Red Sox Fail to Take Series, Fall to 18-19 at Fenway Park in 6-1 Loss to Blue Jays

After blowing a five-run lead to the Blue Jays on Saturday, the Red Sox came out absolutely flat Sunday, as they fell to Toronto by a final score of 6-1 and dropped the three-game weekend set in the process of doing so.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston in the series finale was Rick Porcello, who entered Sunday both coming off one of his more impressive outings of the year against the Minnesota Twins, as well as a not so impressive track record when opposed by the Jays.

That much held true in this one, with the right-hander surrendering five runs, all earned, on eight hits and four walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the afternoon. Those four free passes were the most Porcello has given up in over two months, when he walked five on April 13th against the Baltimore Orioles.

A scoreless first, followed by back-to-back two-out hits, one being a ground-rule double down the right field line and the other a broken-bat RBI single, from Rowdy Tellez and Brandon Drury in the second would be how Toronto got on the board. Neither ball was hit particularily hard, but it got the job done nonetheless.

An inning later, and more two-out trouble bit Porcello in the third, this time with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ripping a single over Jackie Bradley Jr.’s head in center field and coming in to score on an RBI double off the bat of rookie Cavan Biggio.

From there, Porcello settled in a bit with a quick fourth and fifth, but a leadoff walk to Biggio in the sixth would ultimately prove to be the New Jersey native’s demise.

Freddy Galvis moved Biggio to third with another double, and Porcello had no one to blame but himself for how the Blue Jays plated their third run, on a balk.

Porcello told reporters postgame that he thought Christian Vazquez had been granted time from home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi, but that proved not to be the case, as Biggio was waved in.

More one-out walks to Tellez and Drury loaded the bases for Toronto backstop Danny Jansen, who essentially delivered the final blow with a two-run single through the left side infield to put his side up 5-0.

Porcello managed to keep the Jays off the scoreboard again by retiring the last two hitters he faced in the sixth, and that is how his day came to a disappointing close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (62 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 34% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 92.2 MPH with the pitch while Vazquez was behind the plate.

Getting hit with his seventh losing decision while his ERA on the season jumped up to 4.52, Porcello will look for improved results in his next time out, which should come in uncharted territory: London, England, when the Sox travel there to take on the New York Yankees later this week.

In relief of Porcello, Josh Smith gave the rest of Boston’s bullpen a day of rest by finishing this contest off with three innings of one-run ball. That one run came on an eighth inning solo homer from Eric Sogard.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar foe in Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, who held Boston to one run over six innings the last time he opposed them on May 21st.

This time around, it was more of the same for the Toronto ace, with the only difference being that he didn’t give up any runs on Sunday.

The Sox’ best, most opportune scoring chance came in the bottom of the second, when with one out and Christian Vazquez and Brock Holt at first and second, Jackie Bradley Jr. nearly drove in his club’s first run with an opposite field single to left, but perhaps in a spot where Holt should have been held up at third, interim third base coach Andy Barkett waved him in, and a solid throw from Gurriel Jr. to Jansen at home was enough to snuff out the runner.

Holt was also seen reaching for his left hamstring as he was headed towards home, and he was removed in the fourth because of it. Red Sox manager Alex Cora ruled the utility man day-to-day.

If Holt had scored there in the second, that would have knotted things up at one run a piece. Instead, it went for nothing, and the Blue Jays continued to add on to their lead while the Red Sox finished the afternoon 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

It wasn’t until the ninth when they finally get on the board, and that came when with one out and Eduardo Nunez at second following a leadoff double, Bradley Jr. reached first base safely on a fielding error committed by Jays reliever Joe Biagini, which provided Nunez with enough time to come in and score.

That’s it. One unearned run and no RBI, as the Red Sox would go on to fall by a final of 6-1.

Some notes from this loss:

Xander Bogaerts’ run of consecutive games with a double has ended at seven.

From Red Sox Stats:

JD Martinez is 7-for-his-last-39 (.179) in eight games going back to June 15th.

So, the Red Sox were nine outs away from at least guaranteeing a series win on Saturday, and less than 24 hours later, they find themselves losers of their last two against an opponent bound to finish with one of the worst records in the American League this season.

A three-game set against the 36-39 Chicago White Sox is next on deck.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the start for Boston, while right-hander Lucas Giolito will do the same for Chicago.

The winner in four of his last five outings, Rodriguez is coming off back-to-back starts of seven innings or more for the first time since 2015.

In four prior starts against the White Sox, including six one-run innings in a win back on May 4th, the 26-year-old has posted a lifetime 2.66 ERA over 23 2/3 innings of work.

