RECAP: Mookie Betts Homers Three Times as #RedSox Take Series from Royals with 5-4 Win.

Just over 12 hours after a disappointing extra innings loss at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, the Red Sox took the field early today for the third and final game of this series, as they head out for Texas later tonight.

Drew Pomeranz got the start in this one, and he did not get off to the best of starts. The lefty allowed three runs on four hits and one walk over the first two frames. It was not looking great in the beginning, but a baserunning mishap committed by the Royals Jorge Soler that led to an inning-ending double play certainly helped Pomeranz. After he got out of the second inning, responsible for all three runs the Royals had scored up to that point, the Tennessee native settled down and surrendered just four hits and allowed one walk over the next four innings he pitched. Pomeranz would end his day with three strikeouts to go along with 89 total pitches, 55 of which went for strikes. He’ll look to build on this start next week in New York.

In relief of Pomeranz and with a two run lead to preserve, Joe Kelly made his first appearance in his first game back from suspension. He struck out two while tossing a scoreless frame in the seventh. Matt Barnes got the call for the eighth, and after recording the first two outs of the inning, gave up a solo shot to Chelsor Cuthbert and hit Jon Jay with a pitch. Barnes would get out of the inning by striking out Alcides Escobar on four pitches, but the Red Sox lead had been reduced to just one run.

With the one run lead entering the ninth, that made way for Craig Kimbrel, who was coming off his first blown save of the season last night. Watching what happened last night with Kimbrel on the mound was honestly pretty shocking, quite simply because of the fact it rarely happens. How would he respond in a similar situation a day later? Well, he looked the Craig Kimbrel we know and love because he struck out all three batters he faced on 17 pitches, recording his eighth save of the season, and the 299th of his career.

Offensively, the Red Sox needed just four swings of the bat to lock up this win, and all four of those swings went for home runs. Mookie Betts made history today by becoming the first player in Red Sox history to record four three home run games in his career. He got the scoring for the Red Sox started in the fourth inning. Facing Danny Duffy for the second time to leadoff the inning, Betts ripped a 1-1 84 MPH changeup and sent it over the Monster to make it a one-run game.

Three batters later, JD Martinez tied things up on a home run swing of his own. He took Duffy deep on another 1-1 changeup and sent it to almost the exact same spot Betts did. That evened things up in this one at two runs a piece.

An inning later, Betts did it again against Duffy. This time, he took a 0-2 slider and pulled it a little more to the left. That put the Red Sox up by one.

Fast forward to the seventh, and Betts put the exclamation point on his day by blasting his third home run of the game. This one off of Duffy yet again, on a 1-2 93 MPH fastball. Here’s all three in one video for your convenience.

Today’s performance at the plate puts the 25-year-old outfielder in rarefied air. With those three home runs, Betts has now passed Ted Williams for most three home run games in team history. Keep in mind that this was his first day back in the starting lineup since this past Saturday.

According to manager Alex Cora, Betts is going to be the Red Sox leadoff hitter from here on out, so maybe more of these games can be expected. As I’m writing this, he now leads the majors in home runs with 11 and an OPS of 1.1274. He’s the MVP of this team, no doubt about it.

The other guy who hit a home run for the Red Sox today, JD Martinez, is also having a pretty nice season so far. He is eighth baseball in terms of RBIs with 24 of them on the season. He also has the 13th best OPS in the majors with it currently sitting at .985 after today’s game.

Next up for the Red Sox is another lengthy road trip when it feels like they just came back from one. Anyway, this road trip kicks off tomorrow night in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers own 12-20 record up to this point in the season and have given up the second most runs in the majors with 173 runs scored against them.

David Price gets the ball in the series opener. He’ll be facing off against veteran righty Mike Minor of the Rangers. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET.

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RECAP: Xander Bogaerts’ Grand Slam Propels #RedSox to Best April in Franchise History.

