Red Sox propelled by long ball to victory over Angels
Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com: Oct. 8, 2017 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)
Injuries have plagued the Angels to this point in the season, especially in their starting rotation. They currently have 7 potential starters on the DL and the damages have shown in the first two games in Fenway.
The Sox struck for 6 runs early, all occurring in the bottom of the second against Los Angeles pitcher Andrew Heaney. All 6 also came via the home run, with Nuñez, Leon, and Martinez all going yard in the inning. The shot was J.D.’s 25th, reclaiming him the league lead for home runs. At that point, it looked like the Sox would cruise to a second straight easy victory against the Angels. Porcello was dealing early, taking advantage of the run support, as he held the Angels scoreless through four.
Los Angeles scratched across their first run off Porcello in the top of the 5th on an Ian Kinsler solo shot, his 11th on the year. Then, in the 6th, the Angels went deep again off Porcello, this time a 3-run bomb from Martin Maldonado to shrink the Sox lead to two runs. Porcello went 5.2 innings of 4 run ball, his shortest outing since May 11 when he was pulled in the third against Tampa after giving up 6 runs.
After Matt Barnes was able to stop the bleeding in the 5th, Joe Kelly came out of the pen in the sixth. Kelly, who has been one of the most reliable arms for the Sox, had one of his more disappointing outings of the year. Kelly attempted to turn a double play with runners on the corners, but instead found himself with a throwing error. Justin Upton scored from third, making the score 6-5. In the very next at bat, Andrelton Simmons belted his 13th double of the year, driving in the tying run. June has been Kelly’s roughest month so far. After only allowing one earned run in 14 appearances in the month of May, he has surrended seven this month. His ERA now stands at 3.21, the highest it’s been all season.
The Red Sox quickly regained the lead in the bottom of the inning on a Rafael Devers double that drove in Nuñez. Then, Leon drove in Devers with a single, pushing the lead to 8-6. The Sox tacked on one final insurance run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 8th. The three run lead was certainly enough for Craig Kimbrel, who was lights out, earning him his 23rd save on the season. He entered the game with two outs in the 8th, bailing the Sox out of a bases loaded situation. Kimbrel is now tied for second in the majors in saves, trailing only Seattle’s Edwin Diaz.
One of the biggest turnarounds for the Sox offense from last year to this year is the long ball. Through this point last season, Boston as a team could only muster 78 home runs. This season has been a completely different story, however, as the club is already at 113 homers, which is currently good for second best in the Bigs, trailing only the Yankees. However, the Red Sox were able to regain the division lead against New York as the Yankees took a loss against the Phillies.
The Red Sox close up the Angels series on Thursday with Brian Johnson getting the start against Jaime Barria. The Sox then open a huge series against the Yankees beginning Friday night.