Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez Tosses Three Scoreless Innings as #RedSox Drop Third Straight

The Red Sox fell to 6-8 in Grapefruit League play on Friday afternoon following a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles marking their third consecutive defeat.

Top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez got the start for Boston in this one and was impressive yet again.

Working the first three innings, the left-hander held Baltimore scoreless while yielding just one hit, one walk, and two HBPs to go along with four strikeouts. He faced 11 Orioles hitters.

Through three outings (two starts) this spring, Hernandez has yet to allow a run to score while striking out 10 in seven total innings of work.

In relief of Hernandez, Bobby Poyner, Travis Lakins, Mike Shawaryn, and Jenryy Mejia combined to surrender four runs on seven hits, two walks, one HBP, and three strikeouts.

Poyner, who served up a fourth inning solo home run up to Renato Nunez, was charged with the loss.

Mejia, meanwhile, bounced back from a rough outing Tuesday with a pair of punch outs in a 1-2-3 ninth on Friday.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner for the Orioles and were limited to two runs or less for the third straight day.

Tzu-Wei Lin accounted for Boston’s lone RBI in this one with an RBI ground-rule double in the second inning of Cashner to score Sandy Leon from second.

Fast forward all the way to the top half of the ninth, and Austin Rei plated the Red Sox’ second and final run of the afternoon after Sam Travis reached first on a Baltimore fielding error.

Some notes from this 4-2 loss:

In 24 at bats so far this spring, Tzu-Wei Lin is slashing .375/.423/.667 with one home run and six RBI.

I know it’s just spring training, but the Red Sox have scored four runs in their last three games. Not ideal.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the New York Mets Saturday at JetBlue Park.

Right-hander Zack Wheeler, who posted a 3.31 ERA in 2018, will make the start for New York, while left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will do the same for Boston.

Following Rodriguez’s latest start this past Monday, which also happened to come against the Mets, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “He needs to get better. His stuff is really good. . . we have to be more efficient.” So, we’ll see how that goes.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 ET down at JetBlue. NESN has it covered.

 

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Tzu-Wei Lin Homers, Collects Three RBI in Seven-Run Fourth as #RedSox Cruise past Nationals

The Red Sox improved to 6-5 in Grapefruit League play on Tuesday following an 8-4 win over the Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach for their third consecutive victory.

Hector Velazquez got the start in this one five days after his last outing, which also came against the Nationals.

This time out, the right-hander had a bit of an easier time of things, limiting Washington to one run on four hits, no walks, and one HBP while striking out three over two-and-two-thirds innings of work.

After allowing two of the first four hitters he faced in the third to reach base and plate the Nationals’ first run of the afternoon, Velazquez’s day came to an end and in came right-hander Trevor Kelley.

Kelley retired the only hitter he faced, Victor Robles, to end Washington’s rally in the third, which ended up being good enough to notch his first winning decision of the spring.

From there, Bobby Poyner, Travis Lakins, Jenrry Mejia, Domingo Tapia, and Josh Taylor combined to surrender three runs on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts.

Mejia, who last pitched five days ago like Velazquez, allowed the first three hitters he faced to reach base in the seventh, which resulted in the Nationals scoring their second and third runs of the day on an Austin Vloth two RBI single.

The ex-Met finished the inning without surrendering another run with the help of a double play, but it was far from the three-strikeout performance he put together in his Red Sox debut.

Taylor, who was responsible for the ninth and final inning, wrapped things up on Tuesday by allowing another Nats run to score on an additional two hits before securing the victory for Boston by getting Chuck Taylor to line out to Cole Sturgeon.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was once again matched up against ace right-hander Max Scherzer for the Nationals.

After shutting the Boston bats out over three frames of work last Thursday, the three-time Cy Young Award winner did not have that dominating of an outing today.

Instead, Scherzer finally cracked in the fourth inning this time around, as leadoff man Tzu-Wei Lin got the scoring started for the Red Sox by launching a solo home run, his first of the spring.

That homer would turn out to be the catalyst of a seven-run inning from Boston, as Bobby Dalbec, Chad De La Guerra, and Tate Matheny went back-to-back-to-back with RBI base knocks, all while chasing Scherzer from this contest.

And the cherry on top of this offensive onslaught came from Lin as well, who drove in De La Guerra and Matheny on a two RBI single off of journeyman hurler Vidal Nuno.

