Tuesday night was a huge step forward for this Red Sox team. Coming off a West Coast trip in which they struggled to support solid pitching performance, the Red Sox needed some big hits to get back on track. The Yankees struck first plating one run in the top of the second and one in the top of the third. The Red Sox were able to answer with 2 of their own in the bottom half of the third thanks to a 2 run double by Dustin Pedroia. By the time Rick Porcello left the game in the 8th, he had a 5-2 after courtesy of RBI doubles by Dustin Pedroia and Andrew Benintendi, as well as a single off the monster by David Ortiz. Despite Craig Kimbrel sputtering in the 9th and walking 4 straight batters to make it 5-3, Matt Barnes was able to secure the win for the Sox.
Rick Porcello went out and did what Rick Porcello has gone out and done all season. He gave this team a chance to win. Despite a verbal dispute with Chase Headley that caused the benches and bullpens to clear, Porcello spun yet another gem going 8 innings with just the 2 earned runs to collect his 15th win of the season (100th of his career). This was his 3rd straight start going at least 8 innings and his 31st straight start dating back to last year that he’s gone at least 5 innings. With the win on Tuesday, Porcello has improved to a 11-0 record at Fenway Park this season. Whether fans like it or not, Porcello has emerged as the undisputed ace of this staff. It’s not David Price, it’s not Steven Wright, it’s Rick Porcello. Every time Porcello takes the ball, this team has a completely different feel to it. Even if the offense can just manage to score 3 runs they have a great shot at winning the game. There’s not much more left to say about the man who is keeping this rotation afloat.
Every time Andrew Benintendi has been in the starting lineup, he has shown Red Sox fans why he wasn’t worth trading for Jose Quintana. Benintendi had the chance to make his Fenway Park debut Tuesday night and certainly did not disappoint. Andrew went 3 for 3 with a double, 2 runs, and an RBI. He’s now 8 for 16 (.500) since being called up to Boston and has not shown any indication that major league pitching is capable of fooling him. When you play in the majors for long enough, opposing pitchers are going to find a weakness and continue to attack it until you can adjust. Since this is Benintendi’s first time playing each of the different teams, there is really no scouting report and this is why I believe that he’ll continue to hit this way for now. So far Benintendi has led me to believe that there is no weakness or hole in his swing. However, it’s far too early to say that this is true and that Benintendi is the real deal. If Benintendi can continue to make this kind of offensive impact, he has the potential to single handedly jump start this offense.
Dustin Pedroia had a big night that was overshadowed by Porcello and Benintendi. Pedroia was the one who originally tied the game at 2 when he laced a line drive down the right field line off of Yankees starter Luis Severino. He doubled to right again in the 5th for his 3rd RBI of the game. It was nice to see Pedroia start to go the other way again. Pedey has proved to be at his best when he is taking all the outside pitches he gets to right field for singles and doubles. With Pedroia batting .115 over his last 7 games coming into Tuesday, it should be very encouraging for Red Sox fans to see him get back on track.
I want to give a quick shoutout to Matt Barnes for inheriting Kimbrel’s mess in the 9th and getting out of the jam. With 98 mph gas as well as a solid curveball, I like to think of Barnes as Craig Kimbrel if Kimbrel knew where the ball was going when he threw it. The Sox have Drew Pomeranz on the hill for them on Wednesday. Hopefully, Pomeranz can get back on track after his 5 walk performance and get his first Red Sox win out of the way. If the offense can produce like it did Tuesday night, you have to like Pomeranz’s chances.