RECAP: #RedSox Stage Epic Eighth Inning Comeback to Sweep the Rays.

Not too long ago, I thought this recap was going to go in a complete;y different direction. The Red Sox were trailing the Rays by five runs heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. Throughout the game, they really never put anything together against Rays pitching. Lo and behold, they erupted for six runs to take the lead and ultimately win the game. What an inning it was.

Eduardo Rodriguez got the start in this one, and the lefty did not look all that sharp in his 2018 debut. In 3.2 innings pitched, the Rays got to Rodriguez for three runs on five hits and two walks. After the first inning he had where he struck out the side, I did not expect to see Rodriguez struggle the way he did. I’d say things got shaky when the first batter Rodriguez faced in the top of the second, CJ Cron, launched a solo home run to center field, tying the game at one. Once that happened, the native of Venezuela needed a lot of pitches to get through the next two-plus innings, although he did strike out seven. When he departed with two outs in the fourth, his pitch count was at 92, which was right around his limit for today.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not able to keep the Rays in check. They obviously did enough to keep the team in the game, but it wasn’t great. Hector Velazquez tossed two innings, he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. Bobby Poyner came in with two outs in the sixth, he walked one and struck out another to end the inning. Brian Johnson made his first relief appearance of the season in the seventh, he gave up two runs to score while only recording one out. There was also a really scary moment for the Red Sox in the seventh. A triple off the bat of Joey Wendle to left field led to Xander Bogaerts recieving a relay throw from JD Martinez. While trying to get the ball to Rafael Devers, Bogaerts lost the ball and it rolled towards the Rays dugout. Trying to save the ball from rolling out of the field of play, the short stop slid down the dugout steps in order to push the ball back towards the field. Unfortunately, Bogaerts roughed up his left ankle on the slide and would have to leave the game. Brock Holt came in to take over at short.

Heath Hembree came in to finish the inning, he got the only two batters he faced to fly out and ground out. Carson Smith got the call for the eighth inning. He looked shaky yet again as he loaded the bases after recording the first two outs. However, he got out of the inning with a clutch strikeout and is credited with the win. After that epic eighth inning, Craig Kimbrel came on for the start of the ninth and he retired all three batters he faced for his third save of the season.

Offensively, the Rays pitching staff did just about everything right against the Red Sox up until the eighth inning. Hanley Ramirez was responsible for the first two runs scored by the Red Sox in the first and fifth innings, but that and just four hits is all the Red Sox lineup could muster over the first seven. Fast forward to the bottom of the eighth, and things got really exciting, all with two outs in the inning.

Hanley Ramirez led things off with a single. Two batters later and two outs later, Mitch Moreland got his first hit of the season with a vintage RBI double off the monster, scoring Ramirez from second and cutting the deficit to four.

An Eduardo Nunez single put runners on first and third for Rafael Devers, who drove in both Moreland and Nunez by lining a double into the left field corner. Deficit is now at two.

A pitching change by the Rays saw Alex Colome take things over for Matt Andriese. That did not make a difference. The first batter Colome faced, Christian Vazquez, ripped an RBI single to left center that scored Devers from second. All the sudden, we had a one run game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Back to the top of the order, Mookie Betts collected his second hit of hit the day with a game-tying RBI single to left, barely scoring Vazquez from second.

Next up, Andrew Benintendi had arguably the most important at bat of the game. On a 1-1 count, Benintendi took a cutter from Colome and just got enough of the monster to drive in Betts with a double. The score now was 8-7, and that’s how it would end.

A six run comeback to win your eighth straight game is a great way to end the weekend and go into an off day. The Red Sox are 8-1, at no point in their history have they ever been better through nine games.

The New York Yankees are next up on the schedule, as they come into Fenway for a three game set that starts Tuesday night. The pitching matchup will be Chris Sale versus Luis Severino, power arm versus power arm. Should be a good one. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

 

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Drives in Career Best Six Runs as #RedSox Win Seventh Straight Game.

After an off day on Friday, the Red Sox picked up where they left off against the Tampa Rays Today.

