May 22, 2019

G49: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7 PM

Red Sox   - 
Blue Jays - 
UPDATE: Cora on Stroman (below).

Rick Porcello / Aaron Sanchez
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Chavis, 2B
Vázquez, DH
Bradley, CF
León, C
Alex Cora, on speaking to plate umpire Alan Porter last night about Marcus Stroman possibly quick-pitching Michael Chavis in the fourth inning:
I was telling Alan, if he's going to get on our guys, get on him. It's the same thing with him every day. He competes a certain way and people don't like it. ... It seems like whenever a team comes in, somebody screams at him. I don't know, that's the way he acts.
Stroman responded this morning via Twitter:
Didn't know I had to cater to opposing teams to like me. Everyone messes with timing, deliveries and pitching mechanics these days. Everyone. Get over it. I'm going to keep that dawg mentality always. ... Cora probably still mad I chose to play for @USABaseball over Puerto Rico. Now it makes sense. Lol
MLB's Official Rules includes this comment re Rule 8.05(e):
A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter's box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted.
Did Stroman quick-pitch Chavis? He began his motion less than one second after Chavis's feet were set in the box.

Update: Before today's game, Cora offered a further explanation of what was going on, explaining he was upset at the plate umpire, not Stroman:
It wasn't even about the quick-pitch. People do that a lot. Nate Eovaldi, he quick pitches and he throws 99, 100. I wasn't actually complaining about the quick-pitch. I was actually telling the umpire because Stroman goes to Chavis and he talks to him and then somebody from the dugout is screaming at Stroman and Alan Porter right away jumps on our guy. ...

It's the Stro-show, you know? He's on the mound and he has his antics and he gets under people's skin and all of a sudden he pitches six innings. ... I said he competes a certain way. Some people like it and some people don't. ... Thank you again to the guys that wrote the headlines and now there's something going on here in Toronto. ...

He even tweeted that I am still mad he didn't pitch for Puerto Rico in the WBC. I had the best time of my life with that team and he wasn't part of it. Highlight of my career. He pitched six innings and he did an outstanding job for Team USA in the finals ... [A]ctually Nolan Arenado called me to tell me that he wasn't going to play for us. Stroman announced it at David [Ortiz's] tournament in the Dominican Republic. The next day I called him and said, "Marcus, I saw your decision and respect it. I wish you luck." He was like, "Hey Alex, let's get together. Let's do something for Puerto Rico." His mom is Puerto Rican. ... He had a choice and he pitched for the gold metal team. No big deal.

May 21, 2019

G48: Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 3

Red Sox   - 000 001 020 -  3  7  0
Blue Jays - 000 332 20x - 10 11  1
The Red Sox squandered scoring chances all evening, hitting into three double plays in the first six innings, and leaving a total of 10 men on base. Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman (6-5-1-6-4, 105) gave up five hits and six walks in six innings, but the only run he allowed came on a solo home run. In fact, all of Boston's three runs came on solo dongs.

Eduardo Rodriguez (5-6-6-3-5, 95) fell apart in the fourth inning. Vladimir Guerrero singled and, one out later, Rowdy Tellez and Randal Grichuk hit back-to-back home runs. EdRo then walked Freddy Galvis before getting out of trouble ... until the next inning, that is. With two outs in the fifth, Guerrero singled, Justin Smoak walked, and Tellez went yard again, giving him five RBI.

Alex Cora threw in the towel in the sixth, bringing in Tyler Thornburg ... who did just about what you'd expect. He walked Galvis. He walked Billy McKinney. He gave up a run-scoring single to Danny Jansen. He gave up a run-scoring single to Brandon Drury. He recorded two outs before hitting Smoak. Tellez came up with the bases loaded, dreams of his third home run in three innings no doubt dancing in his head. But somehow, Thornburg caught him looking on his 40th pitch of the inning, for strike three. Colten Brewer pitched the final two innings, giving up a two-run double to Drury.

