Adam Ottavino ‘a big part’ of what Red Sox are trying to accomplish, Alex Cora says: ‘I’m happy that he’s pitching for us’

When the Red Sox traded for Adam Ottavino last month, the move was greeted with plenty of shock since he was coming over in a trade with the Yankees that seemingly came out of no where.

As it turns out, though, Ottavino could prove to be a vital piece of Boston’s late-inning bullpen puzzle this coming season. The veteran reliever has already made a positive first impression on Red Sox manager Alex Cora at the onset of spring training in Fort Myers.

“Very smart individual,” Cora said Saturday in regards to Ottavino. “He’s very quiet. He moves very smoothly and very slow around. But, when you talk to him, he opens up. He knows a lot about pitching. He knows himself. Like he told me a few days ago, he’s excited to be here.”

Boston acquired Ottavino — as well as right-handed pitching prospect Frank German and cash considerations — from New York on January 25 in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

The 35-year-old right-hander is six months removed from a 2020 campaign with the Yankees in which he posted a 5.89 ERA and .770 OPS against over 24 appearances and 18 1/3 innings pitched.

Upon closer inspection, however, six of the 12 earned runs Ottavino surrendered last year came against the Blue Jays on September 7, an outing in which he failed to record a single out. If you take that one blowup away, his ERA on the season drops to 2.98.

For his major-league career, which dates back to 2010, Ottavino has not surprisingly had more troubles against left-handed hitting (.792 OPS against) than right-handed hitting (.615 OPS against), but the ex-Rockie will still get the chance to face hitters from both sides of the plate with his new club.

“We talked a little bit about the way we’re going to use him, and we’re not going to limit him to righties,” added Cora. “He’s going to get lefties and righties out. He worked hard in the offseason to improve a few things. He threw a bullpen today, actually Christian [Vazquez] caught him. This is a guy that was very dominant in Colorado. He was dominant two years ago [in New York]. He had a bad outing against Toronto last year. So, he’s a big part of what we’re trying to accomplish and I’m happy that he’s pitching for us.”

Working primarily with a sinker, slider, cutter, and changeup, Ottavino originally attended Northeastern University before getting selected by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2006 amateur draft.

While at Northeastern from 2004-2006, the Brooklyn native got the chance to watch the Red Sox from up close since the university’s campus is just a few blocks away from Fenway Park.

“When I was in college, I went there regularly,” Ottavino said last month of his past experiences at Fenway. “I would get the standing room tickets after practice, especially if [Curt] Schilling or Pedro [Martinez] was pitching. Try to watch those guys from behind home plate up the stairs there.”

In addition to watching the Sox when he was younger, playing for them is actually something he has envisioned doing as recently as his free agency in the winter of 2018/2019.

“The Red Sox were one of my top teams I wanted to go to at that time,” said Ottavino, who ultimately wound up signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Yankees. “They reached out early in the process but it never really got off the ground… The team had just won the World Series, so there was nothing not to like there. Boston has always been a place I saw myself playing. So it was definitely one of the teams at the very beginning of the process I was hoping would reach out to me. And they did and it never got off the ground. But I still appreciate the interest, for sure.”

Now that he is with the Red Sox, the 6-foot-5, 246 lb. hurler figures to be part of a group of relievers made up of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Hirokazu Sawamura, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor; all of whom will be vying for the role as Boston’s closer over the next month-plus.

That being said, Cora was rather mum about which sort of specific role Ottavino will be undertaking out of the bullpen once the 2021 season does begin.

“He’s going to get big outs in the last third of the game,” the Sox skipper said with a wry smile. “Whenever you ask me about these guys (Barnes, Brasier, etc.), that’s going to be the answer.”

(Picture of Adam Ottavino: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Red Sox trade: infield prospect Christian Koss acquired from Rockies in exchange for left-hander Yoan Aybar

The Red Sox have acquired infield prospect Christian Koss from the Rockies in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Yoan Aybar. The club made the trade official earlier Thursday evening.

Koss, who turns 23 in January, was selected by Colorado in the 12th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of California, Irvine.

