RECAP: #RedSox turn triple play, pour it on in 10-4 win over Cardinals.

In their first visit to Fenway Park since Game 6 of the 2013 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals, who entered Tuesday winning eight of their last nine, opened up a two-game series against the Red Sox. Starting for St. Louis was Mike Leake, and he was matched up against Rick Porcello. Neither starter was great, but Porcello ended up pitching significantly better than Leake. In the seven innings he pitched, Porcello scattered eight hits and two walks, surrendering three earned runs while also striking out six. The Red Sox righty had great defense playing behind him on Tuesday night, including a triple play that was turned in the fourth.

Every run the Cardinals got off of Porcello came in the sixth inning, and half their hits off of Porcello came in the sixth as well. Luckily, the seventh inning was much better and that’s how the defending Cy Young Award winner would end his day. In his 25 starts this season, only twice has Porcello failed to pitch at least six innings. Joe Kelly would be inserted into the game in the eighth, in a much different situation than last Friday in New York. Kelly completed the inning, but not before giving up one run on two hits while striking out one. To secure the win, Robby Scott pitched a scoreless ninth.

Offensively, it looked like the Red Sox were going to struggle to score off of Mike Leake. Rafael Devers drove in the first run of the game in the first, scoring Andrew Benintendi on an RBI single. After that though, they left the bases loaded and didn’t score again until the fifth. This time, the scoring started when Leake loaded the bases again. With Hanley Ramirez up, Leake served up a hard double off the Monster, allowing both Eduardo Nunez and Mookie Betts to score. An intentional walk of Devers reloaded the bases, which led to Xander Bogaerts driving in Benintendi from third and keeping the bases loaded. A Mitch Moreland RBI single booted Leake out of the game, making way for Matt Bowman. That change didn;t affect the Red Sox though, as three consecutive hits led to three more runs, giving them a total of eight in the inning and a 9-0 lead. Another run would cross the plate in the sixth with a bases-loaded walk of Jackie Bradley Jr., and that was more than was needed for the win. Everyone who started this game recorded at least one base hit. The 5-7 hitters, Devers, Bogaerts, and Moreland went a combined 7 for 13 with 3 RBIs. The three hits out of Xander Bogaerts were good to see since the shortstop has been in a bit of a slump since the middle of last month. Eduardo Nunez also impressed with yet another multi-hit game at Fenway Park. It looked like a precaution, but Andrew Benintendi was removed from the game after he got hit by a pitch in the fourth.

Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start against Lance Lynn tonight, as the Red Sox go for the mini sweep.

68 down, 27 to go. 

 

RECAP: Chris Sale strikes out 13 Rays; #RedSox win seventh consecutive game.

After a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox and an off day on Monday, the Red Sox kicked things off against the third place Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday. Chris Sale, coming off his worst start of the season last Tuesday, made the start and he was matched up against Rays righty Austin Pruitt. Maybe it’s because Chris Sale is out-of-this-world good or the fact that Pruitt is not well-known, but this game did not really feel like a pitcher’s duel even though it was. At no point in this game did it look like Chris Sale was about to give in. It wasn’t until there was one out in the fifth when the Rays got their first hit, a single, off of Sale. The southpaw faced 28 batters total over the eight innings he pitched, and he struck out 13 of them. If I did the math correctly, Sale’s K/9 now stands at 12.8, so for every nine innings the guy pitched, he’s essentially striking out thirteen guys. Back in 2001, Randy Johnson set the record for K/9 at 13.4. With just less than two months to go in the season, I’d say that record is within Sale’s reach if he keeps striking out batters the way he has this year.

With a two-run lead going onto the bottom of the ninth, Craig Kimbrel was inserted into the game to secure the win. In typical fashion, Kimbrel struck out the side, reaching 90 strikeouts on the season and notching his 28th save of the season.

