RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez Surrenders Five Runs in Short Start as #RedSox Fall to Astros Again.

After dropping the series opener to the Houston Astros by a final score of 6-3 on Friday night, the Red Sox were back at it looking for some redemption on a Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.

Making his 21st start of the season today was Eduardo Rodriguez, who dominated against the Chicago White Sox in his first start since returning from the 10-day disabled list in his last time out on September 1st.

Pitching into just the fourth inning of this one, the left-hander found himself not having the same amount of success he had in Chicago. Instead, the Astros got to him early and often, which as you could guess, led to some problems.

In the 3.1 frames of work on Saturday, Rodriguez surrendered five earned runs on six hits, two of which were home runs, and three walks to go along with four strikeouts on the afternoon.

It was somewhat a tale of two starts for the 25-year-old in this one, because he began his day by retiring the first four hitters he faced in order.

It was not until Carlos Correa ripped a one out double off of Rodriguez where things really started to go down hill, because that was followed by a Tyler White triple that could have been caught by Jackie Bradley Jr. and a Jake Marisnick sacrifice fly that saw the Astros jump out to a 2-1 lead.

Over the next two innings, solo home runs from Alex Bregman, his 30th, and Martin Maldanado increased that Houston lead to three runs, and after walking George Springer with one out in the fourth, Rodriguez’s evening would come to a disappointing end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 78 (49 strikes), the Venezuela native did not receive much help from his catcher, Christian Vazquez, in terms of calling a quality game, and that resulted in some hard hit balls from the Astros.

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Out of those 78 pitches, Rodriguez turned to his four-seam fastball the most on Saturday, as he threw it 36% of the time he was on the mound. He also topped out at 96 MPH with that same pitch in the first inning.

Falling to 12-4 on the season with his ERA inflating up to 3.64, the fourth-year hurler will look to reclaim that form he had on display against the White Sox in his next time out, which should come against the New York Mets next weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was surprisingly not to blame for this particular loss.

Brandon Workman was first up, and he closed the book on Rodriguez’s outing by allowing the second Astros run of the fourth to cross the plate on a sac fly, but bounced back with a scoreless fifth inning of work.

Bobby Poyner allowed the first two hitters he faced in the sixth to reach base, then sat down the next six Astros he faced consecutively going into the middle of the seventh.

Finally, Tyler Thornburg, who was pitching on no days rest for the first time since August 20-21st, dealt with his fair share of traffic on base paths, but ultimately held Houston scoreless in the two frames of relief he worked to hold his team’s deficit to three runs.

All and all, the Red Sox bullpen’s final line from Saturday looks like this:

5.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Astros right-hander Charlie Morton, who was making his first start since August 28th after being placed on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder discomfort.

Starting the scoring right away in this one was Xander Bogaerts, whose one out RBI single in the bottom of the first drove in Mookie Betts from second and gave Boston an early advantage.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth now, and Bogaerts struck again by mashing his second home run of the series and his 21st of the season that pulled the Red Sox to within three runs of Houston.

That would end up being Morton’s final inning, and despite reaching base a total of nine times off the Astros hurler, those two runs were all the Red Sox could manage through the first five frames on Saturday.

After rookie reliever Josh James and Ryan Pressly shut things down through the end of the eighth, it all came down to the ninth inning with Astros closer Roberto Osuna on the mound for the second straight night.

A Blake Swihart leadoff pinch-hit single, followed by a one out walk from Mookie Betts, brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Andrew Benintendi.

A wild pitch from Osuna allowed both runners to advance 90 feet, and Benintendi capitalized on that mistake by driving in Swihart from third on an RBI single to left field. 5-3 game.

With JD Martinez coming up representing the game-winning run, the Red Sox could not have asked for a better scoring spot to be in with the league leader in RBI at the plate.

Unfortunately, Martinez could not come through with a clutch hit and instead grounded into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Some notes from this 5-3 loss:

With runners in scoring position on Saturday, the Red Sox were only 3/13 (.231)

Xander Bogaerts tied his career-high in home runs today (21) and also set a new career-high in RBI (92).

Going for their 98th win of the season once again tomorrow night, it will be Rick Porcello getting the start for Boston.

