Jhoulys Chacin Makes First Start for Red Sox in Series Opener Against Yankees

Newly acquired right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will make his first start for the Red Sox on Friday night, one day after left-hander David Price was scratched due to tightness in his left wrist.

Chacin, 31, inked a minor-league pact with Boston this past Saturday after a successful workout in Anaheim and was selected to the club’s major league roster the day after as part of the first round of September call-ups.

Released by the Milwaukee Brewers on August 26th, the Venezuela native posted a 5.79 ERA and .282 batting average against over 19 starts and 88 2/3 innings of work before that.

In two career starts at Fenway Park, Chacin is 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA and .409 batting average against over just 9 2/3 innings pitched. He has also made two career starts against the Yankees, and has posted a 4.09 ERA, as well as a .302 BAA over 11 total frames.

Friday will be the first in-game action since July 24th, when he surrendered four runs (three earned) on six hits and one walk over three innings pitched against the Cincinnati Reds in his final start for Milwaukee.

There was a point this past Tuesday in the opening game against the Minnesota Twins where Chacin was warming in the Sox’ bullpen, but he was not deployed from there.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind Chacin.

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Josh Taylor to Make First Career Start for Red Sox in Second Game Against Angels

Red Sox left-hander Josh Taylor will be making the first start of his major league career on Saturday night, as he gets the ball for Boston in the second of three against the Los Angeles Angels.

Named the starter earlier Saturday, Taylor will serve as the “opener” in what will be a bullpen day for the Sox as they go for the series win over the Halos.

Through 40 relief appearances this season, the 26-year-old rookie has posted a 3.15 ERA and .235 batting average against over exactly 40 innings pitched since making his big league debut against the Cleveland Indians on May 29th.

Taylor did allow two runs in the fifth inning of Friday’s 7-6 15-inning win over Los Angeles to snap a stretch of 12 straight scoreless outings.

Over the course of that impressive run, Taylor did do something somewhat similar to starting a game, when in the continuation of that August 7th contest against the Kansas City Royals on the 22nd, the Arizona native picked up where he left off and tossed a 1-2-3 top half of the 10th to earn the first winning decision of his young career.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will lineup behind Taylor on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 9:07 PM EDT on NESN.

Red Sox Sign Right-Hander Jhoulys Chacin to Minor-League Deal

UPDATE: The deal is now official, per the Red Sox’ official Twitter account.

The Red Sox have reportedly signed veteran right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to a minor-league contract, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Chacin, 31, was released by the Milwaukee Brewers on August 26th, two days after he was designated for assignment.

In 19 starts this season, Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter posted a 5.79 ERA and .282 batting average against over 88 2/3 innings pitched. The Brewers went 6-13 in those games.

On Friday, the Red Sox reportedly held a workout for Chacin at Angel Stadium before opening up a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. A workout in which the Venezuela native threw a bullpen under the watch of manager Alex Cora and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, according to The Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman.

With Chris Sale presumably out the remainder of the season and David Price set to make his first start since August 4th on Sunday, the Sox are in need of rotation depth. That much is evident by how left-hander Josh Taylor will serve as the opener in what will be a “bullpen day” for Boston on Saturday.

Red Sox Place Chris Sale on Injured List Due to Left Elbow Inflammation

In case you missed it, the Red Sox announced that left-hander Chris Sale had been placed on the 10-day injured list due to left elbow inflammation prior to Saturday’s win over the Baltimore Orioles.

In a corresponding move, right-hander Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. The club made the transaction official earlier on Saturday.

Sale allowed five runs, three of which were earned, on five hits, two walks, and 12 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in his last time out against the Cleveland Indians this past Tuesday.

According to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, the 30-year-old felt stiffness in his left elbow in the two days following his last start and informed the team’s training staff of it on Friday, which ultimately led to an MRI on Saturday.

“We’re not taking any chances and putting him on the injured list,” Dombrowski said when speaking with reporters Saturday. “There’s going to be further evaluation. Our doctors looked at the MRI. We’ll have other doctors look at the MRI. We’re in a situation where I don’t really know where it’s going to take us at this point. People will further read the MRIs, and then they’ll make their diagnosis.”

One of those other opinions will come from Dr. James Andrews, who will more than likely meet with Sale as well.

Sale himself was not made available to the media on Saturday. As Dombrowski put it, “Chris, I think, needs a couple of days to himself at this point.”

Obviously, there’s no timetable for when Sale could possibly make any kind of return. In fact, when asked about whether or not the Florida native will pitch again in 2019, all Dombrowski could say was, “I don’t know one way or another at this point.”

Sale was scheduled to start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. A replacement has yet to be named by Sox manager Alex Cora, who said that, “Somebody has to step up. That’s how it works in this business,” following Saturday’s win over the Orioles.

On the other side of this move, Ryan Brasier was recalled from Pawtucket one month after a somewhat-surprising demotion.

In that time with the PawSox, the 31-year-old posted a 0.96 ERA and .182 batting average against over 10 relief appearances and 9 1/3 innings pitched.

On the 2019 campaign as a whole, Brasier owns an ERA of 4.46 and batting average against of .242 in 44 appearances and 40 1/3 innings of work with Boston. He did not pitch Saturday.

Stay tuned for something on here if Sale speaks with the media in the next few days.

Red Sox Starting Pitching Has Been Abysmal Since the All-Star Break

The Red Sox entered the 2019 All-Star break winners of five of their last six after returning from London. At 49-41 headed into the four-day hiatus last month, they stood just two games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Since that time, the 2019 campaign has begun to unravel for the defending World Series champions. That much is evident by how this current eight-game tail spin now has them at 10-14 since the break, which is the fourth-worst record in the American League over that span behind only the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Seattle Mariners, three teams not trying to compete for anything this year.

