Records Entering Series: KC (7-20, 5th in AL Central), BOS (20-7, 1st in AL East)
The Royals rolled into Boston with the 2nd worst record in the MLB and gave the Red Sox a pretty decent fight. Mookie Betts and co., however, were a bit too large of an opponent, and Boston took 2 of 3.
Good enough pitching and timely hitting was the name of the game for the Red Sox in this one. Chris Sale continued to roll, while Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz were just average in their respective starts. Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez led the offense, as Boston put up 21 runs in these 3 games.
Boston now heads to Texas to take on the Rangers with a 2-game lead in the division.
Game 1: KC-6, BOS-10
(Photo credit: ESPN)
Boston took game 1 of the series with a huge 3rd inning and some strong bullpen work.
The Royals struck in the 1st with 2 bases loaded walks and an infield single off of Eduardo Rodriguez. Boston got 1 back in the 2nd with a solo home run by Moreland, and then took the lead for good in the 3rd.
After Benintendi singled and Ramirez hit a ground rule double, KC walked both Martinez and Moreland to bring in 1. Bogaerts followed with Boston’s 6th grand slam of the year to make it 6-3.
KC brought the game back to 1 run with back to back RBI doubles in the 4th, but Boston responded with runs in both the bottom of the 4th and 5th off a Benintendi sac fly and a Nunez single, respectively.
They scored 2 more in the 7th when Devers grounded into a fielder’s choice and Bradley reached on an error. KC scored 1 in the 9th, but that was all, and Boston took the opener.
Eduardo Rodriguez pitched only 4 innings, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks. Hector Velazquez earned the win with 2 clean innings, and Carson Smith and Brian Johnson closed it out.
Other notable performances include Bogaerts (3 hits, 4 RBI), Moreland (3 hits, 2 RBI), and Ramirez and Martinez (2 hits each).
Game 2: KC-7, BOS-6
(Photo credit: ESPN)
This was a tough loss for the Red Sox. After blowing a lead and then tying it in extras, Boston’s bullpen ultimately let them down.
The scoring started in the 4th when Escobar hit a sac fly for KC, then they added another in the 6th on a strange play involving a caught stealing. The Red Sox tied it up in the bottom half from another solo shot by Moreland and then an RBI single by JBJ. They scored again in the 7th when Benintendi crossed home on a wild pitch, making it 3-2 Boston.
They took that lead into the 9th, but Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel gave up a solo home run to Gordon that sent it to extra innings.
After exchanging runs in the 12th from a KC sac fly and a Nunez home run, the Royals notched 3 in the 13th, and Boston only got back 2 in the bottom half giving KC the win in game 2.
Chris Sale had a good outing, going 7 innings and allowing just 1 earned run with 6 K’s. Barnes, Kimbrel, Smith, Hembree and Johnson combined for 6 IP and 5 runs out of the bullpen.
Other notable performance include Benintendi and Moreland (3 hits each), and Devers (2 hits). Bradley added 2 RBI.
Game 3: KC-4, BOS-5
(Photo credit: ESPN)
It was the Mookie Betts show in the rubber match.
KC again struck first, this time with 1 run in the 1st and 2 in the 2nd off of a sac fly and a double. After a scoreless 3rd, Betts led off the 4th with a solo home run, and Martinez hit a 2-run shot 3 batters later to tie it up.
Betts hit another solo shot in the 5th to make it 4-3, and the yet another one in the 7th (his 11th of the year) to give Boston a 2-run lead. It turned out they’d need that cushion, as the Royals scored 1 in the 8th off of a solo home run, but Kimbrel came in and shut the door in the 9th to give Boston the win.
Drew Pomeranz recorded a quality start, going 6 innings and allowing only 3 runs, but it wasn’t his best outing. Joe Kelly returned from suspension to combine with Barnes and Kimbrel out of the bullpen for the hold and save.
Other notable performances include Betts’ 3 HR and Martinez (2 hits).
-Betts is on fire and putting together one of the most ridiculous starts to a season that Boston has ever seen.
-J.D. Martinez’s name may not be getting spoken as much as it should. He leads the team in RBI to go along with .343/.392/.593 slash line.
-The world is still waiting for Andrew Benintendi to break out. It’s now over a month into the season, and Beni’s BA is still sub-.250.
-Mitch Moreland has been ridiculously hot, and it’s clear that Cora’s emphasis on getting him consistent reps has gone a long way towards helping him find his groove.
-Eduardo Nunez has played fine for the Red Sox so far, but it’s abundantly clear how much of an upgrade a healthy Dustin Pedroia will be both offensively and (especially) defensively.
-Eduardo Rodriguez can be such a frustrating pitcher to watch. Everyone knows that he has the talent to be a very good starter in this league, but his lack of control and situational awareness have really hampered him for years now.
-Drew Pomeranz has been another frustrating pitcher to observe, at least for this year. He’s probably still getting his arm fully stretched out, but considering he lacks the velocity to be considered a power pitcher, his command is of the utmost importance for him, and he’s been struggling to locate his pitches on a consistent basis.
-It was good for the Sox to win this series against cellar dwelling KC after dropping 2 of 3 to a different lesser team, the Rays, the series before.