The Red Sox had two men on with none out in the second, but Michael Chavis grounded into a double play and Christian Vazquez was put out 1-3. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with one out in the third, but Stroman struck out Moreland and Xander Bogaerts. Toronto turned a double play on Vazquez to end the fourth.

After Moreland hit his 13th homer in the sixth, Rafael Devers and Chavis walked with two down, but Vazquez hit into another double play. In the seventh, the Red Sox loaded the bases with none out, but Tim Mayza struck out Mookie Betts and Moreland, and Joe Biagini got Bogaerts on a grounder to short. Bogaerts batted with seven runners on base and did nothing. Moreland stranded six and Vazquez and Betts left four.

Devers and Jackie Bradley hit solo homers in the eighth. One bright spot: It was JBJ's second homer in two games.

The Red Sox (25-23) are 5.5 GB.
Eduardo Rodriguez / Marcus Stroman
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Moreland, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Chavis, 2B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
Pearce, 1B
J.D. Martinez is ill, but said he could pinch-hit, if necessary. ... Nate Eovaldi threw 35 pitches in the bullpen, including his secondary pitches for the first time since his surgery.

May 20, 2019

G47: Red Sox 12, Blue Jays 2

Red Sox   - 204 002 202 - 12 16  1
Blue Jays - 020 000 000 -  2  3  1
The Red Sox hit four home runs while limiting the Blue Jays to only three hits. One-third of the Boston lineup - Mitch Moreland, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers - each had as many hits as the Blue Jays. Those three hitters, combined with Michael Chavis, went 12-for-23, with three home runs and eight RBIs.

The Red Sox scored two runs in the first inning after two were out. In the third, Xander Bogaerts drove in two runs with a single and Michael Chavis hit a two-run homer. Jackie Bradley hit his first home run of the year, a two-run job, in the sixth. Devers and Pearce knocked in runs in the seventh and Bogaerts and Devers opened the ninth with hit back-to-back dongs.

Of the 23 hardest-hit balls in the game, 21 belonged to the Red Sox. Devers's home run had a 114.4 mph exit velocity, the third-hardest-hit ball by the Red Sox since Statcast began tracking hits four years ago.

David Price (5-3-2-0-4, 67) gave up two unearned runs in the second. Chavis committed an error and Luke Maile homered to deep left. That was Toronto's last hit of the afternoon. Price, Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier, and Hector Velázquez faced 23 more batters and allowed only one to reach base (a walk to Freddy Galvis in the seventh). Velázquez struck out the side in the ninth.

Price's four-seam fastball averaged 92.9 mph, a bit more than his season average of 92.4. His velocity improved as the game went on. Price relied on his cutter more than he usual, throwing it 20 times (out of 67 pitches).
David Price / Edwin Jackson
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Chavis, 2B
Pearce, DH
Bradley, CF
León, C
David Price is coming off the injured list (left elbow tendinitis) and making his first start since May 2. Sandy Leon has returned to the team following the birth of his daughter. ... Óscar Hernández and Josh Smith have been optioned back to Pawtucket.

Christian Vazquez is hitting .528, with a 1.263 OPS, over his last 11 games.
Koji Uehara, 44, announced his retirement from professional baseball today. Uehara appeared in 193 games for the Red Sox from 2013-16.

Rob Bradford, WEEI:
In those 193 games, Uehara offered a presence that was almost unimaginable. Over 192.2 innings, he struck out 244 and walked ... 24. His batting average against in those three seasons was .174 with an ERA of 1.78.

The signature season, of course, came during the Red Sox' 2013 World Series run during which he fanned 101, walked nine and finished with a batting average against of .130. [Mariano Rivera's lowest opponent's batting average for a season was .165.] ...

From the time Uehara took over as closer on June 26, 2013 until he got that final out in the World Series, the righty struck out 75 in 58 innings and walked two. TWO. In 54 appearances he allowed runs just four times.

