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.

 

 

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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.

Michael Chavis’ First Career Grand Slam Sets Tone Early as Red Sox Hold on to Take Opener from Blue Jays

After dropping their series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night, the Red Sox opened up a new four-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays in much more encouraging fashion Monday, taking the opener by a final score of 10-8 to snap a two-game skid and improve to 51-43 on the season.

Making his 19th start of the season and third against Toronto for Boston was Rick Porcello, who entered the week having given up six total runs in his first two outings against the Jays.

This time around, the right-hander yielded four runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits, one HBP, and zero walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts over six full innings of work.

The first two of those Toronto tallies came in the top half of the second, when with two outs and a runner on first, Porcello served up a two-run home run to the just-called up Billy McKinney on a 2-0, 90 MPH two-seam fastball on the inner half of the plate.

An inning later, with one out and runners at first and second, an RBI double off the bat of Randal Grichuk and RBI groundout off the bat of Justin Smoak in consecutive order plated two more runs, cutting the Sox’ initial five-run lead down to just one.

Things were not looking all that positive for Porcello at that point, but New Jersey native did recover nicely enough from there by sitting down nine of the final 12 hitters he faced leading into the middle of the sixth, which is where his outing came to a close. Rafael Devers helped out, too.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 112 (71 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seamer nearly 27% of the time he was on the mound Monday night, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 92.7 MPH with the pitch.

Able to pick up the winning decision to improve to 7-7 on the year despite his ERA inflating up to 5.37, Porcello has quite simply not been a quality starting pitcher since he tossed that seven-inning shutout gem against the Minnesota Twins on June 17th.

In four starts since then, Porcello owns an ERA of 10.50 over his last 18 innings pitched. He’ll look to turn things around in his next time out, which should come against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

In relief of Porcello, Marcus Walden came on with a six-run cushion to work with, and it appeared as though the Red Sox would cruise to a victory following a scoreless seventh inning from the right-hander.

Ryan Brasier, however, did not have as easy as a time as Walden did, as he saw his team’s six-run lead shrink down to four on a one-out Smoak double, a Danny Jansen RBI single, a McKinney single, and a sacrifice fly from Eric Sogard.

With runners on the corners and still two outs to get in the eighth, Matt Barnes was tabbed with getting out of the jam, and he did so, but not before closing the book on Brasier’s night by surrendering a two-run base knock to the first man he saw in Freddy Galvis.

Just like that, a 10-4 lead turned into a 10-8 one, whcih meant Brandon Workman coming on for the save in the ninth on a night where it looked like he would not be needed.

Up against the 4-5-6 hitters in Toronto’s lineup, Workman needed only 14 pitches to retire the side, notching his fourth save and securing the 10-8 victory for his team in the process of doing so. Bullpen meltdown avoided.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Blue Jays rookie right-hander Trent Thornton, facing Boston for the third time this season and second time in a span of two weeks.

Getting things started right away in the bottom of the first, a Mookie Betts leadoff double and back-to-back one out walks drawn by Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez loaded the bases early for Andrew Benintendi.

On the second pitch he saw from Thornton, an 0-1, 93 MPH heater, Benintendi pulled an RBI single to right field to drive in Betts for his side’s first run and to refill the bases for Michael Chavis.

In a rookie-on-rookie matchup, Chavis won the first battle against Thornton, as he unloaded on a 3-2, 94 MPH four-seamer right down the heart of the plate and sent it 421 feet over the Green Monster for his first career Grand Slam and 16th homer of the season.

That put the Red Sox up 5-0 early, but as already mentioned, the Jays battled their way back to cut that deficit to one heading into the bottom half of the third.

There, with Thornton out and right-hander Sam Gaviglio in, a two-out walk drawn by Sandy Leon would turn out to be the catalyst for another five-run rally, as a Brock Holt walk and Betts free pass loaded the bases again, this time for Rafael Devers.

Devers came through with a two-run single on a 3-2, 84 MPH slider from Gaviglio, and Bogaerts followed suit by plating Betts and moving Devers up to third on a line-drive RBI single to center, making it an 8-4 contest.

Martinez’s second walk saw righty Joe Biagini replace Gaviglio, and up to the plate came Benintendi with the bases full once more.