Less than 24 hours after wrapping up a frustrating series against the Tampa Bay Rays in winning fashion, the Red Sox welcomed the lowly Kansas City Royals to town for a three game set. Entering yesterday at 7-20, the Royals have been quite simply the worst team in the American League one month into the season. They sent veteran righty Jason Hammel to the mound for the opener, and Eduardo Rodriguez got the nod for the Red Sox.

If you were expecting a pitcher’s duel, that is about the polar opposite of what went down last night. The rainy weather for sure played a part, but neither pitcher put their best performance together on Monday. Hammel gave up eight earned runs in less than five innings pitched, and Rodriguez allowed five earned runs in just four innings pitched.

More on ERod, I was discouraged by two different things that happened in his start last night. The first being the fact he gave up three runs on two, hits, three walks, and a HBP in the first inning alone. And the second being the fact that he gave up another two runs in the top of the fourth after the lineup had just given him a three-run lead a half inning earlier. Like I said earlier, weather was definitely an issue in this game, and I’m sure that had a negative impact on Rodriguez’s night. I just don’t think it’s a great look when Hector Velazquez outpitches you in a relief role. Rodriguez would finish his outing with 88 pitches, 53 of which went for strikes. The lefty will look to rebound next time out when he faces off against the Texas Rangers in Arlington.

Speaking of Velazquez, the big righty looked great in two innings of relief work last night. Working with a two and three run lead in each inning, the Mexico native surrendered just one hit while fanning three over that span. That made way for Carson Smith to start the seventh, and he struck out two while allowing one hit in a scoreless frame of work to lower his ERA from 5.87 to 5.19 and pick up his third hold of the season.

Last up out of the Red Sox bullpen was Brian Johnson. After giving up five runs to the Rays this past Saturday, the lefty looked much better in the two innings he pitched last night. He still allowed the Royals to score, but held them to one run on two hits while striking out two en route to picking up this historic win.

Offensively, Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts powered the Red Sox lineup. Together, they combined for as many RBIs (6) as the Royals had runs. Moreland got the scoring started in the second, when he launched his third home run of the season over the wall in right field.

An inning later, after Moreland drew a bases loaded walk to tack on another run, Xander Bogaerts went big fly for his third home run of the season.

That slam marks the sixth and final grand slam the Red Sox hit in April, the most any team has hit before May 1st since the 1996 Montreal Expos.

The Red Sox lineup would go on to score five more runs in this one, but none of them were as sexy as the first five. Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, and Eduardo Nunez each drove in a run of their own, and Devers scored the 10th and final run of the night on a fielding error in the seventh.

Batters 2-5 did most of the damage for the Red Sox last night, as they accounted for 10 of the 13 hits the team had. Hanley Ramirez, JD Martinez, Mitch Moreland, and Xander Bogaerts went a combined 10/18 with seven RBIs and two walks. After that performance, the Red Sox trail only the New York Yankees for most runs scored in the majors.

Looking to clinch this series with a win later tonight, it will be Chris Sale getting the ball for the Red Sox. He’ll be facing off against Royals righty Jakob Junis, who has never faced the Red Sox in his young career. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

Sunday Morning Read: Logan Morrison to the #RedSox Would Be Interesting.

On the same day the Chicago Cubs are making deals for aces, here I am writing about a hypothetical. The past few days have provided us with varying reports that the Red Sox have looked in on free agent first baseman Logan Morrison. Morrison, 30, has spent the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, and is coming off the best season of his career in which he mashed 38 home runs and drove in 85 runs. With the way things have been this winter, Morrison has gauged little to no interest until just recently, and is arguably the best first baseman available behind Eric Hosmer.

The funny thing is, what Hosmer decides to do will most likely determine what Morrison does. If Hosmer leaves the Kansas City Royals for the San Diego Padres, then Morrison will more than likely land there. The Kansas City native grew up a Royals fan, so it makes sense that he would want to play there. If Hosmer somehow resigns with the Royals, things could get interesting. The only other team that has shown some interest in Morrison just so happens to be the Boston Red Sox, a team in need of a power bat.