Making his second start of the season, Rick Porcello impressed in his 2018 Fenway Park debut. The righty got off to a rough start, as he allowed the Rays to score twice in the top of the first, but he really settled down after that. At one point, Porcello had retired 17 batters in a row from the second to the seventh inning. He finished with a line of 7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, O BB, and 7 K’s. With those two runs the Rays scored in the first, the Red Sox streak of seven straight games where starters allowed less than one earned run ended, but it was a solid outing from Porcello nonetheless. The New Jersey native exited in the eighth after throwing 94 pitches, 66 of which went for strikes.

When Porcello departed with one out in the top of the eighth, it was righty reliever Marcus Walden who took over for him. Walden got the only batter he faced in the inning, Mallex Smith, to ground out into a 1-6-3 double play, thus ending things in the inning. Fast forward to the ninth, and Walden retired the side in order, striking out two and getting some help from Andrew Benintendi with the second out.

This performance was good to see out of Walden compared to how he looked last week against the Rays and Marlins. He’ll be optioned to Triple A Pawtucket to make room for Eduardo Rodriguez, who will be activated from the 10-Day Disabled List and will start in the series finale tomorrow.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup had their way with Rays pitching in this one. After going down by two runs very quickly, the Red Sox headed to the second inning up by two. Mookie Betts got things started right away with a leadoff double, and that was followed by a Andrew Benintendi walk and a Hanley Ramirez bloop single. With the bases loaded and no outs, JD Martinez came extremely close to launching  a grand slam to right field, but Rays center fielder Carlos Gomez came up with it. That did allow Betts to score from third and the Red Sox were on the board. The very next batter, Xander Bogaerts, got his great day at the plate started by lacing a double off the left field wall, clearing the bases and putting his team up by one. Rafael Devers was up next, and he drove Bogaerts home with an RBI single to right, and the Red Sox were up 4-2 in a very exciting first inning.

In the very next inning, the Red Sox lineup matched the total of runs they scored in the first by putting up another four runs, all on one swing of the bat from Xander Bogaerts. After Rays starter Jake Faria had walked three of the first five batters he faced in the second inning, Bogaerts took things into his own hands yet again and delivered big. Again.

That slam was the first from the Red Sox since September 24, 2016, which Dustin Pedroia was responsible for. That also came against the Tampa Bay Rays.

With that grand slam, Xander Bogaerts had upped his RBI total in the game to six, a new career high for the short stop. He is now hitting .371 on the season with an OPS of 1.148.

The bats went silent for a while after those first two innings, as Rays pitching held them to zero runs over the next four innings. Fast forward to the bottom of the seventh though, and things started to pick up again.

With Chaz Roe on the mound and JD Martinez at the plate, can you guess who won in this matchup? If you guessed Martinez, you would be correct because the Red Sox slugger launched his first home run of the season over the Green Monster to put his team up 9-2.

Gotta love the silent treatment when Martinez made his way back to the dugout after rounding the bases.

Two batters later and we had Rafael Devers launching his first home run of the season off of Roe as well, giving the Red Sox their tenth and final run of the contest.

All and all, it was a great day for the Red Sox lineup. Not only did they score a ton of runs, but they drew a total of six walks and forced the Rays to use five pitchers, including a position player, the day before their “bullpen day”.

The Red Sox are now 7-1. This is the best start to a season they have had since 1920. Like I said, Eduardo Rodriguez will be getting the start tomorrow afternoon, with Andrew Kittredge “starting” for the Rays. First pitch is at 1:05 with the Red Sox going for their eighth straight win.

RECAP: Hanley Ramirez Comes Through for #RedSox Again in 3-2 Opening Day Win.

Playing in their first home game of the season, the Red Sox played their second straight game that went into extra innings. They won the first one in Miami, and they won in 12 innings today against the Tampa Bay Rays.

David Price got the start in this one, and he looked just as good as he did last Friday in Tampa Bay. The southpaw once again tossed seven shutout innings, scattering three hits, walking three, and striking out five. He threw 91 pitches on Thursday, 56 of which went for strikes.

