Bobby Dalbec comes through with go-ahead homer as Red Sox hold on for 4-3 win over Yankees to avoid sweep

The Red Sox will not be starting 0-3 for a second consecutive year, as they squeaked out a 4-3 win over the Yankees in the Bronx on Sunday night to avoid a sweep and improve to 1-2 on the young season.

Matched up against Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery to begin things in Sunday’s series finale, the Sox once again got on the board in their half of the first inning.

Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts each reached base via one-out singles, and both scored on a J.D. Martinez RBI double that was followed by a sacrifice fly from Christian Arroyo.

In possession of an early 2-0 lead, Sox starter Tanner Houck had an immediate cushion to work with. The right-hander was not at his sharpest on Sunday, though, as he allowed three earned runs on six hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with three strikeouts over just 3 1/3 innings pitched.

The first of those three runs scored off Houck came with no outs in the bottom of the third, when Giancarlo Stanton plated Anthony Rizzo from second base to cut Boston’s lead in half at 2-1.

After Jonathan Arauz got that run back on a sacrifice fly off Yankees reliever Clarke Schmidt that scored Arroyo in the top half of the fourth, New York struck again in the latter half of the frame.

There, Houck issued back-to-back leadoff hits to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino to put runners at first and second. He then punched out Josh Donaldson, who turned out to be the final batter he would face.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 78 (45 strikes), Houck turned to his four-seam fastball 45% of the time he was on the mound Sunday and hovered around 95.4 mph with the pitch.

In relief of Houck, Ryan Brasier got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen. Brasier, in turn, allowed both of the runners he inherited to score on a then-game-tying two-run single from Rizzo.

Kutter Crawford was next up in the fifth inning and impressed in his second appearance of the season. The 26-year-old righty stranded a pair of runners in scoring position in the fifth before striking out Rizzo and Aaron Judge in a scoreless sixth.

Moments before Crawford did that, Bobby Dalbec broke the 3-3 tie by cranking his first home run of the season off Schmidt. It came on the very first pitch of the sixth inning, a 94 mph sinker down the heart of the plate that Dalbec deposited 391 feet to right-center field to give the Red Sox a 4-3 advantage.

In the seventh, Crawford yielded a leadoff single to Stanton, representing the potential tying run, before making way for Matt Strahm. The left-hander proceeded to strand Stanton at first base by retiring the next three Yankees he faced in order.

From there, Hansel Robles maneuvered his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise clean eighth inning. And in the ninth, Jake Diekman got his outing started in dramatic fashion by fanning the dangerous Judge on 11 pitches. He then got Stanton and Joey Gallo to strike out swinging as well to lock down his first save in a Red Sox uniform.

All told, five different Boston relievers (Brasier, Crawford, Strahm, Robles, Diekman), combined for 5 2/3 scoreless innings in which they scattered five hits and one walk while striking out a total of six.

Crawford, for what it’s worth, was credited with the winning decision — the first of his young career.

Some other notes from this victory:

From the Red Sox’ J.P. Long:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Next up: To Detroit

The Red Sox will continue their season-opening road trip by heading to Detroit for a three-game set against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to make his first start of the year for Boston in the series opener on Monday. Detroit will roll with fellow righty Matt Manning.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Red Sox go 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, drop second straight to Yankees in 4-2 loss

For the second straight day, the Red Sox found themselves with an early lead over the Yankees but were unable to hold onto it in the end.

Boston fell to New York by a final score of 4-2 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon, marking their second consecutive loss to open the 2022 campaign.

The Sox lineup did all of their damage off Yankees starter Luis Severino in their half of the second inning. After going down in order in the first, J.D. Martinez led off the following frame with a single and was driven in when Alex Verdugo took Severino deep to right field for his first home run of the season.

Verdugo’s two-run blast came on a 2-1, 98 mph fastball from Severino and left his bat with an exit velocity of 104.1 mph. It also traveled 382 feet into the right field seats to give Boston the early 2-0 lead.

Nick Pivetta, on the other hand, was in the midst of his first start of the season when Verdugo went yard. The right-hander faced first the minimum nine batters through his first three innings on the mound.

Jackie Bradley Jr. helped him out by gunning down Joey Gallo, who was attempting to stretch a two-out single into a double, at second base for the final out of the second and recorded his first outfield assist of the year in doing so.

