RECAP: Rick Porcello Pitches a Gem as #RedSox Take Series from Yankees with 6-3 Victory.

After splitting the first two games of their first series of the season, the Red Sox took the finale against the Yankees on a rain filled Thursday night.

Rick Porcello was matched up against Sonny Gray in this one, and the right hander from New Jersey looked like he was at the top of his game last night. In seven innings, Porcello allowed just two hits and a HBP while walking none and striking out six. It took six plus innings and a 40 minute rain delay for the Yankees to get their first hit off of Porcello. The 2016 AL Cy Young Champ was nearly perfect against what’s supposed to be one of the more intimidating lineups in baseball.

Before the rain delay, the only mistake Porcello made was unintentionally hitting Giancarlo Stanton in the elbow with a fastball in the fourth inning. Once the delay ended about 40 minutes after it started, Porcello was back on the mound for the sixth. He retired the side in order, and it appeared as if things were about to get interesting.

Unfortunately, Aaron Judge greeted Porcello in the seventh with a leadoff double, thus ending the no-hitter bid. Giancarlo Stanton followed that up with a single, and all the sudden the Yankees were threatening to put a dent into the Red Sox lead. Wanting to end his night on a positive note, Porcello proceeded to retire the next three batters he faced, including a dramatic eight pitch strike out against Aaron Hicks to get the Red Sox out of the inning unscathed. That last inning was a grind for Porcello, but he held his pitch count to under 100, finishing with 99 total, 69 (nice) of which went for strikes.

In relief of Porcello, Marcus Walden got into his first action since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket earlier in the day. The reliever out of California looked like two different pitchers in the eighth and the beginning of the ninth. He allowed just one hit in a scoreless eighth, then followed that up by allowing the first four batters he faced in the ninth to reach base, with the help of two errors from Rafael Devers. The last guy Walden faced before exiting was Gary Sanchez with the bases loaded. On the first pitch he saw, Sanchez unloaded the bases with a double to center field, and all of a sudden, the Yankees had cut the Red Sox lead in half.

Luckily, that’s where things would stay. With no outs in the inning, Craig Kimbrel got the call I’m sure he was not expecting an inning earlier to go out and get the save. After getting Aaron Hicks to ground out to first for the first out of the inning, Kimbrel proceeded to strike out the next two batters he faced. That gave him his fourth save and his team the series win.

Offensively, the Red Sox got to Yankees starter Sonny Gray early, scoring four times in the second and twice in the third. Hanley Ramirez would have to exit the game in the first after he got hit in both wrists on a wild pitch by Gray.

X-Rays were negative and Ramirez was diagnosed with a contusion. Alex Cora said he could be ready to go after getting today off, so that is a positive sign. After sending five to the plate in the first, Eduardo Nunez got things started in the second with a leadoff single. A walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. and a wild pitch put runners on first and third for Sandy Leon with no outs. On a 1-0 count, Leon ripped a single to right field, scoring Nunez and putting the Red Sox up by one.

Later in the inning, after Brock Holt walked to load the bases, Mookie Betts drove in Bradley from third on a sacrifice fly to center field. Andrew Benintendi followed that up by driving in Leon from third on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error by Yankees second baseman Tyler Wade. The very next batter, Mitch Moreland, capped things off in the second by scoring Brock Hole from third on a single to left field.

In the third, Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Eduardo Nunez from second on an RBI double. Two batters later, Mookie Betts scored Bradley from third on a ground out, giving the Red Sox their sixth and final run of the game, which is all they needed.

At 10-2, the Red Sox look to be in great shape as they welcome the Baltimore Orioles into town for the first time in 2018 later today. Eduardo Rodriguez will be looking to rebound after his disappointing season debut last weekend. Chris Tillman gets the ball for Baltimore. First pitch is at 7:10 PM for the first Fenway Friday of the year.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Collects Three Hits as #RedSox Defeat Rays by a Score of 3-2.

As famous rapper DMX once said, “X gon’ give it ya” and X gave it to the Tampa Bay Rays last night. That’s right, Red Sox short stop Xander Bogaerts continued his hot start to the season by adding three more hits, including his first home run of the season. We’ll get to that later. For now though, let’s discuss Rick Porcello’s start.

Making his 2018 regular season debut, the 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner put together a solid outing at the Trop. He tossed 5.1 innings of one run ball, allowing six hits, one walk, and fanning four along the way. That lone run came with no outs in the sixth, ending the scoreless innings streak for Red Sox starting pitchers at 18 to begin the season. Porcello wasn’t on the mound for the run, as he departed with one out and runners on first and third. The righty finished the night with 89 pitches, 61 of which went for strikes.

Heath Hembree would come on for Porcello with one out in the sixth, and he got the first batter he faced, Joey Wendle, to pop out to left field. That pop fly did allow the runner on third, Carlos Gomez, to score, giving the Rays their first run of the game. Hembree would proceed to close out the sixth and record the first two outs of the seventh before walking Denard Span. With Kevin Kiermaier, a lefty, due up next, Alex Cora made the decision to go to his lefty specialist, Bobby Poyner, to get the last out of the inning.

Poyner, making his MLB debut, got the speedy Kiermaier to pop out to third on the fifth pitch of the at bat, thus ending the inning. In the eighth, Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez welcomed Poyner to the big leagues by taking him deep to left field, cutting the Red Sox lead to just one run. The 25-year-old southpaw got the next batter he faced, Brad Miller, to pop out to first base, and that ended his night.

Carson Smith got the call next, and he was looking for retribution after his sub par Opening Day performance. Smith gave up a single to the first batter he faced, but followed that up by recording the last two outs of the inning, preserving the lead for Craig Kimbrel. Although he wasn’t as sharp as he was on Friday, the Red Sox closer still got the job done, in part because of sloppy base running by the Rays. Kimbrel walked the first batter he faced in the inning, Mallex Smith, another speedster. The very next batter, CJ Cron, lined out to Xander Bogaerts for what looked like the first out of the inning. However, Mallex Smith was hung out to dry in between first and second base, and Bogaerts doubled him up on a hard throw back to Mitch Moreland. With two outs, Kimbrel got Denard Span to pop out to the man of the night (Bogaerts), and guaranteed the Red Sox at least a split in their first series of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox were held in check by Rays pitching yet again. The oddest part about last night’s game was the fact that the Rays did not use a starting pitcher. Andrew Kittredge, last night’s “starter”, has been a reliever for the majority of his professional career. In total, the Rays used four pitchers last night, one less than the Red Sox did.

Xander Bogaerts got the Red Sox on the board first in the top of the second. The native of Aruba took a 3-1 fastball from Kittredge and smoked it over the left field wall, giving him his first home run of the new season.

Bogaerts would go on to add two more hits after this, including an RBI double in the sixth, scoring JD Martinez from second. Speaking of Martinez, the 30-year-old outfielder made his first start in left field on Saturday night, and he finally got a hit, two actually. The first came in the sixth, when Martinez led the inning off with a double and eventually scored.

The second came in the eighth, when Martinez singled to right field. After a frustrating two games to start his Red Sox career, I’m sure Martinez is feeling relieved that he finally got his first hit out of the way. First home run is up next.

As the series wraps up later this afternoon, it would be nice to see the top of the Red Sox lineup pick up some of the slack. Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Hanley Ramirez have combined for a grand total of four hits and three games. Xander Bogaerts has been great, he currently owns a .667 Batting Average, but the top of the order needs to start setting the table.

Hector Velazquez faces off against Jake Faria today with first pitch at 1:10. Easter and day baseball make for a great combination.