Red Sox Recall Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez from Triple-A Pawtucket, Option Ryan Brasier in Corresponding Move

Before taking on the Toronto Blue Jays in the second of a four-game series Tuesday night, the Red Sox announced that left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez had been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. In a corresponding move, right-hander Ryan Brasier was optioned to Triple-A. The club made the transaction official earlier Tuesday.

Hernandez, 22, is now up with Boston for the fourth time this season after being promoted to the PawSox on June 15th.

Ranked as the Sox’ top pitching prospect, the Venezuela native has posted a 4.76 ERA and .175 batting average against to go along with 20 strikeouts and 16 walks over seven International League appearances (three starts) and 17 total innings pitched.

Since being moved to Pawtucket’s bullpen at the beginning of the month, Hernandez has allowed just one earned run on one hit, one HBP, one walk, and six punchouts over four relief outings.

In two separate appearances with the Red Sox so far in 2019, one coming as a reliever and the other as a starter, the 2013 international signee owns an ERA of 5.06 and xFIP of 4.68 over a small 5-1/3 inning sample size.

Over those 5 1/3 frames of work, Hernandez has faced 22 right-handed batters and eight left-handed batters. The rightys are slashing .375/.545/.500 off him, while the leftys are just 1-for-8 with one double.

Hernandez’s stuff certainly plays, it’s always been about his control, or lack thereof, that has raised some concern.

But, with the move to the bullpen for the time being, it appears as though Alex Cora and the Red Sox have another southpaw to turn to alongside Josh Taylor.

On the other side of this move, Ryan Brasier was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket following a night in which he yielded four runs on four hits in the eighth inning of 10-8 win for Boston. He had pitched in the final two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers before that.

After really coming out of nowhere last year, Brasier has fallen back to Earth in 2019, posting a 4.24 ERA and .242 batting average against over 44 appearances and 40 1/3 innings of work.

As Red Sox Stats surmises though, this could just be a way to get the 31-year-old off his feet for a bit.

Still, looking back to this past offseason, where Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that either one of Brasier, Matt Barnes, Tyler Thornburg, or Steven Wright could become the team’s closer with the departure of Craig Kimbrel, it’s clear that that certain strategy didn’t quite pan out.

Brasier was optioned on Tuesday, Barnes has blown six saves so far this season, Thornburg was released last week, and Wright was placed on the injured list this past Saturday.

Now, we turn to Nathan Eovaldi, who signed a four-year, $68 million deal with the Red Sox to be a starting pitcher, as the next option out of the ‘pen.

They got away with it since they won the World Series, but the lack of preparation that went into this Red Sox season, specifically with the makeup of the bullpen, should have been criticized more, because it’s the main talking point with this team at this point in the year.

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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 Crumble Late, Fail to Pick up Series Win in Grueling 12-Inning Loss to Dodgers

In a game that took nearly six hours and 12 innings to complete, the Red Sox failed to pick up the series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night/Monday morning, falling to the team with the best record in the National League by a final score of 7-4 to mark their second consecutive defeat.

Making his 17th start of the season for Boston was David Price, who entered the weekend having given up three or fewer runs in four consecutive outings.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the left-hander surrendered four runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits, three walks, and one HBP to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first three of those four Dodgers runs came right away in the top half of the first, when with two outs and runners on first and second following a leadoff walk drawn by Chris Taylor and fielding error committed by Xander Bogaerts on a Justin Turner grounder, A.J. Pollock put his team on the board by punishing a 1-1, 94 MPH two-seam fastball from Price and sending it 326 feet down the right field line to make it a 3-0 contest early.

From there, Price settled in a bit and sat down 11 of the next 15 hitters he faced before running into more trouble in the fifth, where a pair of doubles from David Freese with one out and Pollock with two outs widened Los Angeles’ advantage from one to two runs at 4-2.

A nine-pitch punchout of Max Muncy to retire the side in the fifth would be how Price’s outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 113 (75 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his two-seamer nearly 33% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing two swings and misses with it. He also topped out at 94.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch thrown 33 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season dropped down to 3.16 despite the four-run performance, Price’s next start should come this Friday against the Orioles in Baltimore. How he responds from this so-so outing will be something to watch for then.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen put together a solid collective effort, with Josh Taylor tossing a scoreless sixth inning, Colten Brewer a scoreless seventh, Ryan Brasier a 1-2-3 eighth, Brandon Workman a scoreless ninth to preserve the fresh 4-4 tie, Matt Barnes a two-strikeout, shutout 10th, and Heath Hembree working his way around a hit, a walk, and a HBP in a scoreless 11th thanks to Andrew Benintendi nabbing Alex Verdugo at home for the final out of the frame.

