Boston Red Sox: Comeback of the season propels Sox to series win

BOSTON, MA - JULY 25: Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 25: Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

Things were looking bleak for the Boston Red Sox this afternoon. Domingo German was dominating the Sox lineup, coasting through seven innings without giving up a hit. The Sox went into the bottom of the eighth just looking to get a hit, not looking to win.

They got the hit right off the bat, as Alex Verdugo came up a couple feet short of a home run, and ended up settling for a standup double. German’s day was over after that, and Jonathan Loaisiga came on in relief. Unfortunately for Loaisiga, he wouldn’t record an out.

Verdugo was quickly driven in by Hunter Renfroe with an RBI double, who was then driven in by Christian Vazquez on an RBI single. Franchy Cordero finally got a base hit, and then Kike Hernandez followed that up with an RBI double of his own, driving in Vazquez. Kevin Plawecki would ground into a fielder’s choice, but drove in Cordero and moved Hernandez to third. Xander Bogaerts came up and hit a sac fly to drive in Hernandez, and just like that Boston had a 5-4 lead after failing to get a single hit in the previous seven innings.

For a series full of comebacks, this was the best of them. After pulling off an improbable comeback two nights ago, then watching the Yankees steal a game from them last night, this felt like one of the most important games of the season. And after struggling for the majority of the afternoon, the Sox came to life just at the right time, and orchestrated the comeback of the season.

Not only was this an awesome win, but the Tampa Bay Rays also lost this afternoon after moving into a tie a top the AL East with the Sox yesterday. Now Boston’s one game lead over the rest of the AL East is restored as they head into another important series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Let’s take a look at a few other important notes from this series.

Kike Hernandez has been the Boston Red Sox savior

It’s safe to say that the Red Sox would not have won this series without Kike Hernandez. After hitting the cover off the ball in their previous series against the Blue Jays, Hernandez continued his hot hitting in this series against the Yankees.

In the opening game of the series, Hernandez hit a clutch two run double to send the game to extras, which the Sox would eventually win. He had three runs batted in on the night, which was all Boston could muster in the first nine innings of action.

Hernandez would come around to score twice in the second game of the series, and hit a little league home run to lead off the third game. And then of course, he had arguably the biggest hit of this afternoon’s contest as well.

A lot has been said about Boston’s lack of a leadoff hitter this season, but Hernandez has done his best to fill the role, and it’s been paying off for the Sox lately. He’s been on an absolute tear to start the second half of the season, and if he can keep hitting like this, it’s an area of the team Boston won’t have to address at the trade deadline. It’s safe to say another underrated free agency move from Chaim Bloom has paid off so far.

Boston Red Sox starters doing their job

The Sox starters should get a nice hand for having a great series against the Yankees. Aside from Eduardo Rodriguez, who had to leave his start early with migraine symptoms, each starter came in and made sure they were keeping Boston in each game.

Tanner Houck was phenomenal in a spot start in the opener. He struck out eight over 4.2 innings, with his start eventually getting cut short by a rain delay. Houck has looked great since being recalled from Worcester, and has at least made it a possibility the Sox don’t have to move for a starter at the trade deadline. Although with Rodriguez’s injury the night after, that may not be the case.

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The start of the series came from Nathan Eovaldi, although it ultimately went to waste. He went 7.2 innings while giving up two runs, although one of them was due to Adam Ottavino’s meltdown mere moments later. Eovaldi has proved this season that if he can stay healthy, he has the stuff to be the ace of a rotation, and he’s a big reason for the rotation’s success so far this season.

And not to be forgotten in today’s drama was Martin Perez. Perez did his best to limit the Yankees lineup, giving up three runs over six innings. It wasn’t the prettiest outing ever, but Perez did enough to keep the lineup in the game while German was destroying them, and it eventually paid off.

The rotation has been superb this season, and this series was no exception. Rodriguez’s migraine symptoms are certainly concerning, so it would be worth exploring adding another starting pitcher, but they ultimately may not have. Boston is going to need their pitching to keep performing the way they have, but their work this series was exceptional.

The Boston Red Sox bullpen…not so much

The Red Sox bullpen may be in need of help however. They were phenomenal in the second game of the series after having to handle eight innings due to Rodriguez’s departure, but otherwise susceptible.

Adam Ottavino in particular had an awful series. He nearly coughed up the first game of the series by giving up two runs in the eighth inning, and then did cough up the third game by coming on and immediately giving up Boston’s lead.

Yacksel Rios had a good outing in the second game, but was pretty awful this afternoon, getting only one out, and he was lucky to be bailed out by Josh Taylor. Brandon Workman was shaky in both his outings too, and he was lucky to escape with only one earned run.

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All in all, it feels like the bullpen could use some extra help at the deadline. Ottavino has been inconsistent at times on the season, and some of the middle relivers run hot and cold as well. As the trade deadline is only days away now, it feels like Boston’s two top needs have been narrowed down to bullpen help as well as another first baseman. If the Boston Red Sox can shore up these two areas, they will have a really good shot at making a deep playoff run this season.