Series Recap: 5/17-5/20 vs. BAL

Records Entering Series: BAL (13-29, 5th in AL East), BOS (29-14, 2nd in AL East)

Quick Take

The Boston Red Sox took care of business and did exactly what they were supposed to do in this series by taking 3 of 4 against the Baltimore Orioles. They played very good baseball in all aspects of the game and received some key contributions from some of the less high profile teammates.

They have Monday off while traveling to Tampa Bay, where they’ll take on the Rays for 3 games before returning home again.

Game 1: BAL-2, BOS-6

(Photo credit: ESPN)

Boston wasted no time getting on top of the O’s, scoring 2 runs in the 1st from a Martinez home run that also brought home Betts. It was a tight affair for the next 3 innings, though, as both pitchers looked sharp, but the Sox broke it open in the 5th.

Bradley started it off with a walk and a steal, then Betts singled and moved him to 3rd. Benintendi brought Bradley home with a sac fly. After Ramirez singled and Martinez struck out, Bogaerts hit a no-doubt home run over the Monster to make it 6-0.

Baltimore nabbed a couple of consolation runs in the 9th with a 2-run shot by Machado, but that was all, and it finished 6-2.

David Price rolled all the way up to and into the 9th. His lone blemish came on the home run he allowed in the 9th, but he finished with a 5-hit complete game, striking out 8.

Other notable performances include Betts (3 hits, 2 runs), Bogaerts (2 hits, 3 RBI), Martinez (1 HR, 2 RBI), and Ramirez and Leon (2 hits each).

Game 2: BAL-7, BOS-4

(Photo credit: ESPN)

Baltimore opened the scoring in the 1st when Trumbo hit an RBI groundout. Boston tied it up in the 3rd with a solo home run by Betts. The O’s broke it open in the next inning with 2, 2-RBI singles on back-to-back at-bats, making it 5-1.

Boston fought back in the 5th with a 1-run double by Betts and a 1-run single by Benintendi to cut the lead to 2, but Baltimore put the game to bed in the 7th when Schoop homered to left. The teams exchanged runs in the 8th and 9th, and Baltimore took game 2 by a score of 7-4.

Drew Pomeranz lasted only 4 innings, allowing 4 earned runs on 7 hits and 3 walks. Steven Wright saved the rest of the bullpen arms with 4.2 innings of work (2 runs on 3 hits), and Heath Hembree recorded the last out.

Betts led the offense with 3 hits and 2 RBI, while Martinez, Nunez and Vazquez all recorded 2 hits each.

Game 3: BAL-3, BOS-6

(Photo credit: ESPN)

Schoop hit a sac fly in the 3rd to start the scoring, but Devers blasted a solo home run in the 4th to tie it up. Boston added 3 more in the 5th when Betts and Benintendi hit back-to-back home runs, a 2-run and a solo shot, respectively.

Baltimore made it a 1-run game the next inning with an Alvarez 2-run blast, but Boston got their insurance runs in the 7th when Benintendi hit a 2-run single to make it 6-3, an that’s how it ended.

Rick Porcello bounced back from two straight sub-par starts to pitch 6 innings, in which he allowed 3 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks while fanning 9. Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes combined for 2 scoreless innings, and Craig Kimbrel followed up with a perfect 9th for the save.

Other notable performances include Benintendi (2 hits, 3 RBI) and Betts (2 RBI).

Game 4: BAL-0, BOS-5

(Photo credit: ESPN)

J.D. Martinez hit a solo home run to start the scoring in the 2nd, and Boston piled on in the 5th with 4 more runs. Bradley started the rally with a lead off double, and Benintendi brought him home 2 batters later with a 2-run home run. After Moreland hit a ground rule double, Martinez knocked his 2nd home run of the day to make it 5-0 and give Boston the series win.

Eduardo Rodriguez earned the win, scattering 9 hits (all singles) over 5.2 scoreless innings while striking out 7. Heath Hembree, Bobby Poyner and Brian Johnson closed out the game with 3.1 scoreless innings.

Along with Martinez (2 HR, 3 RBI) and Benintendi (3 hits, 2 RBI), Brock Holt added 2 hits to propel the bats.

Takeaways

-David Price was absolutely magical in game 1, needing only 95 pitches to complete 9 innings. The carpal tunnel in his throwing hand that had been causing him problems seemed nonexistent, and he made his job look easy. It’s been said often, but if Price can continue to resemble that kind of pitcher then Boston has arguably one of the best 1-2 punches at the top of the rotation in the league.

-Drew Pomeranz struggled once again in his start. With guys like Brian Johnson, Steven Wright, and Hector Velazquez waiting in the wings, one would have to think that he’s coming towards the end of his leash as a starter.

-Rick Porcello bounced back after 2 consecutive sub-par starts to pitch very well in game 3. Boston doesn’t need him to repeat his Cy Young winning 2016, but they can’t afford for him to look like he did last year. It’s very important for him to remain consistent going forward.

-Eduardo Rodriguez has arguably the best stuff of any pitcher on this staff. His talent has never been in question, but he’s struggled at times to put it all together and be the solid middle starter Boston has hoped he would be. Performances similar to his game 4 outing would be a huge boost to the team.

-The bullpen has looked much better lately after a dreadful stretch of games. They combined for 11.1 innings with just 2 earned runs.

-What else can be said about Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez other than they may be the 2 best hitters in the game right now. They’ve combined for 112 hits, 26 doubles, 26 home runs, and 66 RBI so far this year.

-Andrew Benintendi may finally be finding his swing. In his last 18 games, he’s hitting .338 with 4 home runs and a .973 OPS. He’s now raised his season average up to .285.

-The catchers, who had been a black hole in the lineup all year, combined for 6 hits and 3 runs against Baltimore. Even a small bump up in production from their abysmal start would be a welcome addition to what is already the most potent offense in the MLB.

-Despite playing a little better the last handful of games, Eduardo Nunez has really fallen off this season. He’s now hitting just .233, and he’ll likely suffer a big demotion in playing time when Dustin Pedroia returns.

-Finally, JBJ is still struggling horribly. With secondary guys like Moreland and Holt swinging the bat consistently well, his time as an every day starter could be coming to an end soon.

(Header photo credit: Boston Globe)

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