Price has yet to yield a single run to opponents, and his start marks the seventh straight start a by Red Sox pitcher where one or fewer runs have been scored off of them. Through those seven games, Red Sox starters own a 0.86 ERA in 42 innings pitched to go along with 39 total strikeouts and just 10 walks. Those are some impressive numbers, but unfortunately, David Price could not get the W today even though he deserved it.

Once Price departed after completing seven innings, Carson Smith took over in the top of the eighth. Smith walked the first batter he saw, and followed that by serving up a home run to Rays third baseman Matt Duffy. Duffy, who owns a career .393 Slugging Percentage, gave his team a two-run lead thanks to his first long ball of the season. Smith was able to get out of the inning, but his start to this season has been far from promising. In four appearances, the Texas native has given up four earned runs in 2.2 innings pitched, making for an ERA north of 10 at 13.50. Not a great look for the righty who still hasn’t settled in with his club despite this being his third season here.

Trailing 2-0 heading into the ninth, Hector Velazquez would be responsible for keeping the deficit at two runs, and that is exactly what he did. Considering the fact he just started a game this past Sunday, I was surprised to see Velazquez come out of the bullpen on just three days rest. He pitched a clean inning though, and the Red Sox managed to score twice in the bottom half of the inning, so credit to Velazquez for holding the Rays in check.

With the game headed to extras, Craig Kimbrel would get the call to pitch in the top of the tenth in a non-save situation. The Red Sox closer was a bit shaky today, which led to him loading the bases while recording the first two outs of the inning. Going up against Rays DH CJ Cron, Kimbrel came through with a huge strikeout, keeping the game tied.

Next up out of the bullpen, Bobby Poyner was the last pitcher used by the Red Sox. The rookie reliever retired the side in order in the eleventh. In the twelfth, Poyner gave up a leadoff single to Joey Wendle, then proceeded to retire the next three batters he faced. With his stellar performance in this one, Poyner was credited with the first win of his young big league career.

Offensively, the Rays held the Red Sox lineup in check yet again. Despite not using a stereotypical starting pitcher, the Rays have found some success in sticking with just relief pitchers on two occasions this season. The first time, March 31st, Rays pitching surrendered three runs to the Red Sox. Today, April 5th, Rays pitching surrendered another three runs to the Red Sox. Both of these games have resulted in losses for Tampa Bay, but the pitching has not been to blame.

Anyway, the Red Sox didn’t score their first run of the game until the ninth inning. A Mookie Betts leadoff single followed by an Andrew Benintendi walk set up Hanley Ramirez in a prime position. On the second pitch of his at bat against Alex Colome, Ramirez lined a single to center field, allowing Betts to score from second to make it a one run game. After JD Martinez grounded into a double play, it came down to Xander Bogaerts to either tie this thing or win it himself.

With Andrew Benintendi just 90 feet away, Bogaerts laced a clutch double off the wall in left field, just out of the reach of Mallex Smith.

This allowed Benintendi to easily score from third and we had ourselves a tied game. Three batters later and the bases loaded, Jackie Bradley Jr. nearly won the game for the Red Sox on an infield single , but he was ruled out at first by just inches.

jbj out

After going scoreless in the next two innings, the Red Sox offense picked up again in the bottom of the twelfth. A Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff double was followed by a beautiful sac bunt off the bat of Christian Vazquez. With one out and a runner at third, Rays pitching intentionally walked Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, loading the bases with Hanley Ramirez at the plate. On the first pitch he saw from Ryan Yarbrough, Ramirez ended things by lining a walk off single to right field, scoring Bradley and giving the Red Sox the 3-2 win.

That marks six straight wins for this Red Sox team. This also marks two straight wins Hanley Ramirez is pretty much responsible for. A healthy Hanley can elevate this lineup, and that is what he has done so far this season. After today’s performance, Ramirez has taken over the team lead in RBIs with six. He has also been playing exceptional defense at first as well. Seven games in and Hanley has definitely proven why Alex Cora wants him batting third in the lineup almost everyday.

Next up for the Red Sox is another off day on Friday. After that, Rick Porcello will make the start on Saturday afternoon against Rays righty Jake Faria, who allowed one run in four innings last time he faced the Red Sox on April 1st.

Also, Eduardo Rodriguez is back and he will be starting on Sunday. That’s probably why Velazquez came out of the bullpen today. Looking forward to that.