The 12th is where things got dicey for Boston, as they were down to either Marcus Walden or Hector Velazquez out of the ‘pen.

So, in came Velazquez for the third straight night, and that showed considering how the right-hander walked pinch-hitter Joc Pederson to lead off the inning, allowed Cody Bellinger to reach safely on an interference error committed by himself, and loaded the bases with no outs on a Pollock single to left.

A five-pitch, bases-loaded free pass to Max Muncy brought in the go-ahead run for the Dodgers, and a one-out RBI single from Verdugo, as well as Russell Martin grounding into a run-scoring force out at second, gave Los Angeles a 7-4 lead, which would turn out to be all they would need in this one.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Dodgers left-hander and 2019 All-Star Game starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, who came into Sunday with the lowest ERA among qualifiers in all the NL at 1.73 on the season.

Andrew Benintendi kicked off the scoring for Boston against Ryu with a two-out, bases-loaded RBI single in the first, plating Mookie Betts from third and also consequently Xander Bogaerts from second due to an error by Chris Taylor on the throw over from short. That cut Los Angeles’ lead down to one run at 3-2.

In the fifth, a two-out single off the bat of Rafael Devers and six-pitch walk drawn by Bogaerts to follow it gave the Sox another golden scoring chance, but nothing came of it with J.D. Martinez ripping a single to left and Verdugo gunning down Devers at the plate to keep it at a 4-2 contest.

Fast forward to the eighth, with Ryu out and right-handed reliever Pedro Baez in for the Dodgers, Bogaerts struck again, this time staying red-hot with his third home run of the series and 20th of the season. This one a 352-foot, opposite field bomb off a 1-1, 95 MPH heater from Baez.

Just two pitches later, J.D. Martinez came through in the clutch with his 19th big fly of the year, a 402-foot shot hit deep to center off a 1-0, 88 MPH slider to knot this contest up at four runs apiece.

Baez did recover by striking out the side after that, but the Sox had the opportunity to win this thing in the ninth with Jackie Bradley Jr. drawing a leadoff free pass against left-hander Zac Rosscup.

A pinch-hitting Marco Hernandez laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt against new Dodgers hurler Yimi Garcia to advance Bradley Jr. into scoring position, and an intentional walk of Betts brought Devers to the plate against the vaunted Kenley Jansen.

Neither Devers nor Bogaerts could do anything against the Dodgers closer though, and this one headed into extras.

There, in the 10th, Christian Vazquez reached base on a one-out walk, successfully stole second, but could not be driven in.

In the 11th, the same situation that occured two innings prior essentially presented itself again, with Bradley Jr. lacing a leadoff double off of righty Dylan Floro, meaning the winning run was only 180 feet away from scoring.

Rather than laying down another potential sacrifice bunt, Hernandez instead grounded into a fielder’s choice, resulting in Bradley Jr. being tagged out at third.

So, instead of having the go-ahead run at third with just one out for Betts, the reigning AL MVP came to the plate with one out and a runner at first. He could not advance him.

An intentional walk of Devers and infield single off the bat of Bogaerts moved the winning tally in the form of Hernandez to third, but Martinez, despite his earlier efforts, grounded into a simple force out at second to end the threat.

Finally, in the 12th, after falling behind by three yet again, the Sox did manage to get the tying run on deck thanks to Vazquez reaching on a walk to lead off the inning.

Benintendi fanned for the first out of the frame, and in came Joe Kelly for the save against his former club.

The flame throwing right-hander did just that, notching save number one in a Dodgers uniform by punching out Holt and Bradley Jr. in consecutive order to wrap up a disappointing 7-4 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox with runners in scoring position on Sunday: 5-for-14. They left 13 men on base as a team.

Xander Bogaerts this weekend: 6-for-12 with three homers and six RBI.

With the loss Sunday night, the Red Sox have fallen to 10 games off the pace for first place in the American League East.

