Red Sox Get Dominated by Gerrit Cole, Yankees as Losing Streak Grows to Five Straight Games

A change of venue could not turn things around for the Red Sox on Friday night, as they saw their losing streak grow to to five in an 8-3 series-opening defeat at the hands of the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Colten Brewer made his first career start and his seventh overall appearance of the season for Boston to kick off the weekend, and his first taste of the opener role was not very favorable.

That being the case because over 2 2/3 innings of work, the right-hander surrendered two runs, both of which were earned, on four hits and three walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

Both of those New York tallies came in the bottom half of the third, when after escaping a bases loaded jam in the first and retiring three of the four hitters he faced in the second, Brewer served up a one-out, two-run double to Gleyber Torres off a 2-1 heater on the outer half of the plate to put his side in a 2-0 hole.

That damaging blow was followed by a Mike Tauchman pop out, and thus marked the end of Brewer’s rather stressful outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (41 strikes), the 27-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 51% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 95.2 mph with the pitch.

Eventually hit with his first loss of the season, it’s unclear at this point if Brewer will get another crack in the opener role anytime soon. In the meantime, I would expect him to make his next appearance as a reliever.

Speaking of relief pitchers, Austin Brice got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in relief of  Brewer, as the 28-year-old came on with one out to get in the bottom half of the third, got that out on a grounder, and also punched out the side in the fourth. A nice bounce-back effort from him after Tuesday’s rough showing.

From there, Ryan Brasier was responsible for the fifth, recorded the first two outs relatively easily, but then ran into a whole world of trouble following a single from Torres.

A few moments after giving up that base hit, the soon-to-be 33-year-old fell behind in the count against Tauchman at 3-2, which first baseman Mitch Moreland saw as a chance to play behind the base since Torres would be running with two outs.

Brasier, however, did not pick up on this, as he instead cocked back like he was ready to throw over to Moreland, but with no one covering the bag, a balk was called and Torres was awarded second base.

That bout of sloppiness, which was also bountiful on Thursday, came back to bite the Sox almost immediately when Tauchan proceeded to lift a run-scoring double to left to bring in Torres.

To make matters even worse, the ever-dangerous Gary Sanchez followed that up by absolutely demolishing a 1-2, 96 mph fastball on the outer half of the plate from Brasier and deposited it 457 feet into the left field bleachers.

Brasier did manage to get Clint Frazier to whiff to finally end the inning, but the damage had already been done as the Yankees went into the sixth with a 5-1 edge.

The recently-recalled Dylan Covey, celebrating his 29th birthday on Friday, was next up for Boston, and he tossed a scoreless bottom of the sixth before getting rocked for three runs on four hits in the seventh.

That late outburst increased New York’s run total to eight, and they tacked on two more against Brandon Workman in the ninth before Marcus Walden wrapped things up to hold the deficit at seven runs. Not like it mattered much in the end anyway.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees ace right-hander Gerrit Cole, who was making his first start against Boston while donning the pinstripes. To put his outing in simple terms, the $324 million man came as advertised.

As a matter of fact, the only ounce of offense the Boston bats could produce off Cole was not until the fourth inning.

There, after the Yanks starter had faced the minimum nine batters through his first three innings of work, Red Sox leadoff man re-introduced himself to Cole in the fourth by crushing a 385-foot solo shot to deep right field.

Verdugo’s fourth homer of the season cut his side’s deficit in half at 2-1, and they nearly scored again an inning later, but as he is expected to do, Cole held the Red Sox in check. He finished his night with no walks and eight strikeouts over seven quality frames.

Fortunately, Cole was only able to go seven innings, and the Sox took advantage of that right away in their half of the eighth when Verdugo and Rafael Devers picked up an RBI each off Jonathan Holder to make it an 8-3 contest.

Alas, three runs is all the Red Sox would be limited to, as Adam Ottavino closed things out in the eighth and Ben Heller secured the 10-3 victory for New York and 10-3 loss for Boston in the ninth.

