Red Sox Falter Late, Get Swept by Phillies in Frustrating 5-2 Loss

After seeing their five-game winning streak come to an end following a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, the Red Sox were unable to avoid the quick two-game sweep on Wednesday, as they fell to the Phils by a final score of 5-2, marking their second consecutive loss, to drop back down to 67-61 on the season.

Making his 26th start of the season for Boston and second of the interleague variety was Rick Porcello, who came into the week having allowed exactly one run in two of his last three outings going back to the beginning of August.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the right-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on three hits and four walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

All three of those Philadelphia runs came across to score in the top half of the fifth, when after retiring 12 of the first 16 hitters he faced, Porcello served up a leadoff double to Cesar Hernandez to begin the inning.

With Adam Haseley at the plate, a wild pitch from Porcello on the fifth pitch of the at-bat allowed Hernandez to advance up to third, and a missed catch error on the part of Rafael Devers trying to receive a throw from Christian Vazquez allowed the runner to score his side’s first run.

Haseley wound up drawing an eight-pitch walk, which set up Bryce Harper two batters later with a runner at first.

On the fourth pitch he saw from the New Jersey native, Harper unloaded on a 1-2, 87 MPH slider down the heart of the plate and sent it 377 feet over the Green Monster for his second career Fenway Park home run and first career hit off of Porcello in 10 tries.

That go-ahead two-run blast put the Phillies up 3-2, and Porcello’s evening would quickly come to a close after he managed to get the final two outs of the fifth in order.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 100 (65 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 47% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 92.2 MPH with the pitch while Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 11-10 while keeping his ERA on the season at 5.49, Porcello’s next start should come against the Colorado Rockies next week.

In relief of Porcello, Ryan Braiser got the first call out of the Boston bullpen for the top half of the sixth, and he worked his way around a leadoff single and two-out walk in a scoreless frame.

From there, Andrew Cashner allowed his first run in his fourth appearance with the Sox as a reliever on a two-out, RBI triple from Corey Dickerson in the seventh, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez walked one and punched out two in a scoreless eighth, and Brandon Workman allowed his side’s deficit to increase to three on a two-out, RBI single off the bat of Dickerson in the ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Phillies left-hander Drew Smyly, someone who joined the Philadelphia pitching staff in July after spending time with both the Texas Rangers and, to a lesser extent, the Milwaukee Brewers this season.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the bottom of the first, back-to-back doubles from Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers got the Sox on the board before an out had even been recorded.

An inning later, a red-hot Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with two outs and the bases empty, as he took Smyly deep to right off a 2-2, 87 MPH cutter on the outer half of the plate for his 16th big fly of the season and fourth in his last seven games.

In the fourth, a leadoff double from Andrew Benintendi and infield single from Sam Travis put runners at first and second with no outs for the bottom half of the lineup.

Vazquez responded well enough by advancing both runners 90 feet on a successful sacrifice bunt and Marco Hernandez drew a walk on five pitches, bringing Bradley Jr. to the plate with one out and the bases full.

All Bradley Jr. could do in this trip to the plate against Smyly was fan on four pitches, which led to a Phillies pitching change with the Red Sox’ lineup turning over.

Facing off against right-hander Jared Hughes for the first time in his career, Betts got ahead in the count at 2-0, but was unable to deliver, as he grounded out to third to extinguish the threat.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, with left-hander Jose Alvarez in for Philadelphia and runners at second and third for Boston following a two-out double from Vazquez, Sox manager Alex Cora decided to go to his bench with his team only trailing by two runs.

So, in came the right-handed hitting Chris Owings in the place of the left-handed hitting Hernandez.

Owings, in just his 13th plate appearance with the Red Sox, fouled off the first pitch he saw from Alvarez before taking the second for a called strike. A third-pitch ball didn’t change much, as Owings whiffed on a 1-2, 84 MPH changeup on the outer half of the plate for the final out of the inning.

And in the ninth, Bradley Jr., Betts, and Devers, went down quietly against Phillies closer Hector Neris to put the finishing touches on a 5-2 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday. They left nine men on base as a team.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last seven games: .320/.333/.880 with four homers and six RBI.

With the Tampa Bay Rays topping the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, the Red Sox now stand seven games off the pace for the second American League Wild Card spot.

What was once a five-game winning streak has now turned into a two-game skid. That’s pretty much been the story for the 2019 Boston Red Sox.

Next up for the Sox, they’ll pick up where things left off against the Kansas City Royals back on August 7th, as the two sides will resume things in the top half of the 10th inning of a 4-4 contest on Thursday afternoon.

Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria was at the plate ahead in a 2-1 count against left-hander Josh Taylor, who, according to Speier, does not need to “start” the resumed game.

“First pitch” Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going a unique and unusual win.

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Rick Porcello Tosses Six Strong Innings, Mookie Betts Homers as Red Sox Cruise to 9-1 Victory over Orioles

After taking a competitive series from the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox picked up where they left off by opening up a three-game weekend set against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday with a 9-1 win to mark their third consecutive victory.