Next up for the Red Sox, they welcome the 35-59 Toronto Blue Jays into town for a four-game series.

 

 

Chris Sale Fails to Get Through Five Innings, Falls to 3-9 on Season as Red Sox Get Blown out by Dodgers

After opening up an important three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a convincing 8-1 victory on Friday, the Red Sox fell back to earth less than 24 hours later, falling to the reigning National League champions by a final score of 11-2 on Saturday to snap a five-game winning streak.

Making his 19th start of the season for Boston was Chris Sale, who entered Saturday having given up four or more runs in all of his last three outings.

Working into just the fifth inning this time around, the left-hander yielded another five runs, all of which were earned, on seven hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first of those five Dodgers runs came right away in the first, when a leadoff walk of Chris Taylor came back to bite Sale on a two-out, RBI single off the bat of A.J. Pollock put the Red Sox in an early hole.

Following a second inning in which he retired the side in order, Dodgers third baseman widened the gap even further by taking Sale deep to left on a one-out, first-pitch, 91 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate, making it a 2-0 game.

Again, the Florida native recovered nicely, sitting down four of the next hitters he faced before ultimately meeting his doom in the top half of the fifth.

There, a leadoff single from Kike Hernandez and an Austin Barnes HBP put runners at first and second with one out for Turner.

This time, on a 2-2 slider from Sale, Turner ripped a line-drive double to left, plating Hernandez and moving Barnes up to third.

A brief mound visit made no difference in the next at-bat, as David Freese followed suit with another run-scoring two bagger to left, this one scoring both Barnes and Hernandez to put the Dodgers up 5-1.

Sale remained in and got Cody Bellinger to line out to right for the second out of the frame, but his disappointing evening would come to a close right after that.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (57 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 96.7 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Falling to 3-9 on the year with his ERA inflating up to 4.27, the last few weeks have clearly been a difficult time for Sale. It’s not a Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon problem. It’s a Chris Sale problem, and that falls on the Red Sox’ coaching staff, per manager Alex Cora.

Sale’s next start should come against the Toronto Blue Jays next Thursday, a team that has given him plenty of trouble so far this season.

In relief of Sale, Heath Hembree came on with a runner on second and one out to get, and he did just that by punching out Max Muncy on five pitches after plunking Pollock.

From there, Colten Brewer worked his way around a pair of walks in a scoreless sixth, and Steven Wright served up back-to-back one-out solo jacks to Bellinger and Pollock in the seventh before taking a comebacker off his foot on a Muncy comebacker.

Marcus Walden entered in place of Wright, and he officially closed the book on the knuckleballer’s outing by getting Corey Seager to ground out to Christian Vazquez at first, but in his first ever start at first, Vazquez made the mistake of trying to lead Rafael Devers with a throw across the field which got through to shallow left and allowed Muncy to score all the way from first.

Walden also surrendered a run of his own by walking Hernandez with two outs and giving up an RBI triple to Barnes, which should have been caught by Andrew Benintendi in the first place.

It was not, however, and the Dodgers went up 9-2 because of it.

Ryan Brasier allowed a run on a Bellinger sacrifice fly in his lone inning of work in the eighth, and Hector Velazquez got taken deep by Muncy to lead off the ninth in an otherwise scoreless frame. That Muncy homer gave Los Angeles an 11-2 advantage.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against right-hander Ross Stripling, who has worked both out of the rotation and bullpen for the Dodgers this season.

Starting the scoring for Boston Saturday was Xander Bogaerts, picking up right where he left off on Friday by blasting his 19th big fly of the year 386 feet off the left-most light tower in left field to tie this contest back up at one run apiece.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Stripling done and old friend Joe Kelly in for the Dodgers, Bogaerts struck again, driving in Mookie Betts from third on another one-out knock, this one an RBI single to right field to pull his team back to within three runs.

A six-pitch walk drawn by Andrew Benintendi and wild pitch from Kelly put runners in scoring position with two outs for Christian Vazquez, but the former Red Sox flame thrower won the battle, fanning his old battery mate on a 3-2, 98.4 MPH heater to end the threat.

That was all the offense the Sox could muster, as they went 0-for-their-last-9 over the final three innings, and this one concluded with a final score of 11-2.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox are 44-29 in games not started by Chris Sale this season.

