The pregame was a novelty.

The first inning was somewhat of a revelation.

After all the hugs, pleasantries and how-do-you-dos that came with Theo Epstein, Jon Lester and the rest of the Cubs coming to town, the Red Sox defined their day with something much more important than tales of World Series rings and visiting clubhouse shenanigans.

Andrew Benintendi rounds the bases after his first inning homer. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Andrew Benintendi rounds the bases after his first inning homer. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The pregame was a novelty.

The first inning was somewhat of a revelation.

After all the hugs, pleasantries and how-do-you-dos that came with Theo Epstein, Jon Lester and the rest of the Cubs coming to town, the Red Sox defined their day with something much more important than tales of World Series rings and visiting clubhouse shenanigans.

John Farrell’s team scored five first-inning runs. Other than John Lackey getting an ovation matching Koji Uehara when put up on the video board, it was the biggest surprise of the night.

After the well-circulated postgame comment by Xander Bogaerts Thursday night, reminding everyone the Red Sox might be missing David Ortiz, the thought of executing such an offensive explosion didn’t seem likely. Not only were the Sox coming off a two-game series that saw little offense, but they were going up against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, who threw 7 2/3 innings of one-hit ball the last time he was in town.

That first started with an Andrew Benintendi solo homer, and finished with the Sox totaling six hits while making it around the batting order. When it was all said and done, the Red Sox had more than made up for starter Drew Pomeranz giving up a monstrous homer to Kris Bryant (see below), while forcing Arrieta to throw 42 pitches in the one frame.

It wasn’t as if all of the Red Sox’ ails were cured with this one flurry. After that first inning, they fell back into the offensive doldrums that has plagued them too many times this season. And relievers Robby Scott and Joe Kelly managed to make things interesting, combining to give up two runs in the seventh.

But, with Pomeranz pitching well enough the rest of the way (finishing his six innings by allowing two runs on six hits), it was a start. Add in the two-hit nights from Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Christian Vazquez and Marco Hernandez, along with clutch relief outing by Fernando Abad in the eighth (striking out Kyle Schwarber with two runners on and two outs) and it was a step in the right direction.

Beating the world champs less than a month into their reign is something this Red Sox club can hang their hat on heading into Saturday. And this was a team that desperately needed some hat-hanging.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

According to StatCast, Kelly’s 102 mph pitch to Anthony Rizzo was the second-fastest offering in the major leagues this season. The fastball was pulled foul by the lefty hitter.

Elsewhere, there were a few notable homers hit in the Orioles game against the Yankees …

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

After a pregame that encompassed a flurry of hugs from old teammates and coaches, the Red Sox took time heading into the bottom of the second inning to honor three Cubs players who had a hand in the club winning the 2013 World Series: Koji Uehara, John Lackey and Jon Lester.

Starting with Uehara, each were put up on the video scoreboard in center field at Fenway Park.

After a pregame that encompassed a flurry of hugs from old teammates and coaches, the Red Sox took time heading into the bottom of the second inning to honor three Cubs players who had a hand in the club winning the 2013 World Series: Koji Uehara, John Lackey and Jon Lester.

Starting with Uehara, each were put up on the video scoreboard in center field at Fenway Park.

Of the three, Lester’s ovation was significantly the loudest. The former Red Sox starter also delivered the lineup card prior to the game, exchanging handshakes with Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield.

Another member of that 2013 team, former pitcher Ryan Dempster, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Coming into Friday, the only spot in the lineup Dustin Pedroia hadn’t hit was in the sixth spot.

That changed in the Red Sox’ series opener against the Cubs.

Red Sox manager John Farrell slotted Pedroia in at sixth in the batting order, with Xander Bogaerts heading back to the top of the lineup.

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

Coming into Friday, the only spot in the lineup Dustin Pedroia hadn’t hit was in the sixth spot.

That changed in the Red Sox’ series opener against the Cubs.

Red Sox manager John Farrell slotted Pedroia in at sixth in the batting order, with Xander Bogaerts heading back to the top of the lineup.

Pedroia, who only returned to action Thursday after having to leave Friday night’s game with a left knee injury, went 0-for-4 in the series finale against the Yankees and is hitting .242 with a .586 OPS for the season.

“Obviously over the last week, we’ve kind of scuffled for some offense,” said Farrell, whose team is 4-for-26 with runners in scoring position in the past seven games. “Looked for ways to get a little bit more running speed at the top of the order. Had a chance to talk to Pedey about this last night and today. So, recognize that it’s the first time he’s been in the six hole, but still as he’s working to regain his timing and getting back into it, this is where we are today.”

After Bogaerts, Farrell has Andrew Benintendi hitting second, followed by Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland. Jackie Bradley Jr. hits immediately behind Pedroia, with the Red Sox facing off against right-hander Jake Arrieta in the Friday night.

“I wouldn’t say this was a one-day deal. We’ll see how it goes,” Farrell said. “The fact remains, we’ve got a number of guys that are capable of hitting in the top third of the order. Say what you will about the past week, we know where we are, but they have the skill-set to be almost interchangeable and there’s a number of candidates to be able to do that.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe catch-up with former Sox GM Theo Epstein who is in town with the World Champion Cubs to take on the Sox this weekend.

Each week, we will be picking the F.W. Webb “Coolest Play of the Week.” This week’s play comes from Sunday afternoon, when first-inning back-to-back home runs from Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez helped the Red Sox open up a 4-0 lead. The Sox would go on to win that game 6-2. Watch the homers below.

F.W._Webb_Company_logo200Enter to win the Coolest VIP Baseball Experience including the chance to watch batting practice and visit the WEEI Broadcast Booth at Fenway! Click here to enter to win.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Prior to the Red Sox-Cubs series this weekend at Fenway Park, the Red Sox made a few roster moves.

The team added infielder/outfielder Chase d’Arnaud to the active 25-man roster and recalled right-handed pitcher Ben Taylor from Triple-A Pawtucket. In the corresponding moves, it optioned left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. and outfielder/infielder Steve Selsky to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Ben Taylor has been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Ben Taylor has been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Prior to the Red Sox-Cubs series this weekend at Fenway Park, the Red Sox made a few roster moves.

The team added infielder/outfielder Chase d’Arnaud to the active 25-man roster and recalled right-handed pitcher Ben Taylor from Triple-A Pawtucket. In the corresponding moves, it optioned left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. and outfielder/infielder Steve Selsky to Triple-A Pawtucket.

d’Arnaud was claimed off waivers Thursday after he was released by the Braves. He gives them more versatility than Selksy, as he can play all over the field. He made the Braves’ 2017 Opening Day roster and appeared in 11 games (one start) for the club, going 3-for-8 (.375) with a pair of walks.

With Ross optioned, the team now has just two lefties in the bullpen in Robbie Scott and Fernando Abad. Ross has appeared in four games with Boston this season, allowing two runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable