All you need to know, in quickie form, about the Red Sox’ 7-6 win over the Indians, complete with BSJ analysis and insight:
Bradley saves Red Sox from disaster
A night removed from a ninth-inning rally that amounted to very little in a walk-off loss to the Indians, the Red Sox were staring at another disastrous outing at Progressive Field on Tuesday. Once leading Cleveland, 6-1, and with ace Chris Sale on the mound, Boston soon found itself in a similar spot — with its bullpen trying to stop the bleeding in the closing frames of the contest.
Alas, for the 22nd time this season, Boston’s relief corps blew a save, as Francisco Lindor tied things up in the bottom of the ninth with an RBI double off of Brandon Workman to eliminate a five-run deficit and force extra innings.
But unlike Monday’s loss, it would be the Red Sox that would benefit from the final momentum swing in what was a wild night in Cleveland — as Jackie Bradley Jr. provided in the heroics in the top of the 10th with a solo shot to right that put Boston ahead for good. Andrew Cashner fanned two for the first save of his MLB career, helping Boston avoid another brutal loss.
JBJ for the lead! pic.twitter.com/W0a1PErnjd
— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 14, 2019
Chris Sale sets record, runs out of gas
It certainly wasn’t the gem that he spun in his last start against the Angels, but Sale was much better than what his final stat line (6.2 innings pitched, 5 runs allowed) indicated. In fact, for most of the night, it looked as though Sale was simply building off of his dominant outing against Anaheim — as the southpaw struck out eight and only allowed one run through the first five innings of his outing.
Along the way, Sale became the fastest pitcher in MLB history to reach 2,000 career strikeouts, accomplishing the feat in just 1,626 innings of work.
However, the lefty started to run out of gas in the sixth and seventh innings, with Franmil Reyes drilling a two-run, opposite-field homer off of Sale in the bottom of the sixth. Sale wasn’t helped in the seventh when an error by Rafael Devers kept the Indians alive with one out and put runners on second and third. Two batters later, a double from Lindor knocked Sale out of the game, with the the starter eventually charged with three earned runs in his outing. Not the best outing, by any means, but when factoring in velocity and his ability to get ahead of batters, it was another step in the right direction following last week’s start.
Chris Sale reached 2,000 career strikeouts in 1,626 IP.
The fastest in MLB history. pic.twitter.com/FaBwwLvDfe
— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 14, 2019
Devers makes history at the plate
Bradley might have provided the heroics in extra innings, but Rafael Devers was not far behind, connecting on his fourth double of the game later in the 10th en route to a 6-for-6 performance at the plate. The 22-year-old third baseman’s final stat line (6-for-6, 4 doubles & 3 RBI) stood as the first time that a player had posted such a mark during the modern era of baseball — AKA since 1900. While he had a few missteps in the field and on the base paths, it was a memorable night for Devers, who continues to blossom into one of the premier hitters in all of baseball.
6 for 6
Rafael Devers makes baseball look easy. pic.twitter.com/zX5Ih20xXq
— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 14, 2019
Sox rotation set with Eovaldi going forward — or is it? After Alex Cora tinkered with his starting rotation on Monday by demoting Andrew Cashner to the bullpen, it appeared as though the Red Sox had a plan in place through at least the start of September.
After a largely ineffective stretch as a reliever, Nathan Eovaldi was set to be the final piece in what will serve as a four-man rotation for the foreseeable future, as the righty was slated to pitch in Wednesday’s series finale in Cleveland.
Such a scenario didn’t last as Tuesday’s game progressed, however, as Cora called upon Eovaldi to get the final two outs in the eighth inning with Cleveland threatening. While he only needed six pitches to get out of the inning, Eovaldi will not pitch on Wednesday, with Cora opting to go with Brian Johnson. However, Eovaldi will still be eligible to pitch on Wednesday out of the bullpen, and figures to return to the starting rotation in the coming days.
Even with David Price currently on the IL due to a left wrist injury, the Red Sox should be able to stay afloat with a four-man rotation for the time being, with the club set to earn five off days from now through September 3. If Eovaldi can settle back into his regular role in the starting rotation, it could be the shot in the arm that the Red Sox were expecting when they signed him to a $68 million deal this winter.
After already scrapping Eovladi’s start on Wednesday by using him in the eighth, you could make the case that Cora could have kept him in the game in the ninth, given that he only threw six pitches. But it was Workman who eventually got the call — and promptly blew the save in the ninth.
Rafael Devers: What else needs to be said when you become the first MLB player in the modern era to slug four doubles and go 6-for-6 at the plate in a single game?
Mookie Betts: Betts set the tone at the top of the lineup, hitting a lead-off triple and crossing home plate in the first before adding an RBI single in the second inning. Betts went 2-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored while also working a walk. The right fielder (109 runs scored) is still on track to become just the second Red Sox player to score 140 runs in a single season — joining Ted Williams.
Jackie Bradley Jr.: Bradley slugged his second home run in as many games for Boston, going 2-for-4 on the night with two runs scored.
Xander Bogaerts: After providing some heroics with a game-tying RBI double in the ninth inning of Monday’s loss, the Sox shortstop was a bit more muted at the plate on Tuesday, going 1-for-6 with a single and three strikeouts. He left five men on base.
Rafael Devers: It’s probably a bit unfair to knock Devers on a night in which he went 6-for-6 at the plate, but the third baseman also had a couple of lapses that proved costly in other areas of Tuesday’s matchup. It was a tough hit when Devers was caught stealing in the top of the third with the team’s hottest hitter in J.D. Martinez up at the plate, but the big blunder came in the seventh — as an error by the third baseman kept the inning alive for Cleveland, who tacked on two more runs later in the inning.
Brandon Workman: On a night in which the Red Sox had already used up their projected starter on Wednesday in Eovaldi, the club needed a shutdown showing from Workman. Didn’t happen.
QUOTE OF NOTE: “It’s been a grind this year, but there’s been some cool things about him and just — the pitcher is amazing, the person is better. He’s a guy that I really respect, we have a great relationship and this guy, who shows up every single day, regardless of if he pitches or not, he’s pulling for his teammates, he’s doing everything possible for us to win. I’m very proud of him.” - Alex Cora on Sale
Before Sale’s record-breaking performance on Tuesday, the fastest pitcher to reach 2,000 career strikeouts was none other than Pedro Martinez, who accomplished the feat in 1,711.1 innings of work. The top five fastest pitchers to reach 2,000 Ks are now: Chris Sale (1,626.0 IP), Pedro Martinez (1,711.1), Randy Johnson (1,733.1), Max Scherzer (1,784.0) and Clayton Kershaw (1,837.2).
Devers’ performance at the plate was the first time that a Red Sox batter had recorded six hits in a single game since Nomar Garciaparra accomplished the feat back on June 21, 2003.
After going 2-for-2 with a triple and single in his first two at-bats, Mookie Betts passed Carl Yastrzemski for the fourth-most career total bases by a Red Sox player in his first six MLB seasons (1,584). Only Ted Williams (2,028), Jim Rice (1,739) and Wade Boggs (1,610) have totaled more through their first six seasons.
The Red Sox will close out their three-game series against the Indians on Wednesday afternoon, with Brian Johnson (1-1, 7.32 ERA) set to get the start against Shane Bieber (12-4, 3.28 ERA).