May 19, 2019

G46: Red Sox 4, Astros 3

Astros  - 012 000 000 - 3  4  1
Red Sox - 100 020 10x - 4 11  0
Chris Sale had control problems (5.1-4-3-5-10, 106), tying a career high with five walks. But the Red Sox persevered and snapped the Astros' 10-game winning streak and avoided a sweep.

An infield error and a wild pitch in the first inning helped Boston take a 1-0 lead. In the second, Sale walked Yuli Gurriel, gave up a double to Josh Reddick, hit Jake Marisnick, and threw a wild pitch, allowing Houston to tie the game at 1-1. Sale walked Alex Bregman to start the third and he scored on Carlos Correa's 11th homer of the year.

Boston tied the game with a TO/BE inning in the fifth. With two outs, Michael Chavis homered to left. Mookie Betts doubled and scored on a Xander Bogaerts pop-up that fell in short right-center among three Astros for a single.

Sale got into trouble in the following inning. Gurriel doubled to center and then Sale walked both Robinson Chirinos and Reddick with one out. Marcus Walden came in with the bases loaded and got Marisnick to ground into a 6-3 double play. Sale: "That was honestly probably the biggest moment and he stepped up big for us."

Walden issued a one-out walk in the seventh, but got another double play to end the seventh, though it came only after the Red Sox challenged umpire Laz Diaz's incorrect call at first.

Bogaerts's two-out double off the wall in left-center (just above the 379 marker) in the seventh scored Betts with the go-ahead run.

Matt Barnes pitched a clean eighth against the Astros' 4-5-6 hitters and Brandon Workman earned his first career save in the ninth. He struck out Chirinos, walked Reddick, struck out Marisnick, and retired Tony Kemp on a liner to center.

The Red Sox begin a four-game series in Toronto on Monday afternoon.
Wade Miley / Chris Sale
Chavis, 2B
Betts, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, LF
Vázquez, C
Pearce, 1B
Devers, 3B
Núñez, DH
Bradley, CF
Alex Cora considered several possible lineups for today, including one with J.D. Martinez leading off. He decided to go with Michael Chavis at the top of the order.

Christian Vázquez - whose slugging percentage so far this season is nearly double what it was last year (.536 to .283) - is making his sixth career start (in 285 games) batting above the #6 spot.

May 18, 2019

G45: Astros 7, Red Sox 3

Astros  - 510 010 000 - 7 13  0
Red Sox - 101 100 000 - 3  5  1
Saturday's game was decided before a second out had been recorded in the top of the first inning. Hector Velázquez (0.1-3-5-2-0, 30) lasted only six batters. Five of them scored and that was a deep enough hole to bury the Red Sox. It was Houston's 10th consecutive win, the team's second 10-game winning streak of the season.

George Springer crushed Velázquez's first pitch of the game off the wall in center field for a triple. Jackie Bradley leaped at the wall, but came up empty. Alex Bregman walked (after Velázquez was ahead 1-2) and Michael Brantley doubled to deep right. Mookie Betts may have been playing too shallow. He raced back and leapt too early, the ball sailing past his glove and thudding against the short bullpen wall perhaps four inches from the top. Springer scored Houston's first run.

Velázquez got ahead of Carlos Correa 0-2, but eventually walked him. Josh Reddick flied to left and Bregman tagged and scored. Yuli Gurriel singled to left-center. Bradley made a perfect throw to the plate, the ball bounced in at a perfect height, arriving just ahead of the runner, and Christian Vázquez dropped it. It was 3-0 and Alex Cora had seen enough. Colten Brewer gave up a two-run double - on his first pitch - to Tyler White, making it 5-0.

The Red Sox never threatened. They were given a run in the bottom of the first when Corbin Martin (4-5-3-4-0, 74), pitching in his second major league game, walked three men in a row after two were out. A run scored on a passed ball.

