After an eventful week off the field, with the unexpected news of Dave Dombrowski’s arrival and the shocking story of Don Orsillo’s departure, it was nice to see the Red Sox take some positive winning steps on the field.
Boston finished its 6-game road trip at 4-2 with series wins against both the Chicago White Sox and against the NL East leading New York Mets.
Solid in New York
The weekend’s series against the Mets gave us plenty to talk about with Boston wins against New York’s Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey, who are ranked 4th and 6th, respectively, in the National League in ERA.
Friday’s 6-4 win included a rare, extra innings, inside-the-park home run by Boston catcher Blake Swihart, the 6th ITP home run this season (also the Tigers James McCann on April 29, the Marlins Dee Gordon on June 30, the Rays Logan Forsythe on July 8, the Royals Jarrod Dyson on July 8, and the Rangers Ryan Rua on July 30).
As an aside, July 8 was a special day for inside-the-park home runs. The Rays and Royals were playing a double header in Kansas City. Tampa Bay’s Logan Forsythe hit an ITP HR in Game 1. Not to be outdone, Kansas City’s Jarrod Dyson hit one of his own in Game 2.
On review, Swihart’s ball on Friday landed above the line drawn out in center field, so, strictly speaking, it was a run-of-the-mill ordinary home run. But as the umpires didn’t call it that way on the field, it goes in the books as an ITP HR, the first for the Red Sox since Jacoby Ellsbury had one on September 19, 2011 facing the Orioles.
Swihart’s inside-the-park home run was the first by a Red Sox catcher since Hal Wagner on July 7, 1946 against the Washington Senators. It was 1st ITP-HR by a Boston batter in extra innings since Joe Foy led off the 10th inning on July 17, 1966 facing the then-Kansas City Athletics.
Record walks allowed
Friday’s win came despite Boston allowing 12 walks to Mets batters over the game’s 10 innings. The only MLB game this season with more walks allowed was an 18 inning affair on July 19th, when Cardinals pitching allowed 13 walks in the game, also to the Mets.
It was the most walks allowed by the Red Sox since April 24, 2014 when Boston walked 12 Yankees in a 9 inning, 14-5 loss at Fenway.
Friday’s Red Sox win was their first after allowing 12 or more walks in a game since a 6-4 win on September 21, 1996 against the Indians in 15 innings. It marked the 48th Red Sox game since at least 1914 where they’ve allowing 12 or more walks, the 9th such game since 1970.
Striking out a win
If Friday’s win, despite the walks, was a surprise, so too was Saturday’s victory, which came despite 16 Red Sox strikeouts.
It was the first time the Red Sox have struck out 16 or more times in a 9 inning game since May 5, 2013 against the Rangers.
The Red Sox are 5-11 since 1914 in 9-inning games with 16 or more strikeouts.
The club record for strikeouts in a 9 inning game is 19 set on August 12, 1974 against the California Angels.
Saturday gave “the new” Joe Kelly his 6th win in a row, all in the month of August. In August Kelly has allowed 11 earned runs over 37.0 innings pitched for a nifty 2.68 ERA.
Kelly becomes the first Red Sox pitcher to win 6 games in any calendar month since Pedro Martinez went 6-0 in May 1999. Kelly is also the first Red Sox pitcher to win 6 games in the month of August since Roger Clemens went 6-0 in 1990.
Kelly became just the 2nd Boston pitcher to defeat the Yankees and the Mets in the same season. The other was Bruce Hurst in 1986, beating the Yankees in the regular season and then beating the Mets in the World Series.
A winning August
The Red Sox were competitive Sunday, but fell to the Mets in a back-and-forth affair, 5-4. Nevertheless, by winning 2 of 3 in both Chicago and New York, Boston improved to 19-17-6 in series thus far.
At 14-12 after Sunday’s game, the Red Sox assured themselves their first winning month since April (12-10).
With a 2-run home run Sunday, David Ortiz bumped along his career milestones. He’s now 6 home runs from the 500th of his career. The 2 RBI gave Ortiz 1,612 over his career, tying him with Goose Goslin at No. 33 on baseball’s all-time RBI list.
Ortiz is 10 home runs from tying Eddie Murray at No. 26 on baseball’s all-time home run list.
The Red Sox loss on Sunday means the club has yet to win 4 straight games on the road this season.
The New York assault continues with a 3-game homestand for the Red Sox against the Yankees starting Monday.