We also got Lil Wayne tweeting about the Red Sox, so that’s something.

RECAP: #RedSox Win First Series of Season Thanks in Part to Hector Velazquez.

For the fourth straight day, the Red Sox got a quality outing out of the starting pitcher for that game. Chris Sale, David, Price, Rick Porcello, and now Hector Velazquez. In the 24 combined innings they have pitched, the Rays have scored a grand total of two times. Velazquez got the start today, and even though he is just a fill in right now, he still impressed in his 2018 regular season debut. The Mexican League veteran finished his outing with a line of 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 5 K’s. The only real costly mistake Velazquez made came in the second inning, where he served up a leadoff home run to Brad Miller, which put the Rays up 1-0 at the time. That second inning was pretty tough for the righty, but he got out of it with just the one run allowed.

After he recorded the first two outs of the sixth and gave up a single to Matt Duffy, Alex Cora went to Marcus Walden to get out of the inning. Walden, 29 and making his Major League debut, had a one run lead to work with and one out to get. The first batter he faced, Joey Wendle, ripped an 0-1 fastball to right field, advancing Duffy to third. It looked like Duffy could have scored to tie the game, but he was held up at third. Walden then got Wilson Ramos to fly out to Mookie Betts, ending the inning. The righty would go on to retire the side in order in the seventh, flashing the leather and putting the exclamation point on his first relief appearance as a big leaguer.

Bobby Poyner got the call next, and he retired the only batter he faced in one pitch. He was replaced by Matt Barnes, who appears to have an early hold on the eighth inning role, as he ended the inning by walking one and striking out two. Fast forward to a half inning later, and the Rays nearly came back again.

With Craig Kimbrel unavailable, Joe Kelly got the call to close out things in the ninth. Making his first appearance since Thursday, Kelly looked shaky yet again. The flamethrower started the inning by recording the first two outs in simple fashion. Things started getting shaky after though, as the next two batters reached on back to back singles. With two outs, runners on first and third, and the count full, Kelly was able to get Denard Span to swing at what looked like ball four, thus ending the game and giving the Red Sox the series win. It wasn’t easy by any stretch, but Kelly did record the first save of his major league career today, so credit to him for that.

Offensively, the Red Sox could muster just two runs. The first came in the fifth, on an important milestone. With no outs and runners on first and second, JD Martinez pulled a single to left, scoring Mookie Betts from second and giving Martinez his first regular season RBI as a member of the Red Sox.

That RBI tied the game at the time. The go-ahead and final run of the game was scored in the very next inning, when Rafael Devers scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from third on an RBI single. Once again, that was all the Red Sox needed to pick up their third win of the season. Devers currently leads the team in RBIs with four. Xander Bogaerts surprisingly had a quiet day at the plate, lowering his OPS to only 1.412.

Next up for the Red Sox is a quick two game series against the Miami Marlins. Brian Johnson gets the start tomorrow against Marlins rookie Trevor Richards. First pitch is at 7:10 PM at Marlins Park.

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Collects Three Hits as #RedSox Defeat Rays by a Score of 3-2.

As famous rapper DMX once said, “X gon’ give it ya” and X gave it to the Tampa Bay Rays last night. That’s right, Red Sox short stop Xander Bogaerts continued his hot start to the season by adding three more hits, including his first home run of the season. We’ll get to that later. For now though, let’s discuss Rick Porcello’s start.

Making his 2018 regular season debut, the 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner put together a solid outing at the Trop. He tossed 5.1 innings of one run ball, allowing six hits, one walk, and fanning four along the way. That lone run came with no outs in the sixth, ending the scoreless innings streak for Red Sox starting pitchers at 18 to begin the season. Porcello wasn’t on the mound for the run, as he departed with one out and runners on first and third. The righty finished the night with 89 pitches, 61 of which went for strikes.

Heath Hembree would come on for Porcello with one out in the sixth, and he got the first batter he faced, Joey Wendle, to pop out to left field. That pop fly did allow the runner on third, Carlos Gomez, to score, giving the Rays their first run of the game. Hembree would proceed to close out the sixth and record the first two outs of the seventh before walking Denard Span. With Kevin Kiermaier, a lefty, due up next, Alex Cora made the decision to go to his lefty specialist, Bobby Poyner, to get the last out of the inning.

