Series Recap: 4/17-4/19 at LAA

Records Entering Series: BOS (13-2, 1st in AL East), LAA (13-3, 1st in AL West)

Quick Take

The Red Sox quieted their doubters emphatically by beating up on what was the 2nd best team (record-wise) in the AL over 3 games.

The offense mashed and the pitching dominated in an all-around display of talent and force. There’s not much to say about this team that hasn’t been said already. They’re just that good right now.

Game 1: BOS-10, LAA-1

(Photo credit: ESPN)

Boston got to the Japanese phenom, Shohei Ohtani early and drove him out of the game after just 2 IP (LAA claims he had a blister).

Mookie Betts started the scoring with a leadoff HR, and the Sox added 2 more in the 2nd. Bradley singled, Vazquez walked, Holt singled, driving in Bradley, then Betts walked to load the bases, and Benintendi hit a sac fly to make it 3-0.

Boston’s offensive outbreak came in the 3rd, when they tacked on 5 runs to effectively put the game to bed. Martinez led off with a single but was forced out at 2nd on a Nunez fielder’s choice. Bradley followed up with his 1st HR of 2018, a bomb to right, scoring himself and Nunez. Vazquez was HBP next, then Holt and Betts hit back-to-back HR’s to make it 8-0.

The Angels got one back in the 4th when Pujols drove in Maldonado with a single, but Devers erased that in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot. From there, the scoring remained stagnant until the 8th, when Betts hit his 3rd HR of the game, and it ended 10-1.

David Price was very good. He went 5 innings, allowing just 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 6. He only threw 78 pitches, and certainly could have pitched longer, but with the game already in hand, Alex Cora decided to pull him after 5.

As mentioned. Betts hit 3 HR, and Devers, Bradley and Holt all hit 1 each. Vazquez also recorded 2 hits and scored twice.

Game 2: BOS-9, LAA-0

(Photo credit: ESPN)

The Red Sox started the game with a run in the 1st. Ramirez doubled and was driven home by a single by Mitch Moreland. They added 5 more in the 3rd for the 2nd game in a row when Betts, Ramirez, Martinez and Moreland all hit consecutive singles, eventually scoring Betts. Devers cleared the bases with a grand slam 2 batters later, making it 6-0 Sox.

They added another in the 7th off of a Martinez home run, and 2 more in the 9th when Moreland homered, scoring himself and Martinez.

Rick Porcello continued his strong start to 2018 by pitching 6 scoreless innings. He ran into some trouble a few times throughout, but managed to work his way out of the jam every time. He ended with 6 K’s and 6 hits, throwing 101 pitches. The bullpen worked a scoreless 7th, 8th and 9th to close it out.

Notable performances include Martinez (4 hits, 1 RBI), Moreland (3 hits, 4 RBI), Devers and Betts (2 hits each).

Game 3: BOS-8, LAA-2

(Photo credit: ESPN)

Boston struck in the 1st inning for the 3rd consecutive game, again coming from a leadoff HR by Betts. LAA responded in the 2nd with a run when Simmons walked and was singled in by Cozart.

The Red Sox got 2 in the 4h when Ramirez singled and then scored on a Martinez double. Devers drove home Martinez 2 batters later with a single, and it was 3-1 Sox.

The Angels again responded with a run in the 5th off of a solo home run by Young, but Boston put the game away the next inning with 2 more runs. Benintendi led off the 6th with his 1st HR of the year, followed by a Martinez single, a Moreland double, and a Devers single that brought home Martinez.

Boston added 1 in the 8th on a Moreland sac fly and 2 in the 9th with a Benintendi single that scored Holt and Betts.

Eduardo Rodriguez was solid, allowing 2 runs in 6 IP. He only allowed 3 hits but did give up 3 walks, and he fanned 5. Hembree, Smith and Kelly combined for another scoreless 7th, 8th and 9th.

Other notable performances include Martinez and Devers (3 hits each), and Betts, Benintendi and Holt (2 hits each).

Takeaways

-The offense remained hot, scoring 27 runs in the 3 games. The pitching matched the bats by allowing only 3 runs.

-David Price returned after a poor outing vs. NYY and pitched a gem. It’s very encouraging to see him bounce back like that.

-The bullpen was very good in this one, holding LAA to just 5 base runners in 10 IP. They didn’t give up a single run.

-The Red Sox got to the LAA bullpen early in game 1, forcing the Angels to expend many of their relief arms with 2 games still to play in the series. That can be a huge advantage for a ball club over the course of a series.

-Boston scored in the 1st inning in all 3 games, immediately providing a cushion for their starters to work with. Betts has been particularly hot, and is probably the best leadoff hitter in the MLB right now.

-Speaking of Mookie, he’s now hit 13 career leadoff home runs and has 8 career multi-HR games as leadoff hitter (both most in Sox history). He also tied Ted Williams’ Red Sox record with his third 3 HR game. He’s 25-years old.

-The Red Sox aggression at the plate has been a popular talking point so far, but they’re also so selective with what they swing at. Alex Cora is preaching selective aggressiveness, meaning he wants the lineup to let loose and swing at almost everything in the zone, but still have a keen eye and lay off pitches out of the zone. So far, it’s working magically.

-After slumping for a couple weeks, Rafael Devers went 7-14 with 2 HR and 7 RBI vs. the Angels. If he stays hot, this already scary offense becomes even scarier.

-Mitch Moreland started the year 0-10, but is now riding a 7-game hit streak as a “backup” player.

-Like Moreland, Brock Holt has begun producing in his “backup” role as well. There’s just no holes in this lineup.

(Header photo credit: Boston Globe)

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