Giolito, meanwhile, gave up three runs over five innings in his last start against Boston on the second of May. Since then, the 24-year-old has won eight of his last nine outings, posting an ERA of 1.75 and batting average against of .168 in 61 2/3 innings pitched.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to start another winning streak.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Rick Porcello Dazzles with Seven Scoreless Innings as Red Sox Take Opener from Twins for Sixth Straight Win

After sweeping the lowly Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, the Red Sox kicked off the second leg of their two-city, six-game road trip on Monday by taking the first of three against the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins in a tightly-contested 2-0 win, marking their sixth consecutive victory to improve to a season-best six games over .500 at 40-34.

Making his 15th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who entered Monday fresh off a quality outing in his last time out against the Texas Rangers as well as an impressive track record when working at Target Field.

Tossing seven full innings this time around, the right-hander held one of the top offensive clubs in the American League scoreless, scattering just four hits and one walk to go along with eight strikeouts on the night to tie a season-high.

It wasn’t quite clear that Porcello would wind up putting together the dominant performance he did in this one, with Nelson Cruz ripping a two-out double off of him in the first inning and all, but the New Jersey native did not waver, as he received some help from his defense and never faced more than four hitters in a single frame up until the bottom half of the seventh.

There, following a string of retiring 17 of the last 19 Twins he had faced, a one-out, line-drive double off the bat of CJ Cron that nearly snuck over the wall in right-center field put the tying run in scoring position for Minnesota.

A two-out walk of Miguel Sano two batters later also put the go-ahead run on base, but, fortunately for Boston, Porcello managed to escape the jam and thus preserve the shutout by getting Jason Castro to fly out to left, and that would be how his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (68 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 45% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing six swings and misses and topping out at 92.7 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Eventually earning his fifth winning decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.31, Porcello will look to continue this recent run he has been on in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend.

In relief of Porcello, Colten Brewer came on in the eighth with a one-run lead to protect, allowed the first two men he faced to reach to put the go-ahead run on for Minnesota yet again.

With no outs and the AL’s top hitter Jorge Polanco (.332 BA) at the plate, the Twins decided to take the bat out of their shortstop’s hands, and instead opted for a sacrifice bunt to advance both Jonathan Schoop and Max Kepler into scoring position for Neslon Cruz.

Having only faced Cruz one time prior to Monday, Brewer got ahead in the count with two straight strikes before getting the Twins slugger to ground into a fielder’s choice that just so happened to catch Schoop in a rundown between third and home.

Devers, on the toss from Sandy Leon, was able to tag Schoop out to eliminate the threat, all while Kepler failed to advance to third himself.

Three pitches later, Brewer miraculously got out of the tight spot he put himself in by getting Eddie Roasario to ground into an inning-ending out at first.

And in the ninth, after his team had provided a little insurance in their half of the frame, Ryan Brasier, just activated from the bereavement list earlier Monday, shut the door on the Twins and notched his seventh save of the year by locking down the 2-0 win for Boston.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Twins ace right-hander Jose Berrios, and he proved to be just as, if not more dominant than Porcello in this one.

It was a good thing the Boston bats got to him right away with one out in the first on an RBI single off the bat of JD Martinez to plate Mookie Betts from third, because the Puerto Rico native was essentially unhittable the rest of the night.

Sitting down 19 in a row at one point and capping off his performance by fanning the final two hitters he faced, it wasn’t until Berrios departed and right-handed reliever Blake Parker entered to begin the ninth.

Down to their last out of the inning with JD Martinez at second following a one-out double off Parker, Xander Bogaerts came through in the clutch and gave his side some much-needed insurance, as he took an 0-2 fastball on the outer half of the plate and slapped an RBI two-bagger to the opposite field, allowing for Martinez to come in and score and put the Red Sox up 2-0.

That extra-base hit, the 300th of Bogaerts’ career, would be all the Sox would need to take the series opener from the Twins and win their sixth straight overall in the process of doing so.

Some notes from this win:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Xander Bogaerts, since this road trip began on June 14th: 5-for-11 with three doubles, six walks, and four RBI in four games.

I don’t want to say that the Red Sox passed their first test since there are still two games remaining in this series, but after all the negativity about being unable to beat quality teams, coming out and blanking arguably the best team in the American League at the moment at home is impressive nonetheless.

For the middle contest of this three-game set, it will be a starting pitching matchup featuring a pair of veteran arms, with left-hander David Price getting the ball for Boston and Michael Pineada doing the same for Minnesota.

Coming off his second-shortest start of the season in a six-run beatdown at the hands of the Rangers on June 13th, Price (4-2, 3.52 ERA), brings with him a lifetime 3.08 ERA over nine career starts and 61.1 total innings pitched at Target Field.

Pineda, meanwhile, missed all of the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and has posted a 5.04 ERA through 13 starts in his second year with the Twins.