Adding Morrison to this current roster puts the Red Sox in an interesting predicament. JD Martinez would have to be out of the equation for this to happen, and then you’re looking at three guys who can play first as well as DH, Morrison, Mitch Moreland, and Hanley Ramirez. That’s a lot of platooning right there. From what I have read this offseason, it appears that Ramirez is going to see a drop in at bats this season for contractual reasons. I can’t imagine he is on board with taking a reduced role, but I haven’t heard him voice any concern he might have. Morrison will probably never hit more than 38 home runs again in a single season, so is it really worth it if the asking price is too high?

Like many free agents, the market for Morrison remains to be seen. The best comparison I can make right now, in terms of contracts, is Todd Frazier, who just received a 2-year/$17 million dollar deal from the New York Mets. Paying a player with 35+ home run potential seems relatively cheap, especially for the Red Sox, but things are changing in this league. Let’s not forgot, this is just a back up plan. If JD Martinez signs on that dotted line, this is all thrown out the window. Thanks for reading.

RECAP: #RedSox bullpen wastes a great start for Drew Pomeranz in 5-3 loss.

After a feel good walk-off win last night, the Red Sox got back to the way things were on Sunday, being an extremely frustrating team to watch. Drew Pomeranz was good in the 6.2 innings he pitched. At no point did Pomeranz dominate, but he was able to limit the damage. Seven hits, one earned run, one walk, and four strike outs. In relief of Pomeranz, Brandon Workman got out of the seventh inning while giving up a hit. Matt Barnes started the eighth, and the game went downhill from there. Barnes failed to record an out while allowing three hits and four runs, three of which were earned. Despite the sucky outing for Barnes, I will give him this: that inning could have gone completely different if Xander Bogaerts did not juggle that ground ball that allowed Lorenzo Cain, the first batter, to reach base. Robby Scott came in, gave up a hit, and got the first two outs of the inning, making way for Heath Hembree. Hembree finished the eighth, then went on to pitch a scoreless ninth as well. Like I said earlier today, Addison Reed could help this team. He’s not great, but he could serve as a viable eighth inning guy until Joe Kelly returns.

On the offensive side, Mitch Moreland had one of his best performances in a while. The first baseman drove in the first run of the game in the second, scoring Hanley Ramirez on an RBI single. That would be the first of Moreland’s two hits today, making it the first time since Independence Day that Moreland has recorded more than one hit in a game. The bats would go quiet until the fifth, when the rookie, Rafael Devers barely got the ball over the Green Monster for his second career home run and his first at Fenway Park. That would be it for the Red Sox in terms of runs. After the Royals took the lead in the eighth, they had the chance to win the game in the ninth. Before Mookie Betts came up with two outs, a JBJ walk, a Christian Vazquez single, and a Devers walk loaded the bases. You’d figure Mookie could at least make things interesting with a hard hit ball, but he popped up to Lorenzo Cain instead, ending the game.

Seeing a good amount of guys from the 2007 World Series team was cool, and David Ortiz was great the inning he was in the NESN booth. It’s too bad the Red Sox couldn’t have won on what was a pretty good day.

Also, shout out to Adrian Beltre for 3,000 hits. Miss that guy in a Red Sox uni.

57 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Eduardo Nunez, Christian Vazquez, and Sandy Leon play key roles for #RedSox in 9-8 win in extras.

In a game that took just under five hours to complete, the newest addition to the Red Sox, Eduardo Nunez, drove in the winning run. Eduardo Rodriguez made his third start since coming off the disabled list, and he struggled to say the least. The pitch count was an issue, but ERod was surprisingly limiting the damage despite that. It wasn’t until the fourth when the Royals scored four times, including a cheap three-run home run off the bat of Lorenzo Cain. With ERod’s pitch count around 100 after pitching just four innings, the Red Sox bullpen would have to be relied on heavily. Fernando Abad and Blaine Boyer both gave up two runs, but that was all the Royals got the rest of the game. Robby Scott, Heath Hembree, Craig Kimbrel, and Matt Barnes combined to pitch five scoreless innings while scattering four hits and striking out five Royals in the process. Since coming back off the DL, Eduardo Rodriguez has an ERA of 6.75 and a WHIP of 1.91. Could that and David Price’s health lead to Dave Dombrowski acquiring a middle of the rotation type of starter? Perhaps. Jaime Garcia just got traded to the Yankees, but Lance Lynn is a viable option as well. Personally, I’d prefer a proven veteran reliever whose asking price isn’t too steep. On paper, the Red Sox bullpen has been great, but I find it hard to trust them in big games, that’s why I want the reliever.