In 53 games with rookie-level Grand Junction of the Pioneer League last year, the Riverside native posted an impressive .322/.447/.605 slash line (172 wRC+) to go along with 11 home runs and 51 RBI over 238 plate appearances.

Named a mid and post-season Pioneer League All-Star thanks to his efforts, Koss opened the 2020 campaign regarded by Baseball America as the Rockies’ No. 29 prospect.

Capable of playing every infield position besides first base at the moment, the right-handed hitting, right-handed throwing Koss is listed at 6-foot-1 and 182 lbs.

Koss is Rule 5 eligible next winter, so the 2021 season will prove to be an important one for him regardless of where he begins the year, which will likely be High-A Salem.

As for Aybar, the now-former Sox prospect was added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November, yet he was the only member of the 40-man roster to not be included in the club’s 60-man player pool this past season.

Originally signed as an outfielder out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, the stout southpaw converted into a pitcher full-time in 2018, most recently posting a 4.61 ERA over 44 relief appearances and 56 2/3 innings pitched between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem last year.

With Aybar being traded to another organization, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is currently down to 39 players, with plenty more moves to come as the offseason continues.

Looking Back at Jackie Bradley Jr.’s 29-Game Hitting Streak

On this day in 2016, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s 29-game hitting streak came to a close, as the Red Sox outfielder went 0-for-4 in an 8-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park.

Hitting out of the leadoff spot for the first time in 2016, the then-26-year-old flew out to right in his first at-bat, grounded out to the pitcher in his second at-bat, flew out to center in his third at-bat, and grounded out to second in his fourth and final at-bat.

Headed into the bottom half of the ninth with his side trailing by six, Bradley Jr. was slated to bat sixth in the inning, and he even made it to the on-deck circle with two outs and two runners on before the pinch-hitting Mookie Betts grounded out to first to end the game.

“It was a fun ride,” said Bradley postgame. “I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. Most of all, the team played really well during it. I’m blessed to be in this situation.”

From April 24th, the day the hitting streak began, to May 25th, the day before it ended, the Red Sox went 21-8 to propel them to first place in the American League East at that point in the season.

Looking at Bradley Jr.’s numbers over that stretch, the South Carolina product posted an absurd .415/.488/.783 slash line to go along with eight home runs and 30 RBI over 29 games played.

By that time Bradley Jr.’s hitting streak came to an end on that faithful Thursday night at Fenway four years ago, he was just five games away from tying Dom DiMaggio for the longest hitting streak in Red Sox history (34 games in 1949).

Despite not being able to reach that mark, Bradley Jr. still became the first major-leaguer since 2013 to have a hitting streak of at least 29 games. The last Red Sox hitter to reach the 30-game plateau was Nomar Garciappara, who accomplished that feat in 1997.

After going hitless for the first time in several weeks, Bradley Jr. got back on track the following day in Toronto and recorded hits in three of his next four games to wrap up a terrific month of May in which he was named American League Player of the Month.

From there, the 2011 first-round pick was named to his first All-Star Game that July and went on to have his best season in the majors in terms of fWAR (5.3).

Xander Bogaerts Mashes Two Homers as Red Sox Finish off Sweep of Rockies in 7-4 Win

After slugging their way to a 10-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, the Red Sox finished off the two-game interleague series sweep with a 7-4 win on Wednesday to improve to 72-62 on the season.

Making his 28th start of the season for Boston and second straight in a National League ballpark was Eduardo Rodriguez, who held the San Diego Padres over seven strong innings in his last time out this past Friday.

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

The first of those three Rockies runs came around to score in the bottom half of the fourth, when after 10 of the first 16 hitters he faced, Rodriguez served up a two-out, infield single on a successful bunt attempt laid down by Garret Hampson to drive in Ian Desmond from third.

Another single to follow that out of Peter Lambert in the pitcher’s spot for Colorado filled the bases for Trevor Story, but Rodriguez was able to escape that jam with an inning-ending lineout to second.

In the fifth, back-to-back knocks from Nolan Arenado and Desmond with one out, followed by back-to-back run-scoring knocks from Yonathan Daza and Wolters with two outs brought across two more runs for Colorado to cut their deficit to two at 5-3.