Like I said, this was kind of a pitchers duel, so the bats weren’t doing much. Dustin Pedroia, fresh off the 10-Day DL, scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Rafael Devers in the fourth inning. Later on in the ninth, Xander Bogaerts scored a very important insurance run on an RBI single off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. Although he did not score or drive in a run, Eduardo Nunez continued his dominance with the Red Sox by recording three hits in five at bats and raising his BA to .422 in the ten games since he was traded to Boston.

The winning streak now stands at a season-high seven games. The Yankees lost last night, so the division lead now stands at four games. One more in Tampa later today, Rick Porcello will be making the start, and he was great last time he pitched at the Trop.

64 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Christian Vazquez walks it off for the #RedSox in one of the more bizarre games I’ve ever seen.

Wild, ugly, bizarre. Those are some good words you can use to describe last night’s victory over the Indians. In a game where Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco are pitching, a slugfest should be the last thing you would expect, but that’s what we got on Tuesday. Sale was bad, he’ll be the first to tell you that. The lefty gave up a season high seven earned runs while going five innings deep. Sale is usually caught by Sandy Leon, but a right knee issue kept him out of the lineup. That being said, Christian Vazquez was behind the plate, and I’d be interested to know if there were any chemistry issues, at least in the first few innings. Despite the bad start, he did rack up five strikeouts and I am glad he only pitched five innings, lessening his usual workload. If he got out of the fifth without giving up that home run to Edwin Encarnacion, then he probably would have come out and started the sixth. Looking to rebound on Sunday, Chris Sale will play his former team, the White Sox. I’ll be there, and I’m pretty excited about it. In relief of Sale, Blaine Boyer loaded the bases, but did not allow anything else while pitching a scoreless sixth. Matt Barnes struck out two while pitching a scoreless seventh, then we got to see the new guy, Addison Reed. Just acquired from the Mets, Reed gave up a solo home run to the first batter he faced, after that though, got the Tribe out in order. After all this, the Red Sox had a one-run lead, making way for Craig Kimbrel to try and get his 26th save of the season. Like Reed, Kimbrel gave up a home run to the first person he saw, Francisco Lindor. Kimbrel then proceeded to load the bases, and a wild pitch allowed Jose Ramirez to score from third, giving the Indians the lead. So, in a night Sale and Kimbrel are way off their game, the Red Sox still find a way to win. With just over two months to go in the regular season, resilience can be huge for a team in the middle of a pennant race.

On the other side of things, you could make the case Carlos Carrasco was even worse than Sale last night. After the Indians scored three times in the first and twice in the second, the Red Sox answered with five of their own in their half of the second. Mitch Moreland, who is getting hot again, took Carrasco deep for a three-run home run, scoring Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts in the process. Brock Holt drove in the fourth run, scoring Christian Vazquez from third. With two outs, Eduardo Nunez stayed hot by lacing a RBI double to center field, scoring Mookie Betts and tying the game. Brock Holt was a part of that play, and for the second night in a row, he was called out at home. Hanley Ramirez nearly had himself a home run in the fifth, but Austin Jackson made an outstanding catch to rob him, jumping over the bullpen wall and still securing the catch. Might be better than any catch JBJ has made this year.

In the sixth, Mookie Betts drove in Mitch Moreland on a RBI single and Eduardo Nunez drove in Christian Vazquez, Betts and Chris Young on another double. After heading into their half of the ninth down by one, Rafael Devers singled and Mitch Moreland reached first on a strikeout, setting the table for Christian Vazquez. On a 3-1 fastball, Vazquez homered to center field, walking it off and giving the Red Sox the 12-10 win.

A wild one for sure, and the Red Sox have secured their first series win since they were in Texas. With the Yankees dropping one to the Tigers, the Red Sox find themselves back in first place. Rick Porcello is on the mound later tonight with the chance to sweep.

59 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi has career day as #RedSox take Game 2 from Rangers 11-4.

Before I get to what Andrew Benintendi did last night, I want to talk about what David Price did. Coming into last night’s game, Price owned an ERA north of seven while pitching at Globe Life Park. With that in mind, I was not expecting his start yesterday to go well, surprisingly, I was wrong. Price managed to pitch into the seventh inning while not allowing a single run. There Were plenty of baserunners, eight in total for Texas, but they could not score a single run off of Price. The southpaw also struck out nine, a new season high. He came out to start the seventh, gave up a walk, and was taken out of the game. It looked like a blister of some sort on his pitching hand was bothering him, and that’s why he was taken out, but Manager John later said that it was because of the pitch count. Blaine Boyer came in to relieve Price, and he ate some innings despite

not pitching all that well. The Rangers scored three times off of Boyer, all in the eighth, and all those runs were driven in on a three-run bomb off the bat of Mike Napoli. Robby Scott would come in to pitch the ninth and end the game, but not before giving up a solo home run to Delino DeShields. Like I said, surprising stuff from Price, it looks like he’ll make his next start in Tampa on Sunday, the last game before the All-Star break.

The bottom half of yesterday’s lineup was responsible for most of the offensive production. The 5-9 hitters, Ramirez, Benintendi, Vazquez, and Lin went a combined 16 for 24 at the plate, scoring 9 times and driving in 10 runs. The biggest star though, is obviously Andrew Benintendi. All the talk about Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge, but you can’t knock what this Red Sox rookie has done in his first full season. Last night, Benintendi did not record an out, reaching base all five times he was up. He nearly hit for the cycle too, but hit his second home run of the game instead. Going back to Monday night’s game, Benintendi has driven in eight runs in his last six at-bats. He also made one heck of a catch too in the fourth, robbing Mike Napoli of an extra base hit and potentially an RBI.

How about the other rookie who has come out of nowhere, Tzu-Wei Lin? A 23 year-old infielder in Portland surprisingly gets called up about a week and a half ago and he can do no wrong. His second three-hit game last night puts his OPS at .949, meanwhile Pablo Sandoval’s career OPS with the Red Sox is only at .646, makes you think.

Almost forgot to mention that Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his eleventh home run of the season last night as well while raising his BA to .284 on the season, a nice turnaround for sure.

Doug Fister makes his third start for the Red Sox today in the series finale. It could be his last start for a while if Eduardo Rodriguez comes back and pitches like he did before he got hurt.

49 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz and Christian Vazquez lead the way for #RedSox in long 9-2 win.

I live about 20 miles away from Fenway Park, so when I turned on my television around 7, I was surprised to see the game was delayed. That first system that rolled through didn’t really affect me, but it affected Boston, as the game did not start until 8 PM. Drew Pomeranz made the start for the Red Sox, and under unusual circumstances, he had a solid night. The southpaw rolled through the first two innings, retiring all six Twins he faced. After another delay that lasted more than an hour, it was surprising to see him come back out for the third. Although not as sharp as before the delay, Pomeranz got the job done, escaping a few jams along the way to his seventh victory of 2017. The only run he gave up came in the fifth, but great defense from Christian Vazquez limited the damage. This is the third outing in a row where Pomeranz has gone more than five innings while allowing two or fewer earned runs. If he keeps this up, the boost he gives this rotation is huge.

The Red Sox bullpen didn’t have to do much to keep the Twins out of the game. By the time Blaine Boyer took the mound in the sixth, the Red Sox had already built a 6-1 lead. Boyer got hit, but he escaped his two innings of work without giving up a run. Fernando Abad was responsible for the eighth and ninth, and he ended the game while giving up the second run of the game for the Twins.

Offensively, the only starter who didn’t get a hit was Andrew Benintendi, but he still reached base with an intentional walk in the fifth. The big stars of the night, in my opinion, were Christian Vazquez and Chris Young, who accounted for five of the seven runs driven in by Red Sox hitters. Vazquez hit his first home run of the season in the second, a two-run shot that gave them the lead. Chris Young also went deep, blasting his fourth home run of the season in the sixth, a three-run shot that secured this win. Dustin Pedroia also had a noteworthy performance at the plate, recording three hits and reaching base in all four of his at-bats. The Twins bullpen is one of the worst in baseball, and the Red Sox took full advantage of that, scoring seven times in the six innings a Twins reliever was on the mound.