Mitch Moreland's double in the third scored Betts, who had walked. Vázquez hit his sixth homer of the year (already a career-high) in the fourth. ... The Astros' bullpen retired the last 14 Red Sox batters.

Brian McTaggert's article at stated that the Astros "are only the third team in Major League history to have two winning streaks of at least 10 games before June 1 of a season, following the 1941 Cardinals and 1955 Dodgers".

Using a calendar date makes no sense since every season does not begin on the same day. The 1941 Cardinals opened their season on April 15. By April 15, 2019, the Astros had played 16 games.
                    Opening Day  First Streak    Second Streak     Games Played/Record
1941 Cardinals      April 15     April 25-May 5  May 21-29           39  (30-9)
1955 Dodgers        April 13     April 13-21     April 27-May 7      23  (21-2)
2019 Astros         March 28     April 5-16      May 8-18            46  (31-15)
The 1941 Cardinals' second streak reached 11 games. In that streak, the Cardinals swept a three-game series from the Cubs (May 26-28), winning all three games on walkoff hits: 12-11 (11), 3-2, 6-5.

The 1955 Dodgers' second streak reached 11 games and after winning the first game of a doubleheader on May 15, they were 25-4.
Corbin Martin / Hector Velázquez
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Martinez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Chavis, 2B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
The Red Sox have allowed more than five runs only once in their last 21 games. In that time, they have scored more than five runs 12 times.

OTM's Matt Collins, on last night's game: "If you like being incredibly frustrated during a baseball game, then Friday was the night for you." ... Let's hope Saturday is more pleasant and easy on the nerves.

Sale Battled Toe Injury In Spring Training

Now it can be told ...

Chris Sale had a toe injury during spring training, which was the reason for the Red Sox's plan for a slow build-up to full strength. (So perhaps the team was not clueless when it came to Sale's light spring training load. Maybe they knew exactly what was going on and how to deal with it.)

Pitching coach Dana LeVangie told Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic:
Chris' spring training was different. We tried to do the exact same things we did last year ... [but] he had a little bit of a toe injury that slowed him down a little bit, so there were some things that led up to the early-on stuff. I basically felt like he was going through his spring training, sort of in April.
From The Athletic:
In video from his first start in Seattle [Opening Day, March 28], Sale's arm and elbow appear almost parallel to the ground before delivery.

"We just had a conversation about what his arm path was doing, and how it was maybe affecting his release point, his pitch mix and all the above," LeVangie said. "We wanted a cleaner line going back, rather than straight behind him and it didn't allow him to work more back to front in his delivery."

By his 17-strikeout performance, his arm path had been tweaked slightly.

"Now his momentum is working toward the catcher in the best possible way, his extension is back, pitch mix is far better and it doesn't allow the hitter to see the ball for so long," LeVangie said.

According to The Athletic's analytics guru Eno Sarris, Sale improved his extension (how close to the plate he releases the ball) by an inch. While that doesn't seem like a whole lot, in baseball terms it's significant. ...

After posting an 8.50 ERA in those first four starts, when batters were hitting .311 with a .943 OPS against him, Sale slowly implemented the adjustments suggested by LeVangie, assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson. Over the next five starts, he posted a 1.91 ERA and limited batters to a .157 average and .537 OPS. In three starts this month, he's struck out 41 batters and walked one.

May 17, 2019

G44: Astros 3, Red Sox 1

Astros  - 000 000 030 - 3  6  0
Red Sox - 000 001 000 - 1  9  0
Two nights ago, Eduardo Rodriguez had pitched six solid innings and the Red Sox had a 5-2 lead. Rodriguez had retired six of his last seven batters, but had also thrown 99 pitches. Manager Alex Cora decided to send Rodriguez out for the seventh. It was a very bad idea. In seven pitches, Rodriguez had loaded the bases on two singles and a hit batter. All three baserunners eventually scored. The Red Sox won that game in extra innings, but that did not make Cora's decision a good one.