Josh Donaldson, the hero of Opening Day, led off the fourth with a line-drive single. Aaron Judge then lifted a 411-foot flyout to the deepest part of the park in straightaway center field that Enrique Hernandez was able to come up with.

Anthony Rizzo, who homered off Nathan Eovaldi on Friday, proceeded to mash his second two-run home run in as many days by depositing a 93 mph Pivetta fastball 389 feet to right field to pull the Yankees back even at two runs apiece.

After standing two more base runners in the fourth on a pair of walks, Pivetta bounced back by retiring the side in the fifth. He was unable to carry that momentum into the sixth, though, as he issued a leadoff walk to Judge and a booming, 437-foot two-run blast to Giancarlo Stanton that had an exit velocity of 112 mph.

Stanton would be the second-to-last batter Pivetta would face, as he was pulled by Red Sox manager Alex Cora after recording the second out of the inning. The 29-year-old finished his day having allowed four runs (all earned) on four hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work. 50 of the 81 pitches he threw went for strikes.

In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Austin Davis came on to finish things in the sixth and did just that by getting Gallo to fly out to left. From there, Hirokazau Sawamura twirled a 1-2-3 seventh inning and Phillips Valdez did the same in the eighth. It was a combined perfect showing for the trio of relievers making their 2022 debuts.

While the likes of Davis, Sawamura, and Valdez did their job by holding the Yankees to four runs, the Yankees bullpen did their job by holding the Red Sox to just two.

Severino may have lasted just three-plus innings in his first start since 2019, but six different New York relievers held their own from there. The Boston bats stranded Rafael Devers at second in the third, and Bradley Jr. and Verdugo at first and third in the fourth.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, Christian Arroyo came on to pinch-hit for Bradley Jr. and reached base off Aroldis Chapman via a throwing error committed by Isiah Kiner-Filefa.

Arroyo was able to advance to second on the error and brought the potential tying run to the plate with just one out in the frame. Chapman, however, did not lose his composure. The Yankees closer got Christian Vazquez to fly out and Hernandez to ground out to secure his first save and send the Red Sox to 0-2 on the young season.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went a whopping 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Saturday and left eight runners on base as a team. They did that while still outhitting the Yankees, 5-4.

Saturday’s contest took less than three hours to complete and was played in front of 46,882 spectators in the Bronx.

Next up: Houck vs. Montgomery

Looking to avoid a three-game sweep to start the year, the Red Sox will turn to right-hander Tanner Houck in Sunday night’s series finale against the Yankees, who will roll with left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Red Sox blow early lead, fall to Yankees, 6-5, in 11 innings on Opening Day

For the fourth time under manager Alex Cora, the Red Sox have lost on Opening Day. The Sox kicked off the 2022 season by falling to the Yankees, 6-5, in 11 innings at Yankee Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Right out of the gate, Boston jumped all over New York ace Gerrit Cole, who began his day by issuing a four-pitch, leadoff walk to Enrique Hernandez in the first inning.

Rafael Devers immediately made Cole pay for that by taking the right-hander deep to right field on a two-run blast that left his bat at 101.4 mph and travelled 382 feet. Devers’ first home run of the season gave the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

Xander Bogaerts followed Devers by lacing a 111.8 mph base hit to left field and scored his side’s third run on an RBI double off the bat of J.D. Martinez. And just like that, Boston had plated three runs before recording a single out.

A three-run first inning seemingly put Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi in a good spot heading into the bottom half of the frame. Making his third consecutive Opening Day start for Boston, Eovaldi instead ran into some trouble when he issued a one-out single to Aaron Judge and two-run home run to Anthony Rizzo shortly thereafter.

So the Red Sox’ early three-run cushion had been trimmed down to one run after just one inning of play. Eovaldi and Cole both settled in for a bit, but it was the former who fell victim to the long ball once more in the fourth.

There, the dangerous Giancarlo Stanton ripped a vintage Yankee Stadium home run to right field that had a launch angle of only 15 degrees. Still, Stanton’s 358-foot solo shot knotted things up at three runs apiece.

Eovaldi got through the rest of the fourth, then put two runners on via a single and hit batsman while recording the first two outs of the fifth. The veteran right-hander nearly saw the 3-3 tie come apart when he yielded a screaming fly ball to D.J. LeMahieu, but Alex Verdugo bailed him out by making an impressive diving catch in left field.

