Dustin Pedroia Collects Two Hits, One RBI as #RedSox Cruise past Rays in Shutout Fashion

The Red Sox improved to 10-15-1 in Grapefruit League play on Thursday evening following an 8-0 shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in their first and only contest under the lights at JetBlue Park this spring.

Making his fifth appearance (fourth start) of the spring in this one was Hector Velazquez.

Working the first two innings, the hybrid right-hander held Tampa Bay scoreless while scattering just two hits and zero walks to go along with zero strikeouts.

In total, Velazquez faced eight Rays hitters and retired six of them to lower his Grapefruit League ERA to 7.84.

From the top of the third inning on, Darwinzon Hernandez, Matt Barnes, Tyler Thornburg, Colten Brewer, Marcus Walden, and Durbin Feltman combined to toss seven frames of shutout ball on a pair of hits, six walks, and 12 punch outs on the night.

Hernandez, responsible for the third, tip-toed his way around three free passes and avoided any damage by getting Kevin Kiermaier to ground out to Dustin Pedroia to retire the side.

Matt Barnes, meanwhile, picked up where he left off against the Twins on Monday by fanning three straight Rays in order in a sharp fourth inning of work.

And to wrap this win up, Feltman struck out one in a fairly simple 1-2-3 top of the ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against right-hander Hunter Wood to start things off.

Rafael Devers, batting third, was the offensive catalyst in this one, as his GIDP with Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts on the corners in the first plated Boston’s first run of the night.

Fast forward to the third, and Devers was at it again, driving in Jackie Bradley Jr. and Blake Swihart on a hard-hit two-run triple to right field off Rays reliever Adam Kolarek.

One pitching change that saw ex-Athletics hurler Emilio Pagan take over later, JD Martinez made it a 4-0 game with a scorcher of an RBI double off the Fenway South Green Monster.

The two-time 2018 Silver Slugger Award winner would come around to score on a Joey Wendle fielding error off a ground ball from Brock Holt, who would score himself on a Dustin Pedroia RBI base knock. And just like that, it was 6-0 Boston.

Three innings later, back-to-back singles from Pedroia and Bradley Jr. in the sixth would result in Boston’s final two runs of the evening crossing the plate on a two-run double off the bat of prospect Ryan Fitzgerald to make it an 8-0 game, which would go on to be the final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

In his first game since it was revealed that he would not be ready for Opening Day, Pedroia went 2/3 with his first RBI of the spring on Thursday.

Through 43 plate appearances this spring, Devers is slashing .395/.409/.605 with one home run, two doubles, and six RBI.

Brewer, who was responsible for the sixth, also struck out the side in order in his lone frame of relief.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll head down the road to face the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium in the final installment of the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

2019 Opening Day starter Chris Sale is set to toe the rubber for Boston, while right-hander Kyle Gibson will do the same for Minnesota.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 6:05 PM EDT on NESN.

Last Friday without meaningful baseball for the next seven months. That’s what I like to see.

 

 

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Chris Sale Fans Seven and Mookie Betts Homers as #RedSox Bounce Back with 6-1 Victory over Braves

The Red Sox improved to 7-13-1 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday afternoon following a 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at JetBlue Park, marking their first win since March 5th.

After tossing three innings in a minor league contest this past Monday, Chris Sale finally made his 2019 Grapefruit League debut in this one.

With a pitch limit set at no more than 65, the ace left-hander held Atlanta scoreless while scattering two hits and striking out seven, five of which came consecutively, in four quality frames of work. He did not walk a single batter.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 50 before heading out to finish his day in the Red Sox bullpen, Sale topped out at 93 MPH with his fastball and also mixed in a fair amount of changeups and sliders.

From the beginning of the fifth inning on, we got a significant glimpse at what could potentially be the back-end of the Red Sox bullpen in 2019, as Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Tyler Thornburg, and Darwinzon Hernandez combined to surrender only one run on five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over the final five innings on Saturday.

Like Sale, Brasier also made his 2019 Grapefruit League debut against the Braves.

Previously dealing with a toe infection earlier in the spring, the 2018 standout reliever struck out one while also allowing that lone Atlanta run to cross the plate in their half of the sixth.

Thornburg, meanwhile, finally put together his first shutout performance of the year, as he retired three of the four hitters he faced in a solid seventh inning of relief.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Braves number-two prospect Kyle Wright to start things off on Saturday.

As he typically does, Mookie Betts got the scoring started for Boston by lacing a one out first inning single off Wright.

One Mitch Moreland double later, and JD Martinez collected his first RBI of the spring on a sac-fly to right.

That plated Betts and advanced Moreland to third, who would then come around to score himself on an RBI double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts to give the Red Sox an early two-run advantage.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Betts struck again by blasting his first home run of the year off Braves reliever Shane Carle, a monumental solo shot over the JetBlue Park Green Monster.

An inning later, Brock Holt would turn out to be the catalyst of a three-run frame for Boston by drawing a leadoff walk off Luke Jackson.

Two back-to-back RBI doubles from Eduardo Nunez and Jackie Bradley Jr. later, the Red sox found themselves up 5-1.