In 12 prior starts against Boston, the 30-year-old is 5-5 to go along with an ERA of 4.23 over 66 innings of work.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to extend their winning streak to seven.

 

Red Sox Snap Three-Game Skid, Top Rangers 4-3 on Mookie Betts’ Walk-Off Walk

The Red Sox entered Wednesday losers of their last three and 1-5 on their current eight-game homestand. They had fallen eight games off the pace for first place in the American League East and three games back of the second wild card spot. It’s only June 12th, but I don’t think it’s an understatement to say they needed this 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers, especially after blowing another late lead and bouncing back from it.

Making his 14th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who came into this one having given up nine earned runs over his last 10 2/3 innings going back to the beginning of the month.

Working his way into the seventh inning this time around, the right-hander limited the Rangers to just two runs, both of which were earned, on five hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts on the evening.

Both of those Rangers tallies came right away in the first, when after recording the first two outs of the frame in pretty seamless fashion, three straight hits from Elvis Andrus, Nomar Mazara, and Hunter Pence, who drove in both runners on base with a two-run double, put the Red Sox down a pair early.

From there though, Porcello certainly recovered nicely, stringing together 15 consecutive outs before yielding a two-out double to Andrus in the sixth. Nothing came out of that.

In what would turn out to be his final inning, the New Jersey native was only one pitch away from retiring the side by fanning Rougned Odor on five pitches, but the Rangers second baseman won the battle, ripped a single to center, and that is how Porcello’s outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (67 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his slider nearly 39% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 93.8 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he turned to 23 times while Christian Vazquez, not Sandy Leon, was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season dipped down to a nice 4.69, Porcello will look to build on his first quality outing of June in his next time out, which should come against the Minnesota Twins.

In relief of Porcello, Brandon Workman came on with one out to get in the seventh and stranded the inherited runner at first by punching out Ronald Guzman on four pitches.

The eighth inning for Workman though, well, that was a different story, and it started by him plunking Choo with one out in the inning.

A successful sacrifice bunt off the bat of the speedy Delino Deshields Jr. that was misplayed by Christian Vazquez on a poor throw to first put runners in scoring position for Texas.

A sacrifice fly from Andrus two pitches later allowed Choo to score from third, and this contest was knotted up at three runs a piece.

Fortunately for Boston, unlike some recent nights have gone, Workman escaped the eighth with the tie still intact, and that would turn out to be the last run surrendered by a Red Sox pitcher.

That being the case because Matt Barnes maneuvered his way around a two-out walk in an otherwise clean ninth to set up the walk-off shortly thereafter.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar opponent in Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn, who came into Wednesday with a solid track record in three prior appearances at Fenway Park.

Staring the scoring for Boston following a two-run first for Texas was Rafael Devers, whose two-out RBI single plated Andrew Benintendi from second to cut that deficit in half immediately.

Fast forward to the third, a leadoff walk drawn by Jackie Bradley Jr. almost went in vain before Andrew Benintendi drove him in with his second of three extra base hits on the day, this one a two-out RBI triple to pull his team even with the Rangers at two runs each.

In the fifth, it was more of the same from Benintendi, as the Sox outfielder worked some more two-out magic and drilled an RBI single on the first pitch he saw from Lynn, an 80 MPH curveball on the lower half of the strike zone, to advance Michael Chavis from first all the way to home to pull ahead of the Rangers by one run at 3-2.

And in the ninth, after Texas plated their third run in their half of the eighth, it was down to the bottom of the Sox order against right-hander Jesse Chavez.

Christian Vazquez kicked off the late push by lacing a leadoff ground-rule double into Boston’s bullpen, and he was subbed out for the quicker Marco Hernandez as a pinch-runner.

One Bradley Jr. bloop single to move Hernandez up to third and Michael Chavis walk later, Mookie Betts came to the plate with the chance to send his side home victorious with the winning run just 90 feet away.

With nine previous meetings against Chavez under his belt, Betts hardly had to do anything in this particular at-bat, taking four straight balls following a first pitch foul to draw the walk and plate Hernandez from third.

Red Sox walk it off in anticlimactic fashion and snap their three-game skid with a 4-3 win.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi in June: .333/.378/.571 with five doubles, one triple, one home run, and five RBI.

JD Martinez struck out four times Wednesday, the first time he’s done that in a game since the 2015 season.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this four-game series Thursday night before the team embarks on a two-city, six-game road trip.

Left-hander David Price will get the ball for Boston in the fourth and final contest, while right-hander Adrian Sampson will do the same for Texas.

Both starters have been stellar for their respective clubs recently, with Price posting a 1.13 ERA over his last five starts and Sampson posting an ERA of 1.99 over that same span, including a complete game four-hitter in his last time out against the Oakland Athletics.