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Since June 21st, Sale is 0-2 with an ERA of 7.59 over his last four starts. He has not won a decision at Fenway Park since July 11th, 2018.

The Red Sox’ 4-6 hitters (J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Christian Vazquez) on Saturday: 0-for-11 with one walk and five strikeouts.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the series finale of this World Series rematch on Sunday night.

Left-hander David Price will get the start for Boston, while fellow southpaw and National League All-Star Game starter Hyun-Jin Ryu will do the same for Los Angeles.

Holding opponents to a .233 batting average against over his last four starts going back to that meltdown against the Texas Rangers, Price enters Sunday with a rotation-best 3.24 ERA on the 2019 season.

In two prior career starts against the Dodgers, Price owns a lifetime 2.25 ERA over a small 12 inning sample size.

Ryu, meanwhile, currently owns the lowest ERA in the National League at 1.73 through 17 starts on the year.

The 32-year-old got the start for Los Angeles in Game 2 of the 2018 Fall Classic, where he allowed four runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings and eventually took the loss. That’s the only experience he has at Fenway Park.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on ESPN. Red Sox going for the series win.

 

Christian Vazquez Blasts 14th Homer, David Price Goes Five Strong as Red Sox Finish off Sweep of Tigers and Head into All-Star Break Winners of Four Straight

After another rain-filled 10-6 win over the Tigers on Saturday, the Red Sox completed the three-game sweep and wrapped up the first half of their season with a 6-1 victory in Detroit on Sunday to improve to 49-41 on the year.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston to cap off the weekend was David Price, who entered the day with a 2.65 ERA over his last three outings dating back to June 18th.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the left-hander yielded just one earned run on four hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the afternoon.

That one Detroit run came right away in the bottom half of the first, when after walking the leadoff man in Victor Reyes, the one-time Tiger gave up an RBI double to former teammate Nicholas Castellanos on a 1-0, 83 MPH changeup.

Other than that one blip and despite putting his team in an early hole, Price recovered nicely, retiring 15 of the next 19 hitters he faced leading to the end of the sixth, which is the point where his outing came to a close due to a high pitch count.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (66 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 35% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing a pair of swings and misses and topping out at 93.8 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Able to pick up his seventh winning decision to reach 150 wins for his career while also lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.24, Price’s first half numbers look like this: 7-2, 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 83 1/3 innings pitched, 95 punchouts.

In relief of Price, left-hander Josh Taylor came on with a four-run lead to protect, and he racked up four strikeouts over two perfect frames of work, making way for Ryan Brasier in the eighth.

There, Brasier could not get through the inning, as he served up a two-out, two-run home run to Brandon Dixon, cutting Boston’s advantage down to three before walking his second man and getting the hook in favor of Brandon Workman.

Workman escaped the potential jam, leaving the tying run on deck and retiring the side by getting Niko Goodrum to ground out to Michael Chavis at first.

Finally, in the ninth, Heath Hembree maneuvered his way around a one-out John Hicks single and notched his second save of the season with an eight-pitch strikeout of Reyes.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against left-hander Gregory Soto, who was last used as a reliever for Detroit in the first game of this series on Friday.

Serving as the opener in this one, the Boston bats got to Soto beginning in the top half of the second inning, when after falling behind one early, Christian Vazquez erased that deficit and gave his team a one-run lead by blasting a one-out, two-run homer 376 feet over the right field wall for his 14th of the season.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth, with lefty Nick Ramirez on the mound, and Xander Bogaerts came through with two outs and runners at first and second, as he plated both Marco Hernandez and Mookie Betts on a two-run double to left for his 64th and 65th RBI of the year.

Two batters later, after J.D. Martinez reached on an intentional walk and Bogaerts advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch from Ramirez, Andrew Benintendi picked up where he left off Saturday by sneaking an RBI single through the left side of the infield, driving in Bogaerts and giving his team the 5-1 edge.

And in the eighth, Martinez led things off against new Tigers reliever Eduardo Jiminez with a line-drive double to center, moved up to third on a Benintendi flyout, and came in to score from third thanks to a wild pitch with two outs and Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate.

That put the Red Sox ahead 6-1, and after the Tigers rallied with two runs of their own in their half of the eighth, 6-3 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Rafael Devers’ 10-game hitting streak has come to an end.

