Pitching for the first time since his father, Lloyd, passed away last week, the veteran left-hander allowed four earned runs on six hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts over just 4 2/3 innings of work.

All four runs Hill surrendered on Monday came by way of the long ball. Kyle Garlick got the Twins on the board first by crushing a two-run home run off Hill that was reviewed and upheld with two outs in the first inning.

Two innings later, Hill yielded a leadoff single to Gilberto Celestino that was immediately followed by a two-run blast off the bat of Jorge Polanco to give the Twins a 4-0 advantage.

Hill settled in a bit and retired seven of eight at one point, but his day came to a close after giving up a two-out single to Gio Urshela in the top of the fifth. Finishing with a final pitch count of 80 (55 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw threw 39 curveballs and 33 four-seam fastballs on Monday. He induced all four of his swings-and-misses with the former and averaged 87.4 mph with the latter.

In relief of Hill, Phillips Valdez received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Valdez stranded the lone runner he inherited in the top of the fifth before the Boston lineup finally got something going on their end in the bottom half.

Held in check by Twins starter Dylan Bundy to that point in the contest, Alex Verdugo led things off by drilling a line-drive double to left field and advancing to third base on a Christian Arroyo single. Arroyo tagged up to second before Verdugo scored from third on an RBI groundout off the bat of Christian Vazquez.

Valdez picked up where he left off in the sixth by retiring the side in order. The Sox then threatened in the bottom of the frame, as Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts both reached base to put runners at second and third with only one out.

Following a Minnesota pitching change that saw Joe Smith take over for Dylan Bundy, Devers was tagged out between third and home after J.D. Martinez reached first on a fielder’s choice. The Twins then elected to intentionally walk Verdugo to load the bases for Arroyo, who flew out to center field to extinguish the threat.

Kutter Crawford came on for Valdez in the seventh inning and worked his way around a walk and base hit. Vazquez greeted new Twins reliever Jhoan Duran in the latter half by mashing a 390-foot solo shot over the Green Monster.

Vazquez’s first home run of the season trimmed Boston’s deficit down to two runs at 4-2. Things got away from the Sox in the eighth, though, as Crawford struggled with his command, allowed a run to score on a wild pitch, and walked the bases loaded with two outs.

Polanco broke this one open with a two-run single to right field before Crawford got the hook in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura, who spiked a wild pitch of his own that gave the Twins an 8-2 lead.

By the time the final out of the eighth was recorded, Minnesota had already pushed across four runs. Crawford, meanwhile, walked four batters in the eighth and five altogether over 1 2/3 innings pitched on Monday.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Vazquez scored on Bogaerts’ third hit of the game: an RBI single off Griffin Jax. It was too little, too late for the Sox, though, as they fell to the Twins by a final score of 8-3.

Some notes from this Patriots’ Day loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position on Monday and left 10 runners on base as a team.

Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo, and Jackie Bradley Jr. combined for seven of Boston’s 11 hits.

Phillips Valdez has yet to allow a run through his first four appearances and five innings pitched this season.

Next up: Bring on the Blue Jays

The Red Sox will welcome the Blue Jays into town for the first time this season on Tuesday night. In the first of a three-game series between the division rivals, it will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Yusei Kikuchi doing the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Fenway Park on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Rich Hill will make start on Marathon Monday after his father, Lloyd, passed away last week

Red Sox left-hander Rich Hill lost his father, Lloyd Hill Sr., at the age of 94 on Friday.

Shortly before his father’s passing, Hill left the Red Sox while they were in Detroit this past Wednesday in order to spend more time with his family. Despite the loss, the 42-year-old will still make his next start as scheduled against the Twins at Fenway Park on Monday.

“He’s in a good place,” Cora said in regards to Hill on Sunday. “Obviously, you know, thoughts and prayers with his family. It’s tough, but he’s in a good place. He’s going to go out there and pitch. I know it means a lot to him, his family, and to us.”

