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:

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Rick Porcello Makes 2019 Spring Debut as #RedSox Serve up Six Home Runs in 8-1 Loss to Rays

The Red Sox fell to 6-10 in Grapefruit League on Sunday afternoon following a 8-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte, marking their fifth consecutive defeat.

Making his 2019 debut in this one for Boston was Rick Porcello. The right-hander, who is entering the final season of his original four-year contract extension he signed in 2015, surrendered two runs on four hits, two of which were home runs, and no walks to go along with one strikeout in three innings of work.

As that line indicates, the only runs given up by Porcello came on a pair of Tampa Bay solo homers in the second and third innings off the bats of Joey Wendle and Mike Zunino.

In total, the 30-year-old hurler faced 15 hitters in his first action of the spring.

From the middle of the fourth inning on, Hector Velazquez, Brandon Workman, Colten Brewer, and Brian Ellington combined to allow six runs to cross the plate on 11 hits, four of which were homers, two walks, and six strikeouts over the final five frames of this one.

Like Porcello, Velazquez and Workman each gave up a pair of long balls, as Guillermo Heredia and Avisail Garcia went yard in the fourth and fifth innings, while Heredia and Nate Lowe did the same for the Rays in their half of the sixth.

If anything, both Brewer and Ellington held Tampa Bay scoreless in their individual innings of relief, but the Red Sox bullpen has been a rough spot thus far through 16 Grapefruit League games.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup could not muster more than two runs for the FIFTH straight day. And guess what? They haven’t won any of their last five games!

The lone Boston managed to tally in this one came in the seventh inning, when with one out and Diego Castillo on the hill for Tampa Bay, Steve Pearce grounded into a run-scoring out at first while Aneury Tavarez came around to score from third to make it a 8-1 game at the time. That would go on to be the final score in this Sunday afternoon contest.

Some notes from this loss:

Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Steve Pearce, and Eduardo Nunez went a combined 2/12 at the plate with one walk and one RBI.

Brock Holt was slated to start at second, but was scratched at the last-minute due to back spasms. He is considered day-to-day.

I get that it’s just spring training, I really do, but can I at least say the last week has been frustrating to watch? Because it has.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an off day on Monday before hosting the Detroit Tigers for at JetBlue Park the first time this spring

Monday will not be a typical day off though, as Chris Sale is set to pitch in a minor league game beginning at approximately 11:40 AM on one of the Fenway South backfields.

On Tuesday, we’ll see a starting pitching matchup featuring two left-handers who were once part of the same trade.

For Detroit, it will be Daniel Norris getting the starting nod, while 2018 postseason hero David Price will make his 2019 debut and do the same.

Go back to July of 2015, and these two southpaws were part of the same deal that sent Price from Detroit to the Toronto Blue Jays and Norris from Toronto to Detroit.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT at JetBlue. Unfortunately, it does not look like this game will be televised. Monday should be fun, though.

 

Xander Bogaerts Launches First Home Run of Spring as #RedSox Get Blown out by Orioles

The Red Sox fell to 3-5 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday, dropping their second straight to the Baltimore Orioles by a final score of 9-1.

As the score indicates, the Red Sox pitching staff had themselves another tough afternoon in this one.

Colten Brewer, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres last November, made the start, serving as Boston’s ‘opener’, per Alex Cora.

The 26-year-old right-handed reliever picked up his second losing decision of the spring on Saturday, surrendering two runs (one earned), on two hits and three walks while pitching into the second inning.

In relief of the ex-Padre, right-hander Adam Lau struck out three of the four hitters he faced while cleaning up Brewer’s mess in that second inning.

From there, Travis Lakins, Dedgar Jiminez, Kutter Crawford, Matthew Gorst, Brian Ellington, Daniel Schlereth, and Daniel McGrath combined to surrender seven runs on 14 hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts over the final seven frames.

Ellington, who signed a minor league contract with Boston in early February, put together the best pitching performance of the day, as the right-hander fanned a pair in his lone inning of relief in the top half of the eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup featured JD Martinez for the first time in 2019.

