When the Red Sox were finishing out their road trip in L.A. earlier in the week, they very much looked like a team who was ready to be home. It’s not really a bad thing; it’s human nature, I suppose. But Fenway was sure to be a welcome sight when they got back. And boy, was it. The Red Sox played 11 runs on Friday night to kick off their series against the Phillies. Boston got a homer each from Kiké Hernández, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez, and they were all over Phillies pitching. Garrett Richards was again shaky to start before settling down, and it was enough for another win.
Heading into this series opener between the Phillies and the Red Sox, both teams were playing well, and things really appeared set up for a lot of runs from both sides. Not only were the offenses on each side swinging good bats, but the pitching matchup was not great for either side. For Boston, it was Garrett Richards, who is still trying to navigate the post-sticky stuff world. He’s been able to get some results over the last start and a half, but the stuff still just doesn’t look sharp and it seems like he’s playing with fire.
And sure enough, he was hit hard to start off this game. The Phillies were ready to punish some pitches right off the bat, starting with Jean Segura in the leadoff spot. He smashed one high off the Monster, just missing a home run. He’d end up turning it into a triple as well after Alex Verdugo mishandled it off the wall and Segura read it well. Right after that, J.T. Realmuto hit an absolute missile off the Monster for a double of his own, and two batters into the game the Red Sox were trailing 1-0.
The good news is that Richards was able to work his way out of it, getting a ground ball and two strikeouts to escape with just the one run crossing. The better news is that the Phillies were countering with Vince Velasquez on the mound for them, and his command was all over the place in this one. The righty started things off by leaving a fastball up and in, but in the zone, to Kiké Hernández, who blasted yet another leadoff homer. He’s been hitting a ton of them lately, and his five on the season puts him third in all of baseball.
After the homer, Velasquez started going in the other direction, just missing the zone altogether. He’d issue walks to three of the next four batters he faced, loading the bases with just one out for Hunter Renfroe. It looked like the Red Sox right fielder may have hit into a double play to waste the chance, but Renfroe hustled down the line and was able to beat out the throw to first. That kept the inning alive and allowed another run to cross and make it a 2-1 game.
But the early parts of this game were all about the offense for both sides, and Richards once again got into trouble in the second. It was singles that hurt him in this one, with the first three batters of the inning reaching on base hits. To make matters worse, on the second single Hernández bobbled the ball in center field, allowing both runners to get into scoring position and ultimately score on the third single. So before recording an out in the second, Richards had given the lead right back to the Phillies. Again the veteran was able to escape after the initial trouble, but he was still playing with fire.
Fortunately, Boston still had answers. The rally started with a double from Bobby Dalbec with one out, and then a couple batters later Verdugo kept the inning alive with his second walk of the night in as many innings. That brought J.D. Martinez to the plate, and after battling in a 2-2 count he got a fastball right down the heart of the plate and went the other way for a three-run shot. With that huge two-out swing, it was a 5-3 ballgame.
And from here, the Red Sox were going to run away with things. Richards had his best inning of the night in the third, allowing just a one-out single in a scoreless frame, and the Red Sox put a big dent in the score in the bottom of the inning. Rafael Devers led off the inning, and on a 1-0 fastball he took a huge cut and sent it out to straightaway center field for a solo homer, extending the lead to four. They’d only continue to roll from there, getting a double and a single to knock Velasquez out of the game, and then adding on two more singles and one more double after. By the time the dust settled, they’d sent all nine batters to the plate and added four more runs to make it a 9-3 game.
Richards was able to continue making his way through this game without trouble after the big lead was opened up. He issued a walk but only faced three thanks to a double play in the fourth before again allowing just a one-out single in the fifth. That was all he’d get for the night, and it was again kind of all over the place. In the end he allowed three runs over five innings of work on seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts. I have no idea what to make of Richards at the moment, but he did leave with the lead.
That lead got even bigger in the bottom of the fifth, too, when Hernández struck again, this time with an RBI double to make it a 10-3 game. With Richards out, Yacksel Ríos came on for the sixth. It seemed like a good spot to try and get a couple innings from him, but he tossed just one 16-pitch frame before leaving.
It was Matt Andriese coming on for the seventh with the Red Sox having added yet another run to their tally in the previous innings, and he struggled as he has for most of the season now. The Phillies grabbed two runs on a pair of singles and a walk to make it an 11-5 game. That was the only inning he’d get, with Darwinzon Hernandez coming on for a perfect eighth.
After the offense went down in order against infielder Ronald Torreyes, Brandon Workman came on to finish it out. He did so in order as well to guarantee at least a split in the season series between these two squads. The 11-5 victory pushed the Red Sox record to 55-34. With the Rays blowing out the Blue Jays tonight, Boston’s lead in the division stays steady at two games.
The Red Sox and Phillies continue this three-game set on Saturday, with Martín Pérez taking on Matt Moore, with first pitch set for 4:10 PM ET.