In 15 career starts against the Rangers, Price is 4-6 with a 5.63 ERA over 84.2 total innings pitched.

Sampson, meanwhile, has not faced the Red Sox since he made his big league debut with the Seattle Mariners back on June 18th, 2016, where he allowed four runs in less than five innings in a losing effort at Fenway Park.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the split.

Go Bruins.

 

 

 

Rick Porcello, Red Sox Have No Answer for Yonny Chirinos in 5-1 Loss to Rays to Snap Four-Game Winning Streak

Coming off a 4-2 road trip that was capped off by a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals, the Red Sox entered the weekend with the chance to gain some serious ground in the American League East, and they came out completely flat in their first go at it, falling to the second-place Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 5-1.

Making his 13th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, whose June struggles continued after taking the loss in New York last Saturday.

Tossing six full innings in this one, the right-hander yielded four runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

Issues arose for Porcello beginning in the second, where after working his way around a two-out double in a scoreless first, Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi led things off by blasting his sixth home run of the season, a 394 foot shot to the Red Sox bullpen to put his team on the board first.

Retiring the next six Tampa Bay hitters he faced following that mishap leading into the fourth, a pair of back-to-back leadoff singles from Brandon Lowe and Avisail Garcia, as well as a wild pitch from Porcello, put runners in scoring position without an out yet to be recorded in the inning.

It did seem as though Porcello was going to be able to get out of the jam by sitting down the next two batters without allowing either runner to advance, but a poor 3-2 slider to Kevin Kiermaier changed all that, as the speedy Tampa Bay outfielder ripped the 85 MPH pitch through the right side of the infield, plating both Lowe and Garcia in the process of making it a 3-0 game.

From there, the New Jersey native made his way through another shutout frame in the fifth before giving up three more singles, one to Garcia, one to Choi, and another one to Kiermaier, who put his team ahead by four by driving in Garcia from third on an RBI base knock to left in the sixth, which would wind up being being Porcello’s final inning of work.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 100 (68 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 45% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch while topping out at 93.4 MPH with it while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Falling to 4-6 with his ERA on the season jumping up to 4.86, Porcello will look to turn around his month of June thus far in his next time out, which should come against the Texas Rangers next week.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Josh Taylor maneuvered his way around a leadoff single from Austin Meadows in what would turn out to be an otherwise seventh inning before making way for Mike Shawaryn in the eighth.

Making his big league debut eight days after being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, Boston’s 12th-ranked prospect picked up his first career punchout in a perfect eighth and also served up his first home run to the aforementioned Kiermaier in a one-run ninth where he struck out the side after.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against 25-year-old right-hander Yonny Chirinos, who has been used as both a starter and reliever by Tampa Bay this season.

Entering the weekend with just three prior appearances at Fenway Park since the start of last season, Chirinos flat out dominated Friday, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning by retiring the first 15 hitters he faced in order.

A leadoff walk drawn by Brock Holt in the sixth broke the perfecto up, and a single off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. two pitches later broke up the no-no.

Following a change that saw Christian Vazquez pinch-hit for Sandy Leon and fly out to right, Mookie Betts found his way to first by drawing another free pass off Chirinos, and just like that, the Red Sox had the tying run at the plate in the form of Andrew Benintendi with two outs to work with.

Unfortunately though, both Benintendi and Devers after him whiffed, meaning Chirinos got out of the jam unscathed, and he was clearly happy about it.

That, as you may have already guessed, was the best chance for Boston to get back into this contest, because they didn’t score again until Chirinos had already gotten through eight shutout innings and they were down to their last three outs in the ninth.

There, with right-hander Emilio Pagan in for the Rays, a pair of doubles from Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts drove in their first run with one out in the frame, but nothing more came out of it and this one ended with a final score of 5-1.

Some notes from this loss:

Mitch Moreland departed from Friday’s game in the seventh inning due to right quad tightness hours after he just returned from the 10-day injured list. He is presumably day-to-day.

Rick Porcello has given up 14 runs (12 earned) on 25 hits over his last three starts going back to May 27th.

Xander Bogaerts in June so far: .375/.407/.750 with two homers, three doubles, and four RBI.

Mookie Betts’ June: 3-for-23 (.130) with one double, one homer, and two RBI.

Next up for the Red Sox, it doesn’t get an easier with a day-night doubleheader set for Saturday.

In the first of the two contests, it will be a pitching matchup featuring both a left-handed and right-handed pitcher, with southpaw Ryan Yarbrough getting the ball for Tampa Bay and righty Josh Smith getting the ball for Boston.

Smith is not yet on Boston’s roster, so he will serve as their 26th-man for Saturday only.

