American League Tops National League 4-3 in 90th Midsummer Classic as Red Sox’ Alex Cora Picks up Win in All-Star Managerial Debut

The American League All-Stars defeated the National League All-Stars by a final score of 4-3 on Tuesday night, taking home their seventh consecutive All-Star Game victory in the 90th installment of the Midsummer Classic in Cleveland.

The defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox were represented by three All-Stars in reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez, as well as manager Alex Cora and the rest of Boston’s coaching staff.

Starting at designated hitter and batting out of the five-hole in place of the Texas Rangers’ Hunter Pence, Martinez, now a three-time All-Star, went 0-for-2 with a strikeout before being pinch-hit for by Seattle’s Daniel Vogelbach in the sixth inning.

Bogaerts, meanwhile, came on as a pinch-hitter himself, replacing Tampa Bay’s Austin Meadows in the bottom of the seventh.

There, with no outs and runners on the corners, the now-two-time All-Star failed to pick up an RBI, but did push across an important insurance run at the time, scoring Oakland’s Matt Chapman from third while grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. That put the AL up 3-1 moments before Texas’ Joey Gallo added on to that lead with a solo homer off San Francisco Giants left-hander Will Smith.

Finally, Betts, now a four-time All-Star, did not record an at-bar in this one, but he did come on as a defensive replacement for Bogaerts in the top of the eighth, moved over to play right field in place of Meadows, and was on the field for the final out of the night when New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman secured the 4-3 victory for the American League with a five-pitch punchout of Milwaukee’s Yasmani Grandal.

Cleveland Indians right-hander Shane Bieber was named the game’s Most Valuable Player thanks to a 1-2-3 fifth inning in which he struck out the side on 19 pitches, marking the first time since 1999 a player from the host city’s team received the honors (Pedro Martinez, Red Sox).

All in all, it was a solid All-Star Week, the first for Red Sox manager Alex Cora, as a player or coach.

It’s not the first time Cora has come out on top against Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, either.

The Red Sox have two days off on Wednesday and Thursday before opening up a three-game weekend series against those aforementioned Dodgers on Friday night at Fenway Park. It will be their first game in Boston since June 26th.

As Betts put it when speaking with reporters postgame Tuesday night, “Can’t wait to get home.”

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Ryan Weber Gets Roughed up for Seven Runs, Bullpen Doesn’t Fare Any Better as Frustration Builds for #RedSox in 14-9 Loss to Indians

The Red Sox were three outs away from winning their series against the Indians late Tuesday night. Now, less than 24 hours later, they head to the Bronx for a pivotal four-game set against the division-leading New York Yankees losers of their last two following a 14-9 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.

Making his second start and fifth overall appearance for Boston in this one was Ryan Weber, who dazzled in rotation debut with six one-run innings against the Toronto Blue Jays last Thursday.

This time around though, the right-hander did not run into the same good fortunes, as he yielded a season-worst seven earned runs on eight hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with just two strikeouts over four innings of work.

The Indians entered the week with one of the worst run-producing offenses in the American League, but you wouldn’t know that based on how aggressive they were to start this one off.

Beginning right away in the first, the Cleveland lineup jumped on Weber, with Oscar Mercado ripping a one-out single for his team’s first and hit and Carlos Santana tripling on a liner to right center to drive in his team’s first run.

A wild pitch that got past Christian Vazquez with Jason Kipnis at the plate allowed Santana to come in and score from third, and the Indians had themselves a two-run lead before even taking the field.

Things would not get any easier for Weber after escaping the first, not with Kevin Plawecki lining an RBI single to plate Jake Bauers in the second and Bauers and Greg Allen driving in a total of three runs on an RBI single and RBI triple in consecutive order in the third to put the Indians ahead 6-3.

In what would turn out to be his final frame of work in the fourth, Weber nearly retired the side in order, but not before serving up a two-out, solo shot to Santana, which gave Cleveland a four-run edge.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 82 (50 strikes), the 28-year-old turned to his curveball more than 52% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing the only four swings and misses he got all night with the pitch. He also topped out 89.9 MPH with his changeup, a pitch he threw 10 times.

Falling to 1-1 while seeing his ERA on the season inflate to 4.50, it’s unclear whether or not Weber will remain in Boston’s rotation, but assuming he does, his next start would come sometime next week against the Kansas City Royals in Kansas City.

In relief of Weber, as the title mentions, the Red Sox bullpen did not fare much better than Wednesday’s starter did.

Josh Taylor, a 26-year-old left hander who was promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier Wednesday, allowed one run on two hits and one punchout in the fifth in what was his major league debut.

