Red Sox

After a taxing 2018, Red Sox rotation will need workload watched this season

After a taxing 2018, Red Sox rotation will need workload watched this season

The lasting image of the 2018 World Series may well be the performance of a losing pitcher, a starter used in relief for three consecutive games, Nate Eovaldi.

The Red Sox prioritized re-signing Eovaldi this offseason, and in doing so, committed to maintaining what everyone believed would be their core strength a year ago: the rotation.

Most of the season, the rotation at least shared the spotlight. The bats were incredible last year, aided by the addition of J.D. Martinez and the arrival of Mookie Betts, the MVP version. The lineup’s turnaround from 2017 drew a large amount of attention, perhaps occasionally shrouding how good the rotation was all year.

But the bedrock for the ’18 Sox was always supposed to be the starters, and in the end, that group went above and beyond. David Price (13 2/3 innings pitched), Eovaldi (8 IP), Eduardo Rodriguez (6 1/3 IP), Chris Sale (5 IP) and Rick Porcello (4 2/3 IP) accounted for 37 2/3 innings in the Fall Classic, leaving 15 1/3 innings to the regular relievers.

The majority of the starters’ appearances were in relief to boot, seven of 12.

Porcello, emotional and a leader, looked back on what the rotation specifically was able to do.

“Probably those couple of days or that week after the parade, and kind of just recovering physically and mentally, we thought about the things we accomplished as a team and our rotation,” Porcello said. “What Nathan did in the World Series was unheard of, and that was incredible. Unless you’ve thrown in big league games and pitched back to back, you don’t quite know what that feels like. That’s why it was so special to me, and motivating and inspirational.

“The night before David started in Houston [in Game 5 of the ALCS], he threw 60, 70 pitches in the bullpen and then found his changeup, and arguably what he did in the bullpen that night and working on it and sacrificing how he’s going to feel physically to find whatever pitch he needed to find was a pretty big turning point for us. Because he actually dominated from there on out and was the horse that we could rely on. He went out and shut everyone down.

“Chris battling through everything that he battled through and taking the ball, no questions asked, and just all the way down the list. Eddie, our bullpen guys coming in in the third inning, Craig [Kimbrel] doing what he did, yeah, I don’t have a deep enough vocabulary to explain it any other way than, it was special, and you don’t see it that often in today’s game. There’s a lot of managing of pitch counts and workloads and those sort of things. I thought what we did last year was pretty cool, and there’s no reason we can’t do it again.”

Health would be the most obvious reason. Fortunately, the Sox plan to again build their pitchers up slowly after such a taxing season in ’18.

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Highlights of the Red Sox' 11-3 loss to the Giants

Highlights of the Red Sox' 11-3 loss to the Giants

FINAL SCORE:  Giants 11, Red Sox 3

IN BRIEF: Jeff Samardzija no-hit the Red Sox into the sixth inning and Boston was held to six hits, one of them Rafael Devers' 30th home run, in an 11-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. It was the 2,000th managerial win for the Giants' Bruce Bochy. BOX SCORE

RED SOX RECORD: 79-72

HIGHLIGHTS

A YAZ-TO-YAZ FIRST PITCH:

1st inning:
Yastrzemski walks, moves to third on Belt's double to center, Pillar grounds out to short, scoring Yastrzemski (1-0, SF).

Vogt hits a two-run homer off Chacin off the right-field foul pole on a 0-and-2 pitch (3-0, SF).

3rd inning:
Pillar hits an infield single to third and steals second, Vogt walks, Crawford doubles to right, scoring Pillar (4-0, SF).

6th inning:
Devers homers off Samardzija to right on a 3-2 pitch (4-1, SF).

7th inning:
Holt singles to center (Abad replaces Samardzija on the mound), Bradley Jr. reaches on an infield hit to shortstop, moves to second on M.Hernández's single to center, León singles to left, scoring Bradley Jr. (4-2, SF).

8th inning:
Pillar hits an infield single to shortstop, moves to third on Dickerson's single to right, Rickard pinch-runs for Dickerson, Vogt hits a sacrifice fly to center fielder Bradley Jr., scoring Pillar (5-2, SF).

Rickard steals second (Brewer replaces Shawaryn on the mound), Adames hits an infield single to second, scoring Rickard (6-2, SF).

9th inning:
(Velázquez replaces Brewer on the mound) A. Garcia doubles to left, Yastrzemski singles to center, scoring A. Garcia (7-2, SF).

Vogt grounds into fielder's choice at second, Yastrzemski scores (8-2, SF).

(Weber replaces Velázquez on the mound) Crawford reaches on fielder's choice plus an error by shortstop Bogaerts, Belt scores (9-2, SF). 

Adames singles to left, loading the bases, Dubon singles to right, scoring Vogt and Crawford (11-2, SF).

Bradley Jr. homers to left off E. Franco on a 1-2 pitch (11-3, SF).

UP NEXT:
Vs. Giants, Thursday, 1:05 p.m., NESN
@Rays, Friday, 7:10 p.m., NESN
@Rays, Saturday, 6:10 p.m., NESN
@Rays, Sunday, 1:10 p.m., NESN

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Rafael Devers' 30th homer a milestone on a couple of fronts for Red Sox

Rafael Devers' 30th homer a milestone on a couple of fronts for Red Sox

Rafael Devers broke up Jeff Samardjiza's no-hitter at Fenway Park on Wednesday night in a big way.

The Red Sox third baseman sent a line drive into the right-field seats in the sixth inning after the San Francisco Giants right-hander had worked 5 2/3 no-hit innings. It was home run No. 30 for Devers, a career-high for the 22-year-old third baseman, and it gave him and teammate Xander Bogaerts a remarkable distinction.

Bogaerts (31 homers, 50 doubles) and Devers, who also has 50 doubles, are the first teammates to reach the 30-50 mark in the same season in MLB history.

It also gives the Red Sox three 30-home run hitters (J.D. Martinez has a team-leading 35) and Mookie Betts is closing in on the mark with 28. If Betts (out with a foot injury) can get there, it would be the first Red Sox team with four 30-homer hitters. 

Devers tied Butch Hobson (1977) for most homers by a Red Sox third baseman and joins an exclusive group with 30 homers, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored before turning 23:

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