And in the doubleheader finale, it will be David Price getting the start for the Red Sox while the Rays have yet to name a starter themselves.

First pitch for each game is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT and 6:10 PM EDT respectively.

Although the Red Sox may have lost Friday, at least we got this moment between Brandon Workman and his son.

 

 

Mookie Betts Homers, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez Drive in a Pair of Runs Each as Red Sox Use Seven Different Pitchers in 7-5 Win to Finish off Sweep of Royals

After utterly dominating the Royals behind Chris Sale’s comeplete game shutout Wednesday night, it was a completely different story for the Red Sox in Kansas City on Thursday, as they had to battle their way to a gritty 7-5 victory in the series finale to complete the three-game sweep.

Making his third start of the season for Boston and first since May 29th was Ryan Weber, who had never pitched against the Royals or inside Kauffman Stadium in his career before Thursday.

Working into just the second inning of this one, the right-hander yielded more hits than he recorded outs, as he surrendered two runs, both earned, on five hits and no walks to go with one lone strikeout on the afternoon.

A scoreless first was not the problem for Weber, but a string of four straight one-out Royals hits was.

It began with a solo home run from Cheslor Cuthbert and was followed up by back-to-back singles before Billy Hamilton ripped an RBI double to left to make it a 2-0 game early on.

Only facing nine hitters in total, Weber’s day would come to a quick close after giving up that run-scoring two-bagger to the speedy Hamilton.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 33 (23 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his sinking fastball nearly 64% of the time he was on the mound Thursday. He also topped out at 88.5 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw twice and got one swing and miss on with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Having allowed nine runs to cross the plate in his last 5 1/3 innings of work since that wonderful job he did in Toronto on the 23rd of May, Weber’s time in Boston’s rotation may be done for the time being. With Nathan Eovaldi still out for the foreseeable future though, spot starts are needed, so who knows? If I were to guess, I would say the righty makes an appearance out of the Sox bullpen in their upcoming doubleheader against the Rays this coming Saturday.

Anyway, in relief of Weber, the Red Sox bullpen had their work cut out for them in this one, and Colten Brewer got first dibs at that by coming on with runners in scoring position and two outs to get in the second.

Fortunately for Boston, he got out of the jam just fine, as he stranded said runners at second and third before tossing a 1-2-3 third inning as well.

In the fourth, three of the first four hitters Brewer faced reached off the right-hander, meaning the Royals had the bases loaded with one out in a contest they now trailed by two.

So, in came Marcus Walden looking to put out another fire, and he, like Brewer before him, retired Whit Merrifield and Adelberto Mondesi on a combined five pitches to put an end to the fourth with the bases left full of stranded runners.

Walden continued on by working through the fifth, where he served up a one-out solo shot to Jorge Soler in an otherwise clean frame of relief.

From there, Ryan Brasier scattered two singles in a shutout sixth inning, Josh Taylor worked his way around an Alex Gordon leadoff homer in a one-run seventh for KC while also allowing a leadoff double to Nicky Lopez in the eighth, making way for Heath Hembree.

Hembree, making his 29th appearance of the year, stranded that runner in scoring position by getting Cam Gallagher, Hamilton, and Merrifield out in order to set up Matt Barnes in the ninth.

Coming on in what was initially a 7-4 contest, Barnes did allow the tying run to come to the plate for Kansas City after giving up an RBI double to Soler to make it a two-run game, but ultimately settled in by fanning the last two Royals he faced to pick up his fourth save of the seasn and his side’s fourth straight win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar opponent in the form of Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, who had faced off against the Sox seven times before Thursday.

Like Boston’s starter in this one though, Duffy did not last long, as he took a 110 MPH comebacker from Eduardo Nunez off his left knee for the final out of the second inning.

Still remaining in this one to start the third, it was clear that the left-hander was hampered. That much was evident in how he nailed Jackie Bradley Jr. in the back of the helmet on the very first pitch he threw in the frame.

Fortunately, Bradley Jr. was fine, and his HBP would end up being the catalyst for a four-run inning, with Mookie Betts mashing a two-run shot for his team’s first two runs of the day shortly thereafter. His 10th of the season.

Four hitters later, with Andrew Benintendi and JD Martinez both in scoring position, Rafael Devers stayed hot and untied this contest with a two-run, 112 MPH double to center, plating both runners while simultaneously giving Duffy the hook.

Fast forward to the seventh, the Royals bullpen was keeping things in check up until Xander Bogaerts drew a one-out walk off Scott Barlow.

A three-pitch punchout of Sam Travis, hitting in Martinez’s spot, followed by an intentional walk of Devers, meant that Kansas City was just one out away from getting out still trailing by one, but Christian Vazquez had different plans.