Fast forward all the way to the top half of the seventh, and a Blake Swihart leadoff single would later result in Boston’s final run of the afternoon coming around to score on an RBI double off the bat of Oscar Hernandez to essentially put this contest away at 8-3.

As the final score indicates, the Nationals would score another run in their half of the ninth. So, in case you are confused, the final score of this one was 8-4.

Some notes from this win:

Through 16 at bats this spring, Tzu-Wei Lin is slashing .438/.500/.813 with one home run and five RBI.

In his first game back since leaving Red Sox camp for a few days to remember his brother, Blake Swihart went 2/4 with a pair of singles and two runs scored batting second and playing first.

Next up for the Red Sox, they head back to JetBlue Park to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a nationally televised game on ESPN.

RHP Nick Kingham will make the start for Pittsburgh, while fellow right-hander will do the same for Boston.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET. Again, ESPN is the way to go.

 

#RedSox’ Sixth-Ranked Prospect Bobby Dalbec Homers in First at Bat of Spring Training

The Red Sox opened up exhibition play on Friday with a 6-0 win over the Northeastern Huskies baseball team.

Prospect Bobby Dalbec, ranked sixth in the Red Sox’ system by MLB Pipeline, got the scoring started for Boston with a second inning solo blast to dead center off of Northeastern’s David Stiehl.

Jagger Rusconi and Tzu-Wei Lin collected a pair of RBI in the bottom half of the third, while Tate Matheny and Cole Sturgeon combined to do the same in the fourth.

Tyler Dearden, a 29th round selection in 2017, wrapped up the scoring for Boston in the sixth by driving in Joseph Monge on a two out RBI triple.

Blake Swihart caught the first four innings of this contest. He went hitless in two plate appearances.

On the pitching side of things, prospect Mike Shawaryn got the starting nod for the Red Sox. The former University of Maryland product limited Northeastern to just one hit while striking out a pair in two scoreless innings of work.

From there, Darwinzon Hernandez, Domingo Tapia, and Josh Taylor combined for two hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over five shutout frames.

Hernandez, who accounted for three of those strikeouts in two innings, is ranked as the seventh best prospect in the Red Sox’ system.

When asked about Dalbec’s homer, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “That was pretty good. Straight center. Yeah. That’s pretty good.”

The 23-year-old Dalbec slashed .257/.361/.558 with 32 home runs and 109 RBI in 129 games between High A Salem and Double A Portland last season.

Dalbec and Red Sox top prospect Michael Chavis, who went 0-for-1 on Friday, should both be interesting to watch over the course of the spring.

Next up for Boston is the Grapefruit League opener against the New York Yankees on Saturday at JetBlue Park.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox will start Rafael Devers at designated hitter, Sandy Leon at catcher, Bryce Brentz, Gorkys Hernandez, and Rusney Castillo in the outfield, Tzu-Wei Lin at second base, Josh Ockimey at first base, and CJ Chatham at short stop.

Josh Smith, Marcus Walden, Travis Lakins, and Erasmo Ramirez are all expected to pitch as well, although a starter has yet to be named.

First pitch against New York on Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.

 

David Price Changes #RedSox Uniform Number from No. 24 to No. 10.

On yet another slow day in the baseball offseason, The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham came through with an interesting tweet Thursday afternoon regarding Red Sox uniform numbers for 2019, with the most significant number change coming from David Price.

That’s right, after spending his first three seasons in Boston rocking No. 24, the left-hander has apparently made the switch to the No. 10 for the 2019 season.

Neither Price or the Red Sox have provided a reason for the uniform number change, but Abraham also tweets that, “there is nothing going on with No. 24. Price just wanted to switch to No. 10.”

Some speculated that perhaps the club was preparing to retire the number in honor of Dwight Evans or Manny Ramirez this upcoming season, but as Abraham states above, this move was based strictly off of Price’s own preference.

In order for this uniform number change to happen, Red Sox bench coach had to give the No. 10 up. Perhaps Price will have to pay for a team dinner or something of the sorts like Eduardo Rodriguez had to do last year to obtain the No. 57 from third base coach Carlos Febles. Roenicke will wear the No. 30 in 2019.

Tzu-Wei Lin also reclaimed the No. 5, which had been briefly taken over by Ian Kinsler, who is now with the San Diego Padres.

Bryce Brentz, who the Red Sox re-signed to a minor-league contract earlier this month, will wear the No. 54.