J.D. Martinez extended his hitting streak to nine games on Sunday. Over that span, he is hitting .347 to go along with two home runs and six RBI.

Christian Vazquez’s last seven games: .387/.394/.871 with four homers and 10 runs driven in.

The Red Sox are eight games over .500 for the first time this season.

So, that’s it for the first half of the season. The Red Sox head into the All-Star break winners of four straight and five of their last six. They are currently nine games off the pace for first place in the American League East and two games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second wild card spot.

Coming out of the four-day break, the Sox will begin a seven-game homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

For now, it’s on to Cleveland, where we have Jarren Duran and the Futures Game Sunday night, the Home Run Derby on Monday, and the 90th Midsummer Classic on Tuesday.

The Red Sox will be represented by Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez, while Alex Cora will be managing the American League squad.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:30 PM EDT on FOX.

 

Home Runs from Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts Lift Red Sox to Rain-Filled 9-6 Win over Tigers

After a series-clinching 8-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, the Red Sox opened another three-game set, their last before the All-Star break, in Detroit on Friday, where they topped the lowly Tigers by a final score of 9-6.

Making his 18th start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who picked up the win the last time he faced Detroit back in late April at Fenway Park.

This time around, in his first outing at Comerica Park in over two years, the left-hander surrendered just one earned run while scattering four hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over five rain-shortened innings of work.

That one Detroit tally came in the bottom half of the fourth, when with two outs and Brandon Dixon at first, Jeimer Candelario came through with with his team’s first RBI of the night on a line-drive double to left that Xander Bogaerts was nearly able to snuff out on the relay from J.D. Martinez.

A las, Dixon narrowly evaded the tag from Sandy Leon, and the Tigers were on the board.

Other than that one blip though, Rodriguez retired four of the next five hitters he faced leading into the end of the fifth inning, where his outing came to a premature close due to the weather.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (49 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 95.4 MPH with the pitch while Leon was behind the plate.

Improving to 9-4 while also lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.65, Rodriguez will look to kick off the second half of his season in similar fashion to how he capped off his first half in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In relief of Rodriguez, Marcus Walden came on in the sixth more than two hours after the Venezuela native had thrown his last pitch, and he allowed the Tigers to climb their way back into this contest with a one-out walk of Miguel Cabrera, a one-out single from Dixon, and another run-scoring base knock off the bat of Candelario that was not handled cleanly by Mookie Betts in right field.

Seven pitches later, Harold Castro hit what appeared to be a hard line-drive back up the middle at Jackie Bradley Jr. in center, but the ball knuckled a bit, which caused the Sox outfielder to try and make a basket catch, but that did not pan out, as the ball deflected off Bradley Jr. and two more Detroit runs crossed the plate because of it.

So, in came Ryan Brasier with two outs still to get in the inning, and he got those outs, but not before allowing one of his inherited runs to score on a two-out RBI single from John Hicks, cutting Boston’s lead to just one run.

Fortunately though, Brasier ended the sixth by fanning Jordy Mercer on three straight strikes, and the right-hander also worked his way around a two-out Miguel Cabrera single in a scoreless seventh.

From there, Matt Barnes entered with a new four-run lead to protect, and he needed just 13 pitches to hurl a 1-2-3 eighth inning, punching out two along the way.

Finally, in the ninth, Heath Hembree made his first appearance since being activated off the injured list on Thursday, and he served up a solo home run to Hicks to lead things off before settling in and locking down the 9-6 win for his side.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against left-hander Ryan Carpenter for Detroit, not lefty Gregory Soto as originally thought on Thursday.

With virtually no experience against Carpenter entering the weekend, Xander Bogaerts got the scoring started for Boston in the first by driving in Mookie Betts from third on an RBI groundout to short for an early 1-0 lead.

Fast forward to the third, and a red-hot Rafael Devers stayed the course following a one-out single from Betts, extending his hitting streak to nine games by blasting his 16th home run of the season, a 357-foot opposite field shot off a first-pitch, 81 MPH slider from Carpenter. 3-0.

In the sixth, with Tigers reliever Jose Cisnero on the mound after a rain delay that lasted more than two hours, a Christian Vazquez leadoff double and Michael Chavis single in consecutive order put runners at the corners for a slumping Jackie Bradley Jr.