The reigning two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, batting fourth and serving as Boston’s designated hitter, went 0/2 in his spring debut.

Similar to their performance against the Twins on Friday, the only run scored by the Red Sox against Baltimore came on a Xander Bogaerts fourth inning solo home run.

That moon shot of a homer off Orioles right-hander Yefry Ramirez marked Bogaerts’ first of the spring. He’s slashing .333/.333/.778 with that one long ball and two RBI in four games so far.

Bogaerts’ bomb cut Boston’s deficit to one run at the time it was hit, but as previously mentioned, the Orioles would go on to run away with this one in a 9-1 contest.

One note from this loss:

Mookie Betts broke out of his mini 0/5 slump by ripping a third inning single off Baltimore starter Mike Wright Jr. He also drew a walk in the first inning in his only other at bat of the day.

Next up for the Red Sox, they host the Twins, who will be sending a split-squad to JetBlue Park on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez is scheduled to get the start for Boston, while fellow southpaw Stephen Gonzalves will be starting for the Twins.

Hernandez, 22, has yet to start a game this spring. According to MLB Pipeline, the Venezuela native is ranked as the top left-handed pitcher in Boston’s farm system.

First pitch against the Twins is scheduled for 1:05 ET. NESN has it covered.

Jackie Bradley Jr. Stays Hot as #RedSox Run Away with 13-5 Win over Nationals

The Red Sox improved to 3-3 in Grapefruit League play on Thursday with a 13-5 victory over the Washington Nationals at JetBlue Park.

Matched up against three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer for the Nats, Hector Velazquez made his first official appearance of the spring and got the starting nod for this one.

Tossing two full innings, the right-hander surrendered three earned runs, all of which came in the top half of the second, on four hits and one strikeout. If there’s a positive to be taken out of Velazquez’s outing, it’s that he did not walk a batter.

30th-ranked prospect Denyi Reyes followed Velazquez, and he did not fare much better in the two frames he appeared in. The former international signee out of the Dominican Republic gave up a pair of runs himself on three hits and three walks heading into the middle of the fourth inning.

From there, Red Sox pitching settled down a bit, as Ryan Weber, Josh Smith, and Jenrry Mejia combined to toss four innings of scoreless baseball to close this contest out.

Most impressive out of these performances would have to go to Mejia. The former Mets reliever who was once banned from the game struck out all three hitters he faced in the ninth.

On the other side of things, as I mentioned earlier, the Red Sox lineup, headed by Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts, was matched up against Nationals ace Max Scherzer.

“Mad Max,” as they fondly call him in the nation’s capital, was essentially lights out to start this one out, facing one over the minimum in three scoreless innings of work to go along with four punch outs.

It was not until the fourth inning when the Red Sox started to get going, with right-hander Erick Fedde taking over for Washington.

Four consecutive one out hits from Bradley Jr., Bogaerts, Brock Holt, and Blake Swihart initially cut Boston’s deficit from five runs to three.

Swihart, who tragically lost his brother on Wednesday, surprisingly played the day after and was rewarded with a hard-hit opposite field RBI single.

Sam Travis would come in to pinch run for Swihart following that at bat, and the backstop was greeted with a hug from Red Sox manager Alex Cora upon returning to the home dugout.

An inning later, Boston’s bats exploded for EIGHT runs in the fifth on a Bradley Jr. RBI single, a Bogaerts RBI double, a three-run home run off the bat of Brock Holt…

…a Tate Matheny RBI base knock, and finally, a Cole Sturgeon RBI three-bagger to make it a 10-5 game at that point. In total, the Red Sox sent 12 hitters to the plate in their half of the fifth.

The fun did not stop there though, as Austin Rei and Jeremy Rivera tacked on an additional three runs to give their club a 13-5 advantage. That would go on to be the final score in this one.

One note from this win:

Jackie Bradley Jr. finished the afternoon 3/3 with one double and one RBI. So far this spring, he’s slashing .750/.750/1.625 with two home runs and three RBI over eight at bats.

