Three Home Runs and Seven Masterful Innings from Eduardo Rodriguez Lift Red Sox to Rain-Filled 8-1 Win over Dodgers

In their first game at Fenway Park since June 26th, the Red Sox took the first of a three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers, opening the second half of their season with a commanding 8-1 victory Friday night.

Making his 19th start of the season for Boston in this World Series rematch was Eduardo Rodriguez, who capped off his first half with back-to-back outings of five or more innings pitched and less than two runs given up.

Picking up right where he left off in this one, the left-hander yielded just one earned run on five hits and two walks to go along with 10 strikeouts to tie a season-high over seven quality innings of work.

That one Los Angeles run came in the top half of the second, when with one out and the bases empty, Alex Verdugo unloaded on a 1-2, 87 MPH cutter from Rodriguez and deposited 374 feet into the right field seats.

Other than that, the Venezuela native maneuvered his way around back-to-back walks earlier in the first before retiring 17 of the next 21 Dodgers hitters he faced leading into the middle of the seventh, where his night came to a close with a ground out off the bat of Corey Seager to strand runners at first and second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 105 (67 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 37% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing eight swings and misses and topping out at 94.1 MPH with the pitch. He also got 11 whiffs with his changeup, a pitch he threw 33 times with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Improving to 10-4 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.43, Rodriguez will look to keep this recent encouraging run going in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In relief of Rodriguez, after an hour-long rain delay, left-hander Josh Taylor came on, fanned one and tossed a scoreless eighth to make way for Hector Velazquez in the ninth.

Like Taylor, Velazquez also punched out one lone Dodger en route to securing the convincing 8-1 win for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda, who allowed one run over three relief appearances against Boston in last year’s Fall Classic.

Rafael Devers got the scoring started for the Sox right away in the first inning, picking up where he left off before the break by mashing his 17th home run of the season, a 372-foot opposite field shot over the Monster, to put his team on the board.

An inning later, it was Christian Vazquez getting back in the swing of things, this time taking Maeda deep to left on a one-out, 3-2 changeup for his 15tth big fly which also broke a brief 1-1 stalemate.

Fast forward to the sixth, after the Dodgers starter had his way for a bit, and back-to-back doubles from Mookie Betts and Devers to lead off the frame got Boston back on the board again. 3-1.

In the seventh, with Maedo out and reliever Pedro Baez in, a one-out single from Jackie Bradley Jr., followed by Michael Chavis and Bradley Jr. both reaching base safely on a fielder’s choice, brought Brock Holt to the plate in a prime insurance run spot.

Having only faced the Dodgers one-time before Friday in his career, Holt capitalized on said run-scoring opportunity with a first-pitch RBI double off the left field wall, scoring Bradley Jr. and advancing Chavis up to third.

That gave the Sox a 4-1 advantage, and an hour-long weather delay meant Los Angeles had to turn to a new pitcher in righty JT Chargois with one out and runners in scoring position for Boston.

Mookie Betts came through in his first at-bat following the lengthy stoppage, driving in Chavis from third on a sacrifice fly to center. 5-1.

Two batters later, Xander Bogaerts made the Dodgers pay for intentionally walking Devers by punishing a 1-1 slider from Chargois and sending it 388 feet just over that home run marker on the Monster.

Bogaerts’ 18th blast of 2019 put the Red Sox ahead 8-1, and that would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 6-1 in their last seven games. Over that span, they are averaging 7.7 runs per game.

The 22 swings and misses Eduardo Rodriguez got on Friday set a new career-high.

From Red Sox Notes

From WEEI’s Rob Bradford and Red Sox Stats

From the Red Sox:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set on Saturday night.

Left-hander Chris Sale will get the start for Boston, while right-hander Ross Stripling will do the same for Los Angeles.

Since June 15th, Sale has posted a 5.96 ERA and .301 batting average against over his last four starts and 22 2/3 innings pitched.

Last time he pitched against the Dodgers, Sale recorded the final out of the 2018 World Series in Game 5.

Stripling, meanwhile, did not make an appearance at all for LA last October, and only has one prior start against the Sox under his belt, one in which he put together five scoreless innings in a winning effort back on August 6th, 2016.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:15 PM EDT on FOX. Red Sox going for their sixth straight win.