In his last time out against the Astros on June 3rd at Minute Maid Park, Porcello allowed just three runs (two earned) to score on five hits over 6.1 innings in what would turn out to be a 9-3 Red Sox win.

Opposite Porcello will be another former Cy Young Award Winner in Houston’s right-hander Dallas Keuchel.

Over the course of his seven-year career, Keuchel has made two career starts at Fenway Park.

In those pair of starts, the former seventh round draft pick has given up 11 earned runs in 16 innings pitched. That’s good for a 7.62 ERA to go along with a not so nice 1.69 WHIP.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET Sunday. Time to salvage something.

 

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RECAP: David Price Shines but Bullpen Falls Apart as #RedSox Drop Series Opener to Astros.

Coming off a sweep of the Atlanta Braves this past week and an off day on Thursday, the 97-44 Boston Red Sox returned to Fenway Park to embark on a nine-game homestand, where they were first greeted by the defending World Series champion Houston Astros for a three-game weekend series.

Earlier in late May/early June, these two teams, arguably the two best in the American League, split a four-game set at Minute Maid Park, with the Astros taking the first two and the Red Sox taking the last two.

Getting the start for this series opener, his 27th of the season, was David Price, who last we saw, took a 103 MPH line drive off his left wrist in the third inning of August 29th’s contest against the Marlins.

The left-hander would have to depart from that outing after that occurred, and nine days later, he was back at it against a team he gave up three runs to in six innings of work back on June 2nd.

Pitching into the seventh inning of this one, Price picked up right where he left off prior to that Marlins start with another stellar performance, as he surrendered just two earned runs on two hits and two walks to go along with 10 strikeouts on the night to tie a season-high.

Retiring 14 straight hitters at one point, the Tennessee native had full control of the strike zone on Friday, and he used that to his full advantage by consistently painting the corners, which led to the double-digit punch outs.

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Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (57 strikes), Price’s night would come to an end after allowing two of the first three hitters he faced in the seventh to reach base, which would ultimately be the Red Sox’s demise.

Out of those 101 pitches, the 33-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball 44% of the time on Friday, and topped out at 94.2 MPH with that same pitch in the second inning.

Unable to pick up a much deserved winning decision at the fault of his bullpen, Price will look to build on what was a strong start to his month of September in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays, a former club of his, sometime next week.

In relief of Price, Alex Cora turned to Ryan Brasier with one out and runners on first and second in the top half of the seventh.

Brasier closed the book on Price’s outing by allowing both of those inherited runners to score as well as another on a pair of RBI doubles from Yuli Gurriel and Tony Kemp.

Just like that, the Red Sox found themselves trailing in a game they appeared to have full control of.

Joe Kelly was next up for the eighth inning after his team had just tied things up in their half of the seventh.

Despite some solid numbers recently, Kelly found himself struggling once again, as he allowed the first three Astros hitters he faced to reach, which loaded the bases without a single out recorded.

A sacrifice fly off the bat of Carlos Correa gave Houston a brand new lead while the runners on base advanced to scoring position.

That was followed by a wild pitch in the next at bat with Tyler White at the plate, which allowed Jose Altuve to cross the plate.

With White Still up at bat, Kelly could not get a 2-2 85 MPH knuckle curveball by the Astros DH, and he laced it into left field to drive in Alex Bregman from third  and give his team a three-run lead.

Finally, just trying to keep the Red Sox within the three runs they trailed by at this point, Tyler Thornburg worked his way around two singled in a scoreless ninth inning of work, not like it mattered that much at that point.

All and all, here is the final pitching line from the Red Sox bullpen on Friday night:

2.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Not great.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole, who, in his only other start against Boston as an American League hurler, pitched seven innings while allowing three runs to score back on June 1st in Houston.

With the regulars back in the Boston lineup, Cole was solid yet again, although Red Sox hitters did make him work quite a bit.

Starting the scoring right away in this one was JD Martinez, whose sacrifice fly in the first inning drove in Mookie Betts from third to give the Red Sox an early advantage.

Fast forward to the fourth, Xander Bogaerts extended that lead a bit by blasting his 20th home run of the season, a 432 foot shot to dead center.

Three innings later, after the Astros had jumped out to a 3-2 lead, JD Martinez answered right back with an RBI single of his own to pull this thing back at even.

That would be the final Red Sox run of the night, however.

Some notes from this 6-3 loss:

In eight starts since the All-Star break, David Price has posted a 1.78 ERA and .196 BAA over 50.2 innings pitched.

I know RBI are not the greatest statistic but JD Martinez already has 117 of them on September 8th.

Over the last 14 days, the Red Sox bullpen owns a 5.40 ERA in 55 total innings pitched. That’s good for the 26th best ERA in baseball over that span.

Going for their 98th win this evening, it will be Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston in his second start since returning from the disabled list.

In his four-year career, the left-handed Rodriguez has only made two starts against the Astros, both of which have come at Fenway Park.

In those two starts, Rodriguez has surrendered six earned runs in a total of 6.2 innings pitched. That’s a good for a 8.10 ERA.

Opposite Rodriguez for this middle game will be another right-hander in Houston’s Charlie Morton, who the Red Sox got to for six runs in less than six innings back on June 3rd, a game Boston ran away with.

First pitch of the middle game of the series is scheduled for 4:05 PM ET Saturday.

RECAP: #RedSox Winning Streak Comes to an End at Three in Rain-Filled 6-1 Loss to White Sox.

In the second of a four-game set against the Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox were looking to win their fourth straight game for the first time since August 12th on a rainy Friday night.

Making his 17th start of the season last night was Nathan Eovaldi, who entered the day with a 7.41 ERA over his last four starts and a 3.52 ERA in two career appearances (one start) at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Only able to pitch into the third inning of this one because of a lengthy weather delay, the right-hander’s struggles continued, as he got shelled for three earned runs on three hits and zero walks while recording six total outs.

Unable to strike out any of the 10 batters he faced on the night, the White Sox collected all three runs they scored off of Eovaldi in the bottom of the first. The first of which came on an Avisail Garcia RBI single, while the other two came off the bat of former Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada on his 17th home run of the season.

After holding Chicago scoreless in the second, the Texas native came back out for his third inning of work with his team in a 3-0 hole, but in the middle of the first at bat, the rain really started to pour, and that is when Crew chief Ted Barrett decided it was time to bring out the tarp.

With the rain delay officially lasting more than two hours, Eovaldi’s, along with White Sox starter Michael Kopech’s night, would come to a rather quick conclusion.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 35 (22 strikes), it was pretty obvious that the adjustments Eovaldi made with his landing foot, at the discretion of Pedro Martinez, these past few days did not come with the results he was necessarily looking for.

Out of those 35 pitches thrown, the 28-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 53% of the time he was on the mound Friday. He also topped out at 100.8 MPH with the same pitch in the first inning.

Although this particular outing was on the short side, let’s go ahead and take a look at how Eovaldi has been performing since he tossed eight scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on August 4th.

4 GS, 0-3, 8.05 ERA, 19 IP, 38 H, 24 R (17 ER), 3 BB, 12 K, 3 HR. Not great.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen would be turned to rather early once again on Friday night, and it was Drew Pomeranz who got the first call coming out of the rain delay.

Having only appeared in one game over the last week, the left-hander put in some solid relief work, as he scattered seven hits and six strikeouts over four scoreless frames. He also received some defensive help from the Red Sox outfield.

Next out of the ‘pen was Tyler Thornburg, who entered this contest with his team trailing by just three runs, but by the time he left, that deficit had increased to six after Matt Davidson launched a two out, three-run home run to left center field.

Thornburg was able to end the seventh inning, but that home run was essentially the final nail in the coffin for Boston.

Finally, just trying to keep his team within the five runs they were trailing by, Brandon Workman retired three of the four batters he faced in a scoreless eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another young right-hander for Chicago in the form of rookie Michael Kopech.

Kopech, a former Red Sox prospect who was part of the Chris Sale trade in 2016, received the call up to the majors on August 21st and is ranked as the top pitching prospect in the White Sox organization.

Making just his third career start on Friday, Kopech was up against his toughest opponent yet, and it showed early, as he hit the first batter he faced in Mookie Betts, then followed that up by walking Andrew Benintendi.