That is how Eovaldi’s first outing of the year came to a close. All told, the 32-year-old hurler allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits, one walk, one hit batsman, and seven strikeouts over five innings of work. He threw 76 pitches (56 strikes) and averaged 98.2 mph with his vaunted four-seam fastball.

Shortly after Eovaldi’s day ended, the Red Sox lineup picked things back up in their half of the sixth. With Yankees reliever Clay Holmes now in the game, Bogaerts led off with a double and immediately advanced to third base on a Martinez groundout.

Following a brief mound visit, Verdugo came through on the other side of the ball by easily plating Bogaerts on a run-scoring single through the right side of the infield.

After Holmes and fellow reliever Miguel Castro proceeded to load the bases with two outs, the Sox failed to add on to their newfound 4-3 lead as Christian Vazquez fanned on four pitches to extinguish the threat.

Former Yankees prospect Garrett Whitlock got the call from Cora to take over for Eovaldi beginning in the latter of the sixth. The hard-throwing righty breezed through the sixth and seventh by retiring six of the first seven batters he faced.

The eighth inning, however, was a different story. After giving up all of six home runs last season, Whitlock served up a game-tying solo blast to LeMahieu that pulled New York back even with Boston at 4-4.

Whitlock then made way for newcomer Matt Strahm, who worked his way around a walk to get through the rest of the eighth. A half-inning later, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman made relatively quick work of Bobby Dalbec, Christian Arroyo (pinch-hitting for Jackie Bradley Jr.), and Vazquez to keep the stalemate intact.

In the bottom of the ninth, Hansel Robles — two days after making the team — was dispatched in a critical spot. The veteran reliever made just two appearances this spring after signing with Boston late and managed to strand the potential winning run at second base by fanning Stanton for the final out of the inning.

With Robles sending this one into extras, Jonathan Arauz became the automatic runner at second base to begin things in the 10th as he replaced Vazquez. Hernandez failed to advance Arauz, but Bogaerts did not.

After the Yankees elected to intentionally walk Devers with one out, Bogaerts delivered by lifting an RBI single to shallow left field. The ball only travelled 187 feet off Bogaerts’ bat, but it was deep enough to score Arauz from second base to give the Sox a 5-4 advantage.

Jake Diekman was tasked with protecting that lead in the latter half of the 10th. The left-hander plunked the first man he faced in LeMahieu then got Joey Gallo to ground out to second, though runners advanced to second and third for New York.

That sequence prompted the Red Sox to intentionally walk Aaron Hicks, thus loading the bases as Cora dipped back into the bullpen and handed things over to Ryan Brasier.

Brasier, inheriting a mess, gave up the tying run on a sacrifice fly from Gleyber Torres, but escaped any further damage by punching out Isiah Kiner-Filefa on 10 pitches.

After the Red Sox went down quietly in the top of the 11th, Kutter Crawford came on for Brasier in the bottom half. With Kiner-Filefa representing the go-ahead run at second base, Crawford surrendered the game-winning hit to Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson snuck a single through the middle of the infield, giving Kiner-Filefa more than enough time to score from second to walk it off for the Yankees. Crawford, despite throwing just three pitches, was charged with the loss.

Some notes from this 6-5 defeat:

On the injury front, Xander Bogaerts exited the game in the middle of the 10th inning after appearing to injure himself on his run-scoring single. He was replaced by Jonathan Arauz at shortstop.

Trevor Story, making his Red Sox debut on Friday, went 0-for-5 with a strikeout.

The Red Sox went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base as a team.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Severino

The Red Sox will turn to Nick Pivetta on Saturday as they look for their first win of the young season. The Yankees will roll with fellow right-hander Luis Severino, who will be making his first start since 2019.

First pitch from Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN and FS1.

(Picture of Josh Donaldson: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Red Sox-Yankees Opening Day game postponed until Friday due to inclement weather

Thursday’s Opening Day contest between the Red Sox and Yankees has been postponed until Friday due to forecasted inclement weather, the team announced earlier Wednesday morning.

Rather than kick off the 2022 season at Yankee Stadium on Thursday afternoon, the Red Sox and Yankees will instead play their first regular season game of the year on Friday.

