The Red Sox began the night looking to take the second game of the series against the Braves by going up against lefty Sean Newcomb. The Red Sox have struggled this year against lefties so it was no certainty that they would be able to come away with the victory. Newcomb, a Brockton, MA native, has been having a fine season with the Braves at just 25 years old and is part of a bright future for that club.
Opposing Newcomb was Rick Porcello who has struggled with his control lately while giving up entirely too many long balls. Although both pitchers looked pretty good early it was Porcello who cracked first allowing a solo shot to Red Sox killer Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the second inning. That home run was the 24th allowed by Porcello this year, the most on the team. Porcello then drilled Dansby Swanson in the head with a slider that missed badly and looked like he had lost his sharpness from earlier in the game. Despite hitting yet another batter in the bottom of the fifth inning Porcello settled down nicely and left the game with a 3-1 lead.
The Sox did the important work of the night during the top of the fifth and it all started with a base knock from Porcello. Clearly big Rick is still feeling himself after doing damage against Max Scherzer earlier this summer and had this one circled on his calendar. After the single allowed to Porcello, Newcomb walked Mookie which was followed by a hit from J.D. Martinez. With the bases loaded Xander Bogaerts would walk in a run. Shane Carle was the new pitcher for Atlanta and he quickly gave up RBI’s to Steve Pearce and Eduardo Nunez giving the team their aforementioned 3-1 lead. The team nearly batted around that inning leaving the bases loaded with Porcello on deck.
In the top of the sixth inning the Red Sox went back to work loading the bases for the third time of the night. Pearce again delivered hitting a sharp single to drive in two more runs. On the offensive side Pearce was the story of the night finishing 3-4 with 3 RBI and a walk. Bogaerts also continued to look good at the plate hitting the ball hard all night and delivering when it mattered. This would be all the scoring during the contest.
Steven Wright, Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier, and Heath Hembree would pitch the 6th,7th, 8th, and 9th innings, respectively. Each pitcher did well, however, it was both Kelly and Barnes that stood out. In the 7th Kelly was able to strikeout two batters, walk Ronald Acuna in a tough at-bat, and get Freddie Freeman to groundout to end the inning. His stuff looked good and he seemed to be hitting his spots. Brasier pitched the following inning and aside from a hit given up to Nick Markakis he was dominant frequently pitching ahead in the count to batters. It was encouraging from the bullpen.
All in all this was a great team effort from the Red Sox. Porcello probably pitched a little worse than his line suggests and Newcomb probably pitched a little bit better than his stats suggest. A few takeaways I had were that Mookie Betts still doesn’t look quite right at the plate and this young Braves team is going to be a force for years. Overall, Cora did a very nice job of managing the pitching and allowing the team to not overwork any of its key pieces. The Red Sox will go for the sweep tomorrow with Hector Velazquez opposing Mike Foltynewicz. This was win number 96 on the team’s march towards the best record in club history.