Thanks to some poor base running on Betts’ part though, the Texas native was able to get out of the first unharmed.

After working his way around a two out double from Ian Kinsler and a Sandy Leon HBP in the second, Kopech would be unable to resume his outing because of that two-hour rain delay.

For Kopech, out of the three starts he has made this season, two, both of which came at home, have been shortened due to weather.

Following the delay, Dylan Covey, who was part of the White Sox rotation the last time the Red Sox saw him, went out and pitched three scoreless innings of relief from the third until the middle of the sixth.

In fact, the only scoring Boston could manage in this one came in the eighth, when Andrew Benintendi mashed his 16th homer of the year off of Juan Minaya to make it a 6-1 game, which would go on to be the final score.

Some notes from this 6-1 loss:

From @RedSoxStats: Covey vs Red Sox this year 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K

Covey vs everyone else 87 IP, 70 R, 41 BB, 60 K, 6.18 ERA, 1.63 WHIP

Xander Bogaerts received his first ejection last night, as he was tossed in the top of the eighth for arguing balls and strikes. Rick Porcello was also ejected.

Since moving to the bullpen, Drew Pomeranz owns a 2.93 ERA in his last 15.1 innings pitched.

Tyler Thornburg, on the other hand, has given up five earned runs in his last five innings pitched.

Finishing August with a 18-9 record, the Red Sox will look to get back on track and guarantee a series split later tonight, as Eduardo Rodriguez will make his long-awaited return to the rotation and make his 20th start of the season.

Before spraining his right ankle against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 14th, Rodriguez had not surrendered a run in his last 19 innings pitched. He has never appeared in a game at Guaranteed Rate Field, but does own a 3.75 ERA over two career starts against the White Sox.

Opposite Rodriguez will be another southpaw in Chicago’s Carlos Rodon, who made his first start of the 2018 season against Boston back on June 9th.

Since that time, Rodon as arguably been the White Sox’s best starter, as he has posted a 2.70 ERA and .178 BAA in 14 starts this year.

First pitch of the third game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET, weather permitting.

RECAP: Rick Porcello Can’t Get Through Sixth Inning as #RedSox Drop First Series Since July in 5-1 Loss to Rays.

Less than a full day after getting blown out to open up Players’ Weekend at Tropicana Field on Friday night, the Red Sox and Rays were back it again on Saturday for the middle game of a three-game series with a rare 6:10 PM start time.

Making his 27th start of the season in this one, Rick Porcello entered the evening with a lifetime 2.72 ERA at the Trop, and he did pitch to that level of efficiency tonight.

In five-plus innings of work, the right-hander was charged for three earned runs on six hits, two walks, and two HBPs to go along with eight strikeouts recorded on the night before getting the quick hook in the bottom of the sixth.

Despite the three earned runs, things really could have gone a whole lot worse for Porcello, as he consistently found himself working around traffic on the base paths.

For instance, out of the five full frames he pitched in, only once did the New Jersey native fail to allow a baserunner, which came in the bottom of the second.

Other than that, the Rays had at least one runner on base from the first to the end of the fifth, including a bases loaded situation that Porcello managed to get out of unscathed in the third.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (58 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler departed from this one after allowing the first two batters he faced in the sixth to reach on a leadoff triple and HBP.

Out of those 89 pitches, Porcello turned to both of his fastballs, two and four-seam, a combined 55% of the time tonight. He also topped out at 93.3 MPH with that two-seamer in the first inning.

Falling to 15-7 with a 4.18 ERA on the season now, the former Cy Young Award winner will look to end what has been a rather inconsistent month of August on a positive note in his next time out, which should come against the Chicago White Sox sometime next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final nine outs of Saturday night’s contest, but those outs did not come easy.

Ryan Brasier got the first call out of the ‘pen with runners on first and third and no outs in the sixth, and he closed the book on Porcello’s night by allowing both inherited runners to score before eventually retiring the side in the frame.

Brandon Workman, making his first appearance since Wednesday, worked the seventh, and he gave up a one out solo homer to Tommy Pham as well as an additional hit and walk before ending the inning.

