The Red Sox ended the first month of the 2016 season in style Saturday night, crushing the Yankees 8-0 at Fenway Park.
As emotionally satisfying as Friday’s victory was — thanks to another David Ortiz game-winning home run — Saturday night may have been the Red Sox’ most impressive game to date.
— Red Sox (@RedSox) May 1, 2016
Behind another ace-like performance from Rick Porcello, the Boston offense was relentless all night, to the tune of 14 hits and six walks. The only member of the starting lineup without a hit was Dustin Pedroia, who went 0-for-4.
Despite all the offensive fireworks —most of which came in the sixth and seventh innings — the story was Porcello. The much-maligned right-hander twirled seven shutout innings, striking out six while allowing five hits and just one walk. The effort improved his record to 5-0 and lowered his ERA 2.76. Perhaps more impressively, he lowered his WHIP to 0.92, good for fourth-best in the American League.
Porcello joined Detroit’s Jordan Zimmerman and Chicago’s Chris Sale as the only AL starters to win their first five starts of the season.
Offensively, the Sox were led by another huge game from Jackie Bradley Jr., who finished 3-for-3 with two tripples, a double, one walk, and 3 RBIs. He raised his average to .272, and now has 11 extra-base-hits on the season.
Following Friday night’s eighth inning bomb, David Ortiz again went deep, crushing a ball into the right field bleachers off of Yankees’ pitcher Johnny Barbato, who allowed four earned-runs in relief.
Ortiz was really feeling himself after that shot, as his 32.4 second trot around the bases was the longest in baseball so far this season.
.@davidortiz homers. And he enjoys it.
— #Statcast (@statcast) May 1, 2016
The Red Sox really played their most complete game of the year, as they received great pitching, explosive, grinding offense, strong defense, and Mookie Betts’ sixth inning stolen base was the team’s twenty-first of the season, tops in the AL.
Their approach and against Pineda, though, is what really stood out. The right-hander entered the game having allowed just 5 walks on the season, and carried a reputation as a quick-working strike-thrower.
But with the end of New York’s bullpen being so devastating, Boston seemed determine to make Pineda work hard and leave early.
Pineda wound up surrendering only two earned-runs, but he needed 106 pitches to get through five innings (Don’t we have someone like that?), and allowed three walks. The Boston hitters routinely forced Pineda into full-counts, though they weren’t able to capitalize until later in the game.
The win improved Boston’s record to 14-10, as they’ll look for a series sweep of their hated rivals on Sunday night when David Price squares off against New York’s Nathan Eovaldi.
— Joon Lee (@joonlee) May 1, 2016
Porcello — I’ve loved saying “Porcello Sucks” as much as anyone over the last year, but it’s getting harder and harder to say that with any confidence. Porcello is too prone to giving up home runs to sustain these types of performances, but it’s hard to argue that the guy hasn’t been one of the best pitchers in the American League so far. His 36 strikeouts are good for fifth-best in the AL (David Price leads with 46), and he’s allowed only 24 hits on the season. A staff-ace he is not, but he’s looking more and more like the number-two starter the Sox envisioned when they signed him to that knee-jerk extension last summer.
Bradley — JBJ is never going hit 30 home runs in a season (though who would’ve thought Jacoby Ellsbury ever would), but that doesn’t mean he can’t hit for power. His 11 extra-base-hits are tied for the tenth-most in the AL, as his doubles-driven power surge at the end of last season doesn’t look like it was a fluke. He’s still just a good, not great hitter, but when he catches fire, he can carry the offense out of the number nine spot. And with his elite defense in the outfield, he looks locked in as the Red Sox’ centerfielder for years to come.
.@JackieBradleyJr = velocidad
— Red Sox de Boston (@RedSoxBeisbol) May 1, 2016
Ortiz — Never a dull moment with this guy. After launching the game-winning home run Friday night, one that he promised to a young Red Sox fan dealing with a serious congenital heart-defect, Ortiz went deep again, blasting the 507th home run of his career. He finished 2-for-3 on the night, and his raised his average to .321. An absurd 16 of his 25 hits this season have gone for extra-bases. The dude is a psycho.
Hanley Ramirez & Home Plate Umpire Dan Lassogna — This one could’ve gotten ugly. Lasagna was all over the place throughout the game, as hitters on both sides never could find out where the strike zone was. Ramirez seemed to suffer the most from this, as he looked a little rattled throughout the night. The called third strike on Ramirez in the first inning was way inside, and their was another low pitch in the third that was called a strike, one that Ramirez was visibly frustrated with. He went on to strike out in that at-bat as well. You could see the frustration on Ramirez when he finally got a base hit in the eighth inning.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Hard-throwing reliever Carson Smith is set to return from the disabled list on Tuesday when the Red Sox travel to Chicago to face the White Sox. Smith has been shelved since spring training with a right flexor muscle strain.
The Sox wanted to see Smith pitch in back-to-back outings in Pawtucket before recalling him, something he did without issue. A dominant setup man, Smith will be a huge addition to an already great Red Sox bullpen.