Making his 25th start of the season for Boston and second against Baltimore was Rick Porcello, who came into the weekend fresh off allowing five runs on five hits over five innings in his last time out against the Los Angeles Angels.

Working six full frames this time around to surpass the 2,000 mark for his career, the right-hander yielded just one earned while scattering four hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

That lone Orioles tally came in the the top half of the third inning, when with two outs and Jonathan Villar at first following a two-out single, Trey Mancini laced an RBI double to right field off a 1-1, 90 MPH two-seam fastball from Porcello to put his team on the board.

Other than that one blip though, Porcello escaped the third by fanning Anthony Santander on three pitches before retiring eight of the final 11 Orioles he faced from the beginning of the fourth up until the middle of the sixth, which is the point where his evening came to an encouraging close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (47 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer more than 38% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 91.7 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually earning his 11th winning decision while lowering his ERA on the year to 5.49, Porcello’s next start should come against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the seventh inning with a brand new five-run lead to protect, and he did so by needing just 11 pitches to sit down the side in order.

From there, the recently called up Travis Lakins saw this one through to its completion by working his way around a leadoff single and one-out walk in the eighth before punching out the side in the ninth to secure the 9-1 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles right-hander Aaron Brooks, someone they faced twice in April when he was a member of the Oakland Athletics pitching staff.

Perhaps aided by that level of familiarity, a Mookie Betts double to lead things off the first set up Rafael Devers right away with a runner in scoring position.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Brooks, a 2-2, 86 MPH changeup on the outer edge of the plate, the red-hot Devers managed to rip an RBI single to the opposite field to get his side on the board first.

Fast forward to the fourth, after Baltimore came back to tie things up at one run apiece, and Andrew Benintendi took that lead back by driving in J.D. Martinez from second on a one-out, run-scoring triple to the triangle.

Two batters later, Mitch Moreland followed that Benintendi triple with an RBI three-bagger of his own, this one coming with two outs and on a pop fly to right field to make it a 3-1 contest.

In the sixth, a Martinez HBP, a Benintendi single, and Christian Vazquez sacrifice bunt set up the pinch-hitting Sam Travis with runners at second and third against new O’s reliever Richard Bleier.

Travis was put on intentionally, filling the bases for another pinch-hitter in the form of Chris Owings.

Having not played since going 0-for-5 in his Sox debut this past Sunday, Owings made up for that by plating a pair on a two-run double to left off the first pitch he saw from Bleier. Owing’s first hit in a Red Sox uniform put his new team ahead 5-1.

Jackie Bradley Jr. added on to that lead with a sacrifice fly to center to drive in Travis from third, and just like that, Boston had themselves a five-run lead.

An inning later, up against Tom Eshelman, a Devers leadoff walk and Bogaerts double put runners in scoring position once again for Martinez, who came through with yet another sac fly, driving in Devers from third.

Benintendi followed with his third hit and second of the extra-base hit variety, plating Bogaerts from third on an RBI double to give the Sox a seven-run advantage.

And in the eighth, Betts put the exclamation point on this blowout by mashing his 21st home run of the season with two outs in the inning.

That 358-foot blast over the Green Monster gave the Red Sox a 9-1 lead, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Rafael Devers’ last six games: 15-for-28 (.536) with six doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI.

Andrew Benintendi’s August thus far: .356/.406/.593 with nine doubles, one homer, and nine RBI. He has multiple hits in four of his last five games.

With their winning streak now at three, the Red Sox currently sit 6 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card Spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set on Saturday night.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston, while right-hander Asher Wojciechowski will do the same for Baltimore.

Rodriguez surrendered a season-high 10 hits in his last time out against the Cleveland Indians on Monday before being hit with the no-decision.

In two outings against the organization he began his pro career with this season, the 26-year-old is 2-0 with a minuscule 1.98 ERA and .188 batting average against over 13 2/3 quality innings of work.

Wojciechowski, meanwhile, held the Sox scoreless while taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning of a 5-0 win for the O’s in Baltimore back on July 21st.

The 30-year-old has since allowed 14 runs over his last four starts and 21 2/3 innings pitched. He has never made an appearance at Fenway Park.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their fourth straight win.

 

 

Rick Porcello Gives up Two Home Runs, One of Which Being Mike Trout’s First at Fenway Park, as Red Sox Get Blown out by Angels

After blowing out the Los Angeles Angels in a 16-4 victory on Friday night, the Red Sox saw their two-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday, as they fell to the Halos by a final score of 12-4 to drop back down to 62-57 on the season.

Making his 24th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who came into the weekend fresh off his best outing in weeks in his last time out against the Kansas City Royals.

Working into the sixth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered five runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and zero walks to go along with three strikeouts on the afternoon.

The first three of of those Angels runs came right away in the top half of the first inning, when for the second game in a row, a three-run home run got Los Angeles on the board first.

This one came courtesy of Justin Upton following a leadoff single from Kole Calhoun and one-out double from Shohei Ohtani.