Finally, just trying to keep his team within three runs at this point, Tyler Thornburg surrendered the fifth run of the night for Tampa Bay on a two out RBI triple off the bat of Ji-Man Choi in the eighth.

All and all, not the best night for the bullpen.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who before tonight, had not started a game for the Rays since July 3rd.

Starting the scoring in the second, two straight hits from JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts put runners at second and third in an ideal scoring spot for Mitch Moreland, who was making his first appearance since leaving Thursday’s contest against the Indians with a left knee contusion.

Although he got ahead in the count 2-0, the best Moreland could do was ground into a run-scoring double play that plated Martinez from third to give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.

No RBI on the play though, and that’s all the scoring the team could manage off of Yarbrough and the rest of the Rays bullpen. Not much to talk about there since they were held to five total hits.

Some notes from this 5-1 loss: 

Out of those five Boston hits, four came from JD Martinez, who smacked a pair of doubles to overtake Mookie Betts in the American League batting race, and Eduardo Nunez, who hit two singles. Xander Bogaerts was responsible for the other base knock.

Speaking of Mookie Betts, the AL MVP frontrunner has hit a bit of a skid recently, as he is slashing a mere .179/.238/.231 over his last 10 games.

For the first time since June 29th-July 1st, the Red Sox have lost a series. They are 2-5 in their last seven games. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays have won their last seven.

The Red Sox are now 0-5 when wearing the Players’ Weekend jerseys.

Looking to salvage something from this series tomorrow afternoon, it will be ex-Ray Nathan Eovaldi taking the mound for Boston on Sunday.

In three starts at Tropicana Field this season, the right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings pitched.

Based on the ups and downs Eovaldi has had in his last three outings (6.23 ERA), hopefully pitching in a familiar ballpark will help get him back on track.

Opposite Eovaldi will be the ace of Tampa Bay’s pitching staff in LHP Blake Snell, who has held Boston to just two total runs in 19 innings pitched over three starts this season, two of which came at the Trop.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:10 PM ET Sunday.

RECAP: David Price Dominates Indians in Eight Scoreless Innings as #RedSox Become First Club to Reach 90 Wins.

Just a handful of hours after ending their three-game losing streak with a 10-4 win on Wednesday night, the Red Sox were back at it Thursday afternoon looking for a series split against a first place Indians team.

Making his 25th start of the season and coming off seven two-run innings in his last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price entered the day with a lifetime 2.24 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians. That trend continued this afternoon.

Pitching eight full frames in this one, the left-hander held Cleveland scoreless while scattering just three hits and one HBP to go along with zero walks and seven punch outs on the afternoon.

Starting his outing by retiring 18 of the first 19 batters he faced, the most trouble Price ran into came in the top half of the seventh, when he gave up a pair of singles but escaped without any damage thanks to an inning-ending unassisted double play.

In his final frame of work, the Tennessee native hit the first batter he faced in Brandon Guyer, but ended up facing the minimum thanks to another DP and six pitch strikeout of Roberto Perez to retire the side and end his day on a high note.

 

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (68 strikes), Price turned to his two-seam fastball 33 times and topped out at 94.9 MPH with the same pitch in the first inning.

As he later improved to 14-6 with yet another dominant performance, let’s take a look at how the 32-year-old hurler has been performing since the All-Star break.

6 GS, 4-0, 41.1 IP, 29 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 40 K, 1.09 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .193 BAA.

Ace-like stuff. Price will look to build on this recent stretch run of dominance in his next time out, which should more than likely come against the Miami Marlins next Wednesday.

In relief of Price, Tyler Thornburg was the lone reliever who got the call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the ninth and final frame. Despite giving up two hits, Thornburg managed to hold on and preserve the shutout to secure his team’s 90th win of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher they had never seen before in RHP Adam Plutko for Cleveland.

Plutko, a 26-year-old rookie, managed to manuever his away around Boston’s lineup through the first four innings on Thursday, but the fifth is where this game really turned on its head.

Starting with leadoff hits from Sandy Leon, whose double could not be caught by Melky Cabrera in left field, and Jackie Bradley Jr., followed by a one out walk of Andrew Benintendi, the bases were all of a sudden loaded for Blake Swihart, who was not even in the original starting lineup.