After a day off (the second of the week), the Red Sox played the Astros on Friday night. Rick Porcello cruised through seven innings. He had allowed only one hit to his last 19 batters and was at 91 pitches. After what happened on Wednesday, I expected to see a reliever in the top of the eighth. But Cora tried the same thing again, sending his starter out for another inning, this time with a 1-0 lead. Houston's #9 hitter, Jake Marisnick, smoked a 1-1 pitch to left for a double, the ball bouncing twice before hitting the wall near the AL East standings. Ryan Brasier (a poor choice these days as the first guy out of the pen) started warming up. As he did, George Springer launched Porcello's next pitch one row beyond the bullpen in right-center for a 2-1 Astros lead. (Springer is now 10-for-19 with three homers against Porcello lifetime, including postseason games.)

Brasier came in and walked two batters and threw a wild pitch and allowed another run. (He has allowed seven runs in his last five innings.) Trying to sneak your starter through another inning in a 5-2 game is one thing, but in a 1-0 game, it's a different matter. Cora should have had a reliever ready as soon as Porcello allowed a baserunner. And I'm baffled as to why Brasier was the first man up instead of Brandon Workman or Matt Barnes.

After the game, Cora accepted the blame:
That was a bad decision. ... He goes seven, and every pitch is high-leverage. He did his job, you know? ... I just made a bad decision, put him in a bad spot, and we paid the price. ... Should have taken him out after seven. It's not because of what happened. I just put him in a bad spot there. ... [H]e did an outstanding job for seven against the best lineup in baseball.
Cora made another error in the bottom of the ninth. After Christian Vazquez doubled with one out, Cora allowed Eduardo Nunez to bat against Roberto Osuna. I would have taken my chances with Jackie Bradley or Steve Pearce (even against a righty). I blinked and Nunez's at-bat was over (I read online he grounded the first pitch to third). Andrew Benintendi drew a four-pitch walk. Mookie Betts had a chance to win the game, but he lined out to left. (Betts had a single and four hard-hit outs, as the indifferent BABIP gods turned their backs on him.)

The Red Sox were frustrating to watch at the plate all evening. Mitch Moreland left J.D. Martinez at second base in the first inning, Nunez stranded men at second and third in the second, and a leadoff double by Xander Bogaerts in the fourth was followed by two strikeouts and a grounder to second. After singles from Benintendi and Betts with one out in the fifth, Astros starter Gerrit Cole (5-6-0-1-7, 99) struck out Martinez and Moreland, both swinging.

Bogaerts (3-for-4) opened the sixth with a single. Rafael Devers and Michael Chavis struck out, but Vazquez (3-for-4) lined an opposite-field single to right (the team's only hit in 11 AB with RATS).

Porcello (7-6-2-1-3, 95) was stingy (until he wasn't). Through seven innings, he allowed only three hits (a one-out single in the first, two hits in the second (one of which probably should have been ruled an error on Chavis), and another infield hit in the fifth) and one walk (with two outs in the fifth). Only three Houston runners got as far as second base.

Also: NESN almost missed the first pitch of the game because the Astros' lineup was on screen for so long. (Hard to believe, and yet ...)

The Yankees moved into first place after scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth and beating the Rays 4-3. The Red Sox are 4.5 GB.