Anyway, Trevor Cahill did not do much to outpitch ERod, so the Red Sox were in the game despite his struggles. As the title says, Christian Vazquez came up huge yesterday, and he drove in the first run of the game for the Red Sox in the second, scoring Jackie Bradley from third on an RBI triple. Eduardo Nunez had a big day as well, as he hit his first of two home runs in the third, a solo shot which gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead at that point. After the Royals took a 4-2 lead in their half of the fourth, that was matched with a Christian Vazquez RBI double and a Rafael Devers RBI single, tying the game. Nunez went yard again in the fifth, and Mitch Moreland drove in JBJ on a fielding error as well. In the sixth, the Royals tacked on another four runs, giving them a 8-6 lead. Jackie Bradley drove in Andrew Benintendi on a sac-fly in the seventh, and Mookie Betts tied the game in the eighth, driving in Brock Holt from third on another sac-fly. Since Holt pinch ran for Vazquez, who nearly hit for the cycle, Sandy Leon entered the game behind the plate, and he led off the tenth with a double. After Devers struck out, the Royals put on Mookie Betts intentionally with one out. A wild pitch with Nunez up allowed Leon to reach third, and he scored the game-winning run in an unusual way.

In his first two games with the Red Sox, Eduardo Nunez has done a lot. Not too many fans were thrilled when this trade happened earlier last week, but it seems to be paying off now.

Drew Pomeranz pitches today, as the Red Sox have the chance to win their first series since the All-Star break.

57 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Rick Porcello loses fourteenth decision of the season as #RedSox fall out of first place.

It was quite a day for the Red Sox and their fans on Friday. David Price, who was supposed to pitch last night, was placed on the 10-Day Disabled List because of a sore elbow prior to the game. Many suspected this was done so that Price would not have to face the Fenway crowd, as this would be his first home start since the details of his confrontation with Dennis Eckersley were revealed. Dave Dombrowksi had to go in front of the press just to say it was not done for that reason. Manager John said that Price should be throwing by next Tuesday, so the injury doesn’t appear to be too severe. And while this was happening, Dustin Pedroia announced to the media that he is the leader in the clubhouse, so Fenway Park was pretty much a circus earlier Friday.

Anyway, Rick Porcello was matched up against Royals starter Jason Vargas, who is having a bit of a renaissance while coming back from Tommy John surgery. Vargas did out pitch Porcello, and Porcello did give up four runs, but he was really not that bad last night. The righty only gave up six hits and one walk in seven innings pitched, but unfortunately, two of those hits were home runs. Salvador Perez took Porcello deep with a solo shot in the second, and Mike Moustakas took him deep with a three-run shot in the fourth. Other than those two pitches though, I have nothing to complain about when it comes to Porcello’s start. I love the fact that he has consistently ate up innings this season, despite not putting up the best numbers. The last time he failed to pitch at least six innings was back on April 14th, so he has that going for him. It’s a shame the Red Sox offense hates scoring runs for Porcello, because that guy does not deserve fourteen losses.

Let me tell you how the Red Sox did at the plate last night: Seven hits and two runs, that is all. Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez both made their Fenway Park debuts, and both combined to reach base four times. Mookie Betts drove in the first run for the Red Sox in the fifth, scoring Rafael Devers on an RBI single, and Sandy Leon drove in the second run of the game for the Red Sox with an RBI ground out in the seventh, scoring Chris Young from third. They had a chance to perhaps tie things in the ninth with Andrew Benintendi singling to third with two outs, but Rafael Devers grounded out to second and that ended things.