Poyner, making his MLB debut, got the speedy Kiermaier to pop out to third on the fifth pitch of the at bat, thus ending the inning. In the eighth, Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez welcomed Poyner to the big leagues by taking him deep to left field, cutting the Red Sox lead to just one run. The 25-year-old southpaw got the next batter he faced, Brad Miller, to pop out to first base, and that ended his night.

Carson Smith got the call next, and he was looking for retribution after his sub par Opening Day performance. Smith gave up a single to the first batter he faced, but followed that up by recording the last two outs of the inning, preserving the lead for Craig Kimbrel. Although he wasn’t as sharp as he was on Friday, the Red Sox closer still got the job done, in part because of sloppy base running by the Rays. Kimbrel walked the first batter he faced in the inning, Mallex Smith, another speedster. The very next batter, CJ Cron, lined out to Xander Bogaerts for what looked like the first out of the inning. However, Mallex Smith was hung out to dry in between first and second base, and Bogaerts doubled him up on a hard throw back to Mitch Moreland. With two outs, Kimbrel got Denard Span to pop out to the man of the night (Bogaerts), and guaranteed the Red Sox at least a split in their first series of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox were held in check by Rays pitching yet again. The oddest part about last night’s game was the fact that the Rays did not use a starting pitcher. Andrew Kittredge, last night’s “starter”, has been a reliever for the majority of his professional career. In total, the Rays used four pitchers last night, one less than the Red Sox did.

Xander Bogaerts got the Red Sox on the board first in the top of the second. The native of Aruba took a 3-1 fastball from Kittredge and smoked it over the left field wall, giving him his first home run of the new season.

Bogaerts would go on to add two more hits after this, including an RBI double in the sixth, scoring JD Martinez from second. Speaking of Martinez, the 30-year-old outfielder made his first start in left field on Saturday night, and he finally got a hit, two actually. The first came in the sixth, when Martinez led the inning off with a double and eventually scored.

The second came in the eighth, when Martinez singled to right field. After a frustrating two games to start his Red Sox career, I’m sure Martinez is feeling relieved that he finally got his first hit out of the way. First home run is up next.

As the series wraps up later this afternoon, it would be nice to see the top of the Red Sox lineup pick up some of the slack. Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Hanley Ramirez have combined for a grand total of four hits and three games. Xander Bogaerts has been great, he currently owns a .667 Batting Average, but the top of the order needs to start setting the table.

Hector Velazquez faces off against Jake Faria today with first pitch at 1:10. Easter and day baseball make for a great combination.

RECAP: David Price Pitches Seven Shutout Innings as #RedSox Pick up First Win of the Season.

That is how you get it done. After blowing a four run lead in the eighth inning on Thursday, David Price and the Red Sox made sure not to let that happen tonight.

Making his first regular season start since July of last season, David Price got the nod against his former team in the Tampa Bay Rays for the second game of this series. Tropicana Field is a place Price has owned in the past, and that was evident tonight. The lefty tossed seven scoreless innings, scattering four hits and striking out five along the way. The most impressive part of Price’s night? No walks, and that made things decently simple. To complete those seven innings, Price only needed 76 total pitches, 55 of which he threw for strikes. He very easily could have gone back out for the eighth inning, but I respect the approach new manager Alex Cora has had with his rotation so far. Save your top starters for later in the season, preserve them as much as possible now. Speaking of the rotation, Chris Sale and David Price have combined to pitch 13 total innings without giving up a single run. The best part about that is the fact that the Red Sox bullpen didn’t implode for Price like it did for Sale.