On a 2-2 fastball from Plutko, Swihart ripped a double to the wall in right field to plate Leon and Bradley and give the Red Sox a two-run advantage.

After intentionally walking JD Martinez to reload the bases, new Indians pitcher Adam Cimber could not sneak a 2-1 sinker by Xander Bogaerts, as the red-hot shortstop drove in another pair of runs on a two RBI single to left field.

Another intentional walk, this time of Brock Holt, once again reloaded the bases for Eduardo Nunez, who capitalized on a run-scoring opportunity and ripped the THIRD two RBI two-bagger of the inning to score both Martinez and Bogaerts and make it a 6-0 game just like that.

An inning later, JD Martinez wrapped up his team’s scoring by racking up his 109th RBI of the year on a one out single off of Indians reliever Josh Tomlin that drove in Mookie Betts from third. 7-0, which would end up being the final score on Thursday.

In the matter of one day, the Red Sox have turned a three-game losing streak that had everyone panicking into a brand new two-game winning streak. With the split against the Indians today, the team has now not lost a series since the first day of July. That is some impressive stuff.

Some other notes from this win:

Mitch Moreland, who was originally the starting first baseman in this contest, had to depart in the first inning after suffering a left knee contusion while sliding for a foul ball near the Red Sox dugout.

On a more positive note, to go along with those David Price numbers up above, the Red Sox are 8-0 in Price’s last eight starts and are 19-6 overall.

Xander Bogaerts has recorded at least one hit in eight of his last 10 games. Over that span, he is slashing .316/.366/.658 with two home runs and 10 RBI.

Over their last four games, Red Sox pitching held Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez to five total hits in 33 combined at bats. Only two of those hits went for extra bases.

Finishing the brief homestand with a 4-3 record, the Red Sox head south for a quick three-game weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Starters for the three-game set are as followed: Hector Velazquez, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi. The Rays have yet to announce their starters.

Head to head, Boston has had the advantage against Tampa Bay this season, as they own a 11-5 record against them going into their final matchup of 2018.

First pitch of the first game of Players’ Weekend is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Friday.

RECAP: Nathan Eovaldi Gets Hit Hard as #RedSox Drop Third Straight for First Time since April.

For the first time since April, the Red Sox have lost three consecutive games. Everybody panic!

Yes, the team with the best record in all of baseball has hit a bit of a skid recently, so let’s get right into where things went wrong on Tuesday night.

Making his fifth start with the Red Sox, Nathan Eovaldi entered the night with a 0.00 ERA in 15 innings pitched at Fenway Park this season.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the right-hander seemingly breezed through the first three frames of this one, but the fourth was where things turned out for the worst.

All coming with two outs, the Indians reached base four straight times off of Eovaldi on three singles and a double, which plated their first two runs of the evening.

After working his way around a leadoff double in a scoreless fifth, Cleveland struck again right away in the sixth on a solo home run off the bat of Melky Cabrera, his second in as many nights.

One out and two straight singles from Yan Gomes and Greg Allen singles later, Eovaldi’s night would come to a disappointing end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (63 strikes), the Texas native surrendered ten hits for the second time in his last three outings to tie a season-high. He also walked one and only recorded two strikeouts.

Out of those 87 pitches, Eovaldi relied on his fastball, both cut and four-seam, a combined 69% of the time on Tuesday while topping out at 100.1 MPH with that four-seamer in the first inning.

Since he got his Red Sox career off to a blazing start with those two stellar outings against the Twins and Yankees in late July and early August, Eovaldi has certainly come back to earth over the past two weeks. It will be interesting to see how he responds in his next time out against his old team this weekend in St. Petersburg.

In relief of Eovaldi, Joe Kelly entered the sixth with runners on first and second and closed the book on the 28-year-old’s night by giving up an RBI single to Michael Brantley that could have been a double had Sandy Leon not thrown him out at second to end the inning.

From that point on, Brandon Workman gave up a run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth and Tyler Thornburg, albeit it came on a quality pitch, served up a solo home run to Indians catcher Yan Gomes, minutes after the Red Sox had scored three runs of their own, to make it a 6-3 game heading into the bottom of the eighth.