On the third pitch he saw from Barlow, a 96 MPH fastball down the middle, the Sox backstop didn’t hesitate and wound up with a two-run triple that fell between Hamilton and Merrifield in right-center field.

Both Bogaerts and Devers managed to score on the play, and just like that, the Red Sox had themselves with a three-run lead, which quickly inflated to four with Vazquez himself scoring his team’s final run of the afternoon on a wild pitch from Barlow with Michael Chavis at the plate.

That mishap put the Red Sox up 7-3, and after the Royals made things interesting with two runs of their own, 7-5 would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

JD Martinez left Thursday’s game in the fifth inning due to back spasms. He has been ruled day-to-day.

Eduardo Nunez in June so far: 6-for-9 with one home run, four RBI, and one stolen base.

No one in Thursday’s Red Sox lineup outside of Nunez had more than one hit, but they still scored seven runs anyway.

Rookie right-hander Mike Shawaryn could have made his major league debut Thursday in relief of Weber, but Sox manager Alex Cora decided not to use him in a close game.

Finishing off a seven-game road trip with a sweep is always nice, and now the Red Sox will head back home winners of their last four for a decently important four-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.

As things stand now, the Rays sit five games ahead of Boston in the American League East standings, so these next three days present a fine opportunity for the Red Sox to gain some ground in their own division.

Right-hander Rick Porcello will get the start for Boston in the series opener Friday, while fellow righty Yonny Chirinos will do the same for Tampa Bay.

Porcello struggled mightily in his last time out against the Yankees, but that was coming off a nine-start stretch in which the New Jersey native posted a 3.72 ERA over 56 innings of work.

In 29 career starts against the Rays, Porcello owns a lifetime 3.42 ERA in 187 innings pitched.

Opposite Porcello, Chirinos has started six of the 12 games he has appeared in for Tampa Bay this season, putting up an ERA of 3.25 over that stretch.

In four previous meetings against Boston, two of which were starts, the 25-year-old owns a career 4.24 ERA in a 17 inning sample size.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT. Red Sox looking to extend their winning streak to five.

 

 

Rick Porcello Can’t Make It Through Five Innings as Red Sox Drop Fourth Straight, Fall Back to .500 in 5-3 Loss to Yankees

After wrapping up their May with a series-opening 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees Friday night, the Red Sox opened up their June in similar fashion Saturday, falling to the Bronx Bombers by a final of 5-3 to mark their fourth consecutive defeat and fall back to 29-29 on the season.

Making his 12th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who came into the new month fresh off a win in his last time out against the Cleveland Indians last Monday, which just so happens to be the last time the Red Sox won a game.

Pitching into only the fifth inning this time around, the right-hander yielded five runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first three of those five New York runs came around to score in the second, an inning in which Porcello struggled mightily, to be frank.

In total, the Yankees sent eight men to bat in their half of the second, with five of the first six reaching and Gio Urshela and Brett Gardner driving in a combined three runs on a pair of RBI singles to put their team ahead by two runs early.

From there, Porcello settled in by retiring the next nine hitters he faced in order and it looked as though he was on his way to a quality outing heading into the fifth.

There, Luke Voit put an end to Porcello’s impressive run by reaching base on a one-out single to center.

A one-pitch groundout from Aaron Hicks put the New Jersey native just one out away from escaping another potential jam, but slugging Yankees backstop Gary Sanchez ceased any hope of that happening by working his way back from an 0-2 hole and demolishing a 2-2 slider 403 feet to center field.

That two-run shot, Sanchez’s 18th of the season, put New York up 5-3.

Porcello’s night would come to a close shortly after serving up that bomb, as he allowed the next and last two hitters he faced in the fifth in Gleyber Torres and Kendrys Morales to reach base and give the Yankees another opportunity to tack on some more runs.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (65 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his slider more than 34% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 23 times and got four swings and misses on with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Dropping to 4-5 while his ERA on the season inflated up to 4.76, Saturday marked the first time since April 13th that Porcello was unable to provide the Red Sox with at least five innings pitched. He’ll look for improved results in his next time out, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays sometime next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen put together another solid performance, and it started with Marcus Walden working his way around the mess he inherited and a HBP of Clint Frazier to keep the Yankees off the scoreboard with the bases loaded in the fifth.

Walden also added on to what was a bounceback effort after a rough outing in his last time out against the Indians by twirling a scoreless sixth.

From the middle of the seventh inning on, Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes both contributed with a scoreless frame a piece to keep their team within the two runs they trailed by. And although it didn’t make all that much a difference in the end, the Red Sox bullpen has yet to give up a single run in this series.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander and American League wins leader Domingo German, who entered Saturday with nine winning decisions on the season to this point.

Facing off against Boston for just the third time in his career, German was vulnerable, and it was Xander Bogaerts who exposed that first with a leadoff single in the second.

