This game was on national television, mainly because a Cy Young Award winner was pitching against a perennial All-Star. Neither pitcher put on a dominating performance, but they were both good enough to keep their respective teams in the game. Sale outlasted Verlander, as he pitched seven innings while Verlander only pitched five. I was surprised to see Sale come out for the seventh with 100 pitches already thrown, but it only took him like 9 pitches to get through the seventh and lessen the workload for the bullpen. The southpaw struck out seven Tigers all while never walking a single batter. The Tigers scored all their runs in the fifth and sixth, and although he got scored on, Sale really didn’t get hit hard Saturday night. The bullpen did their job once again. Matt Barnes got the Tigers in order in the eighth, and Blaine Boyer got them in order in the ninth. It looked like Craig Kimbrel was going to come in for a save opportunity, but the Red Sox blew the doors open in their half of the eighth. Last note on the pitching pertains to Chris Sale. It looks like he is evening out quite a bit numbers wise. His first few starts were borderline dominant, while the rest have been good, but not great.
Before I start talking about the offense, I just want to say that the Tigers bullpen is downright awful. I mean, I like Alex Wilson (former Red Sox prospect) and KRod, but that group of guys can’t seem to keep a game close.
Anyway, Mitch Moreland was the hero once again, as the veteran first baseman drove in the two go-ahead runs on a double in the seventh. He also drove in the second run of the game in the third on a single that scored Sandy Leon. Moreland was not the only guy in the lineup with multiple RBI’s, Andrew Benintendi drove in three, and Josh Rutledge drove in two. The only batter who did not get a hit last night was Mookie Betts, and he walked three times. It’s funny how this team still lacks power but they can score plenty of runs in different ways.
33 down, ? to go.
Just a quick Saturday recap for all you readers out there.
Brian Johnson made his first start since Memorial Day Weekend. He did not have the same type of performance he did that Saturday. Johnson only got through 4.1 innings before he was relieved by Heath Hembree. The bullpen was great on Friday night, as Hembree, Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, and Craig Kimbrel pitched a combined 4.2 innings while striking out eight Tigers and not allowing a single run. This is going to sound dumb, but the core of Hembree, Kelly, and Barnes have been one of my favorite things about this Red Sox team. For the most part, they have been outstanding for a group that was supposed to be the weakest link. Obviously, Brian Johnson wasn’t great, but with ERod out for an extended period of time, he’s still the best option.
All the runs the Red Sox scored last night came off the bat of either Mitch Moreland or Jackie Bradley Jr. Moreland had one of his best days in a Red Sox uniform with three hits, including a home run and another double, along with two RBIs, and one of those was the tying run in the eighth. Jackie Bradley had the most important hit of the game, but before that, the center fielder drove in the team’s second run of the night. The Red Sox could’ve gotten more in that fourth inning, but Hanley Ramirez was called out at third to end the inning. Like I said, JBJ had the most important hit of the game, and that came in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs and Mitch Moreland on first, Bradley took Alex Wilson deep, all the way to the seats in right field to give the Red Sox a 5-3 lead. That would be JBJ’s fourth home run over his last 13 games, and it would be all Craig Kimbrel would need to get the Tigers in order.
Big time pitching matchup tonight with Justin Verlander vs. Chris Sale on FOX.
33 down, ? to go.
The Red Sox dropped the fourth and final game of this series against the Tigers. Chris Sale took the loss, a bad luck loss to say the least, and Justin Wilson picked up his first victory of the season. As I said, Chris Sale is not to blame for this loss, he nearly pitched eight full innings while striking out 10 and only walking 1. Unfortunately for Sale, the opposing starter, Justin Verlander was just as good, only giving up 1 unearned run and three hits over 7 innings. It appeared that Chris Sale started running out of gas when his pitch count was around 100. Sale was rolling, giving up only run through seven innings. The eighth inning was a different story, though. After giving up a two out double to Andrew Romine, Sale followed that up by walking Ian Kinsler. With men on first and second, Nick Castellanos got the best of Sale, knocking in Romine with a base hit. This was it for Sale, as he came out with 2 outs in the 8th and Heath Hembree finished off the inning.
The Red Sox offense could not formulate any type of rally today and they continue to look sluggish. First baseman Mitch Moreland had the hottest bat today, notching three hits, including a double, in four plate appearances. It looks like Moreland has adjusted well since Opening Day, as he has gotten his Batting Average up to .333 and his OPS to an impressive .927. The rest of the Red Sox lineup looked dismal and the only other player that recorded a hit was Dustin Pedroia. It’s still a waste of energy to get too concerned about the offensive production coming from this team since we have barely seen Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts. Until this lineup is fully healthy, I’m not going to get too worked up. I like what I’ve seen from players like Mitch Moreland and Sandy Leon. One player I am concerned about is Pablo Sandoval, who has started the season by batting a measly .130. The Red Sox really do not have a long-term solution if Sandoval fails to pick things up. Brock Holt, Josh Rutledge, and Marco Hernandez are all capable of playing third base, but they are relied on for their versatility. It wouldn’t be surprising to me if Sam Travis converts to a third baseman in Pawtucket since that would be similar to what happeened with Travis Shaw. Another option at the hot corner could be prized prospect Rafael Devers. The 20 year old has started this season in Portland and it feels like he’s been in the organization forever. If he progresses in Portland like Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi did, then perhaps he could be an option later in the season.