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Former #RedSox Closer Craig Kimbrel Will Not Be in Attendance for Tuesday’s Ring Ceremony, Says Team President and CEO Sam Kennedy

Earlier last week, Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy extended a formal invitation to former closer Craig Kimbrel to attend the club’s Opening Day festivities at Fenway Park on Tuesday.

Fast forward to Monday, the day before Boston’s home opener, and Kennedy told reporters that Kimbrel will in fact not be in attendance, as he does not want to cause any distractions.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo has the full quote from Kennedy:

Kimbrel, who of course won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2018, has yet to sign a contract with a big league club and remains a free agent.

When the report first popped up that the 30-year-old hurler could make an appearance at Fenway to receive his World Series ring, my initial reaction was that if you’re Dave Dombrowski, you can’t let that man leave without a contract offer.

Now, as we talk about the Red Sox bullpen 11 games into the new season, things do not as dire as many expected them to be. That much is highlighted by both Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier owning an ERA of 0.00 in eight combined appearances so far this year.

Still, one of the more elite relievers baseball has seen should be contributing in a major league bullpen right about now. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens anytime soon though, especially with a compensatory draft pick potentially on the line for the Red Sox.

Any way, first pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays is scheduled for 2:05 PM EDT on Tuesday at Fenway Park, with pregame festivities kicking off the day at 1 PM EDT.

The Final Three Outs of the 2018 World Series Taking You into the New Year.

As 2018 comes to a close, I figured it was a good time to reflect on what was one of, if not the greatest year in Boston Red Sox franchise history.

A record-setting 108 regular season wins followed by an impressive 11-3 run in the postseason en route to the club’s ninth World Series title following a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five.

Mookie Betts was named 2018 American League MVP, the first time a Red Sox player has received that honor since Dustin Pedroia in 2008.

After waiting until February to finally sign a five-year, $110 million contract, JD Martinez went ahead and led the junior circuit in RBI (130) and total bases (358) to go along with 43 home runs in hs first season with Boston.

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s defensive prowess was finally recognized with his first ever Gold Glove Award. The 28-year-old outfielder also came through with multiple clutch at bats in the ALCS against the Houston Astros on his way to being named the series’ Most Valuable Player.

Steve Pearce was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in June to provide a platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base and hit his way to becoming the MVP of the World Series after slashing .333/.500/1.167 with three homers and eight RBI in five games.

David Price put his postseason demons behind him to the tune of a 2.59 combined ERA in the ALCS and World Series, including seven-plus innings of one run ball against the Dodgers in that faithful Game Five.

And finally, Chris Sale, after dealing with left shoulder issues for the majority of the second half of the season, came in to close things out in the ninth inning of Game Five and win his team their fourth World Series title in the last 15 years.

So, without further or due, here are the final three outs of the 2018 World Series. Enjoy and Happy New Year.

 

#RedSox Sign 2018 World Series MVP Steve Pearce to One-Year Deal.

The Red Sox announced Friday evening that they had come to an agreement with first baseman Steve Pearce on a one-year, $6.25 million contract through the 2019 season.

Pearce, 35, was acquired by Boston from the Toronto Blue Jays back on June 26th in a two-player deal.

A soon to be free agent, the journeyman infielder made his presence felt immediately with his new club, as he finished the 2018 campaign with a solid .279/.394/.507 slash line to go along with seven home runs and 26 RBI over 50 games in a Red Sox uniform.

More importantly, Pearce came through with multiple clutch performances in October, including a two-homer night in the fifth and deciding game of the 2018 World Series, which ultimately led him to being named the Fall Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

“We’re thrilled to have Steve back with us for another year as we think he’s a great fit for our club,” said President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. “Obviously, we all saw what kind of impact he can have on the field, especially with the Postseason that he had. He also provides good depth and balance from the right side for us.”

Entering his 13th year in the big leagues in 2019, the Florida native will more than likely take on the same platoon role he had at first base with Mitch Moreland over the latter half of the 2018 season.

On the business side of things, the $6.25 million Pearce will earn in 2019 is the same amount he earned in both of the last two seasons with the Blue Jays and Red Sox.

With Pearce now taken care of, here’s a list of the remaining free agents who ended their year with Boston:

RHP Craig Kimbrel
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
RHP Joe Kelly
LHP Drew Pomeranz
INF Brandon Phillips
2B Ian Kinsler

 

 

How Much Money Will Nathan Eovaldi Make This Winter?