One Brock Holt single and two additional batters later, Sandy Leon got his team on the board first by ripping a two-out RBI single to right-center field, plating Bogaerts from second and giving the Red Sox the early one-run advantage.

Fast forward to the fourth, and it was Bogaerts leading things off with a bang yet again, this time mashing his 11th home run of the season off the Yankees right-hander to pull his team back to within one run.

That one-run deficit would not last too long though, as Leon, like Bogaerts, came through once more with a one-out RBI single to drive in Holt from second and knot this one up at three runs each.

German would be chased from this contest in the inning, which you would think to be a positive development for the Red Sox. Instead, the Yankees bullpen proved how much of a beast they are by holding the Boston bats in check over the final 5 1/3 Saturday.

Oh, they had their chances, like in the fifth, with JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts at second and third with one out in the inning. Nothing against Chad Green.

Or how about the sixth against Tommy Kahnle and then Adam Ottavino? Betts and Leon at first and second with one out. Nothing again.

In the eighth, the Sox had the tying run at the plate after Eduardo Nunez drew a one-out, pinch-hit walk off left-hander Zack Britton. In comes Christian Vazquez, pinch-hitting himself for Sandy Leon following his first three-hit game of 2019, and he grounds into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

And in the ninth, facing off against vaunted closer Aroldis Chapman, both Betts and Andrew Benintendi reached base to leadoff the inning, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of JD Martinez, the ideal hitter for the job.

Instead of reaching base himself or at least advancing the runners though,Β  Martinez grounded into another 4-6-3 double play to snuff Benintendi out at second and leave Betts alone at third.

Down to their final out and still representing the tying run, Rafael Devers hacked at the first pitch he saw from Chapman, perhaps thinking fastball, but instead got an 86 MPH slider towards the outer half of the plate, one in which the young infielder grounded to Luke Voit at first, and this contest came to a close with a final score of 5-3. Another frustrating night.

Some notes from this loss:

Rafael Devers’ 11-game hitting streak has come to an end.

Michael Chavis is 1-for-his-last-15 with one RBI and one walk.

The Red Sox’ 1-4 hitters went 3-for-19 with two walks and six strikeouts Saturday.

The Red Sox went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position Saturday and left a total of 10 men on base.

Xander Bogaerts has multiple hits in four of his last five games.

The Red Sox are 0-4 against the New York Yankees this season.

Losers of four in a row now, the Sox now sit 9.5 games behind the Yankees in the American League East standings on just the second day of June.

Again, if they have any plans on contending for the division this season, now would be the time, but that’s not how things are looking at the moment. I don’t know what it is, but it just feels like this team is missing something.

Looking to avoid the sweep on Sunday, it will be David Price getting the ball for Boston under the lights at Yankee Stadium, a venue that has given the left-hander plenty of issues over his illustrious career.

In his latest start after dealing with flu-like symptoms in Houston, Price fanned six and scattered three hits over six quality innings against the Indians this past Tuesday.

Opposite Price will be another veteran southpaw in CC Sabathia for New York, making his first start since May 22nd after spending time on the injured list with right knee inflammation.

Currently sitting at 3-1 with a 3.48 ERA on the season, Sabathia owns a lifetime 4.14 ERA over 42 career starts against the Red Sox.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on ESPN. Red Sox looking to avoid a double-digit game deficit in the division.

 

 

 

JD Martinez Goes Yard Twice, Sandy Leon Once as #RedSox Open Series Against Indians with 12-5 Win

After salvaging their series against the Houston Astros on Sunday to cap off a 4-3 road trip, the Red Sox opened up a quick three-game series at Fenway Park with the Cleveland Indians on Monday before hitting the road yet again, topping the Tribe by a final score of 12-5 to celebrate Memorial Day.

Making his 11th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, fresh off six one-run innings in his last time out against the Blue Jays.

Pitching into the seventh inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered five runs, three of which were earned, on eight hits, three walks, and one HBP to go along with four strikeouts on the evening.

From the jump, it looked as though Porcello’s outing would be short-lived, as he allowed four of the first five hitters he faced to reach base, granted a fielding error committed by Xander Bogaerts on an Oscar Mercado hard-hit grounder permitted that to happen.

A one-out RBI single from Jason Kipnis, followed by Jake Bauers taking a 76 MPH curveball off his foot and Roberto Perez scoring Mercado from third on an RBI 6-4 forceout, put the Indians ahead by two early.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Porcello bounced back from there, only allowing one more Cleveland run to cross the plate on another RBI groundout from Bauers in the third leading into his final frame of work in the seventh. He also received some defensive help with a pair of potential run-preventing web gems from Mookie Betts and Brock Holt in the fifth.