Fittingly enough, the one who drove in the Sox’ first run of the night also drove in the last two, as Benintendi hacked at an 0-1, 94 MPH two-seamer from Biagini and slapped a two-run double down the left field line, off the base of the left field wall.

Both Devers and Bogaerts were able to score as a result, and the Red Sox had themselves a 10-4 lead.

The Sox were unable to send more than four hitters to the plate in a single frame from the fourth inning on, but despite Toronto’s best efforts, they managed to hold on and take this series opener by a final score of 10-8.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Xander Bogaerts during his seven-game hitting streak: .414/.469/.862 with four homers and 14 RBI.

A nice way to recover from a tough weekend against the Dodgers for sure, but as Sox manager Alex Cora mentions in the attached quote, his team needs to be better, especially at closing out games.

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

Right-hander Andrew Cashner, acquired from the Baltimore Orioles this past Saturday, is set to get the start and make his Red Sox debut. The Blue Jays have yet to name a starter.

Cashner, 32, owns an ERA of 1.41 and batting average against of .168 over his last five starts and 32 innings pitched dating back to June 8th.

In eight career starts against Toronto, Cashner is 3-2 with a 2.49 ERA over 50 2/3 total innings of work.

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

 

 

Red Sox Reportedly ‘Casting Wide Net’ in Search of Adding Starting Pitcher Before Trade Deadline

The Red Sox are reportedly ‘pushing’ to add a starting pitcher, and they are looking to do it ‘sooner rather than later,’ according to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

This report comes less than a week after Sox manager Alex Cora announced that right-hander Nathan Eovaldi would be moving to the bullpen once he is activated off the injured list in the coming weeks.

With that impending move to the ‘pen, Eovaldi’s spot in the rotation, which had been occupied by the likes of Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez, Ryan Weber, and so on, became more of a pressing area of improvement for Boston.

Per ESPN.com, the Red Sox’ rotation owns an ERA of 4.70 and batting average against of .257, the seventh and eighth best in the American League, respectively.

Last Friday, when speaking with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said, “We built our ballclub for (the starting rotation) to be our strong suit. I don’t think it’s been what we expected or hoped.”

Dombrowski also added that, “They’re a very talented group of pitchers…They’re the guys who are supposed to carry us, really. That’s why I think they’ve been fine. They’ve been okay. But I can’t say they’ve really carried us at any point.”

Names the Red Sox could pursue in trade talks include San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner and Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, although they are more of the premium targets.

Detroit Tigers southpaw Matthew Boyd and Texas Rangers left-hander Mike Minor, two hurlers Boston was scouting late last month, could be made available as well, but it has been reported that Boyd has a high asking price, while the Rangers remain in contention for a wild card spot.

The situation the Red Sox are in reminds me of what happened last season right before the club acquired Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays. All the speculation pointed to the Sox pursuing a reliever like Zach Britton to bolster their bullpen, but they went out and traded for a starter instead.

We’ll just have to wait and see what Dombrowski has in mind leading into the July 31st trade deadline, and how said plans could affect any luxury tax implications.

Andrew Benintendi Celebrates 25th Birthday with Four Hits, Finishes Home Run Shy of Cycle as Red Sox Take Series from Tigers with 10-6 Victory

After waiting out a four-hour-and-five-minute rain delay, the Red Sox rattled off their third straight win on Saturday, clinching their series against the Detroit Tigers with a closer-than-the-scoreboard-indicated 10-6 victory.

Making his 18th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who picked up the win the last time he faced off against his old club back on April 25th

Coming off one of the worst starts of his career in his last time out against the New York Yankees in London, the right-hander’s struggles continued in this one, as he surrendered six runs, all earned, on nine hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first pair of those Tigers tallies came in the fourth, when with no outs and a runner on first, Jeimer Candelario got his team on the board with a 398-foot, two-run shot to right field.

It looked as though that would be Porcello’s lone mistake leading into the sixth, but Candelario struck again, mashing his second big fly of the evening to cut into Boston’s lead even further at 7-3.

Able to get the second out of the inning on a force out at second, a single from Gordon Beckham, as well as a wild pitch to the next man he faced in Bobby Wilson, put runners at second and third for the Tigers backstop, and he drove in both runs while simultaneously ending Porcello’s night on a two-run single to left.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 106 (75 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 92.8 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Improving to 6-7 despite another poor performance that bumped his ERA on the season up to 5.33, Porcello will look to put a forgettable first half of the 2019 campaign behind him in his next time out, which should come against either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Toronto Blue Jays after the All-Star break.