After stealing third, Bradley would come in to score on a Chad De La Guerra sacrifice fly, which would plate the club’s sixth and final run of the day, as 6-1 would go on to be your final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

Eduardo Nunez had himself a nice day at the plate with that RBI double. He also flashed the leather at third on a hard-hit ground ball from Adam Duvall in the fourth inning.

Darwinzon Hernandez, who was responsible for the final two innings on Saturday, briefly received a visit from Alex Cora and a trainer in the eighth, but remained in the game to close things out.

In his third game back, Dustin Pedroia went 0/3 out of the leadoff spot. He started the first five innings at second base.

Next up for the Red Sox, it will be some split-squad action against both the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

One group will remain in Fort Myers to host the Rays with David Price slated to start, while the other group will head to Bradenton to face the Pirates, with Marcus Walden getting the start there.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon is listed as Sunday’s starter for Pittsburgh, while Tampa Bay will be going with lefty Ryan Merritt.

First pitch for both contests is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT. NESN has the Rays game covered.

Also, here’s what Red Sox manager Alex Cora said following Saturday’s win:

Eduardo Rodriguez Impresses in Four Innings as #RedSox Fall to Mets for Fourth Straight Loss

The Red Sox fell to a not so nice 6-9 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday afternoon following a blowout 10-2 loss at the hands of the New York Mets at JetBlue Park, marking their fourth straight defeat.

Eduardo Rodriguez got the start in this one and was impressive yet again, as the left-hander worked the first four frames and held New York to just one run on three hits and one walk to go along with a trio of strikeouts. He faced 15 hitters.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that he would like to see Rodriguez be more aggressive following his previous start this past Monday.

When asked about the Venezuela native’s outing on Saturday, Cora seemed encouraged with what he saw.

In relief of Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, Tyler Thornburg, Josh Taylor, and Domingo Tapia surrendered nine runs on 12 hits, one walk, and four strikeouts over the final five innings.

For Barnes, Saturday’s outing marked the right-hander’s 2019 spring debut. He allowed hits to four of the first five hitters he faced , which in turn resulted in three New York runs coming around to score in the fifth.

Thornburg, meanwhile, served up a monster solo home run to Mets first baseman Pete Alonso to lead off the sixth before allowing an additional two runs as well.

Through four appearances and four innings pitched this spring, the former Brewer owns a gargantuan 15.75 ERA and 3.00 WHIP.

When asked about Thronburg’s underwhelming performances so far in 2019, Cora implied that it’s now “go-time,” for the right-hander.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was held in check by Mets starter Zack Wheeler, as the 28-year-old hurler allowed just one hit and no walks while fanning three over four shutout innings of work.

As a matter of fact, the only inning Boston could put across any runs came in the first inning without Wheeler on the mound for New York in the bottom half of the fifth.

Blake Swihart got the scoring started with a two out RBI single off Kyle Dowdy to plate Sam Travis from second, and Andrew Benintendi drove in Swihart on another RBI single that also happened to end the inning with Christian Vazquez getting thrown out at home.

 

That made it a 4-2 game at the time, but the Mets would go on to score six unanswered, as the final score in this one was 10-2 in favor of New York.

Some notes from this loss:

Blake Swihart went 1/2 on Saturday with that RBI single. He started at catcher and played the first five innings.

Speaking of catchers, Christian Vazquez, who DH’d, went 2/3 on Saturday with a double and a strikeout.

Rafael Devers went 1/3 with a triple. He has yet to hit a three-bagger in a regular season game.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to put a stop to their four-game skid on the road against the Tampa Bay Ray in Port Charlotte on Sunday.

Right-hander Rick Porcello is set to make his first start of 2019 in this one, while fellow righty Casey Sadler will make the start for Tampa Bay.

First pitch at Charlotte Sports Park on Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT. NESN will have it covered.

 

#RedSox Limited to One Run by Pirates in Steve Pearce’s Spring Debut

On a busy day at JetBlue Park, the Red Sox fell to 6-6 in Grapefruit League play and saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday following a 6-1 loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Non-roster invitee Josh Smith made the start for the Red Sox in this one.

Going the first two innings, the journeyman right-hander surrendered two earned runs on four hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts on the afternoon. He was later charged with his first losing decision of the year.

Through three appearances (two starts) this spring, the 31-year-old Smith, who spent parts of 2018 in both the Seattle Mariners and Red Sox organization, owns a 7.94 ERA as well as six strikeouts over 5.2 innings pitched.

From the top of the third inning on, Tyler Thornburg, Colten Brewer, Ryan Weber, Brian Ellington, Dan Runzler, and Adam Lau combined to allow four runs to score on 10 hits, seven walks, and seven punch outs.

Brewer had the cleanest outing of the bunch, as the former Pirates draftee fanned a pair and faced the minimum in a perfect fourth inning.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was held to one run on just three hits by starter Nick Kingham and the rest of the Pirates staff.

That one run came in the bottom half of the fifth inning, when Sandy Leon drove in Jackie Bradley Jr. from second on an RBI single.