On the fourth pitch he saw from Porcello, Ohtani unloaded on a 1-2, 93 MPH heater and wrapped it around Pesky’s Pole for his seventh home run of the season.

All was not looking well for Porcello early on, but the New Jersey native settled in nicely after serving up that bomb by stringing together 14 consecutive outs from the top of the first until the middle of the fifth.

Unfortunately for Boston though, Calhoun broke up that string with a leadoff single in the sixth, and Mike Trout followed that up by doing something he had yet to do in his career before Saturday, that being hit a home run at Fenway Park.

Yes, it took 22 games at Fenway to do so, but Trout clearly liked the first pitch he saw from his fellow statesman, a 90 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate, in his third at-bat of the day, and he deposited it 428 feet over the Green Monster.

Trout’s 39th homer of the year put the Angels up 5-1, and Porcello’s evening quickly came to a close as the two-time American League MVP was making the jog back to his dugout after rounding the bases.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (54 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.8 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 21 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 10-9 while inflating his ERA on the season up to 5.67, Porcello did not pitch poorly on Saturday. It’s just that the two biggest mistakes he made went for long home runs with men already on base. He’ll look to re-gain that Kansas City form in his next time out, which should come against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the sixth with the bases empty and three outs to get, and he got those three outs while working his way around a walk as well.

The seventh inning is where this contest fell apart for the Red Sox. Hernandez came back out for his second frame of work with his team in a three-run hole.

Despite the decently positive results in the sixth, the 22-year-old lost control in the seventh, as he allowed the Luis Rengifo, Kevan Smith, Wilfredo Tovar, and Calhoun to all reach base without recording an out.

Tovar drove in Rengifo on third with an RBI single, and Calhoun drew a walk on five pitches to fill the bases, which ended up being the point where Hernandez could no longer continue.

Instead, Hector Velazquez was inserted into this particular jam, and he proceeded to bean the first man he faced in Trout, digging the hole even deeper at 7-2.

A two-run single from Ohtani and sacrifice fly off the bat of Upton increased the Angels’ lead to eight runs, and David Fletcher plated a pair despite not recording an RBI on a single that got past Sam Travis in left field, which in turn allowed Ohtani and Matt Thaiss to score and make it a 12-2 game.

From that point, Velazquez got the final two outs of the seventh without allowing another run to score, while Ryan Weber retired six of the eight hitters he faced over two scoreless frames of relief in the eighth and ninth to hold the Angels at 12 runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney, another former Miami Marlins prospect who had been out since July 16th due to inflammation in his throwing elbow.

Starting the scoring in the bottom half of the third inning, a Jackie Bradley Jr. HBP and Mookie Betts single that Upton misplayed in left field put runners in scoring position with no outs for the middle-part of Boston’s order.

Xander Bogaerts was unable to do anything, as he flew out to shallow right field, but J.D. Martinez was able to load the bases by taking a 1-2, 80 MPH curveball off his left foot.

That HBP brought Sam Travis to the plate in a prime run-scoring spot, and he managed to bring Bradley Jr. in from third on a sacrifice fly to left to cut the early deficit down to two runs at 3-1.

Still with runners at first and second, Christian Vazquez killed any shot of extending the rally by flying out to Upton in left to end the inning.

In the fourth, back-to-back two-out singles from Sandy Leon and Bradley Jr. set up Mookie Betts nicely against new Angels reliever Taylor Cole, but all the reigning American League MVP could do was fly out to right for the third and final out.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Brock Holt at second following a one-out double, Bradley Jr. at first following a two-out walk and former Red Sox prospect Ty Buttrey on the mound for Los Angeles, Betts came through this time with a line-drive RBI double to score Holt from second and trim the Halos’ lead to three runs at 5-2.

5-2 was the closest the Sox got though, as the Angels exploded for seven runs of their own in their half of the seventh.

Travis and Michael Chavis responded in the bottom half of the frame with a solo homer and run-scoring groundout off of JC Ramirez to make it a 12-4 contest, but that would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. They left 11 men on base as a team.

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

So, the mini two-game winning streak for the Red Sox has come to an end. They’ll look to close out this six-game homestand with a series win over the Angels on Sunday afternoon before heading to Cleveland.

Right-hander Andrew Cashner is set to get the ball for Boston, while left-hander Patrick Sandoval will do the same for Los Angeles.

Since coming over from the Baltimore Orioles last month, Cashner has taken the loss in four of his first five starts with the Red Sox. He has posted a 7.53 ERA over 28 2/3 innings of work in that span.

In his career against the Angels, the 32-year-old owns a lifetime 3.27 ERA and .259 batting average against over six total appearances (three starts) and 22 innings pitched.

Sandoval, meanwhile, will be making his firs career big league start in his second appearance after yielding two runs over five innings of relief in his big league debut against the Cincinnati Reds this past Monday.

Ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the Angels’ farm system, Sandoval, 22, posted a 5.71 ERA and .290 batting average against over 19 starts between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake before getting called up on August 5th.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

Rick Porcello Allows One Run over Six Strong Innings as Red Sox Halt Losing Streak at Eight Games with 7-5 Victory over Royals

At long last, the Red Sox have won a baseball game, as they opened a seven-game homestand on Monday with a 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals to halt their losing streak at eight.

Making his 23rd start of the season for Boston to begin the new week was Rick Porcello, coming off a month of July where he went 4-1 despite allowing 25 earned runs over his last five starts and 28 1/3 innings pitched.

Tossing six full innings in this one, the right-hander surrendered just one earned run on four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night, marking the first time since Friday that a Sox starter had made it to the sixth.

That lone Kansas City tally came in the top half of the sixth inning, when with two outs and the bases empty, Porcello served up a solo home run to Cheslor Cuthbert off a 1-2, 84 MPH slider on the outer half of the plate.

The New Jersey native had retired nine of the the last 10 hitters he faced before giving up that bomb to make it a 4-1 contest, but Porcello did not falter, as he got Ryan O’Hearn to pop out to first to end the frame and thus end his evening on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (67 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 31% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 93.2 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 10-8 while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.54, Porcello now has quality starts in two of his last three outings, both of which have come at Fenway Park. He’ll look to keep that trend going in his next time out, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.

In relief of Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi entered the seventh with a three-run lead to protect, and he, in his first action since Friday, saw that lead shrink to two by giving up a one-out solo homer to Meibrys Viloria off an 0-2, 97 MPH heater at the top of the zone.

That made it a 4-2 game, but Eovaldi rebounded well enough to strand another runner at first following a two-out walk and get out of the inning with the two-run lead still intact.

Matt Barnes came in right after his team had gone up 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh only to give all three of those runs back on a three-run homer off the bat of Bubba Starling. Granted, it was a bit of a Fenway Park special, as it only traveled 332 feet and had an expected batting average of .040, but it was good for three runs nonetheless, and that cut Boston’s lead down to 7-5.

Like Eovaldi, Barnes was also able to recover by punching out Viloria on five pitches, making way for Brandon Workman in the ninth.

There, Workman allowed the tying run to come to the plate following a Whit Merrifield one-out double, but ultimately finished things off by getting Alex Gordon to ground out to first before striking Dozier out on six pitches to secure the 7-5 victory and notch his sixth save of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against left-hander Mike Montgomery, someone who had surrendered 10 runs in his first three starts as a Royal since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs last month.

Kicking the scoring off in the bottom half of the third after Xander Bogaerts was called out at home for the final out of the first, Bogaerts made up for his earlier mistake by lacing a hard-hit grounder to Nicky Lopez over at short, one hit so hard that the rookie infielder could not field it cleanly, and that allowed Mookie Betts to score from third for his side’s first run.

Two batters later, with two outs in the frame and Rafael Devers at third, Sam Travis unloaded on a 2-1, 92 MPH sinker from Montgomery and sent it a booming 429 feet over the Green Monster to make it a 3-0 game.

Fast forward to the fifth, Rafael Devers put his opposite field power on display, as he deposited a one-out, 1-0, 77 MPH curveball 364 feet to left for his 23rd big fly of 2019. 4-0.

And in the seventh, Sandy Leon and Betts both greeted new Royals reliever Tim Hill by reaching base on a leadoff walk and single, allowing Devers to move Leon up to third on a fly out to right field.

Another Kansas City pitching change saw right-hander Scott Barlow take over for Hill, and he proved to be pretty wild, as he let Leon coast in from third in the process of walking Bogaerts on four straight pitches.

With runners at first and second now, Andrew Benintendi came to the plate having faced off against Barlow on three separate occasions before Monday, and he came through by dropping to one knee and ripping a two-run double through the right side of the infield.

That two-RBI double put the Red Sox ahead 7-2, and after the Royals made things a bit interesting in the eighth, 7-5 would go on to be Monday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Mookie Betts had to be removed from Monday’s game before the start of the eighth inning after taking a foul ball off his left shin in the bottom of the seventh. He was later diagnosed with a left shin contusion and has been ruled day-to-day, but is expected to be good to go for Tuesday. This comes on the same night that J.D. Martinez was scratched from Boston’s starting lineup due to back soreness.

From Red Sox Notes:

Andrew Benintendi’s last 15 games: .415/.433/.785 with five homers and 17 RBI.

With the Red Sox winning on Monday night and the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, and Tampa Bay Rays all losing, the Sox are back to within 5 1/2 games back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Now that that eight-game nightmare is done and over with, the Red Sox should adopt a one-game-at-a-time kind of mentality for the remaining two months of the 2019 season.

As things stand right now, the defending World Series champions are viewed as long shots to make it back to the postseason. That much is evident by how Fangraphs is giving the Sox just a 20.4% chance to get back to October baseball.

With that, Boston needs to take advantage of all the doubt surrounding them.

It starts with this soft spot in their schedule, but picks up next week when they head to Cleveland for a pivotal three-game series against the Indians.