Still with one out to get and runners on first and second to deal with, Rodriguez limited the damage by getting Hampson to ground out to Rafael Devers at third, which would be how his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 104 (60 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 95.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 16-5 while raising his ERA on the year slightly up to 3.97, Rodriguez wrapped up his August on a decent note.

In six starts this month, the Venezuela native posted an ERA of 3.41 and batting average against of .284 over 37 innings of work. His first start of September should come against the Minnesota Twins next Wednesday.

In relief of Rodriguez, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the middle of the sixth with a two-run lead to protect, and he did just that by picking off Story at second following a one-out single in an otherwise clean frame.

From there, Marcus Walden allowed one run to cross the plate on an Arenado leadoff double and Ryan McMahon run-scoring groundout to make it a 6-4 contest in the seventh and Matt Barnes walked one and stranded that runner in a scoreless eighth.

That made way for Brandon Workman to come on for his 60th appearance of the season, and he notched his ninth save by punching out the side on 17 pitches to lock down the 7-4 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another rookie right-hander in the form of Peter Lambert for the Rockies, making just the 15th start of his career on Wednesday.

Kicking off the scoring in the top half of the third inning, a one-out Rafael Devers triple brought J.D. Martinez to to the plate with two outs and the chance to strike early.

On the fourth pitch he saw in his second at-bat against Lambert, Martinez deposited a 2-1, 86 MPH curveball down the heart of the plate 434 feet to left field for his 32nd home run of the season to put his team on the board first at 2-0.

Fast forward to the fifth, and it was Devers setting the table once more, this time lacing a one-out single off Lambert for Xander Bogaerts, who took a 1-1, 93 MPH heater on the outer half of the plate and sent it 417 feet to the opposite field for his first of two long balls on the night.

A Martinez single to follow that would result in a pitching change for Colorado, with left-hander Sam Howard taking over for Lambert with Mitch Moreland and Brock Holt due to hit for Boston.

Moreland was able to reach base on a seven-pitch walk to advance Martinez to second, while Holt fanned on six pitches and another move was made, this time with right-hander Jesus Tinoco entering.

Christian Vazquez coldly greeted the new Rockies reliever, ripping a line-drive RBI single to right-center to score Martinez from second and make it a 5-1 contest.

In the seventh, Bogaerts continued on with his power surge, as he led things off against Carlos Estevez with his second homer of the evening to both reach the 30-homer and 100-RBI mark on the season.

And in the ninth, Devers capped off his slump-busting performance at the plate by taking Wes Parsons deep to center on a leadoff, 437-foot bomb for his 28th of 2019.

That solo shot, which resulted in Devers finishing just a double shy of the cycle in this one, gave the Red Sox a 7-4 edge, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From MLB Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From Red Sox Stats, with video taken moments before Rafael Devers tripled in the second inning:

With the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays both falling on Wednesday, the Red Sox now sit five games behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another off day on Thursday before beginning another three-game weekend series in southern California on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in the opener, while left-hander Jose Suarez will do the same for Los Angeles.

Eovaldi has struggled since making his return to the Sox’ starting rotation on August 18th, surrendering seven runs over his last five innings pitched in his last two starts. That’s good for an ERA of 12.60.

Working as a reliever the last time these two clubs faced each other earlier in the month, Eovaldi combined to toss three frames of one-run ball over two separate appearances.

In two career starts at Angel Stadium, the 29-year-old owns a lifetime 6.23 ERA and .395 batting average against over 8 2/3 total innings of work.

Suarez, meanwhile, is a 21-year-old rookie who has posted a 7.89 ERA and .346 batting average against in seven outings (six starts) and 29 2/3 innings since the All-Star break. He has never faced the Red Sox before in his career.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:07 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight win.



Jackie Bradley Jr. Sets Tone Early with 478-Foot Homer as Red Sox Top Rockies 10-6

After taking two out of three from the San Diego Padres over the weekend and an off day on Monday, the Red Sox opened up their third straight interleague series with a 10-6 win in the first of two against the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Tuesday.