Colten Brewer, also recalled from Pawtucker on Wednesday, surrendered a pair of Cleveland runs on a two-RBI double off the bat of Jose Ramirez in the sixth.

Hector Velazquez came on in the seventh with his team trailing by an in-range four runs, and by the time he retired the side in the eighth, that deficit had doubled thanks to an RBI single from Lindor and three-RBI double from Santana, both of which were hit in the seventh.

So, actually, Velazquez  was one of the only two Red Sox pitchers all night to hold the Indians scoreless over an inning, with that inning being the eighth.

That other pitcher? Heath Hembree. Arguably the best reliever used by Sox manager Alex Cora, or at least the one with the most big league experience, maneuvered his way around two singles in an otherwise clean ninth inning to close out what was a miserable night for Boston on the mound.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against right-hander Shane Bieber for Cleveland, who entered Wednesday with just one career start at Fenway Park under his belt.

Falling behind by two runs before even reaching the midway point of the first inning, Mookie Betts got the scoring started for Boston right away in their half of the first, tattooing a one-out, 407 foot solo home run off of Bieber over the Monster to cut his team’s early deficit in half. Betts’ ninth of the season.

In the second, after falling behind by two runs once again, a pair of RBI doubles from Brock Holt and Andrew Benintendi, with Holt’s coming with no outs and Benintendi’s coming with two, pulled the Red Sox back even with the Tribe at three runs a piece.

That tie would not last long though, as Cleveland pushed across three additional runs in their half of the third as well as one more in the fourth to make it a 7-3 game.

Staying in that fourth inning, the Sox bats answered back with three runs of their own, all coming with two outs on a solo jack off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr., his fourth, and a two-run johnson off the bat of Benintendi, his sixth that also scored Christian Vazquez and trimmed Cleveland’s lead down to one run.

A 7-6 contest heading into the middle innings, the Indians eventually pulled away from the Red Sox by plating a total of seven runs through the middle of the seventh, and they would not have to look back.

In the eighth, facing off against Indians reliever AJ Cole, Xander Bogaerts attempted to breathe some life into a potential comeback attempt by blasting his 10th big fly of the year, a two-run shot to score himself as well as JD Martinez.

Two batters and one Jackie Bradley Jr. double later, Vazquez continued to make things somewhat interesting by driving in the man from second on his 20th run driven in of the season to cut Cleveland’s advantage to five runs.

And finally in the ninth, after Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, and Bogaerts loaded the bases with one out in the inning, the Red Sox bats could muster no more against Indians closer Brad Hand, with Eduardo Nunez pinch-hitting for Holt and popping out to third, and Michael Chavis grounding into a game-inning forceout at third base to wrap this one up at 14-9.

Some notes from this loss:

From Red Sox Stats:

Rafael Devers extended his hitting streak to nine games with a ninth inning single Wednesday.

Since the start of their last road trip, Jackie Bradley Jr. has raised his batting average from .144 to .185 in his last 10 games played. Wednesday marked his first three-hit game of the season, too.

Xander Bogaerts in May: .317/.405/.564. six home runs, 21 RBI in 24 games played.

The Red Sox are 2-4 in their last six games and currently sit 7.5 games back of first place in the American League East behind the New York Yankees, the team they will be playing next.

Last time the two rivals met up, the Yankees took both games at Yankee Stadium in their only matchup of 2019 thus far.

It’s only May 30th as this is being typed, but these next four-games could tip the scales in the race for the division crown. To say this weekend is important would be an understatement. Hostile territory. A whole lot on the line. This is when Red Sox-Yankees baseball thrives.

Left-hander Chris Sale will get the ball for Boston in the opener, while fellow southpaw JA Happ will do the same for New York.

Sale (1-6, 4.19 ERA), also pitched in that first series in New York, where he surrendered four runs over five innings in a losing effort back on April 16th.

Since then, the Florida native has posted a 2.44 ERA and .158 batting average against over his last seven starts, although the Red Sox are only 3-4 in those games.

Happ, meanwhile is currently in the middle of his first full season with the Yankees, where he is 4-3 with a 5.09 ERA through 11 starts thus far.

Like Sale, Happ also worked in that two-game series back in April, an outing in which he allowed three runs over 6.1 innings in a contest New York eventually came away with.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to make up some ground in the division.

 

 

 

RECAP: Nathan Eovaldi Gets Hit Hard as #RedSox Drop Third Straight for First Time since April.

For the first time since April, the Red Sox have lost three consecutive games. Everybody panic!