Many have said that the Red Sox are done. I’m saying that they are 1-0 in their last one game.

Anyway, this series against the Royals picks up again on Tuesday night, with right-hander Andrew Cashner getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Jakob Junis doing the same for Kansas City.

This will be Cashner’s first start as a member of the Red Sox where he is not facing off against a division rival.

In his career against the Royals, the 32-year-old owns a lifetime 3.29 ERA and .271 batting average against over five prior starts and 27 1/3 innings pitched.

Junis, meanwhile, has surrendered 11 earned runs over 26 innings in four starts since the All-Star break. That’s good for an ERA of 3.81.

In one prior start at Fenway Park, Junis took the no-decision while allowing two runs on seven hits over six quality innings in a game the Royals eventually won back on May 1st, 2018.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to make it two wins in a row.

 

 

Rick Porcello Surrenders Six Runs in Less Than Six Innings as Red Sox Drop Third Straight in 8-5 Loss to Rays

After doing nothing as the trade deadline came and went earlier in the day, the Red Sox dropped their second straight to the Tampa Bay Rays and third straight overall in an 8-5 loss on Wednesday to fall to 59-50 on the season.

Making his 22nd start of the season and third against Tampa Bay for Boston was Rick Porcello, who came into the middle game of this three-game set fresh off his best outing in weeks in his last time out against the New York Yankees.

Working into the sixth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first of those six Tampa Bay tallies came right away in the top half of the first, when with one out and a runner at second following a Ji-Man Choi double to lead off the contest, Travis d’Arnaud got his team on the board with a line-drive RBI single to center. Two monitors in the Red Sox dugout were totaled by Porcello as a result of that run crossing the plate.

An inning later, the first pitch out of Porcello’s hand went for a home run, as Kevin Kiermaier punished a 90 MPH four-seam fastball on the inner half of the plate to make it a 2-0 game.

Porcello nearly escaped the second without yielding any more damage, but a two-out, broken-bat single from Willy Adames and seven pitch-walk drawn by Choi resulted in more trouble for the New Jersey native with Austin Meadows also sending the first pitch he saw, a 91 MPH heater at the top of the zone, 393 feet into the right field seats.

Once more in the sixth, Porcello was again just one out away from tossing his first 1-2-2 inning of the night, but served up his third big fly of the night, this one a solo shot off the bat of Adames.

That put the Rays up 6-2, and that would be how Porcello’s disappointing outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (70 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 28% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing one swing and miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 92 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 26 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 9-8 while inflating his ERA on the season up to 5.74, Porcello’s July went like this: five games started, 28 1/3 innings pitched, 43 hits, 25 earned runs, four walks, and 23 strikeouts. That’s good for an ERA of 7.94, which is far from ideal.

He’ll look to try and turn things around in his next time out, which should come against the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

In relief of Porcello, Darwinzon Hernandez entered with one out to get in the top of the sixth, and he got that out by fanning Meadows on five pitches immediately after giving up a two-out double to Choi.

From there, Heath Hembree allowed two more Rays runs to cross the plate on back-to-back, two-out RBI knocks from Kiermaier and Matt Duffy, and those runs would prove to be costly later on.

Left-hander Josh Taylor impressed by punching out a pair in a scoreless eighth to keep the deficit at three runs, while Marcus Walden struck out the side to do the same in the ninth, although it did not make much of a difference when all was said and done.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against Rays opener and right-hander Andrew Kittredge, who eventually made way for the left-handed Ryan Yarbrough in the bottom of the third after Jackie Bradley Jr. reached on a one-out fielding error committed by Nate Lowe and Mookie Betts moved him up to third on a single.

Rafael Devers got the scoring started for Boston by greeting the just-entered Yarbrough with a sacrifice fly to left that allowed Bradley Jr. to come in and score from third.

In the fourth, J.D. Martinez led things off by taking Yarbrough deep to right off an 0-2, 79 MPH curveball for his 23rd big fly of the season to cut the deficit down to three runs at 5-2.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, after the Rays had added three runs to their lead in the top halves of the sixth and seventh, the Red Sox got all three of those runs back, and it started with a one-out solo shot off the bat of Michael Chavis. His 17th of the year made it an 8-3 game.

Consecutive two-out hits from Betts and Devers trimmed the Rays’ lead to four, with Devers collecting his second RBI of the night on a run-scoring, line-drive single to center.

Following a pitching change that saw Diego Castillo take over for Yarbrough, Xander Bogaerts and Martinez kept the line moving, as Martinez too picked up his second RBI by driving in Devers from third on a run-scoring, bloop single of his own.

That put runners at the corners in an 8-5 contest for Andrew Benintendi, representing the tying run.

Rays manager Kevin Cash responded by turning to the left-handed Colin Poche out of his bullpen, and I have to tip my cap to Poche, as he fanned Benintendi on five pitches to escape the jam in the seventh before getting each of Christian Vazquez, Chavis, and Bradley Jr. to whiff in order in the eighth as well.