Next up for the Red Sox is a short trip to the CenturyLink Sports Complex to face off against the Minnesota Twins in the second game of the annual Mayor’s Cup. Boston defeated the Twins the last time these two sides played last sunday by a final score of 8-5.

Set to pitch for the Red Sox in this one is left-hander Josh Taylor. He’ll be opposed by former Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda, who has not pitched in a big league game since 2017 following Tommy John surgery that year.

First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET. This game will be aired on MLB Network, not NESN.

 

Expect More Regulars in #RedSox Lineup on Sunday

The Red Sox will host the Minnesota Twins in a Grapefruit League matchup on Sunday afternoon.

Two games into spring training, one against the Northeastern Huskies baseball team and one against the New York Yankees, we have yet to see many of the regulars who were consistently in Boston’s lineup during their 2018 World Series run.

That will all change tomorrow at JetBlue Park.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Sunday’s starting infield will consist of Rafael Devers at third, Xander Bogaerts at short, Brock Holt at second, and Sam Travis at first. In the outfield, it will be Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Cole Sturgeon from left to right while Christian Vazquez will catch Ryan Weber to start things off and Eduardo Nunez will serve as the designated hitter.

Meanwhile, reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts will make his 2019 spring debut on Wednesday against either the Baltimore Orioles or Tampa Bay Rays in some split-squad action. This is just a guess, but I would assume Betts’ debut will come against the Orioles since that game will be taking place at JetBlue Park.

Anyway, first pitch against the Twins on Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 ET. Martin Perez vs. Ryan Weber is the starting pitching matchup.

#RedSox Engaged in Extension Talks with Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts

When speaking with the media at JetBlue Park on Monday, Red Sox principal owner John Henry and team chairman Tom Werner made it clear that the club is engaged in contract extension talks with at least two players who are set to become free agent following the 2019 season in Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts.

Although neither Henry nor Werner gave any specific details about where the extension talks were at, both Sale and Bogaerts have stated that they are open to remaining in Boston for the forseeable future this past week.

Regarding Sale, Henry said that, “we would love to be able to sign him. I think he would like to as well. But there are the realities of the marketplace and budgets. This is his opportunity to be a free agent, potentially. Which we’d like to avoid, and I think he would as well. So something could happen.”

Sale dealt with issues in his throwing shoulder in 2018, which could somewhat diminish the value, but Henry believes the Red Sox ace brings much more to the table than what he does on the pitching mound every five days, specifically citing his fiery speech in the dugout during Game 4 of the World Series.

Another thing that could warrant an extension with Sale is what went down between the Red Sox and another big left-hander in Jon Lester five years ago. Like Sale, Lester was entering the final year of his contract with Boston and talks regarding an extension opened up during spring training of 2014. Ultimately, the Red Sox failed to reach an agreement and later traded Lester to the Oakland Athletics that July. Lester would then go on to sign a six-year, $155 million deal with the Chicago Cubs that winter.

“I think we blew the signing (of Jon Lester) in spring training,” Henry said. Perhaps some lessons learned from that ordeal can be applied now.

Sale, set to turn 30 in march, posted a 2.11 ERA and 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings over 27 games started last season. He finished fourth in American League Cy Young voting and 22nd in MVP voting.

As for Bogaerts, the 26-year-old shortstop told reporters on Friday, “I enjoy my time here. Obviously we’ve had something special going on for the last couple of years now. I think I’ve been a part of it since it pretty much started.”

Bogaerts also noted that, “the Red Sox have treated me and my family amazingly so far. So we’ll see what happens.”

A client of Scott Boras, it is understandable why Bogaerts may want to avoid free agency next winter given the circumstances right now with two of the best players in the game in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado still unsigned with just over a month until Opening Day.

In 2018, Bogaerts slashed .288/.360/.522 with a career best 23 home runs and 103 runs driven in. He finished 13th in American League MVP voting.

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.