Entering the frame 0-for-his-last 13, Bradley Jr. broke out of said skid by ripping a line-drive, RBI double down the left field line on a 2-2 heater from Cisnero, plating Vazquez and moving Chavis up to third.

Two batters and one out later, Sandy Leon followed suit and drove in Chavis by reaching on a fielding error committed by Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario.

Again with runners at first and third as the lineup turned back over, Betts made it a five-run contest with a sacrifice fly hit deeply enough to center field to score Bradley Jr. 6-1.

And in the eighth, Xander Bogaerts put an exclamation point on this one by launching his 17th big fly of the season, a 441-foot, three-run shot launched over everything in left field off Tigers reliever Austin Adams.

That dinger opened this one up and gave the Red Sox a 9-5 advantage, and after Detroit got one back in their half of the ninth, 9-6 would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 3-1 since returning from London.

Rafael Devers has already hit four home runs this month, matching his total for all of June.

Eduardo Rodriguez against the Detroit Tigers this season: Two starts, 11 innings pitched, six hits, two earned runs, four walks, 11 strikeouts. That’s good for a 1.64 ERA.

Xander Bogaerts’ 441-foot home run was his longest of the Statcast era. (h/t @gfstarr1)

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle of this three-game series on Saturday afternoon.

Right-hander Rick Porcello is set to take the mound for Boston, while fellow righty Jordan Zimmermann will do the same for Detroit.

Porcello struggled mightily in his last start against the New York Yankees in London, where he gave up six runs and only managed to record one out, but he did pick up the win over his former club back on April 25th when he allowed three runs over six quality innings.

In his career at Comerica Park, the one-time Tiger owns a lifetime 4.53 ERA over 91 starts and 542 total innings pitched.

Zimmermann, meanwhile, opposed Porcello in that same game back in April and took the loss, as he yielded five runs, all earned, in just three innings of work.

In his career against the Red Sox, the 33-year-old is 2-2 with a 5.46 ERA over 31 1/3 innings.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight victory.

Marco Hernandez Comes Through with Go-Ahead Home Run in Ninth Inning as Red Sox Complete Comeback with Tight 8-7 Win over Blue Jays

After dropping the middle game of this series in disappointing fashion on Wednesday, the Red Sox bounced back and celebrated their Independence Day with a comeback 8-7 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

Making his 21st appearance and eighth start of the season for Boston in the finale of this three-game set was Hector Velazquez, who hadn’t started a game since May 18th against the Houston Astros.

Working into just the third inning of this one, the right-hander yielded three runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with one lone strikeout on the night.

The first pair of those three runs came right away in the bottom half of the first, when following two two-out walks to load the bases for Toronto, Rowdy Tellez got his team on the board and gave them the lead with a two-run single up the middle off a 1-0, 87 MPH changeup from Velazquez.

An inning later, the Mexico native could sneak a 3-2, 92 MPH sinker past a red-hot Danny Jansen, as he led things off by blasting his seventh home run of the season to put the Blue Jays up 3-1.

Velazquez recovered nicely enough by retiring four of the next six hitters he faced after giving up that bomb, but his outing came to quick close with a one-out double off the bat of Justin Smoak in the third.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 50 (28 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball exactly 34% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.9 MPH while Sandy Leon was at the plate.

Eventually hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season was bumped up to 5.65, Velazquez’s performance shows that the fifth spot in Boston’s rotation continues to be a legitimate issue. If Velazquez is to start again, expect that to come sometime after the All-Star break.

In relief of Velazquez, Colten Brewer came in with a runner on second and two outs to get in the third. He got out of the inning just fine, but the bottom of the fourth was a different story.

There, Jansen struck yet again, leading another frame off with his second big fly of the night to make it a 4-1 game.

Brandon Drury followed with a line-drive double, and two batters and one out later, Freddy Galvis took Brewer deep for his 15th of the year on a first-pitch, 95 MPH cutter down the heart of the plate, giving Toronto a five-run edge.

From the middle of the fifth inning up until the middle of the eighth, the Red Sox bullpen did settle in a bit, with Josh Taylor, Ryan Brasier, and Matt Barnes combining for three scoreless frames, all while the Boston bats rallied to take a 7-6 lead going into Brandon Workman’s 41st appearance of the season.