Down to their final three outs in a three-run game in the bottom of the ninth, a Betts leadoff single and two-out walk drawn by Martinez off of Chaz Roe brought Benintendi to the plate in another crucial spot.

Having faced off against Roe four times before Wednesday, Benintendi fell behind in the count at 0-2, took a third-pitch ball outside, and struck out looking on a 1-2, 92 MPH two-seamer that was nearly in the same spot the first pitch was.

A rather anticlimactic way to end things, but that is how 8-5 would go on to be Wednesday’s final score. A night of frustration and missed opportunities.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday. They left nine men on base as a team.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Sam Travis, since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on July 15th: .317/.419/.690 with two homers and five RBI.

The Red Sox have lost three straight to fall 10 games back of the Yankees for first place in the American League East and 2 1/2 games back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Between the lack of activity ahead of the trade deadline and the results on the field, Wednesday was not an encouraging day for this club.

Right-hander Andrew Cashner will take to the hill for Boston in this series’ finale on Thursday, while rookie left-hander Brendan McKay will do the same for Tampa Bay.

Since joining Boston’s rotation earlier in the month, Cashner is 1-2 with a 6.11 ERA over his last three starts, all of which have come against AL East opponents.

That trend will continue on Thursday, as the 32-year-old will bring with him a lifetime 4.03 ERA and .266 batting average against over five career starts against the Rays.

McKay, meanwhile, entered the 2019 season ranked as Tampa Bay’s number-two prospect after being drafted fourth overall in the 2017 amateur draft out of the University of Louisville.

McKay is a two-way player, meaning he both pitches and DH’s.

Through his first four career starts, the 23-year-old is 1-1 with an ERA of 3.72 over a total of 19 1/3 innings pitched.

As a hitter, McKay is 0-for-4, with all four-at bats coming July 1st against the Baltimore Orioles.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to put an end to this skid.

Red Sox Go off for Season-High 19 Runs and 23 Hits in Record-Setting Blowout Win over Yankees

After taking two out of three from the Tampa Bay Rays to cap off a six-game road trip on Wednesday, the Red Sox welcomed the American League East-leading New York Yankees into Fenway Park for the first time this season and opened up a four-game weekend series on Thursday with a blowout 19-3 victory over their divisional foes.

Making his 21st start of the season for Boston and third against New York was Rick Porcello, who could only make it through 1/3 of an inning the last time he faced off against the Bronx Bombers back on June 29th in London.

Tossing six full innings this time around, the right-hander yielded just three runs, all earned, on six hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first pair of those Yankees runs came across to score in the top half of the second, when following four straight outs to begin his outing, Porcello fell victim to a string of four straight one-out hits from Didi Gregorius, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, which plated Gregorius, and Mike Tauchman, which filled the bases.

An eight pitch punchout of Kyle Higashioka, as well as getting ahead in the count at 0-2 against D.J. LeMahieu meant that Porcello was just one pitch away from escaping the jam, but the New Jersey native lost the Yankees’ leadoff man on ball four, and Voit scored as a result.

Fortunately for Boston, Porcello rebounded by getting the always dangerous Aaron Judge to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in deep center field, and that extinguished the threat.

In total, Porcello needed 47 pitches to get through a strenuous second, but he relatively cruised from there, as he sat down the next six Yankees he faced before serving up a solo shot to Higashioka in the fifth.

Outside of that one blip, Porcello retired the side in order in that fifth inning and worked his way around a two-out double in an otherwise 1-2-3 top of the sixth, where his evening came to an impressive close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 112 (76 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball 34% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing six swings and misses and topping out at 92.6 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 9-7 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 5.55, Porcello continues to be the benefactor of a high volume of run support and has thus improved to 4-0 since the start of July. He’ll look to keep that run going in his next time out, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.

In relief of Porcello, rookie left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez came on in the seventh with his team ahead by a sizable margin, and he fanned two in a clean inning.

Colten Brewer did the same while punching out one in the eighth, and Nathan Eovaldi bounced back from a rough debut out of the bullpen on Monday by hurling a scoreless ninth inning to secure the 19-3 win for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who was also Porcello’s opponent when these two clubs met up in London.

Unlike Porcello though, Tanaka did not bounce back from a rough experience across the pond. It was almost the exact opposite of that, really.

Kicking off the scoring right away for Boston in the bottom of the first, a Mookie Betts leadoff single and Rafael Devers walk set up Xander Bogaerts in an early RBI spot.

Bogaerts, after working a 3-1 count in his favor, absolutely demolished a 93 MPH fastball on the inner half of the plate and deposited it 451 feet over the Green Monster. His 22nd home run of the season, this one good for three runs, was also the longest of his career.

A string of three straight hits from Andrew Benintendi, Brock Holt, and Mitch Moreland sandwiched in between the first two outs of the inning brought Jackie Bradley Jr. to the plate.