Matt Barnes got the call for the start of the eighth inning. Appearing in his second game in two days, Barnes pitched another scoreless inning while walking one and striking out another. That made way for the return of Craig Kimbrel, the 2017 American League Reliever of the Year. In his 2018 debut, Kimbrel was lights out. He struck out all three batters he saw, needing only 15 pitches to notch his first save of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox couldn’t do much against Blake Snell and the Rays bullpen, but luckily, they didn’t need to. It wasn’t until the top of the seventh when they scored their first and only run of the game. After a Xander Bogaerts leadoff double, Rafael Devers followed that up by driving in his third run of the season on a single to center off of Rays reliever Jose Alvarado. That was it for scoring, still some positives to take away though. Like how Xander Bogaerts has hit four doubles in two games and has a 1.750 OPS. Hanley Ramirez also picked up his first two hits of the season tonight. Still waiting for JD Martinez to hit a home run or something, he’s 0-for-6, but I can wait a little longer.

These two teams face off again tomorrow night at 6:10 PM. Rick Porcello gets the ball for the Red Sox while the Rays have yet to name a starter.

RECAP: #RedSox Kick off the New Season by Embarassing Themselves in Tampa Bay.

It may be early, but man, did this one hurt. In their first matchup of the season, the Red Sox outplayed the Tampa Bay Rays for approximately 7.5 innings and they found a way to lose. Embarrasing stuff to say the least.

Chris Sale made his first Opening Day start in a Red Sox uniform and he was as impressive as ever. The southpaw allowed only four baserunners to reach over six innings while striking out nine. Out of those four to reach, only one was via a hit, the rest all reached on walks. This was an important start for Sale. Remember, in his last spring training start on Saturday, Sale took a line drive off the hip in the first inning of that game. He said he was going to be good to go for today and it was reassuring to see him out there performing at a high level. Perhaps that line drive off the hip was why Sale only tossed six innings today. He was at 92 pitches by the time he got out of the sixth, so they could just be preserving him for later in the season as well. Either way, it was a positive first step into the 2018 season for the Red Sox ace, it’s just too bad his team couldn’t give him the win he deserved.

With Sale’s day ending after six innings, Matt Barnes got the ball for his first appearance of the season in the bottom half of the seventh. He too got his season off to a good start, as the Connecticut native retired the side while only needing 13 pitches to do so. It was after Barnes where things got away from the Red Sox.

Joe Kelly came out to start the eighth, and he was wildly inaccurate. Facing five batters, Kelly allowed three of them to reach via walks while recording only one out before getting yanked. In that span, the Rays managed to score once to make it a 4-1 game. New manager Alex Cora went to Carson Smith next, and he was not much better than Kelly. Entering with the bases loaded, Smith walked the first batter he saw to make it a 4-2 game. After striking out Wilson Ramos for the second out of the inning, Denard Span got the best of Smith and unloaded the bases on a triple to right field, putting the Rays on top 5-4. The very next batter, Adeiny Hechavarria, scored Span from third on an infield single to give the Rays some insurance. The disaster of an eighth inning finally ended when Smith got Joey Wendle to strike out, thus ending a humiliating day for the Red Sox bullpen.

Offensively, the lineup did not need to do much with Chris Sale on the mound. Four runs seemed like more than enough to get the Red Sox a win. Unfortunately, that’s not how things went. The top of the lineup was nowhere to be found, really. Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Hanley Ramirez, and JD Martinez combined to go 1-for-11 at the plate with two walks and zero RBIs. In fact, all four runs the Red Sox scored came off the bat of either Rafael Devers or Eduardo Nunez. Devers got the Red Sox on the board in the second inning thanks to an RBI ground out, allowing JD Martinez to score from third. The very next batter in the inning, Eduardo Nunez, followed that up by hitting an inside the park home run. Yes, an inside the park home run. Check it out:

Like the tweet says, not how you draw up the first home run of 2018, but we’ll take it. That put the Red Sox up 3-0 at the time, and they didn’t score again until the seventh inning. Xander Bogaerts led the inning off with a double off of Austin Pruitt, and Rafael Devers drove him in on a double of his own a few minutes later. Bogaerts himself had a solid day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. That looked like that was all the Red Sox were going to need to pick up their first win of the season. It’s too bad the bullpen melted down, because that was a fun game to watch up until the bottom of the eighth inning.

David Price will look to even up the series tomorrow, as the lefty makes his first start in a regular season game since July 22nd of last year. He will be matched up against Blake Snell of the Rays, another lefty. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.