There, in the seventh, after sitting down five of the last six batters he had faced, it was the top half of the Indians lineup that gave the New Jersey native more trouble, with Mercado leading the inning off with a sharp groundball single and Kipnis advancing him to third on a one-out double.

One mound visit and a five-pitch strikeout of Bauers later, Porcello was just one out away from getting out of another jam.

A las, Perez struck again by driving in Mercado once more to make it a 10-4 contest, and that is how Porcello’s day would come to a conclusion.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 110 (73 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 36% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 92.9 MPH with the pitch.

Eventually earning his fourth winning decision while also lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.41, Porcello will look for win number five in his next time out, which will come against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium sometime this upcoming weekend.

In relief of Porcello, Heath Hembree came on with men on first and third and allowed one of those inherited runners to score on an RBI double off the bat of Mike Freeman, officially closing the book on Porcello’s outing, before retiring the side by getting Greg Allen to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in center.

From there, Ryan Brasier sat down the only three hitters he faced in order in a clean eighth inning of work, while Hector Velazquez closed the door on the Tribe with a scoreless ninth to wrap up a lopsided 12-5 victory for his team.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against right-hander Jefry Rodriguez for the Indians, who before Monday, had never pitched against Boston before in his young career.

After going down by three runs early, it was the top of the lineup that got the scoring started for Boston in their half of the third, with Andrew Benintendi drawing a two-out walk off of Rodriguez and Mookie Betts scoring him from second on an RBI single that resulted in the reigning AL MVP advancing all the way to third thanks to a defensive miscue from Mercado out in right field.

Because of the two-base error that let him move up without any trouble, a wild pitch from Rodriguez with Rafael Devers at the plate allowed Betts to come in and score from third. Just like that, it was a one-run game.

An inning later, a string of three straight one-out singles, capped off by an RBI knock from Brock Holt in his return from the 10-day injured list, plated Xander Bogaerts from third and tied this contest at three runs a piece.

In the fifth, it was more of the same, with Mookie Betts singling and reaching second on a balk to leadoff the frame and Rafael Devers driving him in on a line drive RBI double to center to put his team ahead and extend his hitting-streak to eight games.

Another double, this one coming from Xander Bogaerts, allowed Devers to come in from second and make it a 5-3 game.

Following an intentional walk of Michael Chavis and a pitching change that saw veteran left-hander Oliver Perez take over for Rodriguez, Jackie Bradley Jr. continued his run of recent success at the plate by ripping another RBI double, this one hit to center field to score Bogaerts and give the Sox a three-run advantage.

That three-run edge would be doubled moments later though, as Sandy Leon came through with a three-run big fly on a 3-2 slider from Perez to put his team ahead 9-3. Both of Leon’s home runs this season have gone for three runs and both have been hit over the Green Monster.

In the sixth, with right-hander Dan Otero in for Cleveland, JD Martinez broke out of a recent offensive slump my mashing his first of two home runs on the day, with this one getting some help from Oscar Mercado out in right field to put the Red Sox ahead 10-3.

Fast forward to the seventh, Bradley Jr. collected his second RBI of the evening on his second double, with this one coming off rookie Josh Smith to plate Brock Holt from first. 11-5.

And in the eighth, Martinez put the exclamation point on this blowout win by taking Indians right-hander Adam Cimber deep to left field for his second dinger of the day and 11th of the season, a 387 foot shot over the Monster to give the Red Sox the 12-5 advantage, which would go on to be Monday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

Over the course of his eight-game hitting streak, Rafael Devers is slashing .417/.432/.833 with four home runs and nine RBI.

In his last eight games, Jackie Bradley Jr. is batting .290 to go along with an OPS of 1.081 while also hitting three home runs and collecting six RBI over that span.

Brock Holt in his first big league game since April 5th: 1-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored.

Andrew Benintendi was the only Red Sox not to record a base hit on Monday, but he did reach base twice on a pair of walks.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this series Tuesday night.

David Price, after departing from his last start against the Astros on Saturday due to flu-like symptoms, is set to get the ball for Boston, while rookie right-hander Zach Plesac will do the same for Cleveland in his major league debut.

Price only threw 15 pitches in Houston over the weekend, and by the way he was talking to reporters, it seems as though he was willing to tough it out, although Sox manager Alex Cora did not feel the same way.

So, after only two full days of rest, it will be the left-hander making his ninth start of the season.

In his career against the Indians, Price is 11-2 with a lifetime 2.06 ERA over 15 starts and 100.1 total innings pitched.

Plesac, meanwhile, has posted a minuscule 1.91 ERA over nine starts between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus this season. He was recalled from Triple-A Tuesday.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN, weather permitting. Red Sox going for their third straight win.