Making his 27th start of the season for Boston and third of the interleague variety was Rick Porcello, who allowed three runs over five innings in a losing effort in his last time out against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Tossing another five full innings this time around, the right-hander yielded only two runs, both of which were earned, on eight hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

Both of those Rockies runs came around to score in the bottom half of the fifth, when after sitting down 12 of the first 16 hitters he faced, back-to-back one out singles from Tony Wolters and the pinch-hitting Yonathan Daza put runners at the corners for All-Star Charlie Blackmon, who got his side on the board with a sharply-hit RBI single through the right side of the infield.

Two batters later, and another All-Star got to Porcello, this time with Nolan Arenado lacing an RBI double to left to drive in Daza and make it a 6-2 contest.

Still with one out to get and runners in scoring position to deal with, Porcelo did not waver, as he got Daniel Murphy to ground out to short to retire the side in what would ultimately be his final inning of work with the pitcher’s spot due to hit in the top of the sixth for Boston.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (58 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 46% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing seven swings and misses and topping out at 93.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually improving to 12-10 while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.42, Porcello wraps up his August on a solid note.

In five starts this month, the New Jersey native posted an ERA of exactly 4.00 over 27 innings pitched. He’ll look to keep that going in his first start of September, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the middle of the sixth with a four-run lead to protect, and he did just that by working his way around a two-out walk and single in an otherwise clean frame.

From there, Ryan Brasier stranded one on a one-out single in a scoreless seventh, Josh Smith served up a two-run homer to rookie Sam Hilliard, the first of his career, in the eighth, and another two-run shot to Arenado in the ninth to cut down his side’s lead to four runs.

That made way for lefty Josh Taylor to enter a game where it looked like he would not be needed initially, and he kept the lead at four by giving up a one-out single to Murphy before retiring the final two Rockies he faced to lock down the 10-6 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Rico Garcia for the Rockies, making his big league debut after being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque earlier Tuesday.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the top half of the first, J.D. Martinez picked up where he left off in San Diego with a two-out, RBI opposite field bloop single to plate Rafael Devers from third.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. struck with a monstrous solo blast off a one-out, first-pitch 91 MPH heater from Garcia to make it a two-run contest early. Per Statcast, Bradley Jr.’s 17th homer of the year traveled 478 feet off the bat, making it the longest home run for the Sox since the Statcast era began in 2015.

Fast forward to the fourth, a Brock Holt leadoff single set up Christian Vazquez with a runner on and no outs, and he came through with a blistering two-run shot, his 19th of 2019, off another first-pitch, 78 MPH curveball from Garcia. 4-0.

In the fifth, Xander Bogaerts got in on the home run-hitting party, as he took the Rockies rookie deep to dead center off yet another first-pitch, 90 MPH heater on the outer half of the plate for his 28th big fly of the season.

One Martinez groundout later, back-to-back two-out two-baggers off the bats of Mitch Moreland and Holt, with the latter driving in the former, upped Boston’s advantage to six runs.

And in the seventh, with left-handed reliever Jake McGee in for Colorado, a leadoff walk drawn by Devers and double from Bogaerts allowed Martinez to collect his second RBI of the night on a line-drive base knock to left field. 7-2.

A throwing error on the part of Ryan McMahon on a ground ball off the bat of Moreland brought in another run, with Bogaerts scoring from third and Moreland advancing to second on the mishap.

Able to capitalize on the sloppy defense from the opposition, Holt plated two more on an RBI base knock through the middle of the infield that was misplayed by Hilliard in center.

That single, one in which Holt was only credited with one, not two RBI, gave the Red Sox a commanding 10-2 lead, and after the Rockies responded with two runs of their own in both the eighth and ninth innings, 10-6 would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

J.D. Martinez’s last seven games: .407/.469/.778 with three homers and 12 RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit five home runs in his last 10 games.

With the Oakland Athletics winning and the Tampa Bay Rays losing on Tuesday, the Red Sox currently sit six games off the pace behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this quick two-gamer on Wednesday night, with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and right-hander Peter Lambert doing the same for Colorado.