Here are some other uniform numbers for Red Sox big league camp in Fort Myers.

The No. 46, which was worn by Red Sox and current free agent closer Craig Kimbrel for the last three seasons, has yet to be assigned. That’s something to keep an eye on as February 13th looms near.

RECAP: A Pair of First Career Home Runs from Sam Travis and Tzu-Wei Lin Power #RedSox to 7-5 Win over Indians for 105th Victory of Season.

After clinching  and celebrating their third straight American League East title with an 11-6 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday night, the Red Sox headed to Cleveland looking to make more history in their last road series of the regular season against an Indians team that clinched their division weeks ago.

Making his 26th start of the season in and third since returning from the disabled list on September 11th in this series opener was Chris Sale.

Entering Friday with a lifetime 4.63 ERA in 14 career outings at Progressive Field, the left-hander’s night, although on the short side, went decently well.

Pitching into the fourth inning of this one, Sale held the Indians to two runs on five hits, one of which was a home run, and zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

Facing 15 total batters, the Florida native really did not run into any trouble until that bottom half of the fourth, when with one out and the bases empty, newest Indian Josh Donaldson unloaded on a 2-1 95 MPH fastball and pulled it 396 feet into the left field bleachers.

That was followed up by a Yandy Diaz single, and that is how Sale’s night would come to a conclusion, at least on the field of play.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (48 strikes) the most he has thrown since returning from the DL, the 29-year-old turned to his four-seam seam fastball 25 times on the evening, and topped out at 95.7 MPH with that same pitch in the third inning.

Unable to pick up the winning decision due to the length of last night’s start, Sale will take his square 2.00 ERA into his final start of the regular season in his next time out, which will come against the Baltimore Orioles this Wednesday at night at Fenway Park. Expect the ace to ramp it up to somewhere around 85 pitches in that one.

In relief of Sale, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen with one out and one on in the fourth, and he officially closed the book on the starter’s night by serving up a two-run homer to Indians catcher Yan Gomes that gave Cleveland a 3-1 advantage.

From the middle of the fifth inning on, Bobby Poyner, Matt Barnes, Drew Pomeranz, Brandon Workman, Hector Velazquez, and Robby Scott combined to toss four innings of two-run ball to set up Craig Kimbrel for the save in the ninth.

Working for the second time in as many days with a two run lead to protect, the Red Sox closer sat down all three batters he faced to notch his 42nd save and secure his team’s 105th win of the season.

All and all, not including Sale, Alex Cora turned to EIGHT total relievers on Friday night. Matt Barnes also made his first appearance out of the bullpen in over two weeks and picked up his sixth win of the year with a scoreless sixth inning of work.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer, who was making his first start since August 11th after fracturing his right fibula.

Before we get into this, I just want you to go ahead and take a look at Friday’s lineup to get an idea of what the expectations were going into this one.

  1. Tzu-Wei Lin, CF
  2. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. JD Martinez, DH
  5. Steve Pearce, 1B
  6. Brock Holt, SS
  7. Blake Swihart, RF
  8. Sam Travis, LF
  9. Sandy Leon, C

As you can see, not exactly what the ALDS lineup is going to look like. It makes sense given the fact most of the everyday guys were a bit hung over from the postgame festivites on Thursday to go along with an early morning flight to Cleveland.

Anyway, Bauer, like Sale, was on a pitch cap, and he only made it into the second inning before getting the hook in favor of Matt Olson, who finished the frame without surrendering a run.

That made way for RHP Shane Bieber to begin the top half of the third, and Sam Travis greeted him right away by launching his first ever big league home run to put Boston on the board first.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Bieber still on the hill for Cleveland, and Rafael Devers stayed hot by mashing a two out solo homer good for his 18th of the season to cut the Indians lead to two.

An inning later, two straight one out hits set up Sam Travis in another prime run scoring opportunity, and he delivered by drilling a two RBI double to right center that plated both Brock Holt and Blake Swihart to tie this contest up at four runs each.

A few moments later, leadoff man Tzu-Wei Lin drove in Travis, who represented the go-ahead run, on a hard hit infield single that deflected off of Bieber’s heel and could not be fielded in time. 5-4 game.

Following a Brandon Phillips single and a pitching change that saw right-hander Neil Ramirez take over for Bieber, Rafael Devers came through once again by lining a run-scoring single to left field that allowed Lin to come in from third and give his team a two-run edge.