After losing on April 6, the Red Sox were 4.5 GB with 152 games to play. But making up ground is not always so easy. Since then, the Red Sox have gone 21-13 (.618, a 100-win pace) and, after losing on May 17, are still 4.5 GB, now with 118 games to play.
Gerrit Cole / Rick Porcello
Benintendi, LF
Betts, CF
Martinez, RF
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Chavis, 2B
Vázquez, C
Núñez, DH
Since April 27, the Astros (13-4) and Red Sox (12-4) have been the best teams in baseball. (The Cubs are also 12-4.) The Astros have also won eight games in a row and 11 of their last 12.
                                  RS  RA   AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS  2B  HR   BB   K
Astros (since April 27)  14-4    121  58  .291  .356  .554  .909  31  41   63  128
Red Sox (since April 24) 14-5    131  61  .282  .379  .478  .858  36  31  104  155
                                  IP     H    R-ER  BB    K  HR   ERA   BF
Astros (since April 27)  14-4    160.0  115  58-58  49  176  20  3.26  643 
Red Sox (since April 24) 14-5    175.1  123  61-57  52  212  17  2.93  700
Roster: Sandy Leon is on paternity leave and catcher Oscar Hernandez has been called up from Pawtucket. Pitcher Chandler Shephard was designated for assignment to make room for Hernandez on the 40-man roster.

David Price is scheduled to come off the IL and start in Toronto on Monday. ... The rehab assignments of Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt have begun again, with Pedroia playing second and Holt DHing for Pawtucket tonight. ... Nathan Eovaldi will throw a bullpen session next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Marcus Walden has a 0.54 ERA over his last 20 appearances (10 appearances since April 20), with 19 strikeouts and one walk. The one run he has allowed in those 20 games (16.2 innings) was a solo home run.

Andrew Benintendi is 2-for-32 (.063) in the first inning this season. With four walks and one HBP, his first inning on-base percentage is .189. ... Jackie Bradley has yet to come to the plate in the first inning this season.

May 16, 2019

Same As It Ever Was On WEEI And NESN

I missed the games on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday because friends were visiting from Ontario. Watching and listening on Wednesday night, I learned that the goings-on at WEEI and NESN had not changed in my short time away.

Lou Merloni, sitting alongside Joe Castiglione in the WEEI radio booth, seemed to be impersonating NESN's Dennis Eckersley in the top of the third, calling a strikeout by Eduardo Rodriguez "a beautiful thing" and then referring to a "changeup piece". Later on, Merloni seemed to be confused about what time zones were and how they worked.

In about the third inning, Merloni explained (as though he was revealing top secret information) that the Red Sox were not the only team to do something (that everyone knows every team does every day), like adjust their plan at the plate depending on who is pitching. At home, I was going to make a joke about Merloni saying something else blindingly obvious, such as "The Red Sox aren't the only team that has scouting reports, you know" but I kept quiet. Then, in the top of the seventh, Merloni said almost those exact same words about scouting reports. (Was I surprised? No. I was not.)

Joe Castiglione continues to make numerous mistakes about pitch location. One lowlight was a fourth-inning pitch to Rafael Devers that was allegedly "sinking low and away" when it came in above his waist. LOOK at your monitor, Joe, for god's sake!

With Mookie Betts on first in the opening inning, Rockies starter German Márquez threw over to first and Castiglione said what he almost always says ("throw to first, runner back standing"; if he doesn't say that, it's "runner back with a hand tag"), but Betts was actually diving back on his belly as Castiglione said it this time. He did not correct himself.

In the next inning, Castiglione said the count on Devers was "quickly 0-2", when it actually took the same number of pitches every 0-2 count does: two. The count was neither quickly nor slowly 0-2.

Over on NESN, an on-screen graphic in the top of the second stated that the 24 strikeouts by the Rockies on Tuesday night tied both a "franchise high and a season high". Note to NESN: If the 24 strikeouts were the most in any game the Rockies have ever played, then it is unnecessary to also state it was the most strikeouts in a Rockies game in 2019. (Similarly, if you say someone is the first guy in major league history to hit five home runs in a game, you do not need to add that it was also the first five-homer game of his career.)

In the eighth inning, NESN's high-home camera operator thought Rafael Devers hit the ball about 975 feet. ... It was caught in the middle of the warning track.