When the Red Sox acquired the services of Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays on July 25th, it was not all that clear what they were getting.

Many expected President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowksi to pursue a frontline reliever, such as Zach Britton or even Brad Hand, to stabilize his club’s then shaky bullpen, but that was not the case, or was it?

Over a two-month span with Boston, Eovaldi posted a 3.33 ERA and .266 BAA in 12 games (11 starts) and exactly 54 innings pitched.

There were some ups and downs mixed in with some dominant outings, but the right-hander provided the Red Sox with a high velocity arm capable of getting big outs, and that’s what he did in the postseason.

Making his first career appearance on a playoff roster, Eovaldi went on to be a crucial piece of the puzzle for Boston, both as a starter and reliever.

In the six October contests he appeared in, the Red Sox went 5-1, with that one loss coming in that 18 inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the World Series, a game where the Houston native tossed six-plus innings of one-run baseball on just one day of rest.

He would not appear in a game for the remainder of the series, but that effort alone appeared to have inspired the team to bounce back the way they did following that ugly loss en route to a World Series title.

Behind Steve Pearce and David Price, I would go ahead and say Eovaldi finished third in World Series MVP voting.

So now, the ex-Ray is set to hit free agency for the second time in his career. With a base salary of around $2 million this season, Eovaldi will no doubt be highly sought out after being a bargain this year.

With that in mind, I thought I would pose the following question: How much money should the Red Sox pay Nathan Eovaldi?

After the heroic month of October he had, I don’t believe I would be the first to say that the Red Sox need to do anything possible to retain his services.

Eovaldi is 28, has had two Tommy John surgeries, and has one of the more electric and durable fastballs in baseball.

Drew Pomeranz is also set to hit free agency, so ignoring the price for a second, Eovaldi would be able to fill in that spot if he were to stay.

We could be looking at a 2019 starting rotation, that, when healthy, consists of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello. Eduardo Rodriguez, and then Eovaldi.

That is pretty good, but it would also be pretty expensive.

Last winter, the two highest contracts awarded to starting pitchers were Yu Darvish’s six-year/$126 million deal with the Chicago Cubs and Jake Arrieta’s three-year/$75 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Both of those AAV’s come out to $21+ million per season and both Darvish and Arrieta were respectively 31 and 32 when those contracts were signed.

They were also both regarded as aces when with the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs, while Eovaldi has never been given that role in his seven-year career.

So, to cut to the chase, given what he did in the postseason and specifically against the New York Yankees, I would predict the Red Sox and Eovaldi agree to a four-year deal somewhere in the $70-$75 million range.

Let’s get it done.

David Price Proved His Doubters Wrong in a Tremendous Way This October.

Entering the month of October fresh off having his best regular season in a Red Sox uniform, there was still plenty of skepticism surrounding David Price when performance matters most, in the postseason.

Up until this year, the numbers in the playoffs simply had not been there for the left-hander, as he had yet to win a postseason game he started in nine tries.

With his club owning the best record in baseball in the 2018 regular season, eyes began to turn to Price right after Chris Sale led the way for Boston in a Game One win over the New York Yankees in the ALDS.

On a cool Saturday night at Fenway Park, the Tennessee native surrendered three earned runs on two home runs in less than two innings pitched. He would eventually get hit with another loss and did not appear in the series again.

Fast forward to Game Two of the ALCS, another contest against a 100+ plus win team in the Houston Astros at Fenway, and Price made some strides towards exercising his postseason demons.

Although he was far from great (four earned runs in 4.2 innings), Price kept his team in the game and gave them a chance to win, which they would eventually do to pull even with Houston.

Four days after that, after the Red Sox had taken the first two games at Minute Maid Park, the former first round pick was presented with the opportunity to pitch his team to the World Series.

With Chris Sale unavailable to start, not only did Price nearly come in as reliever the night before, but he dominated the Astros lineup in Game Five.

Three hits, no walks, and nine strikeouts over six scoreless frames was more than enough, and it eventually earned Price his first ever winning decision as a starter in the postseason.

Watching the post game festivities, you could tel it meant a lot for the 33-year-old to finally have one truly go his way in October, and he carried that over into the Fall Classic.