Yes, the team with the best record in all of baseball has hit a bit of a skid recently, so let’s get right into where things went wrong on Tuesday night.

Making his fifth start with the Red Sox, Nathan Eovaldi entered the night with a 0.00 ERA in 15 innings pitched at Fenway Park this season.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the right-hander seemingly breezed through the first three frames of this one, but the fourth was where things turned out for the worst.

All coming with two outs, the Indians reached base four straight times off of Eovaldi on three singles and a double, which plated their first two runs of the evening.

After working his way around a leadoff double in a scoreless fifth, Cleveland struck again right away in the sixth on a solo home run off the bat of Melky Cabrera, his second in as many nights.

One out and two straight singles from Yan Gomes and Greg Allen singles later, Eovaldi’s night would come to a disappointing end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (63 strikes), the Texas native surrendered ten hits for the second time in his last three outings to tie a season-high. He also walked one and only recorded two strikeouts.

Out of those 87 pitches, Eovaldi relied on his fastball, both cut and four-seam, a combined 69% of the time on Tuesday while topping out at 100.1 MPH with that four-seamer in the first inning.

Since he got his Red Sox career off to a blazing start with those two stellar outings against the Twins and Yankees in late July and early August, Eovaldi has certainly come back to earth over the past two weeks. It will be interesting to see how he responds in his next time out against his old team this weekend in St. Petersburg.

In relief of Eovaldi, Joe Kelly entered the sixth with runners on first and second and closed the book on the 28-year-old’s night by giving up an RBI single to Michael Brantley that could have been a double had Sandy Leon not thrown him out at second to end the inning.

From that point on, Brandon Workman gave up a run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth and Tyler Thornburg, albeit it came on a quality pitch, served up a solo home run to Indians catcher Yan Gomes, minutes after the Red Sox had scored three runs of their own, to make it a 6-3 game heading into the bottom of the eighth.

Finally, despite walking one and giving up one base hit, Drew Pomeranz had himslef a scoreless ninth inning to give his team one last chance to rally in the bottom half of the frame, although it did not amount to much.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a starter they had never seen before in Cleveland’s Shane Bieber.

Bieber, 23 and a right-hander, is in his first season with the Indians and as you may have already guessed, had never pitched at Fenway Park before last night.

Despite that fact though, the former fourth round pick out of UC Santa Barbara had his way with Boston through the first six innings of this one.

In fact, it wasn’t until the fourth inning when Andrew Benintendi ripped a one out single to break up the no-hitter Bieber had going.

Fast forward to the seventh, with no outs and runners at first and third, Xander Bogaerts came through with an RBI double down the line in left to cut into the Indians lead and put his team’s first run of the night on the board.

One batter later, a Mitch Moreland sacrifice fly that could have been so much more had it not been for this great catch by Greg Allen drove in JD Martinez from third to cut Boston’s deficit to three.

That would be how Bieber’s night would come to a conclusion, but the Red Sox were not done scoring. Not until Xander Bogaerts came into score on a Ian Kinsler RBI groundout, anyway.

With the score of this one at 5-3 going into the eighth, it’s probably worth mentioning that the aforementioned home run from Yan Gomes off of Tyler Thornburg may have been the final nail in the coffin, as it upped the Indians lead back to three.

Anyway, old friend Andrew Miller sat down all three batters he faced in order in the eighth, and ex-Padres closer Brad Hand maneuvered his way around an E4 to notch his 29th save of the season in the ninth and final frame.

Some notes from this 6-3 loss:

Over the span of this three-game losing streak, the Red Sox have scored seven total runs. That is not ideal. All while the Yankees have won their last four games, also not ideal.

That Mitch Moreland sacrifice fly had a hit probability of 91%. According to Statcast, it was the only batted ball that had a hit probability north of 90%, yet it was caught.

I must admit, losing two straight games to one of the better teams in the American League is far from encouraging, but the Red Sox have been here before. Go back to that four-game series against the Astros in Houston back in June.

They dropped the first two games while not looking all that great, yet they bounced back and left with a series split that Sunday night. That’s what needs to happen now over these next two days.

Brian Johnson gets the nod in the third game of the series with Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco toeing the rubber opposite him.

While Johnson has never faced off against Cleveland in his young career, Carrasco has had his fair share of difficulties in his matchups against the Red Sox.

Over a span of seven career appearances (five starts) against Boston, the Venezuela native owns a 6.83 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in 27.2 innings pitched, 14 of which of come at Fenway Park.

First pitch of the third game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Wednesday. Time to put this losing streak to a halt.