Also, bad news with JBJ. He just got put on the new 10 day Disabled List with a sprain in his right knee. I did not think it would come to this, even Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations, said a few days ago that JBJ shouldn’t have to go one the DL. It is what it is, and it looks like Andrew Benintendi will take over in center based on what is being reported.
3 down, 91 to go.
The Red Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers 7-5 on Sunday. Rick Porcello made the start against his old team while Daniel Norris took the mound for the Tigers. Porcello never really found any rhythm during his 6+ innings, as he gave up a total of 11 hits while also striking out 8. Norris was solid for the Tigers today, as he gave up three runs in 6.1 innings while giving up seven hits, three walks, and only striking out 2.
Matt Barnes looked really good out of the bullpen today, pitching two shutout innings in relief of Porcello. The closer, Craig Kimbrel, continues to struggle in games he pitches where he has a lead larger than one run. He was able to pick up the save, but not before giving up two walks, a hit, and a run. The Red Sox were lucky the Tigers bullpen was so awful today. Bruce Rondon came into pitch the 8th inning and he failed to record an out while giving up three earned runs. Kyle Ryan came in after Rondon, and he gave up another run before finishing the inning. This was the rally the Red Sox needed since it gave them the lead. A similar situation occurred on Friday when the Red Sox scored 5 runs in the eighth to take the lead, but the bullpen blew it. Today though, the bullpen only gave up one run, from Kimbrel, in a combined three innings of work.
Back to the Red Sox offense, the biggest surprise of the day was Marco Hernandez, who recorded three hits in four plate appearances batting out of the nine-hole. Another positive is how well Sandy Leon has been swinging the bat to start off the season. Today, he went two for four with a double and two RBI’s. That puts his batting average at .438 after appearing in five games. It was nice to see Mookie Betts return to the lineup today, and it looks like Xander and Hanley will be returning shortly. Also, Jackie Bradley Jr. was held out of the lineup today, which was concerning, but from what they were saying, it still doesn’t sound like anything serious.
3 down, 91 to go.
The Red Sox have lost consecutive games for the first time this season, as they were defeated by the Detroit Tigers 4-1 on Saturday. Eduardo Rodriguez made his first Major League start in the month of April and it was a rather disappointing performance. After only giving up a solo home run through the first four innings, Rodriguez collapsed in the fifth and gave up three runs, including another solo home run. It was the bottom of the Tigers lineup that caused Rodriguez and the Red Sox bullpen the most trouble today. Batters 1-6 went a combined 1 for 19 at the plate while also getting walked a total of three times. Batters 7-9, however, went a combined 4 for 7 with two walks mixed in as well.
The Red Sox offense has started this season on a sour note, scoring only in four of forty-eight innings thus far. The flu has made its way around the clubhouse, leading to the extended absences of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogeaerts, Hanley Ramirez, and now Joe Kelly. It was reported today that even the coaching staff has caught the bug. The most bizarre part of all this is how NESN play-by-play man, Dave O’Brien, had to leave during the game because of the symptoms he was experiencing. The absences in the lineup are obviously impacting the offensive output and I expect this lineup to generate more runs and scoring opportunities once fully healthy.
Also, really scary thing happened today involving Jackie Bradley Jr. As he was rounding first base after a fly out, his foot appeared to get caught, which resulted in him tripping over the base. Thankfully, he was able to walk it off afterwards so hopefully he will be good to go for tomorrow. He made two great catches today and you’d hate to see anything happen to him.
2 down, 92 to go.
After yesterday’s rainout, the Red Sox had an extra off day as they traveled to Detroit for a four game series against the Tigers. Stephen Wright and Michael Fulmer were the two pitchers to square off today. The Red Sox had many absences from the starting lineup, such as Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Hanley Ramirez. The Sox offense was quiet for most of the day, as they did not score until the top of the 8th, where the offense woke up and drove in 5 runs, including Pablo Sandoval’s first home run of the 2017 campaign.
Stephen Wright was okay in his first start since he got hurt last year, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts over 6.2 innings pitched. The biggest dissapointment of this game was the Red Sox bullpen. Over the past two games, it appeared that the bullpen could be consistently good this season, I’m not saying they can’t, but they were a letdown today. Ben Taylor made his Major League Debut and got his first strikeout to end the 7th, so congratulations to him. After the Red Sox took the lead in the top of the 8th, Robby Scott, Heath Hembree, and Joe Kelly gave up a combined two runs and allowed the Tigers to retake the lead and that was that.
Also, after reading the Red Sox Twitter mentions, I can conclude there are too many Red Sox fans who are overreacting. RELAX.
2 down, 92 to go.
That’s right, I came up with a concrete number.