The Red Sox did not make things suspenseful on Tuesday, putting an early hurting on Angels pitching and never letting them back in. The offense was incredible and blasted four home runs on the night, and David Price quietly (as in overshadowed by the offense) went out and shut down the Angels lineup for the majority of the night. These stress-free victories are the fun ones.
We all know about the Red Sox offense’s struggles against left-handed pitching this season. It has been a real issue and something they need to address — whether internally or externally — at some point this year. Tuesday’s game was going to be a test as they were going up against John Lamb, an inexperienced southpaw who has had very little success at the major-league level. If they couldn’t get anything going against him, this was perhaps even more of an issue than we already thought. Fortunately, they passed the test and jumped right on the Angels starter immediately.
And when I say immediately, I really mean immediately. Mookie Betts, of course, led off the game, and he gave his team a lead on the first pitch he saw. Lamb tossed Boston’s superstar a fastball up and away, and Betts hit it into the Red Sox bullpen. It’s only his second career opposite-field home run at Fenway. J.D. Martinez would get a double in the inning as well, but he was ultimately stranded at second base.
In the second inning, the offense really clicked against Lamb. That inning started with an Eduardo Núñez single, and after Rafael Devers reached on an error both runners moved up a base on a ground out. From there, Jackie Bradley Jr. poked a two-run double into left field to give Boston a 3-0 lead. After Betts walked, Andrew Benintendi contributed a double of his own to make it 4-0. A few batters later, following a strikeout and an intentional walk to Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland came up with the bases loaded. He didn’t hit it hard, but he deflected a ball off Lamb to score another run and knock the Angels starter out of the game. After only two innings, the Red Sox had a 5-0 lead.
The offense would then continue with some dingers. In the third, it was Bradley staying hot at the dish. The center fielder got a fastball from reliever Deck McGuire right over the outer half of the plate and he put it into the first row of Monster Seats. A couple innings later, Christian Vazquez did his thing. It wasn’t a clutch homer this time as his team was already up by five, but it was a bomb. The catcher got a first-pitch fastball right in his wheelhouse and he destroyed it way out to left field. Vazquez doesn’t hit many home runs, but when he does he always hits it about 750 feet. This was no exception. Martinez got involved in the party in the sixth, because of course he did, smashing his 24th homer of the year into the Red Sox bullpen.
While the lineup doing big things against a left-handed starter was the biggest story of this game, Price was very good in his own right. He struggled with control at certain points of the game and there were some slogs, but for the most part he was dominant against an Angels lineup that certainly has plenty of talent including the best hitter in the world.
The first two innings in particular for Price were impressive. He retired the side in order in each of the first two frames, requiring just 19 pitches in the process while still recording a couple of strikeouts. He had his command on full display there.
The third is where things got really shaky for Price for the first and really only time of the game. After a quick first out, an old friend struck. Chris Young reminded us what he can do against lefties from time to time, taking a bad curveball from Price and sending it over everything down the left field line. After the homer cut Boston’s lead down to four, the Angels would load the bases on a pair of singles and a walk. All of a sudden, Albert Pujols was up to the plate with a chance to tie the game with one swing of the bat. Instead, he hit a ground ball right to Devers at third base and the jam was over.
From there, Price wouldn’t really get into any more big jams, instead mostly cruising through the Angels lineup. In all, he tossed six innings while allowing just the single run over that span. He allowed just five hits and walked two while striking out seven in what continues to be a really strong season for Price. He’ll have a big test in New York next time out.
Heath Hembree was called upon for the seventh with an 8-1 lead in hand, and he tossed a 1-2-3 inning. Brandon Workman had the eighth after the Red Sox added another run in the bottom of the seventh, and the righty tossed a 1-2-3 inning of his own. Justin Haley had the ninth and finished it off cleanly, sending the Sox home with a win.
The Red Sox will look to keep cruising over the Angels as they have all year on Wednesday night. Boston will send Rick Porcello to the mound to take on Andrew Heaney. First pitch is at 7:10 PM ET.