Some notes and observations from this defeat:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

The Red Sox’ No. 3-5 hitters, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Mitch Moreland, went a combined 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts on Friday.

Friday’s game took 3 hours and 35 minutes. Going into the weekend, the Red Sox were third in baseball in average time per game (3 hours and 19 minutes).

Next up for the Red Sox, the second-third of the 2020 major-league season begins on Saturday night in the Bronx.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will be getting the ball for Boston, while left-hander James Paxton will be doing the same for New York.

Eovaldi is coming off six quality innings of three-run ball to go along with 10 strikeouts in his last time out against the Blue Jays. The 30-year-old, who once played for the Yankees, owns a lifetime 3.54 ERA and .687 OPS against in 28 career outings (26 starts) at the Stadium.

Paxton, meanwhile, has allowed exactly three eanred runs in each of his first three starts this season. The 31-year-old made four starts against the Sox in 2019 and went 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA over 24 2/3 total innings pitched.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FOX and WEEI. Red Sox looking to snap out of this slump.

 

Red Sox Lineup: J.D. Martinez Batting Third, Starting in Right Field in Series Finale Against Yankees

After getting his first day off of the season on Saturday, J.D. Martinez is back in the Red Sox lineup, batting and third and starting in right field in Sunday night’s series finale against the Yankees.

The soon-to-be-33-year-old slugger is off to a cold start in 2020, as he is slashing just .219/.324/.313 with no home runs and three RBI through his first eight games of the campaign.

“It’s awful,” Martinez said of his swing following Friday’s 5-1 loss to New York. “Yeah, I don’t know. I’m just trying to find it, really. Just grinding away, figuring it out. But I’m sure I’ll get it.”

Through his first eight games of the season, Martinez has primarily hit out of the two-hole for Boston. Sunday will mark just the second time he has hit third in the lineup.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, one reason the three-time Silver Slugger Award winner has struggled thus far could be the fact that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he does not have any access to the Red Sox’ video replay room during games to go over his previous at-bats.

“It’s definitely been an adjustment for me,” Martinez said Friday in regards to the new protocols put in place. “It’s something that’s a big part of my routine. And it’s a big part of who I am — the studying and everything. So it’s kind of one of those things where you’ve gotta kind of find a new routine.”

With left-hander James Paxton, someone Martinez has seen well (7-for-17, 2 homers, five RBI) over the course of his career, getting the start for the Yankees on Sunday, perhaps that could get the three-time All-Star going at the plate.

Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind right-hander Austin Brice, who will serve as the opener for Boston, and against Paxton on Sunday night. The left-handed bats of Andrew Benintendi, Alex Verdugo, and Mitch Moreland all sit, while Christian Vazquez DH’s and Kevin Plawecki gets the start behind the plate.

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

Zack Godley Gets Taken Deep Twice, Red Sox Manage Just Two Runs in Second Straight Loss to Yankees

For a second consecutive night, a Red Sox starting pitcher only managed to pitch 3 1/3 innings in a loss at the hands of the New York Yankees. Ryan Weber did so on Friday, and newcomer Zack Godley followed by doing the same on Saturday in the Bronx.

More specifically, the veteran right-hander yielded five runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with just one strikeout over those 3 1/3 innings pitched.

All five of those runs for New York off Godley came by way of the home run ball, as Aaron Judge crushed a 455-foot solo shot off the 30-year-old with one out in the first, and Gio Urshela, after seeing Luke Voit, Mike Tauchman, and Gary Sanchez reach base safely to lead off the second, clobbered a 412-foot grand slam over the center field wall. Just like that, the Yankees had themselves an early five-run edge.