Coming off back-to-back starts of at least seven innings pitched with zero runs allowed and five or fewer hits given up, to say Rodriguez has been solid these past two weeks would be an understatement.

The 26-year-old has never pitched at Coors Field before in his career, but he did surrender five runs on 10 hits over six innings in his only other start against the Rockies back on May 15th of this season. The Red Sox won that game by a final score of 6-5.

Lambert, meanwhile, has posted an ERA of 6.20 over his last eight outings and 40 2/3 innings since the All-Star break.

The 22-year-old rookie out of San Dimas, Ca. debuted with Colorado back on June 6th, and has never faced the Red Sox before in his young career.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:40 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the sweep.

Andrew Benintendi Sits, J.D. Martinez Starts in Left for Red Sox in Series Opener Against Rockies

In the first of two against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Tuesday, it will be J.D. Martinez getting the start in left field for the Red Sox while Andrew Benintendi sits for the second straight game.

Benintendi departed in the sixth inning of this past Saturday’s 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres after aggravating his left side on a swing in the top half of the fifth.

Later diagnosed with left side tightness and ruled day-to-day, Sox manager Alex Cora said pregame Sunday that, “We’ll stay away from [Benintendi] today, he’ll probably get some treatment [Monday] and we’ll know more on Tuesday.”

As already mentioned, Martinez will start in Benintendi’s place with no designated hitter available at a National League ballpark.

In nine career games at Coors Field, Martinez is slashing .447/.463/.558 with two home runs and nine RBI over 41 total plate appearances.

Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind RIck Porcello on Tuesday, facing off against Rockies rookie right-hander Rico Garcia in his major league debut.

Garcia, 25, is currently the 20th-ranked prospect in Colorado’s system. In 25 starts between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque this season, he owns an ERA of 4.23 and batting average against of .249 through 123 1/3 innings pitched.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:40 PM EDT on NESN. The season series between these two clubs is split even at one game apiece.

Michael Chavis Delivers First Career Walk-Off Hit as #RedSox Split Series with 6-5 Extra Innings Win over Rockies

After seeing their five-game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday, the Red Sox bounced back less than 24 hours later with a 6-5 walk-off win over the Colorado Rockies Wednesday thanks to some late-game heroics from Michael Chavis.

Making his ninth start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered Wednesday unbeaten in his last six outings.

Working his way into the seventh inning of this one, the left-hander was charged for five runs, all earned, on nine hits, one HBP,  and one walk to go along with a season-high 10 strikeouts on the night.

Outside of the seventh, it was the top of the fourth that provided Rodriguez with the most trouble, as the Rockies struck for their first two runs on an RBI sac fly from David Dahl and an RBI double from Tony Wolters.

Escaping any more damage in the frame by getting Charlie Blackmon to fly out to right, Rodriguez went on and retired five of the next six hitters he faced before Christian Vazquez ended the sixth by throwing out Ian Desmond at second on a failed stolen base attempt.

Now we get to where things got dicey.

Already with a pitch count of 99 heading into the seventh, the matchups favored Rodriguez with Ryan McMahon, Tony Wolters, and Charile Blackmon, all left-handed hitters, due up for Colorado.

Unfortunately, that plan backfired on Alex Cora and the Sox, as all three Rockies previously mentioned to load the bases without an out yet recorded.

A HBP of Blackmon would be how Rodriguez’s night came to an end, and he would later be hit with three more earned runs.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 106 (73 strikes), the 26-year-old relied on his four-seam fastball 29% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 94.5 MPH with the pitch.

Still unbeaten in his last seven starts dating back to April 12th, Rodriguez will look to extend that streak in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays north of the border.

In relief of Rodriguez, Matt Barnes was thrown right into the fire fresh off a 26-pitch, two inning outing in Tuesday’s loss.

Coming on with the bases juiced and three outs to get in the seventh, the UCONN product allowed all the inherited runners he was dealt to score on a two-run single from Trevor Story and an RBI groundout from Daniel Murphy.