After the Indians bounced back with a run of their own in their half of the seventh, Tzu-Wei Lin essentially put this game on ice by demolishing his first career big fly off of Dan Otero with one out in the top of the ninth.

A 396 foot shot to right field that put the Red Sox up 7-5, which would go on to be the final score in their 105th win of the season, in case you missed that the first time.

Some notes from this 7-5 win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox improve to 105-49, tying the franchise’s all-time single-season wins record (105-47 in 1912). Their magic number to clinch MLB’s best record is 1.

In the month of September, Craig Kimbrel is 5/5 in save opportunities over eight relief appearances. He has not allowed a single run to score in that span.

Rafael Devers is 6/16 (.375) in his last four games.

Dating back to September 9th, Brock Holt is slashing .455/.520/.909 with three home runs and eight RBI.

Since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket on September 1st, Tzu-Wei Lin owns an OPS of 1.200.

Going for a record-setting 106th win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the starting nod for Boston.

Over the course of his 10-year career, Porcello has pitched at Progressive Field 12 times, where he owns a 2.84 ERA over 73 innings pitched.

Opposite Porcello will be another Indians right-hander in Mike Clevinger, who has seemingly emerged as one of the more underrated hurlers in the American League thanks to a breakout season in which he has posted a 3.06 ERA over a span of 30 starts with Cleveland.

First pitch of the middle game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Saturday. Time to make some history.

 

Ian Kinsler Headed to Disabled List with Left Hamstring Strain.

Not great.

After being removed from last night’s contest against the New York Yankees in the second inning, the Red Sox have announced that their new second baseman is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a strain in his left hamstring.

The injury appeared to happen in the bottom of the first, when after drawing a walk and stealing second base, Kinsler came around to score on an Eduardo Nunez RBI single.

While he was heading towards home, a replay of what happened showed that Kinsler was in some pain as he crossed the plate in the first.

A half inning later, he was out of the game, and by the time Alex Cora got to his press conference at around 9:30, a trip to the DL seemed pretty imminent.

Although the Red Sox are being cautious here, similar to the Chris Sale injury, it certainly is a bummer to lose a guy who just got here, especially someone who was going to be a full-time player over at second base.

In Kinsler’s place, the team has announced that infielder Tony Renda has been added to the 25-man roster from Triple A Pawtucket.

Renda, 27 and a former second round pick of the Washington Nationals in 2012, is in his first year with the Red Sox organization.

Most notable for being part of the trade that sent Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Yankees, Renda, a native of California, owns a big league slash line of .183/.246/.217 in 32 games with the Reds back in 2016.

Playing in both Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket this season, Renda owns a .928 OPS to go along with five home runs and 24 RBI in 47 games with the Sea Dogs and PawSox.

Capable of playing second and third base, I can’t imagine Renda will have that large of a role with the big league club.

Eduardo Nunez has done a fine job filling in at third base for Rafael Devers, who should return from the DL himself very soon, and Brock Holt is more than competent over at second base.

We’d usually see Tzu-Wei Lin get the call up in this situation, but he is hurt himself with bruised ribs.

Brandon Phillips, another former Red who hit a three-run walk-off homer for the PawSox last night, could have gotten the promotion as well, but the team decided to roll with Renda.

Dustin Pedroia has also been transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

First pitch of tonight’s game against the Yankees is scheduled for 4:05 PM ET, weather permitting.

Rafael Devers Hits Disabled List with Left Shoulder Inflammation.

After sitting out last night’s game in favor of Eduardo Nunez, the Red Sox announced today that third baseman Rafael Devers has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, meaning he will miss the remaining four games against the Toronto Blue Jays before the All-Star Break.

Prior to this roster move, Devers was actually in a bit of a slump at the plate. If you go back to his five-hit night against the Yankees on June 30th, the Dominican native was slashing just .138/.265/.172 with two RBI in eight games since then.

In what is his first full year in the big leagues, this season has provided plenty of ups and downs for the young Red Sox infielder. Given the fact this injury does not appear to be all that serious, I would expect that Devers would be ready to go by the time Boston opens up a three-game series in Detroit following the break.

As the above tweet mentions, infielder Tzu-Wei Lin has been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket to take the place of Devers on the 25-man roster.

First pitch of tonight’s game against the Blue Jays (Happ v. Price) is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.