If there’s any positives to take away from Godley’s first start with the Red Sox, it would be the fact that he retired seven of the next eight hitters he faced after serving up that grand slam, but two straight one-out walks of Urshela and Brett Gardner in the bottom of the fourth marked the conclusion of a rather disappointing outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of a not-so nice 69 (39 strikes), Godley primarily remained on his cutter and changeup in this one, turning to the combination of pitches 69% of the time he was on the mound Saturday. He also topped out at 91 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw just three times.

Hit with his first loss of the year five days after tossing four scoreless innings of relief in his Red Sox debut this past Monday, Godley’s next start, assuming he gets another one, will likely come against the Blue Jays next weekend.

In relief of Godley, right-hander Chris Mazza got the first call out of the Boston bullpen with two outs in the fourth, and after escaping a bit of a jam in the inning to clean up Godley’s mess, the 30-year-old actually put together a solid performance in what was his Red Sox debut.

That being the case because Mazza, who was claimed off waivers from the Mets back in December, surrendered just one hit while fanning three and scattering two walks over 2 2/3 scoreless frames of work to to hold the Yankees at five runs scored heading into the seventh inning.

From there, Ryan Brasier punched out a pair in a perfect bottom half of the seventh and left-hander Josh Osich worked his way around a leadoff single in an otherwise clean eighth.

All in all, Sox relievers held the Bronx Bombers scoreless 4 2/3 combined innings pitched, but it was not enough in the end in what would turn out to be a 5-2 defeat.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in the form of Yankees veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who was making his first official start of 2020 after sustaining a concussion in an intrasquad game last month.

With that in mind, Tanaka did not stick around very long in this one, but the Boston bats were able to get to the 31-year-old hurler prior to his early departure.

That came in the top half of the third inning, when after falling behind by five runs early on, the top of the Sox lineup got itself together for Tanaka’s second time through the order, as a one-out walk drawn by Andrew Benintendi followed by a Kevin Pillar single put runners at first and second.

Rafael Devers, the next man up, was unable to do anything with that seeing how he flew out to center for the second out of the inning, but Xander Bogaerts did not let a prime scoring opportunity go to waste, as he drilled a two-run double to the opposite field that was just a few feet shy of being a three-run homer.

Still, Bogaerts’ extra-base hit, which was later ruled just an RBI double on account of a missed catch error committed by Gleyber Torres, brought the Sox to within three runs of the Yankees at 5-2.

A las, just like the Boston bullpen, the New York bullpen didn’t give an inch in this one, either.

Tanaka was relieved by left-hander Luis Avilan after giving up that Bogaerts two-base hit, and the Yankees wouldn’t have to look back from there.

The only other time the Red Sox sent more than four batters to the plate the rest of the way came in the top half of the ninth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. and Tzu-Wei Lin reaching base with two outs in the inning off David Hale brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Benintendi.

With a skidding Benintendi at the dish in a rather huge spot, Sox manager Ron Roenicke had the option to go with J.D. Martinez off the bench. But, considering the fact he wanted the slugger to get the entire day off, he stuck with Benintendi, who proceeded to punch out on four straight strikes to kill the rally and this one with a final score of 5-2.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey:

The Red Sox are averaging just over three runs per game on this road trip. Poor pitching aside, that’s not going to get the job done most nights.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game weekend series against the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.

Right-hander Austin Brice will get the start and likely serve as the opener for Boston, while left-hander James Paxton will do the same for New York.

Brice, 28, has never started a game at the major-level before in his career, but he does have 114 career minor-league starts under his belt.

Paxton, meanwhile, owns a lifetime 2.88 ERA and .604 OPS against in eight career starts against the Red Sox spanning 50 total innings pitched.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN and WEEI. Red Sox looking for win No. 4 in game No. 10 on the young season.

 

Top Red Sox Pitching Prospect Bryan Mata Impresses in Sim Game in Pawtucket

Before the Red Sox endured more pitching troubles in a 5-1 loss to the Yankees on Friday night, one of the organization’s top pitching prospects impressed in a simulated game that took place about 180 miles northeast of Yankee Stadium at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI.