It is quite fitting that Hill will be making his first home start of the season on Marathon Monday, as his late father ran in 37 Boston Marathons.

“I can’t describe how kind he was towards everybody and the way he treated everyone. But also running 37 Boston Marathons was an amazing feat,” Hill told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche. “We just found that out the other day. I always thought it was in the 20s and then I asked him. And he said, ‘No, we started in 1958.'”

Lloyd Hill Sr., a native of Milton, Mass., was a captain and All-American tackle for the Brown University football team. He was a veteran of the Korean War who later coached and served as a high school principal in Quincy.

Rich Hill, who went 4 1/3 innings against the Tigers in his first start back with the Red Sox last Tuesday, will be thinking of his father when he takes the mound at Fenway on Monday morning.

“There’s going to be a lot of emotion tomorrow, but at the same time, there’s a job that has to be done,” Hill said to Roche. “I know that the task at hand is extremely important. And for my dad, that’s how he would appreciate and what he would want.”

(Picture of Rich Hill: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Red Sox offer first glimpse of how effective Rich Hill-Garrett Whitlock pairing can be

Towards the end of spring training, Red Sox manager Alex Cora revealed that Rich Hill would begin the year as the team’s fifth starter.

As a result of that decision, Garrett Whitlock, who had been competing with Hill throughout camp for the final spot in Boston’s starting rotation, would remain in the bullpen as he did over the course of the 2021 season.

At the time he named Hill the No. 5 starter, Cora indicated that the Sox were going to have Whitlock stretched out and were planning on having the two hurlers paired together on days Hill started.

The main idea behind the two piggybacking off one another is that Hill, a left-hander, does not possess the same sort of overpowering velocity that Whitlock, a right-hander does.

On Tuesday, the Red Sox were able to put this plan into action against the Tigers at Comerica Park. Hill allowed three earned runs on five hits, one walk, and four strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work. That is good for an ERA of 6.23, though his 1.95 FIP is much more indicative of how he actually pitched.

Of the 70 pitches Hill threw on Tuesday afternoon, 54 went for strikes. The 42-year-old southpaw’s slowest pitch (a curveball) registered at 66.2 mph while his fastest pitch (a four-seam fastball) registered at 89.8 mph, per Baseball Savant.

After Hill had already recorded the first out of the fifth inning, Cora turned to his bullpen and Hirokazu Sawamura, who stranded the lone runner he inherited to turn things over to Whitlock beginning in the sixth.

Whitlock entered a 3-3 game, fresh off signing a four-year contract extension with Boston over the weekend. Making his first relief appearance since last Friday, the hard-throwing righty was nearly perfect as he struck out two and retired 12 of the 13 hitters he faced.

In the process of dominating the Tigers’ lineup, Whitlock was the benefactor of a late eighth-inning rally that lifted the Red Sox to a 5-3 victory on Tuesday. Picking up his first win of the year as a result, the 25-year-old needed just 39 pitches (28 strikes) to toss four scoreless, no-hit frames.

Of those 39 pitches, the slowest Whitlock threw (a slider) registered at 79.6 mph and the fastest (a sinking fastball) clocked in at 96.8 mph. Quite the difference from what Hill was offering earlier in the contest.

“There’s a reason we like them together,” Cora said. “They’re gonna load up with righties against Rich and he can get them out and then we can turn the page to Whitlock and we get a lot of good matchups for us. I think both of them complement each other well. (Hill throwing) 88 with ride, and then (Whitlock throwing) 94, 95 with that stuff. It’s a good plan. It’s just a matter of how long we can do it.”

The Red Sox’ plan to have Whitlock piggyback Hill will work better in the month of April while rosters are expanded. As highlighted by The Athletic’s Chad Jennings, Boston is currently carrying 10 relievers on its 28-man roster.

With Whitlock available for multiple innings on days Hill pitches, the Red Sox will have nine other relievers to choose from on days when Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, or Tanner Houck are starting.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock and Kevin Plawecki: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)