Despite those poor results, the Red Sox lead all of baseball over that time in runs scored, as they have plated 143 runs over their last 24 games. or in other words, are averaging 5.94 runs per game since the All-Star break.

Sure, there have been some blowouts mixed in there that may skew the numbers, but it goes without saying that the Sox have one of the better offenses in baseball that can compete with anyone at any given time.

That said, it becomes difficult to continuosly produce at a rampant rate when you’re falling behind early in games, which leads me to my next point.

To put it simply, Red Sox starting pitchers have not carried their weight this season.

David Price, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi, and Chris Sale are four of the highest paid non-position players on this staff, earning $31 million, $20.6 million, $16.9 million, and $15 million in 2019 respectively.

Per FanGraphs, Boston starters rank 20th out of the 30 big league clubs in ERA (5.07) and 14th in fWAR (8.3) since the start of the season. Going back to the start of the second half, they rank 27th in ERA (6.40) and 27th in fWAR (0.3) over these last 24 games.

The rotation was supposed to be the strength of this Red Sox team and instead has turned into one of their bigger weaknesses. The fact that the Sox are 17-27 in games started by Price or Sale this year is crazy enough.

Among qualified American League starters, Porcello ranks second-to-last in ERA (5.74) and third-to-last in xFIP (5.27) through 22 starts and 122 1/3 innings pitches so far this season.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, has been moved to the bullpen after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow back in April.

Andrew Cashner was brought over from the Baltimore Orioles in a three-player trade last month in hopes of stabilizing the back-end of Boston’s rotation.

The 32-yar-old has averaged close to six innings per start since making his Red Sox debut on July 16th, but he has also surrendered 18 earned runs over 23 1/3 innings pitched in that four start span, which is good for an ERA of 6.94.

Eduardo Rodriguez has been one of the few bright spots pitching-wise for Boston overall, as he leads the team in starts (23), wins (13), innings pitched (135 1/3), and ERA (4.19).

All in all, if the Red Sox have any shot of digging themselves out this hole they have dug for themselves in the Wild Card race, starting pitching needs to improve immensely. If it doesn’t, the 2019 season will more than likely go for naught.

Red Sox’ Nathan Eovaldi Strikes out Side in Scoreless Second Inning in Rehab Outing with Triple-A Pawtucket

After being sent out on a rehab assignment earlier in the day, Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi twirled a scoreless second inning for Triple-A Pawtucket in their game against the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, on Tuesday morning.

Seeing his first real in-game action since April 17th, the 29-year-old needed 19 pitches, 11 of which were strikes, to punch out the side on Tuesday. He also yielded a one-out walk and allowed that runner to advance to third on a passed ball and balk in consecutive order, but was able to strand said runner.

According to the PawSox’ Mike Monaco, Eovaldi topped out at 98 MPH with his four-seam fastball and 94 MPH with his cutter. Monaco also notes that Eovaldi got a pair of strikeouts looking on his curveball, a pitch he threw two times.

Placed on the 10-day injured list on April 20th and transferred to the 60-day IL on June 25th, Eovaldi underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies in his right elbow back in April.

The initial plan was for Eovaldi to rejoin the Red Sox rotation once healthy, but that changed earlier this month when manager Alex Cora announced that the righty would move to the bullpen.

Since Thursday appeared to go well for Eovaldi, the likeliest outcome is that he will be activated off the injured list sometime this weekend while the Sox are in Baltimore.

In eight career regular season appearances as a reliever, the Texas native is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA and .188 batting average against over 14 total innings pitched.

This past Saturday, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski likened Eovaldi’s return to a trade deadline acquisition, saying that, “We are going to add Nathan Eovaldi. For some reason, people seem to, not, like, grasp on to that. He’s a big addition for us coming and we feel he’ll be ready to go within about a week to join us on a full-time basis out there.” 

Given where he is at, it will be interesting to see whether or not Cora uses Eovaldi in high-leverage situations out of the ‘pen immediately, or instead opts to ease his pitcher back into things.

Red Sox Acquire Right-Hander Andrew Cashner in Trade with Orioles

Before taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second of a three-game weekend series on Saturday night, the Red Sox acquired right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner in a three-player trade with the Baltimore Orioles. The club made the transaction official earlier Saturday.

Cashner, 32, had started 17 games for Baltimore this season, where he posted a 3.83 ERA and .234 batting average against over 96 1/3 total innings pitched.

With a contract that runs through 2019 and has a team option attached for 2020, Cashner appears to be the man to take over the fifth spot in the Red Sox’ starting rotation.

Originally signing a two-year, $16 million deal with the Orioles in February of 2018, the Texas native had a rough first go around in his first full season with Baltimore, posting an ERA of exactly 5.00 in 28 outings, but has rebounded nicely so far this year. That much is evident by his 1.41 ERA and .168 batting average against in five starts since the beginning of June.

When all the dust is settled, expect Sox manager Alex Cora’s rotation to look something like this:

Chris Sale
David Price
Rick Porcello
Andrew Cashner
Eduardo Rodriguez

In his career at Fenway Park, Cashner is 1-1 with an ERA of 7.20 over a small sample size of two starts and just 10 innings pitched.

On the other side of this trade, Boston sent two minor leaguers in the form of 17-year-old infielder Noelberth Romero and 17-year-old outfielder Elio Prado. Both signed as international free agents out Venezuela during last year’s signing period and both were assigned to the Red Sox’ Dominican Summer League team.

Per president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Cashner’s first start in a Red Sox uniform will come on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.