There, at the Sox’ alternate training site, Bryan Mata recorded three strikeouts (two looking, one swinging) and one walk over two scoreless innings of work against other players in Boston’s 60-man player pool.

Per SoxProspects’ Ian Cundall, the 21-year-old right-hander “faced seven hitters overall” while “mix[ing] in all of his pitches.”

Bobby Dalbec, another top prospect in Boston’s farm system and a member of the player pool, was on hand to watch Mata work. And although the 25-year-old slugger did not hit against him on Friday, he did say that Mata “had electric stuff.”

Regarded by MLB Pipeline as Boston’s top pitching prospect and No. 4 overall prospect, Mata originally signed with the Sox for $25,000 out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old back in January 2016.

Between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland last season, Mata posted a 3.43 ERA and .237 batting average against over 21 games started and 105 total innings of work.

At one time Boston’s lone representative in the 2018 All-Star Futures Game in Washington, D.C., Mata has filled out considerably since then and is now listed at 6-foot-3 and 240 lbs.

Based off his SoxProspects scouting report, the righty throws from a three-quarters arm slot and works with a pitch mix that includes a 94-96 mph fastball that tops out at 98 mph, an 86-90 mph cutter, a 78-80 mph curveball, and an 84-86 mph changeup.

Given the current state Red Sox pitching is in at the major-league level, Mata is one of several potential candidates who could start games for Boston at some point this season. Of course, like fellow right-handed prospect Tanner Houck, he would need to be added to the Sox’ 40-man roster before that can happen.

Still, as is the case with Houck, Mata is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft later this year, so he would need to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster by late November in order to be protected from that.

With that in mind, if the Red Sox are out of contention come late August or early September, it may be in Chaim Bloom and Co.’s best interest to give guys like Mata, Houck, and even Kyle Hart, who is on the 40-man roster, looks at the big-league level.

Ryan Weber’s Struggles Continue as Red Sox Muster Just One Run in Series-Opening Loss to Yankees

In what could potentially be the final weekend of Major League Baseball this year, the Red Sox saw their mini two-game winning streak come to a close on Friday night in a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Yankees in the Bronx.

Ryan Weber got the start for Boston in this one, and like his 2020 debut last Sunday, he was unable to make it through four full innings, instead going 3 1/3 while surrendering three runs, all of which were earned, on four hits and four walks to go along with zero strikeouts on the night.

All three runs yielded by the right-hander to the Bronx Bombers came by way of the home run ball, with Aaron Judge following up a D.J. LeMahieu leadoff single in the third with a two-run blast just barely over the wall in left field, and Gio Urshela doing nearly the same thing on a leadoff homer an inning later.

Just like that, the Red Sox’ one-run lead had turned into a two-run deficit, and Weber’s evening came to a close rather quickly after he gave up that solo shot to Urshela, walked Brett Gardner, and got Kyle Higashioka to ground into a force out at second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 74 (43 strikes), the 29-year-old turned to his sinker more than 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing just one swing and miss while topping out at 90.3 mph with the pitch.

Hit with his second consecutive losing decision to start the new season, Weber’s spot in Boston’s rotation could very well be in jeopardy seeing how he has pitched seven total innings thus far without even striking out a single batter. I’m sure Sox manager Ron Roenicke will have more to say about that soon.

Anyway, in relief of Weber, right-hander Phillips Valdez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, escaped the bottom of the fourth unscathed, and proceeded to toss two more scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth.

From there, Austin Brice faced the minimum three hitters in the seventh thanks to an inning-ending strike ’em out, throw em’out twin killing, and Colten Brewer served up a two-run bomb to Gardner in the eighth, which put the Yankees up 5-1 and would go on to be Friday’s final score.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who was making his 2020 debut for New York.

After going down in order in the first and second innings against the southpaw, Michael Chavis, fresh off a two-hit game on Thursday, led the top half of the third off by taking Montgomery deep to left field off a 1-0, 91 mph heater on the inner half of the plate for his first big fly of the season.