Gates will open at 11:00 a.m. eastern time and pregame festivities will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. ET. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on NESN, YES Network, and MLB Network.

Nathan Eovaldi is slated to make his third consecutive Opening Day start for Boston. He will be opposed by fellow right-hander Gerrit Cole for New York. The forecast in the Bronx looks more promising on Friday than it does on Wednesday and Thursday.

Friday was originally supposed to be an off-day for the Red Sox, but they will now play three games in three days to begin their season. Following the conclusion of Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees, the Sox will head to Detroit for a three-game set against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Next Thursday represents another scheduled off-day for the Red Sox. They will then host the Twins in their home opener at Fenway Park on Friday, April 15 to kick off Patriots’ Day weekend.

(Picture of Yankee Stadium: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ rain-shortened 3-1 loss to Yankees overshadowed by fan throwing baseball at Alex Verdugo

Well, after two days of waiting, Jarren Duran’s highly-anticipated major-league debut was certainly an eventful one.

The Red Sox ultimately fell to the Yankees by a final score of 3-1 in a rain-shortened, six-inning contest at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night, but not before two rain delays, two ejections, one player getting hit in the back by a baseball thrown by a fan, and a period of time where baseball was being played in an absolute downpour.

Still, Boston saw their unbeaten run against their division rivals come to a close on Saturday, as they are now 7-1 this year when facing off against New York.

Nathan Eovaldi made his 19th start of the season for the Sox, and he was once again solid while going up against his former team.

Over five strong innings of work, the veteran right-hander yielded just one earned run on two hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

While Eovaldi was rolling early on, the Red Sox lineup backed him up in their half of the second inning.

There, with one out and the bases empty, Duran stepped up to the plate for the very first time in his big-league career with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole on the mound waiting for him.

On the very first pitch he saw from Cole, a 95 mph fastball on the lower half of the plate, Duran ripped a line-drive single to center field for his first career hit.

The speedy outfield prospect would not be on first base for long though, as he advanced to second on a groundout before coming in to score on an RBI single off the bat of Christian Arroyo that gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 1-0.

From there, Eovaldi continued to sit down Yankees hitters left and right — and even took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before yielding a two-out double to Greg Allen to break up the no-hit bid.

Allen, known for his speed, was driven in on a game-tying RBI base knock from D.J. LeMahieu moments later, which resulted in Eovaldi’s outing coming to a close as soon as he recorded the final out of the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (66 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler did not factor into Saturday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA on the season down to 3.57. His next start should come against this same Yankees team back at Fenway Park next Friday.

Venable, Plawecki ejected for arguing strikes

In the top half of the sixth, the Red Sox failed to score off Cole, though they certainly had a golden opportunity to do so.

A two-out walk drawn by Rafael Devers followed by a Hunter Renfroe single and Duran free pass filled the bases for Christian Vazquez, who fell behind in the count at 0-2 before offering a half-hearted swing on a slider that was well outside.

While the argument can be made that Vazquez did not break the plane in his swing attempt, the veteran backstop was called out on strikes anyway, prompting a bit of an eruption from the Red Sox dugout in protest of the call.

Because of said reaction, bench coach Will Venable and backup catcher Kevin Plawecki were ejected from the contest, which — in theory — left the Red Sox with only one catcher.

Chaos in the bottom of the sixth

As Hirokazu Sawamura prepared to take over Eovaldi out of the Red Sox bullpen, rain continued to pour in the Bronx-area.

Before a pitch could even be thrown in the sixth inning, pandemonium ensued when a Yankees fan in the left field bleachers threw a baseball at Alex Verdugo that struck the outfielder on the back.

That sequence, which came as a result of Verdugo attempting to throw the ball he was playing catch with to a Red Sox fan in the stands, led Verdugo to become visibly upset, as he began to charge towards the left field wall in search of the fan who hit him.

Duran and some Red Sox coaches were able to hold Verdugo back, but manager Alex Cora opted to pull his team off the field until things cooled down a bit.

By the time Boston had retaken the field and Sawamura was ready to go, Gary Sanchez greeted the right-handed reliever by crushing a solo home run that just snuck over the right field fence to give New York a 2-1 edge.