Not how you draw it up, but it was pretty clear that Barnes wasn’t himself given the recent heavy workload.

Following that Murphy groundout, Marcus Walden came on to relieve Barnes and proceeded to sit down the next seven Rockies he faced to take this one into the middle of the ninth.

From there, in what would turn out to be their final frame of work in the 10th, Heath Hembree worked his way around a Nolan Arenado leadoff double and recorded the first two outs before walking Ian Desmond on five pitches.

With one out to get, in came Bradon Workman, who rebounded from a rough performance on Tuesday by striking out the only man he faced in David Dahl to send this one to the bottom half of the inning and earn his third winning decision of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another unfamiliar opponent in Rockies right-hander German Marquez, who, as you may have already guessed, had never faced Boston in his career prior to Wednesday.

Similar to what they did in the series opener, the Sox bats pounced early on a Colorado starter, with Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and JD Martinez all leading off the first with a trio of softly-hit singles and Benintendi coming in to score on the one from Martinez.

That was followed by a run-scoring GIDP off the bat of Mitch Moreland, and the Red Sox had themselves a two-run lead just like that.

Fast forward to the third, and the top of the lineup was back at it again, this time with Benintendi lacing a one-out, opposite field triple off of Marquez and Betts driving him in on an RBI single to center.

Two pitches later, JD Martinez continued his power surge by launching his fourth home run in his last three games, a two-run, 393 foot shot to the Red Sox bullpen to make it a 5-0 game early.

Despite that early lead though, as previously mentioned, the Rockies stormed their way back to the point where this contest went into extra innings.

Facing off against Rockies reliever Chad Bettis to begin the 10th, Xander Bogaerts led things off by lining a leadoff double off the center field wall to put the go-ahead run in scoring position.

Following an intentional free pass of Rafael Devers, Michael Chavis came to the plate with the chance to send everyone home happy, and did just that on the very first pitch he saw, as the rookie grounded a comebacker right back up the middle to plate Bogaerts from second and give his team the 6-5 extra innings victory. First career walk-off knock for Chavis and it could not have come at a better time.

Some notes from this win:

Through five relief appearances this month, Marcus Walden has posted a 0.79 ERA and .129 batting average against over 11.1 innings pitched.

During his current five-game hitting streak, JD Martinez is hitting .400 with four home runs and seven RBI.

Christian Vazquez owns an OPS of 1.148 since the beginning of May.

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

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another off day on Thursday before a rematch of last year’s American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros over the weekend.

The Astros will come to Boston winners of eight straight and arguably the best team in the American League at the moment.

For the series opener on Friday, it will be a starting pitching matchup featuring two veteran right-handers, with Gerrit Cole getting the ball for Houston and Rick Porcello doing the same for Boston.

Porcello (3-3, 5.15 ERA) is unbeaten in his five starts and is coming off an outing in which he gave up four runs in 6.2 innings in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles.

Cole (4-4, 3.38 ERA), meanwhile, owns a lifetime 4.32 ERA against the Red Sox over four career starts, two of which have come at Fenway Park.

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

Chris Sale’s Historic 17 Strikeout Night Goes for Naught as #RedSox Drop Series Opener to Rockies in Extras

Coming off a three-game sweep over the Seattle Mariners this past weekend, the Red Sox saw their five-game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday night following a 5-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies in 11 innings.

Making his ninth start of the season for Boston was Chris Sale, who before Tuesday had never faced off against Colorado as a starter.

Tossing seven full innings in this one, the left-hander had himself quite the historic outing, as he surrendered two earned runs on three hits and no walks to go along with 17 strikeouts on the night to set a new-career high.

Right from the get go, it appeared that Sale was locked in. That much was evident by the way he fanned seven of the first nine hitters he faced.

After sitting down the first 12 Rockies he faced, first baseman Mark Reynolds broke up the perfect game and no-hit bid all at once by lining a ground-rule double down the right field line to lead off the fifth inning.

Nothing came to be of that though, and it wasn’t until Sale’s seventh and final inning until Colorado got on the board, with Trevor Story leading the frame off with a single and perennial All-Star Nolan Arenado following that up by launching a two-run home run over the Green Monster.