Finally, despite walking one and giving up one base hit, Drew Pomeranz had himslef a scoreless ninth inning to give his team one last chance to rally in the bottom half of the frame, although it did not amount to much.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a starter they had never seen before in Cleveland’s Shane Bieber.

Bieber, 23 and a right-hander, is in his first season with the Indians and as you may have already guessed, had never pitched at Fenway Park before last night.

Despite that fact though, the former fourth round pick out of UC Santa Barbara had his way with Boston through the first six innings of this one.

In fact, it wasn’t until the fourth inning when Andrew Benintendi ripped a one out single to break up the no-hitter Bieber had going.

Fast forward to the seventh, with no outs and runners at first and third, Xander Bogaerts came through with an RBI double down the line in left to cut into the Indians lead and put his team’s first run of the night on the board.

One batter later, a Mitch Moreland sacrifice fly that could have been so much more had it not been for this great catch by Greg Allen drove in JD Martinez from third to cut Boston’s deficit to three.

That would be how Bieber’s night would come to a conclusion, but the Red Sox were not done scoring. Not until Xander Bogaerts came into score on a Ian Kinsler RBI groundout, anyway.

With the score of this one at 5-3 going into the eighth, it’s probably worth mentioning that the aforementioned home run from Yan Gomes off of Tyler Thornburg may have been the final nail in the coffin, as it upped the Indians lead back to three.

Anyway, old friend Andrew Miller sat down all three batters he faced in order in the eighth, and ex-Padres closer Brad Hand maneuvered his way around an E4 to notch his 29th save of the season in the ninth and final frame.

Some notes from this 6-3 loss:

Over the span of this three-game losing streak, the Red Sox have scored seven total runs. That is not ideal. All while the Yankees have won their last four games, also not ideal.

That Mitch Moreland sacrifice fly had a hit probability of 91%. According to Statcast, it was the only batted ball that had a hit probability north of 90%, yet it was caught.

I must admit, losing two straight games to one of the better teams in the American League is far from encouraging, but the Red Sox have been here before. Go back to that four-game series against the Astros in Houston back in June.

They dropped the first two games while not looking all that great, yet they bounced back and left with a series split that Sunday night. That’s what needs to happen now over these next two days.

Brian Johnson gets the nod in the third game of the series with Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco toeing the rubber opposite him.

While Johnson has never faced off against Cleveland in his young career, Carrasco has had his fair share of difficulties in his matchups against the Red Sox.

Over a span of seven career appearances (five starts) against Boston, the Venezuela native owns a 6.83 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in 27.2 innings pitched, 14 of which of come at Fenway Park.

First pitch of the third game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Wednesday. Time to put this losing streak to a halt.

 

 

 

RECAP: Chris Sale Dazzles in Return from DL as #RedSox Complete Four-Game Sweep of Orioles in Three Days.

Less than 24 hours after sweeping the Orioles in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox were looking for the real four-game sweep this afternoon to head into an off day on a positive note.

Making his 23rd start of the season and first since July 27th due to a 10-day disabled list stint caused by left shoulder inflammation, Chris Sale picked off right where he left off and flat dominated at Camden Yards on Sunday.

Granted, it was against a last place Orioles team, but still, for not pitching in a big league game for over two weeks, Sale really did pick up right where he left off in this one.

Pitching five complete frames, the left-hander held Baltimore scoreless on one hit, a single, while not walking a single batter on the afternoon.

The most incredible part of this Sale start, at least for me, had to be the number of strikeouts.

As he faced 16 total Orioles through those five scoreless innings, Sale managed to punch out 12(!!!). 12! In five innings! That’s 80% of the outs he recorded. All done with just 68 pitches. Truly surreal.

Out of those 68 pitches thrown, 48 of which were strikes, the Florida native induced 15 total swings and misses on the day.while

Relying on his four-seam fastball 31 times, the seven-time All Star topped out at 99.7 MPH with it in the third inning. Another sign that Sale’s left shoulder is feeling quite fine.

Alex Cora made it clear following the game that Sale was going to be limited to 75 pitches no matter what happened. And given the fact he completed five innings in such a convincing fashion with those 68 pitches, it makes sense why they did not want to put him back out there only to have him not finish the sixth.

