Red Sox Weekly Recap (5/5 – 5/13)

Enjoy a recap of the prior week of Red Sox action.

Coming into the week the Red Sox were 25-9 and tied the New York Yankees for first place in the American League and for the best record in baseball. During the week they’ve spent away from Fenway, they have gone 3-3 and remain tied with the Yankees for first place and making them 17-8 on the road.

After taking 3 of 4 down in Texas against the struggling Rangers they took a 3 game win streak and a share of first place to the Bronx in what felt like a playoff series. They then went north of the border to square off against a solid Blue Jays squad.

Game 1: Boston Red Sox 2 New York Yankees 3

The Sox went into the into the series with a days rest on Monday and bad news of David Price being scratched from his start on Wednesday with “numbness” in his pitching hand. The series also came in with a lot of hype about the rivalry being back as this had been the first time since 2002 that the Red Sox and Yankees came into a series with the two best records in baseball. The Sox had been 6-4 in their previous 10 games while the Yankees had been 9-1 in their previous 10 and on a 17-2 run since April 20th.

The Sox went out with Drew Pomeranz on the mound against the Yankees ace Luis Severino. Early into the game it looked like it was going to be a rough night for Pomeranz as he gave up a lead off home run in the 2nd inning to Giancarlo Stanton, and then gave up another lead off homer to Stanton in the 4th inning. Luckily these had both been solo shots keeping the game only 2-0 after 4 exciting innings of baseball. The Sox got a run back in the 5th when Benintendi hit a 2 out double to drive in Betts. Betts then quieted Yankee Stadium with a 2 out triple to drive in Nunez and tie the game at 2 in the top of the 7th. The Sox opened with Heath Hembree in the 7th for him to face only 4 batters and load the bases giving up a double and 2 walks.

The Sox then turned to their power throwing righty to get them out of the jam Joe Kelly. Kelly was greeted with loud boos from Yankees fans for igniting the fight with Tyler Austin back in Boston in April. Kelly entered with the bases loaded and only 1 out as the heart of the Yankees lineup came up, being led off by Aaron Judge. Judge singled to left field giving the Yankees a 1 run lead which would be enough to edge the Sox for a win.

Game 2: Boston Red Sox 6 New York Yankees 9

I’d honestly rather not talk about this game because of the devastating ending, but there’s 162 of these things so a heartbreaker is bound to happen. The Sox came out much better at the plate against the Yankees Mashahiro Tanaka. The Sox countered the Yankees with Rick Porcello who has been having himself a fantastic season. Porcello got rocked early giving up 5 runs on 8 hits while walking 3 batters in 5.1 innings of work. This game was a game for the taking for the Red Sox as we had home runs from Moreland, Benintendi, and Hanley.

Hanley hit a go ahead 2-run homer in the 7th and it felt like a game that the Sox were bound to win. The 8th inning was where the Sox bullpen blew up and cost the team a win and chance to even up the series. Instead Matt Barnes gives up a lead off double and walks a batters after getting only 1 out. Cora decided to bring in the stud closer Craig Kimbrel to try to clean up the mess, only for him to give up a bases clearing triple to Brett Gardner to put the Yankees ahead by 1. Kimbrel then gave up his 3rd home run of the season on a rocket by Judge to put the Yankees up by 3 going into the 9th. The Sox were in a great place to win the game but instead our bullpen continues to struggle finding the strike zone and when they do the ball is usually put in play for a hit.

Highlight of the Night: Hanley Takes the Lead

Game 3: Red Sox 5 New York Yankees 4

Finally the Sox pull out a much needed win in the series against the Yankees and put an end to their 8 game win streak. The Sox got to the Yankees veteran starter CC Sabathia early and often. Driving in 4 runs in the first 4 frames on 9 hits was necessary to provide a bit of insurance for the Red Sox pitching staff (yeah I’m looking at you bullpen).

Sure enough 4 early runs were not enough for our bullpen. Heath Hembree came into the 7th and gave up 2 quick singles and a walk to load the bases up again with only 1 out and the heart of the Yankees lineup scheduled to hit, sounds familiar right? And once again Cora went to Joe Kelly to get out of the same situation that burnt them on Tuesday. This time it was Kelly who burnt us by walking in a run to bring Judge to the plate with the bases juiced. Judge hit a hard hit grounder to left field to pull the game to within 2 runs and still only 1 out and bases loaded. Kelly was able to get an out but still surrendered a run to make it a 1 run game. With runners on the corners Kelly throws wild and the tying run crosses home. The worst possible thing that could occur ended up happening for the Sox.