This is the first time in nearly two weeks where the Red Sox have won consecutive games. With two more against the Twins, they can complete their first sweep since they swept the Rangers on May 25th.

Also, the Yankees blew a 3-1 lead they had entering the bottom of the eighth against the White Sox, so the Red Sox now have sole possession of first place.

43 down, ? to go. 

 

RECAP: Sale dominates Royals as #RedSox even things up with 8-3 victory.

Last time out, Chris Sale was part of maybe the most devastating loss of the season, a 1-0 loss to the one of the worst teams in baseball. He threw a complete game then, and he almost threw another one last night, this time with more help from the Red Sox bats. Sale got off to a bit of a rough start, giving up two hits and one run, a home run, in the first three innings he pitched. The Royals wouldn’t get anything off of Sale again until the ninth, when they scored twice. Not the finish Sale wanted, but still a lot of positives to take away. After a little stretch of mediocre stuff, it looks like Sale has regained his dominant form, as a bad ninth last night was the only thing keeping the southpaw from two straight complete games. Almost forgot to mention he struck out 10 or more batters for the tenth time with another ten tonight. Fernando Abad would come in to relieve Sale with one out in the ninth, and he got Travis Wood (ha) to hit into a game-ending double play.

The offense was far better last night than it was in the opener on Monday. Eight runs on thirteen hits is good stuff. Every guy in the lineup except Hanley Ramirez, whose job is to hit, recorded at least one hit. Sandy Leon, Deven Marrero, Chris Young, and Xander Bogaerts all had multi-hit games. The bulk of the scoring came in the fourth and sixth innings, as seven of the eight runs came in those innings. Good to see Sandy Leon looking good at the plate, also good to see Chris Young perform well in the limited role he has had with this team. Shouts to Deven Marrero for having a good one at the plate in his first game back, and hopefully we’ll never see Pablo Sandoval on the field again.

Drew Pomeranz pitches today on this fine get away day, that should be fun. Also, the Yankees lost their seventh game in a row last night, so first place is back on!

40 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: David Price notches quality start; Andrew Benintendi plays hero as #RedSox walk it off in the twelfth.

Who would have thought it would take 23 innings to beat the worst team in baseball twice? Well, that’s the way it has gone over the past two days. In fact, the last three games the Red Sox have played in have taken over 12 hours to complete. They’ve won two of those games, and now, they are a season best eight games over .500.

Let’s get to the game itself. David Price was matched up against Ben Lively, a 25-year-old who has won Minor League Pitcher of the Year in two different organizations. Surprisingly, Lively outpitched Price, going an inning more than the southpaw. The first three innings were interesting, as Price only needed six pitches to get through the first, but needed around 60-70 pitches to get through the next two. The Phillies tacked on their first runs in the third, when Price surrendered a two run home run to Aaron Altherr with one out in the inning. The only other real trouble Price ran into came in the sixth, when the Phillies scored their last run of the game on a fielder’s choice. All and all, not a great start, but certainly better than his last start in New York. Again, the bullpen was basically flawless last night. Robby Scott, Blaine Boyer, Craig Kimbrel, Heath Hembree, and Fernado Abad shut out the Phillies over the last six innings of the game, striking out five over that span. I believe David Price will be making his next start in Houston, on Sunday Night Baseball, which should be interesting to watch.

The Red Sox offense started things out with three runs in the first three innings. Benintendi drove in a run in the first, Christian Vazquez drove in the second run, and Mitch Moreland stayed hot, launching his ninth home run of the year in the third. No more runs would score until the twelfth, but the Red Sox did have their chances. Like in the tenth, Dustin Pedroia was faked out by Maikel Franco, ending the inning by getting tagged out at third base. In the twelfth, Andrew Benintendi came up to the plate with one out and runners on first and third. The rookie walked it off, his first career walk off hit, giving the Red Sox the 4-3 win.

About two years ago, Benintendi was in the process of getting drafted in the first round by the Red Sox, today, he is the every day left fielder and an important member of this Red Sox team.

36 down, ? to go.