Coming into Thursday 0-for-his-last-13, Bradley Jr. broke out of that slump immediately, as he laced a two-run double down the right field line to bring in two runs and move Moreland up to third for Betts yet again.

On the first pitch of his second at-bat against Tanaka already, the reigning MVP cleared the bases with a two-run two-bagger of his own off a 92 MPH sinker. Just like that, the Red Sox were ahead 7-0.

Fast forward to the fourth, with it now a 7-2 contest, and Devers began the charge to re-widen the gap by leading off the inning with his 21st big fly of the year off a first-pitch, 92 MPH heater on the outer half of the plate that was sent 437 feet over everything in left.

A Bogaerts single and one-out walk drawn by Benintendi put a runner in scoring position for the just-inserted Michael Chavis, who replaced Holt after he was ejected by home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn for arguing balls and strikes in the third.

Anyway, Chavis took advantage of this opportunity, as he blooped an RBI double just deep enough to left to drive in Bogaerts and advance Benintendi to third.

Moreland extended his side’s lead to 11-2 by ripping a two-run, ground-rule double to right, and that was how Tanaka’s night ended.

Facing off against lefty Stephen Tarpley now, Christian Vazquez picked up where Chavis and Moreland had left off by lacing a two-run double of his own down the left field corner, scoring Moreland and making it a 10-run game at 12-2.

An inning later, four straight knocks from Bogaerts, Martinez, Benintendi, and Chavis to lead off the fifth against Tarpley brought in two more Boston runs, with Benintendi and Chavis picking up their first and second RBI of the contest respectively.

Vazquez brought in run number 15 on a grounder to short that gave Benintendi more than enough time to score from third, and the Red Sox had themselves a 15-3 advantage.

In the sixth, Devers greeted new Yankees reliever Luis Cessa by collecting his second RBI on a double to right that allowed Betts to score all the way from first following a leadoff walk. Devers was caught trying to turn that double into a triple, though.

Finally, in the eighth, with catcher Austin Romine on the mound for New York, Bradley Jr. led things off with a double, and Sandy Leon, in his first and only at-bat of the night, scored him, as well as himself, on his fourth homer of the season. This one marking the second time in the past week that the backstop has taken an opposing position player yard.

Fittingly, the man who got the Red Sox on the board also wrapped up an exciting offensive outpouring, as Bogaerts too took Romine deep to left-center for his second dinger of the day and 23rd of the season to tie his previous career-high.

That put Boston ahead 19-3, and that would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

From Red Sox Stats:

Xander Bogaerts’ last 15 games: .419/.478/.790 with six home runs and 17 RBI.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second of this four-game weekend series on Friday night.

Right-hander Andrew Cashner will get the ball for Boston, while left-hander James Paxton will do the same for New York.

In his first two starts with the Red Sox, Cashner is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA over 11 innings pitched.

When he was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles earlier in the month, one of the first things Cashner told the Boston media is that he’s, “looking forward to playing the Yankees.” He’ll have the chance to prove he can handle the American League East’s top team on Friday.

In his career against the Yankees, the 32-year-old is 2-5 with a 3.96 lifetime ERA and .247 batting average against over 10 starts and 61 1/3 innings of work.

Paxton, meanwhile, has not been the same pitcher he was earlier in the year since he was shelved with inflammation in his left knee back in early May.

In 10 starts since his return on May 29th, the 30-year-old has posted a 5.06 ERA and .303 batting average against over his last 48 innings pitched. That includes surrendering seven runs, only four of which were earned, in his last time out against the Colorado Rockies on July 21st.

Paxton has never pitched at Fenway Park before in his career. Against the Red Sox, he owns a lifetime 1.89 ERA over five prior starts and 33 1/3 innings pitched, including an eight-inning shutout back on April 16th of this year at Yankee Stadium.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their second straight win.

 

Jackie Bradley Jr. Goes Yard Twice, Drives in Six Runs as Red Sox Tee off on Orioles in 17-6 Win

After an ‘unacceptable’ 11-2 loss to open a three-game weekend series on Friday, the Red Sox bounced back against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, blowing out their divisional foes by a final score of 17-6 to improve to 54-45 on the season.

Making his 20th start of the season for Boston and second against Baltimore was Rick Porcello, coming off an outing in which he allowed four runs in six innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in a win this past Monday.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the right-hander, like David Price before him, got shelled for six runs, all of which were earned, on a season-high 11 hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The first five of those six Orioles tallies came in the bottom half of the third, when after his team had jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, Porcello gave it right back by serving up a one-run double to Trey Mancini to cap off a string of three straight hitters reaching base to begin the inning, a one-out, three-run home run to Renato Nunez off a 1-0, 81 MPH changeup, and a two-out RBI single to Chris Davis.

Those three hits resulted in the Red Sox’ initial five-run advantage completely disappearing, but fortunately for Porcello, his side tacked on a total off 11 runs over the next two innings, and he did not give that lead up.

The only other damage the Orioles got off Porcello took place in the fifth, when with two outs and the bases empty, outfielder Anthony Santander stayed hot and took the New Jersey native deep to right on an 0-2, 84 MPH slider on the inner half of the plate for his second homer in as many days.