The Sox got out of the 7th after the Yankees tied it up after going through the heart of their lineup. The Yankees brought in the hard throwing Dellin Betances to face the middle of the Sox lineup and it took JD Martinez only 2 pitches to put the Sox ahead as he hit his 9th dinger of the year. It then only took 13 pitches for Craig Kimbrel to collect the save and secure the win for the Sox. With the win the Sox remained tied for the lead in the American League even though it had seemed like they fell way behind our rivals. Getting a win to avoid the sweep and leave the Bronx remaining tied was huge for the confidence as we went on to face a Blue Jays team that was starting to put everything together this year.

Highlight of the Night: JD Puts the Sox Back on Top

Game 4: Red Sox 3 Toronto Blue Jays 5

I’m honestly surprised Chris Sale has not killed someone on this team yet. Sale had himself a career night after giving up 2 early runs. The Sox ace finished the night with 15 K’s and 0 walks giving the Sox 9 innings on 116 pitches before the team headed to extras. The Sox only had 5 hits in the 9 innings sale pitched and were fortunate enough to get 3 runs to keep the game intact while Sale was dealing K’s.

It was especially difficult to watch as Betts and Ramirez both went hitless and went a combined 0 for 11 with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. Bogaerts has returned to himself before he injured the ankle and hit a lead off homer in the top of the 4th. Martinez continued his 11 game hitting streak with a double to centerfield in the 3rd inning.

The game went to extras and the way Barnes threw in the 10th you had to expect the bullpen to blow this game. Barnes started the 10th with 2 lead off walks and no outs. Barnes was fortunate enough to get the next 3 batters out and survive a close one. On the offensive end the Sox didn’t do much to put themselves in a position to win this game. In the bottom of the 12th inning the Sox turned to the lefty Brian Johnson who was wearing a 5.68 ERA when he entered. It took him only 4 pitches to walk Curtis Granderson and then the first pitch to Luke Maile was a walkoff homer.

So for the 3rd time this week the bullpen blew a winnable game in late innings.

Performance of the Night: Chris Sale K’s 15

Game 5: Boston Red Sox 5 Toronto Blue Jays 2

David Price returned to the mound for the first time since he had been diagnosed with a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a nerve issue that Price claims he’s had since he was young. Early in the first it looked disastrous for Price as he gave up a walk to the second batter he faced but was able to get the next two batters out. In the 2nd inning he struck out the side on only 14 pitches. Price was able to give the Sox a solid 5.1 innings (although he would’ve gained a lot of respect back if he pitched a bit longer to avoid the bullpen) giving up only 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 6.

The Sox got some early runs courtesy of a Hanley 2 run homer in the 3rd inning. This was Hanley’s 3rd home run in the past 4 games as he continues to slump, he still is providing some power to the lineup. Unfortunately we saw an end to the hitting streak of JD Martinez as he went hitless for the first time since April 28th.

We also saw the return of JBJ to the lineup after being benched for the past 3 games for his liability at the plate. Many people want him out of the lineup forever seeing as he’s hitting .167 with an OPS of .510 and only 9 RBIs.

The bullpen also looked great as they provided 3.2 innings of scoreless work on 2 hits and 6 K’s. If the bullpen had pitched like they did on Saturday then the Sox would’ve swept the Yankees and swept the Blue Jays, but instead they gave up some big runs in big situations.

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Game 6: Red Sox 5 Toronto Blue Jays 3

The Sox closed the series in Toronto with Drew Pomeranz on the mound, who gave up 3 runs on 5 hits with 6 K’s and 5 BB’s in only 4 innings of work. Pomeranz continues to have a shaky season but managed to escape Toronto with limited damage before turning it over to the bullpen. For the second consecutive day the bullpen came in and provided several innings of great pitching. The combination of Velazquez, Barnes, Hembree, and Kelly were able to give up only 5 hits in 5 innings of relief, while they also struck out 5 batters with no walks.

We also saw a return of Brock Holt to the lineup as he’s been used in several positions this season to provide days off for some of our starters. This guy is starting to look like the 2015 Brock Holt that made the American League All Star Team, it also helps when you aren’t trying to hit a baseball going 90 mph while suffering from vertigo.

Overall he game seemed over before it started when JD Martinez launched a 2 run homer in the first inning and added another RBI later on in the game. The Sox also got RBIs from Bogaerts and Moreland, who each have an OPS of over 1.000 on the season.

The game was pretty uneventful and helped the Sox secure a 3-3 record on the week away from Fenway. Going into the week the Sox were in first place over the Yankees and despite going only .500 on the week, they came out of the week remaining in first place with a record of 28-12.

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