Gleyber Torres followed suit by clubbing another solo shot to right field, and the Yankees went up 3-1 over the Red Sox because of it.

Left-hander Josh Taylor was deployed after Sawamura gave up his second homer of the night, and he was able to escape the sixth without giving anything else up.

At that point, though, the volume at which the rain was falling from the sky truly began to pick up, and that led to the tarp coming on the field and another rain delay.

Approximately 52 minutes into said rain delay, the game was called, resulting in a 3-1 win for the Yankees in six innings.

With the loss, the Red Sox drop to 56-37 on the season, though they remain 1 1/2 games up on the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Duran’s debut

In his major-league debut, Duran — starting in center field and batting out of the six-hole — went 1-for-2 with a single, a walk, a strikeout, and one run scored.

Next up: Perez vs. Taillon

The Red Sox will go for the series win over the Yankees in the rubber match of this three-game set on Sunday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston in the finale, while right-hander Jameson Taillon will do the same for New York.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees game is on; Thursday’s postponed contest to be made up as part of split doubleheader on August 17

After Thursday’s game was postponed due to multiple COVID-19 tests, the Red Sox will be playing the Yankees as scheduled at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.

Thursday’s contest was postponed approximately 2 1/2 hours before first pitch on account of the fact that the Yankees had at least three players — pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes, and Wandy Peralta — test positive for COVID-19, while three additional players (Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, and Kyle Higashioka) were going through COVID protocols.

While additional testing and contact tracing had to be conducted following Thursday’s postponement, it now appears that both clubs have been given the go-ahead to continue their series from Major League Baseball.

As for when Thursday’s game will be made up, that will happen in the form of a split doubleheader between the Sox and Yankees in the Bronx on August 17.

The two teams were originally slated to play a two-game series against one another at Yankee Stadium from August 17-18, but that has now essentially turned into a three-game set.

“After conducting testing and contact tracing involving members of the New York Yankees’ organization, the Club’s home game vs. the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium will proceed as scheduled,” MLB announced in a statement Friday afternoon. “The postponement of Thursday’s game will be made up as part of a split doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, August 17. The first game will be played at 1:05 p.m. (ET), followed by the previously scheduled 7:05 p.m. (ET) game.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, weekend weather played a factor in the decision to not make up Thursday’s game right away, as the National Weather Service forecasts that there is a 60% chance of precipitation in the Bronx-area on Saturday and a 70% chance of precipitation on Sunday.

With Friday’s series-opening contest scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. eastern time, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be making his 18th start of the season for the Red Sox.

The Yankees, meanwhile, will turn to fellow southpaw Jordan Montgomery to do start things off for them.

Friday’s game will be broadcast on both NESN and MLB Network for those watching out of market. First pitch, again, is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time.

(Picture of Yankee Stadium: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees game postponed because New York has multiple positive COVID-19 tests

Thursday night’s game between the Red Sox and Yankees at Yankee Stadium has been postponed, Major League Baseball announced earlier Thursday evening.

Per an official statement from the league, the reasoning behind the postponement has to do with positive COVID-19 tests from within the Yankees organization. By postponing Thursday’s game, MLB can now conduct further testing as well as contract tracing to ensure the situation does not worsen.

According to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, the Yankees cancelled their pre-game batting practice session shortly after 4 p.m. eastern time “out of an abundance of caution as they advance through COVID-19 protocols.”

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Thursday’s contest between Boston and New York would be postponed at approximately 4:32 p.m., and the announcement from MLB was released shortly thereafter.

The Red Sox (55-36) and Yankees (46-43) were slated to open up a four-game weekend series in the Bronx on Thursday night, but those plans have since been halted.

As stated by MLB, a makeup date for Thursday’s postponed game has yet to be announced and scheduling updates will be provided as available. Friday’s game is, at the moment, still on schedule for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch time.

On that note, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters (including Hoch) that the decision to postpone Thursday’s game came from the Commissioner’s Office and that “it is too soon to know what this means for the rest of the weekend.”

Cashman also said that Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes, and Wandy Peralta are three of the confirmed COVID-19 cases within the Yankees’ ranks, while there are three more who have “pending cases,” according to The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler.