The members of the Fenway Park grounds crew who update the standings on the left field wall have figured out how to show that a team is 0.5 games out of first place. Usually (always?), the 1/2 would be placed directly above the "4" and "9" and "11" rather than over to the right (where the other fractions always go). ... Now if they could remember that when New York and another team each have the same record, New York should always be listed below the other team, all will be well. (Why don't people who work for the Red Sox know this?)

May 15, 2019

G43: Red Sox 6, Rockies 5 (10)

Rockies - 000 200 300 0 - 5 11  0
Red Sox - 203 000 000 1 - 6 13  0
A ground ball single up the middle by Michael Chavis gave the Red Sox their second walkoff win of the season. Rockies reliver Chad Bettis threw two pitches and got the loss. His first pitch was crushed to deep center by Xander Bogaerts, who played it safe and stopped at second with a double. After Rafael Devers was walked intentionally, the Ice Horse knocked Bettis's second pitch into center, salvaging a night in which the Red Sox blew a 5-0 lead and were in danger of losing in extra innings for the second consecutive night.

Boston wasted no time in getting on the board in the first inning. The first three hitters - Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and J.D. Martinez - singled for a 1-0 lead. Mitch Moreland's GIDP scored a second run. Benintendi tripled with one out in the third (only the second Red Sox triple of the season) and scored when Betts went to the opposite field on an 0-2 pitch. Martinez then deposited his ninth home run of the year into the Red Sox bullpen.

Edward Rodriguez (6-9-5-1-10, 106) struck out two batters in each of the first three innings. He stranded runners at first and third in the second and ran into trouble in the fourth. With one on and one out, Ian Desmond doubled to left. David Dahl's sac fly scored Raimel Tapia and Tony Wolters's double down the right field line scored Desmond.

Rodriguez threw only seven pitches in the seventh and was pulled after loading the bases. Ryan McMahon singled to right-center, Wolters hit a ground-rule double to right, and Charlie Blackmon was hit by a pitch. Matt Barnes allowed all three inherited runners to score. He gave up a two-run single to Trevor Story. After Nolan Arenado struck out, the Rockies tied the game on Daniel Murphy's groundout to second. Marcus Walden came in and fanned Tapia for the third out. Walden also pitched a clean eighth and ninth.

The Red Sox had chances to grab the lead in the late innings. Singles from Chavis and Christian Vázquez gave Boston runners on first and second with one out in the seventh. But Mike Dunn struck out Benintendi and Carlos Estevez got Betts to foul out to the catcher. Scott Oberg walked two men with one down in the eighth, but Devers flied out to deep right (NESN's cameraman thought the fly ball was going to travel about 850 feet and truped the hell out of everyone) and Chavis grounded out catcher-to-first.

In the ninth, Bryan Shaw walked Benintendi with two outs. Betts's popup down the left field line fell safely and bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. It was Mookie's 200th career double. Shortstop Story and left fielder Tapia collided on the play (their knees crashed together) and Story left the game. JDM was walked intentionally and Eduardo Núñez (who had pinch-run for Moreland in the previous inning) grounded into a fielder's choice.

Heath Hembree allowed a leadoff double off the top of the left field scoreboard to Arenado in the tenth. He got two popups, but then walked Desmond. Brandon Workman was called in and he struck out Dahl.
German Márquez / Eduardo Rodriguez
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Martinez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Chavis, 2B
Bradley, CF
Vázquez, C
Eduardo Rodriguez:
First 2 starts of year: 11 earned runs
Subsequent 6 starts: 11 earned runs
Rodriguez has not allowed a home run in his last four starts, matching the longest streak of his career. He has faced 114 batters since giving up a dong.

Since April 24, the Red Sox are 13-5 stretch and have the American League's lowest team (ERA 2.83) and MLB's lowest opponent average (.188) and lowest opponent OPS (.584). In that same 18-game stretch, Boston's hitters lead the AL in runs per game (6.94) and lead all MLB teams in OBP (.377).