It’s also worth noting that this was the 29-year-old’s first in-game action this month, so easing him back into things isn’t such a bad plan either.

Regardless, Sale maintained the stellar form he has put on display time in and time out this season, and because of that, he increased his scoreless innings streak up to 28 dating back to July 6th.

Including today, Sale owns a nice 0.69 ERA over his last 10 starts with 109 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched over that span. He has not given up a home run in a start since the first day of June.

As he improved to 12-4 on the season, the lanky lefty will look to build on an impressive return to the rotation in his next time out, which should come sometime next week against either the Tampa Bay Rays or Cleveland Indians, depending on how the upcoming off days impact pitching matchups.

In relief of Sale, the Red bullpen was once gain turned to at a rather early spot starting in the sixth inning.

  • Tyler Thornburg entered in a 2-0 game and retired the first two batters he faced, but followed that up by loading the bases on a single and two walks in a frame he was unable to finish. Out of the 24 pitches Thornburg threw, 10 went for strikes. That is not good.
  • Ryan Brasier would have to come on and attempt to get out of the jam Thornburg had created, and he managed by getting Trey Mancini to strikeout in a nerve-wracking seven pitch at bat that ended the inning and left the bases juiced.
  • Brian Johnson, despite moving up to the rotation earlier in the week, got the call for the seventh, and he needed just 16 pitches to work his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise scoreless frame of work.
  • Matt Barnes’ August struggles continued in the eighth, as he allowed three of the first four Orioles he faced to reach and load the bases in a two-run game. Fortunately, after surrendering Baltimore’s lone run on a Trey Mancini sacrifice fly, the UCONN product buckled down and fanned Tim Beckham on four pitches to retire the side.
  • Finally, Craig Kimbrel came on for the save in the ninth with a brand new three run lead to work with. He too continued some recent struggles by allowing the tying run to come to the plate with runners on first and second, but struck out the final pair of Orioles hitters he faced to notch his 35th save and secure his team’s 85th win of 2018.

So, over the past three days/four games, Red Sox relievers has been responsible for 19.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen en route to the four-game sweep. Having two off days in the next four days will certainly come in handy to get those guys some rest.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles RHP Alex Cobb.

Despite the rough first year he has had in Baltimore, Cobb was certainly more reminiscent of his days with the Tampa Bay Rays in one of his better outings of the season on Sunday.

Starting the scoring right away in the top half of the first was none other than Steve Pearce, who greeted Cobb by mashing a solo shot to left field to give the Red Sox an early advantage. Yet another big fly off a former team for Pearce, his 10th of the year.

Fast forward to the fourth, and a leadoff double off the bat of Brock Holt would turn into Boston second’s run of the afternoon thanks to a fielding error in right field on a JD Martinez single. Despite Holt coming in to score on the E9 committed by Adam Jones, Martinez was not credited with an RBI on the play.

Five innings later and going into the ninth with a one-run lead, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts provided some late game insurance with a pair of RBI base knocks.

Bradley Jr. drove in Eduardo Nunez, who technically got the rally started with a leadoff single off of O’s reliever Mychal Givens, from second to make it a 3-1 game.

In the very next at bat, Mookie Betts, in a 2-0 hitter’s count, ripped an RBI double off of Givens to score Bradley Jr. all the way from first and extend his hitting streak to eight games.

4-1 on Betts’ 63rd RBI of the season, which would turn out to be the final score in favor of the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox’ 85 wins are their most ever through 120 games. They are 50 games above .500 for the first time since 1946.

Another one from @SoxNotes: Chris Sale has a 0.20 ERA in his last 7 starts (44.0 IP, 1 R). According to , that is the lowest ERA by a Red Sox pitcher over any 7-start span since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. In those 7 starts, Sale has 79 K and 6 BB.

At 85-35, the Red Sox will head to Philadelphia via train for a quick two-game set against the Phillies that begins on Tuesday.

Rick Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi will get the starting nod for Boston in those two interleague contests, as they will be matched up against RHPs Nick Pivetta and Vince Velazquez in that order.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET on Tuesday.