RECAP: Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi play key roles for #RedSox in series clinching 6-5 win.

Looking to wrap up Father’s Day with a series win over the Houston Astros, David Price took the mound for his first Sunday Night Baseball start of the season. The southpaw had an okay night, nothing extraordinary. 5+ innings, eight hits, three earned runs, three walks, and three strikeouts. The accuracy wasn’t quite there, but I’m not about to blame Price for the third run he gave up. After a rough fifth, Price came back out for the sixth and gave up another home run immediately. The fact that John Farrell didn’t make a change in between innings is really baffling. It seems like Farrell is really good at leaving a pitcher out there too long and then taking him out the second he makes another mistake. The bullpen got the job done last night, but the streak of 26 scoreless innings was snapped when Heath Hembree gave up a home run in the sixth. The Astros had the chance to tie the game in the eighth. With two outs and bases loaded, Robby Scott gave up a single to Carlos Beltran, which did score a run, but Andrew Benintendi’s cannon of an arm did not let Jose Altuve score the tying run. Great tag by Christian Vazquez too.

The Red Sox offense broke things open early with Xander Bogaerts blasting his first of two home runs in the top of the first. After going scoreless for the next four innings, Bogaerts went deep again, driving in Dustin Pedroia along with himself. Jackie Bradley Jr. also drove in two runs in the inning, lining a double to right that scored Hanley Ramirez and Benintendi. The last run the Red Sox scored came on Bogaert’s third hit of the game, a RBI single that scored Mookie Betts. X was the only guy in the lineup with more than one hit, while also hitting multiple home runs in the same game for the first time in his career.

Injury updates: Dustin Pedroia had to be removed from the game and spent the night at a Houston hospital because a HBP got his ribs. Also, Mookie Betts got roughed up twice last night. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out of the lineup tonight in Kansas City,

Oh yeah, tied for first place feels pretty good too.

39 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz stinks it up; #RedSox fail to sweep Tigers in 8-3 loss.

Remember when I said that even when Drew Pomeranz doesn’t suck, he still sucks? Well, that’s what it felt like last night. Another game on national television, and this time, the Red Sox could not pick up the win. Daniel Norris vs. Drew Pomeranz is not exactly, a premier pitching match up, but that’s what we got. Both pitchers allowed plenty of hitters to reach base, as the teams combined to leave 47 runners on base. Norris was able to outlast Pomeranz, though, barely, but still. The 28 year-old southpaw only went 4.2 innings, allowing eight hits and loading the bases in consecutive innings. When he was taken out, the Red Sox were only losing 3-2, but Heath Hembree, who came in to relieve Pomeranz, unloaded the bases, serving up a grand slam to Justin Upton. The Tigers would go on to score two more runs in that inning, and that was all the scoring they did. After Hembree, Blaine Boyer and Fernando Abad kept the Red Sox in the game, limiting the Tigers to only three hits in the final four innings. So, after needing 123 pitches to get through five in New York, Pomeranz couldn’t even get through five Sunday. I’d say pit him in the bullpen, but he is better than any starter in Pawtucket, so I think you have to keep him in the rotation for now.

Offensively, the Red Sox scattered three runs, one in the first, one in the third, one in the sixth. I feel like if a team gets 12 hits, they should score more than three runs. Alas, that’s what happened to the Red Sox sunday night. Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, and Christian Vazquez drove in the three runs. Mookie Betts, Pedroia, Hanley, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all had multiple hits. If this team had more power, maybe they could make games more interesting.

34 down, ? to go.

RECAP: Chris Sale and Andrew Benintendi help #RedSox split series with O’s in 7-3 win.

Things didn’t look great for the Red Sox on Friday night. The Sox had just dropped their second consecutive game to the Orioles, who seemed to be hitting their stride after a rough May. Luckily for the Red Sox, David Price and Chris Sale were there to salvage the series. Price pitched eight quality innings Saturday, and Sale pitched six solid innings on Sunday. There probably weren’t many people who thought Sale could go six after the first inning he had, but here we are talking about. The southpaw allowed three runs in the first, although I don’t completely blame him for all those runs. With one out in the inning and runners on first and second, the Orioles decided to try a double-steal, and it looked as if Sandy Leon picked off Joey Rickard at third. However, a challenge from Buck Showalter would show that Rickard’s hand touched the bag before Pablo Sandoval tagged him, resulting in runners on second and third with only one out. This play just says everything you need to know about Pablo Sandoval’s tenure as a member of the Red Sox thus far, just about worthless in every aspect of the game. If Deven Marrero was at third, that’s an out and that’s a fact. Instead Chris Sale gives up a double to Chris Davis, which allowed those runners to score. The Orioles would score their last run of the game in the first, when Jonathan Schoop drove in Davis on an RBI double. Sale really grinded his way to another quality start, only allowing three hits over the next five innings while striking out nine total. The Red Sox bullpen held their own on Sunday, as Blaine Boyer, Robby Scott, and Matt Barnes combined to pitch three innings while giving up three hits, zero runs, and striking out two. I saw a stat saying that Sale has like a 4.30 ERA over his past three starts, but I’m not worried about that, no Red Sox fan should.