(Picture of Yankee Stadium: Al Bello/Getty Images)

Red Sox lineup: Kiké Hernández dropped down to seventh for Game 2 against Yankees, J.D. Martinez scratched due to sore left wrist

For the first time this season, Kiké Hernández will not be batting leadoff for the Red Sox while still being in the starting lineup.

Hernández has been dropped down to the seven-hole and will start in center field for Saturday night’s game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The switch-hitting Danny Santana will start at designated hitter and bat leadoff in Hernández’s place.

“Danny’s swinging the bat well, though he’s not getting on base,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of his lineup decision. “He hit a ball hard in Houston. He hit a ball hard yesterday. He brings speed to the equation. Just felt like today, with this matchup, it was good to put Danny there. Hopefully we can exploit a few things from their starter and be more aggressive on the base paths.”

J.D. Martinez was originally going to DH and bat third, but has since been scratched from the lineup due to a sore left wrist that he jammed on a slide into second base on Friday night. The slugger will be available to pinch hit later in the game if needed, per Cora.

Coming into play Saturday, Hernández is carrying with him a .228/.284/.383 slash line to go along with eight doubles, one triple, five home runs, 12 RBI, 26 runs scored, one stolen base, 11 walks, and 38 strikeouts through his first 43 games of the season. This includes four pinch-hit appearances in which he replaced the No. 2, No. 8, and No. 9 hitters.

After missing nearly two weeks with a right hamstring strain and being activated from the injured list on May 17, the 29-year-old initially got off to a hot start with hits in four of his first six games back in action.

Since the Red Sox left Philadelphia, though, Hernández has cooled off significantly as he is currently in the midst of a 1-for-25 (.040) skid over his last seven games played dating back to May 25. He did not play in Thursday’s game against the Astros or Friday’s game against the Yankees.

What is surprising about the right-handed hitter’s recent struggles is that he has still proven to be effective when leading off a game (.289/.308/.395 in 39 plate appearances) or an inning (.275/.315/.522 in 73 plate appearances).

Still, the rather low on-base percentage Hernández has put up to this point without a doubt sticks out here.

Among 27 big-league leadoff hitters who have accrued at least 100 plate appearances thus far, Hernández ranks 20th in walk percentage (6.5%), ninth in strikeout percentage (20.8%), 25th in on-base percentage (.298), 21st in OPS (.700), 23rd in weighted on-base average (.305), and 23rd in wRC+ (91), per FanGraphs.

Prior to joining the Red Sox on a two-year, $14 million deal over the winter, the native of Puerto Rico batted out of the seven-hole in a grand total of 126 games between the Astros, Marlins, and Dodgers from 2014-2020.

In those 126 games, Hernández hit .200/.287/.335 with 16 homers and 48 RBI over 443 total plate appearances.

“Sometimes you got to breath,” Cora said of dropping Hernández down in the lineup. “Hitting him seventh, he’ll probably see the pitcher for one inning where he can see it from a different perspective and get feedback from the other hitters, and he can get going.”

Saturday’s contest in the Bronx will mark just Hernández’s third career game at Yankee Stadium, and his first since September 2016 when he was with the Dodgers.

Santana, meanwhile, will be batting leadoff for the third game in a row and the fourth time this season overall. The versatile 30-year-old is slashing .125/.222/.375 with two home runs and three RBI over his first 11 games as a member of the Red Sox.

What is Cora looking for out of the leadoff spot moving forward?

“We want somebody that can get on base,” he said. “Or somebody that can drive the ball. We want to set the tempo, and right now — we had that through stretches — but we haven’t been consistent.”

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up alongside Santana, Hernández, and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who will be looking to bounce back from a rough month of May in his first start of June.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon will be getting the start for the Yankees. A handful of Red Sox hitters have faced him before, including Santana and Hunter Renfroe.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. eastern time on FOX.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: The Providence Jorunal’s Bill Koch joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Bill Koch, who covers the Red Sox for The Providence Journal.

Among the topics Bill and I discussed were how his New England roots shaped his interest in sports journalism, what led him to covering the Red Sox for The Providence Journal, how he goes about writing and tweeting about the Red Sox, his thoughts on Boston’s season thus far, what Alex Cora will have to deal with in the Bronx this weekend, his prediction for what Chaim Bloom will do before next month’s trade deadline, when Jarren Duran could be making his major-league debut, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thank you to Bill for taking some time out of his busy in-season schedule to have a conversation with me.

