Recap of memorable Red Sox year: Race gets hot in June
This week we'll take a month-by-month look at the Sox: Their record, where they stood in the standings at the end of the month, and the highlights. We've already looked at March/April and May and now we move to June.
Boston upheld its May pace, winning 17 of the 27 games it played. But the Yankees stayed right on the Sox' heels, winning game two of a three-game set on June 30 to pull within one game of the AL East lead.
RECORD: 17-10 (56-28 overall)
POSITION IN A.L. EAST ON June 30: First
LEAD: One game over Yankees
PICTURED: Rafael Devers celebrates his home run with Mitch Moreland and JD Martinez during a Father's Day win against the Mariners on June 17. (AP Photo)
Reliever Heath Hembree caught the hot hand as spring rolled into summer. The righty went 1-0 with an 0.84 ERA in 10 2/3 innings andallowed just one hit the entire month while striking out 14. Pictured: Hembree pitches against the Chicago White Sox on June 10 (USA Today Sports Photo). He went one scoreless inning, striking out two. The appearance was part of a three-game stretch where Hembree pitched three innings, struck out seven, and didn't allow a baserunner.
David Price (5 starts, 4-1, 2.90 ERA) and Chris Sale (6 starts, 3-2, 1.76 ERA, 60 K) established themselves as a dominant one-two punch in June. On the 13th and 14th, Sale and Price went back-to-back in posting lights-out performances. Sale went six innings allowing one run and striking out nine against the O's while Price (pictured, AP Photo) threw seven innings, giving up one run, and striking out seven against the Mariners.
HAVE A DAY, JBJ!
Hard to believe that Jackie Bradley Jr. hasn't won a Gold Glove yet, but he's making his case this year. On June 28 against the Angels he made a leaping catch, practically belly-flopping into the center-field wall, robbing Justin Upton of at least two bases. The catch left Upton smiling and shaking his head, and the Fenway crowd on their feet. Bradley would go on to hit a monster 412-foot home run (pictured, AP Photo) that sealed the 4-2 victory. The homer was part of an 8-for-14 stretch that saw Bradley, who had been struggling mightily at the plate, hit two homers, one double, and knock in six runs.
President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski began to make moves in June to shape the Sox roster for a postseason run. The first task was acquiring a right handed power bat, something Boston desperately needed after releasing Hanley Ramirez in late May. The Sox acquired Steve Pearce, a first baseman/outfielder, who had previously played for every team in the AL East except Boston. The 11-year pro made an immediate impact, going 2-for-4 with a double in his first game on June 29 (pictured, AP Photo).