Making two starts as well as one relief appearance, Price posted a 1.98 ERA and .156 BAA over 13.2 innings total pitched in his second World Series

The Red Sox came away with a 4-2 win at Fenway Park in Game Two last Wednesday, and they won for the final time this year in his last outing on Sunday.

Coming off just one full day of rest from a relief appearance in Game Three, the southpaw held Los Angeles to one run in seven-plus quality innings, as the Red Sox took care of business with a 5-1 victory to win their ninth World Series title.

When asked about overcoming his own struggles in the postseason, Price responded, “To answer that question in Spring Training day and day and day and day, and over and over and over and over, anytime it got to September, playoffs, I hold all the cards now, and that feels so good,” Price said. “That feels so good. I can’t tell you how good it feels to hold that trump card. And you guys have had it for a long time. You’ve played that card extremely well. But you don’t have it anymore, none of you do, and that feels really good.”

So, here’s to David Price. He came, he saw, and now, he’s a World Series champion. And that can never be taken away from him.

RECAP: David Price Hurls Seven-Plus Masterful Innings and Steve Pearce Homers Twice as #RedSox Clinch 2018 World Series Title.

The Boston Red Sox are once again on top of the baseball world following a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday to clinch their fourth World Series title since 2004.

David Price got the start for this series-clinching Game Five on just one day of rest, and he was superb.

Making his third appearance of this 2018 Fall Classic, the left-hander limited the Dodgers to one lone run on three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over seven-plus quality innings of work.

That one run came right away in the bottom of the first, where before Price could even settle into his outing, David Freese led things off for Los Angeles by ripping a 402 home run on the very first pitch he saw.

Other than that little blip, the Dodgers threatened again in the third when JD Martinez could not locate a fly ball off the bat of Freese that resulted in a one out triple.

From that point, Price buckled down, ended the third without allowing the runner to score from third, and proceeded to retire the next 12 hitters he faced going into the eighth inning.

The Tennessee native would come back on for the eighth, but his superb night would ultimately come to an end after walking Chris Taylor on six pitches.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (58 strikes) in his final start of 2018, Price, who was caught by Christian Vazquez, relied on his four-seam fastball 37% of the time he was on the mound Sunday. He also topped out at 95.3 MPH with his two-seamer in the second inning.

In relief of Price, Joe Kelly came in with a runner on and three outs to get in the eight, and he capped off his terrific October by striking out all three Dodger hitters he faced.

And finally, in a game he was originally slated to start, Chris Sale came on to close this thing out in the ninth, and he did just that by also fanning all three hitters he faced, including a four pitch strikeout of Manny Machado to seal this World Series run in historic fashion.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, whose back was against the wall in this one.

Fresh off collecting four RBI in Game Four of Saturday, Steve Pearce immediately made his presence felt in the first inning on Sunday by blasting a one out, two-run home run to give his team an early two-run advantage.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Mookie Betts broke out of an 0-for-13 slump by mashing his first and only homer of this World Series on a 2-2 89 MPH slider from Kershaw. 3-1.

An inning later, JD Martinez also came through with his first big fly of this series that put the Red Sox ahead by three runs.

And in the eighth, Steve Pearce, who would later be named the MVP of this World Series, mashed his second home run of the night to all but guarantee a Game Five and series win for Boston’s team.

Some notes from this World Series-clinching win:

From @MLBStatoftheDay: Steve Pearce joins Babe Ruth and Ted Kluszewski as the only players 35 or older to have a multi-homer World Series game.

The Boston Red Sox have won four World Series titles in the last 15 years.

Alex Cora is the first Puerto Rican manager to win a World Series.

From @SoxNotes: David Price’s last 3 starts:
ALCS Game 5 at HOU – 6.0 IP, 0 R, 3-for-21
WS Game 2 vs. LAD – 6.0 IP, 2 R, 3-for-20
WS Game 5 at LAD – 7.0 IP, 1 R, 3-for-23
Totals: 1.42 ERA, .141 opponent AVG

From @BusterOlney: ELIAS: If the Red Sox win, David Price will have clinched two consecutive series against Cy Young winners – Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw – in the same postseason. That’s never been done before.

What a year, and what a way to cap it off.

The 2018 Boston Red Sox are one of the greatest baseball teams of all time. There is no doubt about that.

World. Series. Champions.

Steve Pearce is your MVP of the series.