Some notes from this 6-1 loss:

In his 2019 spring debut and first ever Grapefruit League game in a Red Sox uniform, 2018 World Series MVP Steve Pearce went 0/2 batting sixth and manning first base up until the sixth inning.

Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts, meanwhile, batting first and second in Boston’s starting lineup, went a combined 2/5 with a single each. Benintendi also struck out once.

Next up for the Red Sox, they welcome the Minnesota Twins to JetBlue for the fourth installment of the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

Right-hander Kohl Stewart will get the start for the Twins, while left-hander Brian Johnson will do the same for Boston.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET. ESPN is the way to go once again, as Mookie Betts is set to be mic’d up like Jackie Bradley Jr. was on Wednesday.

Top Prospect Michael Chavis Blasts Fourth Spring Home Run as #RedSox Top Twins

The Red Sox improved to 4-5 in Grapefruit League play on Sunday following a 9-7 win over the split-squad Minnesota Twins. They are now up two games to one in the race for the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

Top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez made the start for Boston in this one, marking his first of the spring.

The left-hander impressed on Sunday, holding Minnesota scoreless on one hit and a pair of walks to go along with three strikeouts over two innings of work.

Despite loading the bases and getting out of the jam in the second, only one ball off of Hernandez was hit out of the infield in this one. The 22-year-old hurler was consistently reaching the high 90’s with his fastball, as well as mixing in some nasty breaking stuff as well.

So far this spring, Hernandez has yet to yield a run in three total appearances and six innings of work.

In relief of Hernandez, Tyler Thornburg, Erasmo Ramirez, Marcus Walden, Jordan Weems, and Dan Runzler combined to surrender seven runs on 11 hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts over the final seven frames on Sunday.

Thornburg, who is vying for a late-inning role in the Red Sox bullpen, allowed hits to two of the first three hitters he faced, which resulted in the Twins scoring their first run of the afternoon.

Still, the right-hander rallied and retired the last two hitters he faced, including a strikeout of Tyler Austin to escape the inning.

Walden, who surprisingly made Boston’s Opening Day roster last season, put together the best performance of any Red Sox reliever on Sunday, as the right-hander scattered two hits and three punch outs over two scoreless innings of work. He earned his second winning decision of the spring as a result of the solid performance.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup featured eight presumable 2019 regulars, including Mitch Moreland, who started as the DH, for the first time this spring.

It was actually Moreland who got the scoring started for Boston with a third inning RBI single off of Twins starter Stephen Gonsalves that plated Mookie Betts from second.

Fast forward to the fifth, and top prospect Michael Chavis picked up where he left off by mashing his fourth long ball of the spring.

That homer pulled the Red Sox to within one run of the Twins at the time it was hit.

Just an inning later though, Boston’s bats erupted for a SEVEN run bottom half of the sixth, as a Chad De Le Guerra RBI single, a Tony Renda solo home run, and a CJ Chatham bases-clearing RBI double saw the Red Sox jump out to a 9-3 advantage.

In total, the Red Sox sent 12 hitters to the plate in their half of the sixth, with Chatham igniting the rally on a leadoff single and capping things off with a game-sealing three RBI double.

The Twins would attempt to fight their way back by scoring four unanswered runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but would ultimately fall short as 9-7 is your final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

Through his first 17 at bats of 2019, Michael Chavis is slashing .353/.421/1.059 with four home runs and 10 RBI.

Mookie Betts went 2/2 on Sunday with a pair of hard-hit opposite field doubles in the first and third innings.

Next up for the Red Sox, they travel to Port St. Lucie on Monday to take on a split-squad New York Mets club.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will make the start for Boston while New York has yet to announce a starter.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 1:10 PM ET. MLB Network will have the game.

 

#RedSox and Tyler Thornburg Avoid Arbitration, Come to Terms on One-Year, Non-Guaranteed Deal for 2019 Season.

The Boston Red Sox announced on Friday morning that they had made the following roster moves:

There were legitimate rumors circulating the past few days that Thornburg had a chance to be non-tendered by the Red Sox today, but the two sides came to an agreement prior to the 8 PM ET deadline.

Per NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich, Thornburg’s new deal is worth, “$1.75 million with $400K in potential bonuses for games pitched.”

Since being acquired by Boston from the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the start of the 2017 season, Thornburg, 30, did not make his Red Sox debut until this past July.

In the 25 games he appeared in as a reliever during the 2018 campaign, the right-hander posted an unsightly 5.63 ERA and .901 OPS against to go along with 21 strikeouts and 10 walks over 24 total innings of work.

Limited this year because of thoracic outlet surgery on his throwing shoulder in March, Thornburg was eventually shut down in late September and did not pitch for Boston in the postseason.

Known by Red Sox fans as the pitcher the club gave up slugging infielder Travis Shaw and promising prospect Mauricio Dubon for, Thornburg’s tenure in Boston has been far from memorable, and he’ll have to make the Opening Day roster out of spring training in order for his 2019 salary to be guaranteed.

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski also announced on Friday that the team will tender contracts for the 2019 season to all 29 players on the Red Sox major league roster who are unsigned.

 

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.