You can follow Bill on Twitter (@BillKoch25) by clicking here. You can check out his work for the Providence Journal by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox Serve up Four Home Runs in Yet Another Defeat To Yankees To Extend Losing Streak To Eight Consecutive Games

In their final game at Yankee Stadium in 2020, the Red Sox fell to the first-place Yankees by a final score of 6-3 on Monday, which extended their losing streak to a season-worst eight consecutive games.

Martin Perez made his fifth start of the season for Boston in this one, and he came into the week having made just one career start in the Bronx prior to Monday.

Only able to work the first three innings due to a 1 hour and 22 minute rain delay, the left-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on two hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with one lone strikeout on the night.

All three of those New York tallies came in the bottom half of the second, when after plunking Tyler Wade, the Yanks’ No. 9 hitter, with two outs, Perez served up an RBI double to Aaron Hicks and followed that by serving up a 428-foot two-run to Luke Voit on a 2-2, 83 mph changeup right down the chute moments later.

Those three consecutive mistakes put Perez’s side in an early three-run hole, and his evening would unknowingly come to a close after a scoreless third inning due to that aforementioned inclement weather.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 58 (30 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his cutter and changeup a combined 58% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing three swings-and-misses with the combination of pitches while also topping out at 93 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 10 times.

Hit with his third losing decision of the year while also raising his ERA to 4.07, Perez will look to rebound in his next time out, which should come against the Orioles in Baltimore on Saturday.

In relief of Perez, left-hander Josh Osich got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen following that 83-minute rain delay, and he surrendered a pair of leadoff homers to Thairo Estrada and Voit in the bottom halves of the fourth and fifth innings.

From there, fellow southpaw Josh Taylor made his 2020 debut after getting activated from the injured list and needed just nine pitches to toss a scoreless bottom of the sixth, while Austin Brice gave up another solo shot to Aaron Hicks in the seventh and Heath Hembree fanned a pair in a perfect eighth inning.

Hembree’s impressive work kept Boston’s deficit at three runs, but it would prove to not be enough in the end.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar foe in Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery, whose 2020 debut came against Boston back on July 31.

The 27-year-old had a no-hitter going through his first 3 2/3 innings on Monday, but a string of three straight two-out hits in the fourth from J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Christian Vazquez broke that up, with Vazquez plating Martinez on an RBI single that was just out of the reach of Gleyber Torres.

As it would almost immediately turn out, Vazquez’s 12th RBI of the season came at just the right time as the Yankees ground crew began to roll the tarp onto the field almost as soon as Vazquez had reached first base safely.

The Red Sox headed into a lengthy weather delay with two outs and runners on the corners in the fourth, but they could not do anything with that opportunity once the rain lifted.

That being the case because after Michael Chavis drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases, Alex Verdugo was the victim of a swinging strikeout at the hands of Luis Avilan to extinguish the threat and end the inning.

Verdugo did redeem himself in the top of the sixth, though, when with two outs and Vazquez at second, the outfielder drove the catcher in on a run-scoring double off reliever Michael King. 5-2 New York.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, with the Yankees up 6-2, vaunted fireballer Aroldis Chapman made his first appearance of the season out of the New York bullpen. Perhaps taking advantage of some of Chapman’s expected rustiness, the Sox made somewhat of a comeback attempt with Jose Peraza ripping a one-out triple and Jonathan Arauz scoring him on an RBI double down the left field line.

That pushed the Red Sox’ deficit to three runs at 6-3, but alas, that would go on to be Monday’s final score after Kevin Pillar and Rafael Devers struck out back-to-back to end the game.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

The Red Sox have lost their last 11 games at Yankee Stadium.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Next up for the Red Sox, they will return to Fenway Park and open up a two-game interleague series against the Phillies beginning on Monday night.

Right-hander Zack Godley will get the start for Boston, while fellow righty Zach Eflin will do the same for Philadelphia.

In four career appearances (two starts) against the Phillies, the 30-year-old Godley owns a lifetime 1.53 ERA and .528 OPS against over 17 2/3 total innings pitched.

Eflin, meanwhile, will be making his first career start against the Red Sox and his first career start at Fenway Park.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox looking to finally to put an end to this dreadful skid, maybe?