The Red Sox offense recorded nine hits for the second day in a row Sunday afternoon. Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to break out of his early struggles, as he drove in two runs on a single in the first. Andrew Benintendi had his best game as a Major Leaguer, reaching base four times, including two home runs and a single, which drove in a total of three runs. With those two bombs from Benintendi, not only was it the first multi-home run game of his career, yesterday’s game could be the first step to getting Benintendi out of this slump. The other two runs the Red Sox scored came on a fielding error in the sixth, when Francisco Pena, the catcher, overthrew Manny Machado, and that allowed Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley to score.

To me, it feels weird to say this, but, if the Red Sox sweep the Yankees this week, they could have sole possession of first place going into next weekend’s series against the Tigers. No game today, FWIW, off-day.

31 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Rick Porcello struggles as #RedSox drop series finale 5-0.

Saturday’s game was described by many as the best Red Sox victory of the season. Brian Johnson threw a complete game shutout and the Red Sox got their sixth straight win. Well, that high didn’t last that long, as Sunday’s loss was filled with plenty of frustrating moments. Rick Porcello was matched up against M’s righty Christian Bergman, and the best pitcher was not who you’d expect. Porcello found himself in jams throughout the game, surrendering 11 hits in only 6.1 IP. The only inning in which Porcello did not allow a hit was the sixth. After allowing two of the first three batters to reach base in the seventh, Porcello was relieved for Robby Scott. Scott got Robinson Cano to fly out to Mookie Betts, and that was the only hitter he faced. Heath Hembree would be used next, and he allowed an inherited runner to score before getting out of the inning. Hembree also pitched the entire eighth inning, and he gave up a solo home run to Guillermo Heredia. Fernando Abad, whose had a quietly good season up to this point, started the eighth, and he only recorded one out while giving up a two-run home run to Robinson Cano. The last pitcher who saw action for the Red Sox was Blaine Boyer, a 35-year-old journeyman reliever who just got called up Sunday morning. Boyer had a fine debut, getting Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager out on a foul out and a line out. Yeah, so, Rick Porcello’s recent performances haven’t been awful, but they haven’t been 2016 Cy Young Award winner performances either. And for as good as the numbers are, this bullpen is far from perfect, I’m just waiting for Carson Smith to come back.

Not much to report on the Red Sox offense. They made Bergman look like an ace Friday afternoon, which is something they have done before this season. Dustin Pedroia was the only batter who reached base more than once. Plenty of opportunities were given to this lineup, but they failed to capitalize on them. Red Sox hitters grounded into four double plays, and Andrew Benintendi grounded into two of them. What I have been paying attention to recently is how Mookie Betts’ average has dipped over the past few weeks. On May 14th, Betts began that day with a BA of .305 and a OBP of .381. After today’s 0-4 performance, Betts’ BA and OPS stand at .269 and .352. You obviously hope this slump is just a blip in Mookie’s season, since for a good part of the season, he has looked like a legit MVP candidate.

David Price pitches in Chicago against the White Sox tomorrow, 2:10 EST is first pitch. Should be interesting to watch, I’m expecting the worst but hoping for the best.

27 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez pitches eight solid innings as #RedSox take final game in Oakland, 12-3.

Looking to avoid the sweep against the lowly Athletics, Eduardo Rodriguez took the mound on Sunday afternoon. With the bullpen needing some rest after going five innings Saturday, the Red Sox needed Rodriguez to go pretty deep into the game, and that’s just what he did. Rodriguez went eight innings strong, only running into trouble in the second and fourth innings, where he gave up all three of his runs. The Venezuelan native also fanned an impressive eight batters. With six straight quality starts, Rodriguez has really solidified himself as a legitimate middle of the rotation starter. What I find interesting is how Rodriguez could have started the season in Pawtucket, if David Price never got hurt. But, since Price did get hurt during spring training, Rodriguez has capitalized on a great opportunity. With Rodriguez going deep into this game, the only other pitcher who saw in-game action was Matt Barnes, who struck out one while getting the Athletics in order, in the ninth, to end the game.