Since April 12, the Red Sox have the fourth-lowest starters ERA in MLB (3.16). The starters have allowed four earned runs or fewer in all 29 games and three earned runs or fewer in 25 of 29 games.

Since April 14, the Red Sox are 14-0 when scoring 5+ runs. (From March 28 to April 13, they were 4-5.)

Yesterday's game was the 16th in history (since at least 1908) in which a pitcher struck out 17 or more batters and did not get a "win". Over all, it happened to Randy Johnson four times and to Nolan Ryan three times (including twice in two months in 1974, 19 strikeouts in games of 11 and 13 innings). Chris Sale's effort is one of only eight games in which the pitcher threw nine or fewer innings.

As noted, Sale is the only pitcher in baseball history to have 17+ strikeouts in an outing of fewer than eight innings. ... Randy Johnson had two eight-inning starts in which he struck out 17 and 18 batters, Johan Santana and Anibal Sanchez each struck out 17 in eight innings, and Corey Kluber struck out 18 in eight innings.

Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic reported:
Sale has at least 14 strikeouts and no walks in each of his past two starts. Since 1893, when the mound moved to its current distance, the only other pitcher in baseball history with two straight starts of this type was Dwight Gooden in September [12 and 17,] 1984, with 16 strikeouts in each of his outings.

Sale is the second Red Sox pitcher ever to post back-to-back starts of at least 10 strikeouts and zero walks. The other is Cy Young (September 19 and 23, 1905).

Sale tied Randy Johnson (April 21, 2002) for the most strikeouts by a starting pitcher against the Rockies in a single game in franchise history. [Johnson walked one batter.]

The 17 strikeouts are tied for second-most in Red Sox history with Pedro Martinez (September 10, 1999 at New York and May 6, 2000 vs. Tampa Bay) and Bill Monbouquette (May 12, 1961 at Washington).

May 14, 2019

G42: Rockies 5, Red Sox 4 (11)

Rockies - 000 000 220 01 - 5  6  2
Red Sox - 012 000 010 00 - 4  9  0
Ryan Brasier walked two batters in the eleventh and one of them scored on Mark Reynolds's two-out single to center. Boston put a man on first with two outs in the bottom of the eleventh, but Andrew Benintendi flied out.

Chris Sale (7-3-2-0-17, 108) became the first pitcher in major league history to strike out 17 batters in seven or fewer innings. The 17 Ks were also a career-best.
1:  Kc   Ks   Ks
2:  Ks   Ks   Kc
3:  43   Kc   Ks
4:  53   Kc   PF5
5:  2B   L7   Ks   Ks
6:  Kc   Kc   Kc
7:  1B   HR   Kc   Ks   Ks
Sale is the first Red Sox pitcher to fan as many as 17 opposing batters since Pedro Martinez had 17 punchouts on May 6, 2000.

Sale struck out the first six Rockies, one shy of the American League record to start a game and two short of the major league record. Sale became the first Red Sox pitcher to strike out eight in the first three innings since Josh Beckett on April 27, 2008.

Last 3 starts: 21 innings, 9 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 walk, 41 strikeouts. 1.29 ERA, 17.6 K/9

Last 5 starts: 33 innings, 18 hits, 7 earned runs, 6 walks, 59 strikeouts. 1.91 ERA, 16.1 K/9
Boston pitchers (Sale, Brandon Workman, and Matt Barnes) had 21 strikeouts in the first nine innings. The only other time that has happened in major league history was when the Red Sox did it against the Rays on September 25, 2016.

Michael Chavis hit his seventh home run of the year in the second. J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers both went deep in the third. After losing the lead, Boston tied the game at 4-4 on Mitch Moreland's pinch-hit single in the eighth.

Kyle Freeland / Chris Sale

Chris Sale's last four starts: 1.73 ERA. 26 innings, 15 hits, 6 walks, 42 strikeouts.

Rafael Devers leads the American League in batting average (.336), and he's fourth in OBP (.408).