I would have liked to see Devers be more patient, but it didn’t work out that way. This team needs a jolt, in my opinion. They’ve seemed pretty lifeless lately, and I think they’d be much worse if Chris Sale were not on the team. I’ve been pondering the idea of trading for Giancarlo Stanton, but I think I rather wait until the offseason for that. For now though, Xander Bogaerts needs some time off. He’s probably hurt, which has led to him producing next to nothing over the past few weeks.

First time in a month the Red Sox are out of first place, if the Royals sweep, they’ll have the same number of wins, which didn’t seem possible a few months ago.

56 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz surprisingly not to blame as #RedSox end road trip with 6-4 loss.

Who would have thought that the Red Sox bullpen, not Drew Pomeranz, would be who to put the blame on for another tough loss? Well, that’s what happened this afternoon. Pomeranz was not half bad, pitching into the seventh inning for the second start in a row. The only runs the Royals scored off of the southpaw were pretty cheap honestly, a GIDP that scored one in the second, and a sac fly that scored the other in the third. Five strikeouts for Pomeranz too, whose ERA is down to 4.07. The silver lining in this loss was probably Pomeranz, who needs to step up with all the injuries within the rotation. It looks like Drew will be making his next start against the Twins next Tuesday, another chance to lower that ERA.

Like the first sentence says, the bullpen was mostly awful today as they blew the lead and the game. Joe Kelly came in to relieve Pomeranz in the seventh, and despite loading the bases, he got out of the inning. Matt Barnes got the ball for the eighth, and he walked the only two batters he faced. Robby Scott came in, gave up a walk, then served up the go-ahead grand slam to Salvador Perez, who hit that ball with Miguel Cabrera’s bat.

Love that guy… Anyway, Heath Hembree would have to be thrown in the game to bail out the bullpen and stop the Royals bats, and that’s what he did in getting all three outs in the inning. Listen, I like Matt Barnes, he’s a pretty good guy to have out of the pen, but I just don’t think his purpose is to be the setup guy, the eighth inning guy. Last year, you had Koji, Tazawa, and Ziegler later on, so Barnes was really never needed in that role. Dave Dombrowski went ahead over the winter and made a trade with the Brewers for one of 2016’s best relievers, Tyler Thornburg. Well, he’s not going to play this season, and that setup man is still a question until we see what Carson Smith can be. Barnes will probably still pitch in those situations, because it seems like Manager John loves seeing him pitch there.

Offensively, the Red Sox only scored in two innings. They could have won the game with just these runs, but still. Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts mashed back to back solo home runs in the fourth, the tenth for Benny and the fifth for X. In the fifth, Christian Vazquez scored on a Mookie Betts sac fly and Deven Marrero scored from third on a failed pick-off attempt with Mitch Moreland at the plate. Not much to say about the offense today, Xander Bogaerts was the only guy in the lineup who reached more than once. Also, I know he only got one PA, but I just want to point out the fact that Hanley Ramirez’s BA has fallen to .239 and his Slugging % is only at .394, compare that to last year when he finished with a Slugging % of .505. He’s obviously not the guy to blame for the loss, but just wanted to put that information out there.

A 4-4 road trip is far from awful, but you can look at some recent losses as games that got away. At this point last year, the Red Sox had the same record as they do now, 40-32. If you visit Red Sox Twitter, many think this team could be better if Torey Lovullo was at the helm with how good the DBacks have been this year. Me? I think it’s tough to compare two teams in different divisions, not to mention different leagues. This Red Sox team could have a better record now, or they could make an impressive run over the summer. No team is running away with this division, patience is key.

To conclude, let me be the first to wish you a happy David Ortiz number retirement ceremony weekend. Three at home after the off day against a Trout-less Angels team, should be easy enough to take at least two out of three.

40 down, ? to go.