In relief of Porcello, Colten Brewer came on with one runner on and one out to get in the sixth, and he officially closed the book on the Boston starter’s outing by allowing that sixth run to score on a Victor Reyes RBI triple before ending the inning.

From there, left-hander Josh Taylor loaded the bases with three of the first five hitters he faced in the bottom half of the seventh, which paved the way for Matt Barnes to enter with the go-ahead run at first.

Appearing in his third straight game going back to July 4th, Barnes did not falter this time around, punching out Gordon Beckham on three straight curveballs to escape the jam with the lead still intact.

Brandon Workman retired the only three hitters he faced in a scoreless eighth, and Steven Wright locked down the 10-6 win for the Sox with a shutout frame in the ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Jordan Zimmermann for the Tigers, who opposed Porcello at Fenway Park back on April 25th and took the loss in that contest.

Starting the scoring for Boston right away in the first inning of this one was Rafael Devers, plating Mookie Betts from third following a leadoff triple on a simple RBI groundout to first.

Two batters later, Andrew Benintendi made his return to the Sox lineup after two days off in triumphant fashion, ripping another three-bagger off Zimmermann and coming in to score on a Michael Chavis bloop RBI single.

In the second, back-to-back singles from Brock Holt and Marco Hernandez to lead off the inning, followed by a successful Sandy Leon sacrifice bunt put runners in scoring position for Betts.

Betts took advantage of the situation in front of him, this time lining a double off Zimmermann to plate both Holt and Hernandez.

Christian Vazquez came through with two outs in the same frame, scoring Betts from second on a hard-hit RBI back up the middle to put his team up 5-0 early.

Fast forward to the fourth, and hits from Devers and Vazquez to lead off the inning brought Andrew Benintendi with runners at second and third, and the birthday boy delivered with an RBI double to left that probably should have been caught by Tigers outfielder Christin Stweart. But, it wasn’t, and Devers scored because of it. 6-0.

A pitching change that saw left-hander Blaine Hardy take over for Zimmermann and a one-out walk of Jackie Bradley Jr. meant that runners were on the corners for Brock Holt, who brought Vazquez home from third with a sacrifice fly to center, making it a 7-0 game.

That seven-run cushion quick;y shrunk to just one though, and it wasn’t until the seventh inning when the Sox bats got back on the board, with Hernandez scoring from third on a simple one-out, bases loaded grounder from Devers that was mishandled by Detroit reliever Buck Farmer on the throw back to home.

An inning later, in his second at-bat of the night after pinch-hitting for Holt in the seventh, Eduardo Nunez provided some more insurance for his side, plating Benintendi from second on a two-out, run-scoring single off Farmer. 9-6.

And in the ninth, a Vazquez sacrifice fly with runners at the corners yet again allowed Leon to coast in from third and put the Red Sox up 10-6, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi on his 25th birthday, batting cleanup: 4-for-6 with one double, one triple, two runs scored, and one RBI. Finished a home run shy of the cycle.

Michael Chavis, through five games in July: .333/.364/.571 with two doubles, one homer, and four RBI.

Mookie Betts’ last seven games: .407/.528/.593 with three RBI and eight walks.

Through his first 18 games this season, Marco Hernandez is slashing .348/.362/.565 with two homers, four doubles, and seven RBI.

Rafael Devers extended his hitting streak to 10 games on Saturday.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game weekend set and the last game before the All-Star break on Sunday afternoon.

Another former Tiger in the form of left-hander David Price will get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Gregory Soto will do the same for Detroit.

Since that six-run meltdown against the Texas Rangers on June 13th, Price has recovered nicely, posting a 2.65 ERA and .239 batting average against over his last three starts and 17 innings pitched.

In 22 prior appearances (20 starts) at Comerica Park, the 33-year-old owns a lifetime 2.99 ERA and .249 batting average against over a total of 141 innings of work.

Soto, meanwhile, will likely serve as the opener for the Tigers on Sunday, as he tossed a scoreless seventh inning of relief against Boston in the series opener on Friday.

Through seven outings (six starts) in 2019, the 24-year-old rookie owns an ERA north of eight at 8.06 over 22 1/3 innings. The Tigers are 2-5 in those games.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the sweep in the final action before the All-Star break.