Back-to-back one-out singles off the bats of Jose Peraza and Kevin Pillar in the same inning made it seem as though the Sox were going to add on to their early one-run lead, but a J.D. Martinez lineout to right ended any hopes of that happening since Pillar was doubled up at first base to end the inning in disappointing fashion.

In the fourth, Chavis had a chance to do even more damage as he came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded against Montgomery, but instead of going deep for a second time, the 24-year-old grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to extinguish the threat.

Other than that, the Boston bats really never challenged the Yankees again the rest of the way, as Chad Green, Adam Ottavino, and Jonathan Holder came out of the New York bullpen and combined to toss 3 1/3 scoreless frames in relief of Montgomery.

Holder recorded the final out of the night by getting Alex Verdugo to ground out to short, and that was that as the Red Sox dropped their first game of the season against the Yankees by a final score of 5-1.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

Xander Bogaerts had a fine day at shortstop by flashing the leather and showing off his arm on Friday.

Michael Chavis’ first home run of the season traveled 410 feet.

Phillips Valdez has yet to give up a run since making his Red Sox debut on Opening Day.

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to bounce back against these same Yankees on Saturday night.

Right-hander Zack Godley will be making his first start of the year for Boston, while veteran righty Masahiro Tanaka will be getting the ball got New York.

In his Red Sox debut against the Mets on Monday, the 30-year-old twirled four scoreless innings of relief. He has only made one career appearance against the Yankees in which he gave up three runs in three innings as a reliever.

Tanaka, meanwhile, will also be making his first start of the season after sustaining a concussion in an intrasquad game earlier this month. In 21 career starts against the Sox, the 31-year-old hurler owns a lifetime 5.76 ERA and .278 batting average against over 11 5 2/3 innings of work.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FOX and WEEI. Red Sox looking to improve to 4-5 on the season.

 

On This Day in Red Sox History: Dom DiMaggio Lifts Sox to 15th Straight Win

On this day in 1946, the Red Sox extended their winning streak to a franchise-best 15 games in a 5-4 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Playing in front of over 64,000 fans in the Bronx, the Sox jumped out to an early three-run lead in the top half of the second on back-to-back two-out run-scoring hits from Joe Dobson, that day’s starter for Boston, and George Metkovich off Yankees right-hander Red Ruffing.

Fast forward to the bottom half of the fifth, with the Yankees lineup turning over for a second time, and Dobson began to waver on the mound.

The right-hander allowed the first three hitters he faced in the frame to reach base via a catcher’s interference, a single, and a walk to fill the bases for vaunted Yankees cleanup man and future Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio.

Heading into his third at-bat of the day 1-for-2 with a third inning single, DiMaggio came through with what could have been the biggest hit of the day this time around, as the 31-year-old crushed a grand slam deep to right field to simultaneously put his side up a run while also ending Dobson’s outing.

From there, Sox reliever Earl Johnson entered in the fifth and held the Bronx Bombers in check the rest of the way.

An inning and a half after Joltin’ Joe had crushed that grand slam, Boston came into the top half of the seventh trailing by one with just nine more outs to work with.

Facing off against Yanks reliever Joe Page, franchise legend Bobby Doerr led things off for a walk, setting up first baseman Rudy York to drive him in from first on an RBI triple down the left field line.

That brought up another franchise legend to the plate in the form of Dom DiMaggio, Joe’s brother, with the go-ahead run just 90 feet away from home.

The Little Professor delivered in the clutch, driving in York from third with a run-scoring single to right to make it a 5-4 contest, which would go on to be the final score on that faithful Friday evening.

The one-run victory extended the Red Sox’ winning streak to 15 consecutive games and improved their record on the year to an outstanding 21-3. The streak came to an unfortunate end one day later at the hands of the Yankees, but Boston did go on to win the American League pennant that year.