That’s more like it.
David Price and Craig Kimbrel were both knocked-around during the Red Sox’ home opening loss to the Orioles last week. But on Saturday afternoon, the team’s splashy offseason additions teamed up to blow-away the Blue Jays.
Price allowed two earned-runs on six hits while striking out nine over seven innings, and Kimbrel overpowered the meat of Toronto’s lineup in the ninth, striking out the side to close-out Boston’s 4-2 win.
The third straight victory improved the team’s record to 6-4. The Sox have also won 4-out-5 against the defending AL-East champs.
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Facing his former team, Price got off to a rough-start, allowing an RBI double to Jose Bautista in the first inning. He cruised the rest of the way, and closed out his start (the first seven-inning outing for a Boston starter this year) by striking-out the side.
The Sox received all the offense they would need in the fourth inning, thanks to a three-run homer off the bat of Xander Bogaerts, his first of the season, and RBI single from Travis Shaw. The only member of the lineup without a hit was Mookie Betts.
Boston resumes their four-game series against the Blue Jays tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM, as knuckle-baller Steven Wright will take the mound for the second time this season.
Price — His best start of year, by far. With the uncertainty in the rest of the rotation, the Sox are going to need Price to pitch the way he did on Saturday. Yes it’s early, but this was the first time that Price seemed to feed off the energy of the Fenway crowd.
Kimbrel — He’s not always going to have the cleanest innings, but the guy can seriously bring it. He struck out Bautista, Encarnacion, and Tulowitzki to earn his fourth save of the season, and routinely touched the high-90’s on his fastball, while flashing a devastating slider when he felt like it. Kimbrel’s power and presence on the mound should quickly make him a fan-favorite.
— Red Sox (@RedSox) April 16, 2016
Bogaerts — The young shortstop has clearly shown the ability to be a great contact hitter, but fans have been waiting to see the pop off his bat. Saturday’s three-run bomb was his first of the season, and it may just be a matter of time before Bogaerts shows that type of power on a regular basis.
THREE-RUN DING DONG FOR XANDER BOGAERTS!! https://t.co/CJDTB4QqFk
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) April 16, 2016
Eckersley in The Ninth — Not everyone is a fan of Eckersley in the broadcast, and it’s true that he doesn’t quite play off Dave O’ Brien as well as he did Don Orsillo. But listening to “Eck” watch Kimbrel in the ninth was an absolute riot. “This guy punches out people just to stay in shape” was a highlight, but hearing him casually say “this is sick” after a strike to Encarnacion had me in stitches. He also may have given Kimbrel his newest nickname, referring to him as “Gas Masterson” at the end of the game.
Betts — Not much to complain about today, but Mookie had a quiet day. He finished 0-for-4 with a strikeout, lowering his average to .239 on the season. Despite the game today, Betts has shown that he can catch fire at any moment.
Toronto’s Stars — It’s not like they’re alone on this one, but Boston’s starters have had a tough time dealing with the thick of Toronto’s lineup. Donaldson, Bautista, and Encarnacion combined to go 5-for-12 on Sunday, and have gone 18-for-56 on the season with six home runs and 16 RBIs against the Sox.
Koji’s Workload — As one of my favorite Sox players ever, I love watching Koji pitch as much as possible. But he’s pitched in seven of the team’s ten games this season, and it’s in Boston’s best interests to limit his innings as the season goes forward. Regardless of the workload, Uehara already has five holds on the year, and has yet to show any signs of aging.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Help may be on the way for both the starting rotation and the worn-out bullpen.
Reliever Carson Smith successfully threw 35 pitches during batting practice on Saturday. Recovering from a right flexor muscle strain, the next step for smith is to toss batting practice and a simulated game on Tuesday and Thursday. If all goes well, Smith will pitch in an extended spring game next Saturday.
Eduardo Rodriguez, who suffered a patella subluxation in his right knee in spring training, reportedly experienced no pain after throwing 50 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday. His next simulated game is scheduled for Marathon Monday.