That made it a 3-2 contest, but Sale rebounded nicely by punching out the final three hitters he faced in order to end his evening on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 108 (74 strikes), you could tell that the 30-year-old was willing to go back out for the eighth to try and reach the mark of 20 strikeouts, but that was ultimately shut down by Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

Anyway, out of those 108 pitches, Sale relied heavily on his slider, as he turned to the pitch 37% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday and induced 11 swings and misses with it. He also topped out at 95.9 MPH and averaged 93.3 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 36 times with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Unable to pick up the winning decision in a deserving effort due to what transpired later in this contest, Sale has dropped his ERA considerably over the past few weeks down to 4.24 on the season. He’ll look to lower it even more in his next time out, which should in all likelihood come against the Houston Astros on Sunday.

In relief of Sale, the Red Sox bullpen saw some mixed, inconsistent results in this one.

Brandon Workman, making his 21st appearance of the year, saw his run of 11 consecutive outings come to an end on Tuesday, as he allowed the Rockies to briefly take the lead in the eighth inning on a two-run home run off the bat of Charlie Blackmon.

From there, Matt Barnes struck out five of the six hitters he faced in two solid frames of relief in the ninth and 10th frames to make way for Ryan Brasier in the 11th, who walked two of the first four hitters he faced before giving up the go-ahead and what would turn out to be winning run on a Mark Reynolds RBI single to score Trevor Story from second base and make it a 5-4 game.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against an unfamiliar opponent in Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland, someone only JD Martinez and Eduardo Nunez had faced before given their previous experience in the National League West.

Only able to plate three runs off of Freeland, rookie Michael Chavis stayed hot and kicked the scoring off for Boston by demolishing his seventh big fly of the season already to lead off the second.

According to Statcast, that ball was launched 451 feet down the left field line and had an exit velocity of over 111 MPH. Quite simply, it was crushed.

An inning later, it was the middle of the Sox lineup providing the team with some more pop, with JD Martinez depositing his eighth homer of the year 424 feet over the Monster with one out in the third and Rafael Devers essentially doing the same with his third dinger of 2019, a two-out, 355 foot shot to left field as well.

Those three homers provided the Red Sox with their only runs up until their half of the eighth, when with two outs and Rafael Devers representing the tying run at second, Mitch Moreland came off the bench and delivered in another clutch situation, as he lined a pinch-hit RBI single to center off Rockies reliever Scott Oberg to plate Devers and tie this thing up at four runs a piece.

They had the chance to walk this one off in the ninth with Jackie Bradley Jr. leading the frame off by drawing a walk off Carlos Estevez, but neither of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, nor Martinez could drive him in.

The same can be said for the 10th thanks to a leadoff single from Xander Bogaerts. But again, nothing to show.

And in the 11th, Christian Vazquez provided some hope by reaching base on a two-out single off of Rockies closer Wade Davis, but that hope was cut short when Benintendi ended any chance of a rally by flying out to left, wrapping up the 5-4 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

From MLB Stats:

From Red Sox Notes:

Red Sox pitchers recorded 24 strikeouts on Tuesday compared to just two walks, both of which belonged to Ryan Brasier.

Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts went a combined 0-for-11 with six punchouts and five men left on base Tuesday. Not ideal, especially for Benintendi, who is now 0-for-his-last-14 dating back to May 11th.

Since April 23rd, Chris Sale has posted a 1.91 ERA and .157 batting average against to go along with 59 strikeouts over his last five starts and 33 innings pitched. The Red Sox are 2-3 in those five games.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this brief two-game interleague series later Wednesday night before another off day on Thursday.

Right-hander German Marquez will get the ball for Colorado, while lefty Eduardo Rodriguez will do the same for Boston.

Marquez, 24, has never faced the Red Sox before in his career, but does own a 3.43 ERA through nine starts this season.

The same can be said for Rodriguez, who has yet to make a start against the Rockies and owns a lifetime 3.50 ERA over 11 career starts and 64.1 total innings pitched in interleague play.

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