A one-out double from Jansen in that eighth inning put the tying run in scoring position for the Jays, and after getting Drury to fly out to left, Workman was unable to do the same against Eric Sogard, as the Toronto leadoff man came through with what was at the time a game-tying RBI double to plate Jansen and knot this contest up at seven runs a piece. That marked the 18th blown save of the season for Boston relievers.

Fortunately for Workman, the right-hander was able to keep the stalemate intact by fanning Freddy Galvis on four pitches.

And in the ninth, with his team now in front 8-7, Workman worked his way around two one-out walks and notched his eighth winning decision of the year with the help of a quick Rafael Devers on a soft grounder from the pinch-hitting Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Fielding the ball with his glove, Devers managed to make the transfer over to his right hand hastily enough so that the Blue Jays rookie was out on a bang-bang play over at first. \

That was the third out of the ninth, and that was how Thursday’s contest finished with a final score of 8-7.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Blue Jays right-hander Derek Law, serving as the opener in this one.

Starting the scoring for Boston was Rafael Devers, who extended his hitting streak to eight games with his 15th homer of the season with one out in the first inning, a 360-foot wall scraper that had an Expected Batting Average of .180, per Statcast.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, after Toronto had jumped out to a 6-1 lead and left-hander Thomas Pannone had been dealing, Mookie Betts turned out to be the catalyst for a six-run inning by drawing a leadoff walk, something he has made a habit of so far in 2019.

Two batters later, after Devers advanced Betts to third with a ground ball single, back-to-back RBI base knocks from Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez cut Boston’s deficit down to three and put runners at first and second.

Pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez could not advance Bogaerts nor Martinez against new Blue Jays reliever Tim Mayza, but a wild pitch with Christian Vazquez at the plate moved both runners into scoring position and Vazquez drew a walk anyway to fill the bases for Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley Jr. came away with one RBI to make it a 6-4 contest, but could have had more had it not been for a fine defensive effort from Freddy Galvis at shortstop to snuff out Vazquez at second.

So, with two outs and runners once again at the corners, Michael Chavis had the chance to put his team ahead, and he did just that by punishing a 2-2, 87 MPH slider from Mayza and depositing it 391 feet into the right field seats for his 15th dinger of the season, this one a three-run shot that gave the Red Sox a one-run edge at 7-6. Six-run rally completed.

The Blue Jays did answer back in their half of the eighth to tie things back up at 7-7, but the Sox showed some more resiliency when they were down to what could have been their final three outs in the ninth.

With closer Ken Giles on the mound for Toronto, a strikeout of Michael Chavis would have brought Sandy Leon to the plate with one out in the frame, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora decided to go back to his bench, and in came Marco Hernandez for his first at-bat of the series.

Having never faced off against Giles before Thursday, Hernandez took the first pitch he saw from the right-hander, a 96 MPH fastball that went for a ball.

The very next pitch from Giles was another 96 MPH heater from Giles, the only difference being this one caught the outer edge of the plate, and Hernandez took full advantage of that by ripping it 348 feet down the left field line for his second home run of 2019.

Hernandez’s opposite field blast put the Red Sox ahead 8-7, and that would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Red Sox pinch-hitters this season: 20-for-48 (.417) with four home runs and 14 RBI.

J.D. Martinez during his seven-game hitting streak: .467/.500/.767 with two home runs and six runs driven in.

Rafael Devers during his eight-game hitting streak: .558 batting average with four home runs and 12 RBI.

It certainly was not easy, but the Red Sox came away with a series over the Blue Jays to improve to 46-41 on the season.

Next up, the Sox head to Detroit to take on the 28-54 Tigers in their first stateside action since June 26th.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Gregory Soto will do the same for Detroit.

Back on April 24th, Rodriguez had one of his better starts of the season against the lowly Tigers, allowing just one earned run on two hits, three walks, and seven punchouts over six quality innings in a winning effort at Fenway Park.

In one previous start at Comerica Park, his first of the 2017 campaign, the 26-year-old surrendered four earned runs over five innings of work, eventually taking the loss.

Soto, meanwhile, is a 24-year-old rookie who has yet to pitch against the Red Sox in his young career

Through six starts in 2019, the lefty is 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA and 6.54 FIP over 21 1.3 innings pitched.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to build some momentum going into the All-Star break.