Porcello was just one pitch away from his first 1-2-3 inning, but instead yielded hits to three of the last four Orioles he faced and wrapped up the fifth by getting Richie Martin to ground out to second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (67 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball more than 31% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing one swing and miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 91.2 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 26 times and got four whiffs on while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately picking up his eighth winning decision of the season despite his ERA inflating to 5.61, July has not been Porcello’s best month, as he owns a 8.64 ERA over his last three starts. As it turns out though, the Sox are 3-0 in those games. Porcello’s next start should come against the New York Yankees on Thursday.

In relief of Porcello, Heath Hembree entered in the middle of the sixth with a cushy 10-run lead to protect, and he retired the side in order.

From there, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez punched out the side, walked one, and gave up a hit to another in the seventh in his third appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on the 16th, fellow lefty Josh Taylor worked his way around a leadoff single in an otherwise perfect eighth, and Colten Brewer finished things off with a clean ninth inning to secure the 17-6 blowout victory for the Red Sox.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles rookie right-hander Tom Eshelman, making his third career big league start and first against a team besides the Tampa Bay Rays.

A leadoff single from J.D. Martinez would turn out to be the catalyst for a huge four-run second inning, with Andrew Benintendi reaching base on a four-pitch walk, and Christian Vazquez getting his team on the board first with an RBI single to left, driving in Martinez all the way from second.

Jackie Bradley Jr., with a large group of family and friends in attendance, padded that early lead by blasting his 10th home run of the season, a 410-foot, three-run shot off a first-pitch 76 MPH curveball from Eshelman.

An inning later, Rafael Devers reached the 20-homer plateau for the second straight season, as he led off the third by taking Eshelman deep to right off a 3-2, 86 MPH two-seamer right down Broadway.

That gave the Red Sox an early five-run lead, and it looked like they were on their way to running away with this one. They eventually did, but not before the Orioles made this a new game with a five-run frame of their own in their half of the third.

The 5-5 stalemate did not last long, though. Not with Michael Chavis reaching first on a one-out throwing error in the fourth and Mookie Betts plating him, as well as himself, on his 15th big fly of the year. This one sent 364 feet over the left field fence to give the Red Sox a new 7-5 lead.

A pitching change following a Devers walk and Xander Bogaerts single saw Jimmy Yacabonis take over for Eshelman, and he was immediately greeted by Martinez, who ripped his second hit of the night, a two-run double to left, to score both Devers and Bogaerts. 9-5.

A wild pitch with Benintendi at the plate allowed Martinez to advance to third easily, and Vazquez capitalized on Baltimore’s miscue by collecting his second RBI of the contest on a bloop single to left. 10-5.

With runners at first and second and still one out to get, Bradley Jr. laced an 0-2, 86 MPH slider from Yacabonis and just snuck his second three-run homer of the night off the right field foul pole.

Per Statcast, Bradley Jr.’s 11th dinger of 2019 had an exit velocity of 99.9 MPH, good enough to put the Red Sox up 13-5.

In the fifth, a Brock Holt leadoff double resulted in three more Boston runs crossing the plate, with Betts, Devers, and Bogaerts stringing together back-to-back-to-back RBI hits off Yacabonis, making it an 11-run contest in the process of doing so.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, with outfielder Stevie Wilkerson pitching for the O’s, Sandy Leon, who entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh, put this one to bed by blasting home run number three on the season off a 1-0, 55(!!!) MPH slider.

Leon’s first non-three-run shot of the year gave the Red Sox the 17-6 lead, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Michael Chavis left in the fifth inning Saturday due to back spasms. He won’t play tomorrow, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora isn’t too concerned.

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Rafael Devers’ July to this point: .333/.408/.794 with eight home runs and 25 RBI.

Xander Bogaerts’ last seven games: .500/.559/.767 with two homers and five RBI.

Mookie Betts, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games on Saturday, is slashing .426/.493/.672 with two homers, 10 RBI, and 10 walks over his last 15 games.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the final game of this weekend series on Sunday afternoon in Baltimore.

Right-hander Andrew Cashner gets the start for Boston against his former club, while fellow righty Asher Wojciechowski will do the Same for Baltimore.

Fresh off a five-inning, five-run performance in his Red Sox debut last Tuesday, Cashner made 17 starts with the O’s before being traded on July 13th.

In his career at Camden Yards, the 32-year-old is 6-8 with a lifetime 4.49 ERA and .260 batting average against over 22 starts and 130 1/3 total innings pitched.

Wojciechowski, meanwhile, brings with him a 5.74 ERA over four appearances (three starts) and 15 2/3 innings of work on the 2019 season.

The 30-year-old has only faced off against Boston one time, and that came back in September of 2017 when he was with the Cincinnati Reds. In that one appearance, Wojciechowski tossed two scoreless innings of relief in an eventual 5-4 loss.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for a much-needed series win.