Offensively, the Red Sox did just about everything right. With the lack of power that is present in this lineup, it makes sense that they have become more aggressive on the bases. On Sunday, the Red Sox kicked things off early, scoring twice in the first, highlighted by Mookie Betts going from first to home on a Dustin Pedroia single. The scoring would halt until the fifth, when Christian Vazquez and Mookie Betts would both score in the inning. Two more runs would be tacked on in the sixth, with Mitch Moreland hitting his third home run in as many days, also driving in Hanley Ramirez. The eighth was highlighted by Jackie Bradley Jr.’s hustle double, reaching second on what looked like a routine single, and also scoring later in the inning. To wrap things up, the Red Sox bats poured it on in the ninth. Five runners crossed the plate, highlighted by Hanley Ramirez’s line drive, 2 RBI double, which scored Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi. Every batter in the lineup, including Deven Marrero surprisingly, recorded at least one hit. It would be nice to see the Red Sox carry any momentum from this win, but with their inconsistency throughout the season, it’s tough to say if that could happen.

22 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz exits early as #RedSox lose ugly one 11-2.

After picking up a win for Chris Sale on Saturday, the Red Sox looked to take the series from the Rays on Mother’s Day Sunday. Drew Pomeranz made his seventh start of the season, and it was his shortest. After allowing two runs through the first three innings, Pomeranz would have to leave the game with tightness in his left triceps. According to Pomeranz, he thinks he will be able to make his next start, which would be in Oakland I believe. This trade really has not looked good for the Red Sox since it happened last July. Pomeranz has been at his most valuable when he came out of the bullpen towards the end of last season and the postseason. What makes it worse is Dace Dombrowski had the opportunity to rescind the trade last year since the Padres disclosed injury information.

With Pomeranz only lasting three innings, John Farrell had to rely on his bullpen for two-thirds of this game. To make it short, the bullpen was pretty awful on Sunday. Ben Taylor, Fernando Abad, Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross, and Heath Hembree combined to pitch six innings, give up 13 hits, 9 runs, and one home run. The performance of the bullpen recently adds to the issues that this team has. The bridge from the starter to Kimbrel is a shaky and unreliable one right now.

The Red Sox offense has been picking things up over the past few days. Hopefully, Sunday’s performance was just an outlier. After Mookie Betts scored on an RBI double from Xander Bogaerts, the Red Sox only scored one run over the next eight innings. That run would come in the fifth when Dustin Pedroia drove in Deven Marrero on a RBI single to center. The scoring opportunities were there on several occasions, but the Red Sox failed to capitalize. Andrew Benintendi continues to go through a slump, arguably the first of his young career. Overall, I really never expected this team to be this mediocre. Without Chris Sale, this is a sub .500 team right now. The level at which this team is underperforming is almost unacceptable. With an important road trip coming up this week, including stops in St. Louis, home of the first place Cardinals, and Oakland, which is always an interesting series. Finishing the trip with 3 or more wins will be pretty important for this team.

19 down, 75 to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox use eighth inning to take series from Cubs; win 6-2.

On Sunday night, in primetime, Eduardo Rodriguez and the Red Sox were looking to take two out of three from the reigning World Series champions Chicago Cubs. They did just that.

ERod had himself a solid performance on Sunday, pitching six innings, allowing five hits, striking out nine (every batter), all while only surrendering two walks and one earned run. The one mistake Rodriguez made that cost him was a home run in the fifth inning that came off the bat of Kris Bryant. It’s clear that if the Red Sox want to seriously contend this season, they need Rodriguez to perform the way he did on Sunday night. The Cubs are a team that likes to work the count, and unfortunately for Rodriguez, that shortened his start. With around 100 pitches after pitching six innings, Rodriguez’s day was over. The Red Sox bullpen got off to a rocky start on Sunday, with Joe Kelly walking two out of the first three pitchers he faced. A wild pitch would allow Jon Jay to score from third, and Robby Scott would come in with two outs in the seventh and was able to get out of it. Matt Barnes returned from his suspension, assuming set-up responsibilities and pitching a scoreless eighth. Craig Kimbrel would come in to close things out, even after the Red Sox scored four times in the eighth, but that did not affect him. Nine pitch saves are always good to see, it looks like Kimbrel is really pitching his best right now.

The Red Sox offense got things started right away in the bottom of the first, with Hanley Ramirez mashing another home run over the Monster, his third of the season, which also scored Andrew Benintendi. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks would settle down after the first, pitching five shutout innings. Like I said, the Red Sox scored four runs in the eighth, and I don’t think the ball left the infield once. Old friend Koji Uehara took the mound to start the inning, and he loaded the bases while failing to record an out. After Mookie Betts struck out, Marco Hernandez managed to score on a wild pitch. Xander Bogaerts would then score on a Mitch Moreland groundout, which led to Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez scoring on a Dustin Pedroia groundout that resulted in a fielding error from Addison Russell.

Based on the way the Red Sox scored those runs to take the lead, you can’t say it was pretty but I’d take it any day against the defending Champs. Cubs skipper Joe Maddon said he’d like to see the season end with seven games at Fenway and Wrigley, we’ll see.

13 down, 81 to go. 

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