Before a highly anticipated weekend showdown with their bitter rivals, the Boston Red Sox look to finish taking care of business against the visiting New York Mets in the finale of a two-game series Wednesday night.
The Red Sox won the opener 6-3 on Tuesday behind a four-RBI performance from Xander Bogaerts to run their winning streak to six. Boston (87-65) maintained its grip on the top American League wild card over the Toronto Blue Jays (1 1/2 games back) and New York Yankees (two games), who were each also victorious Tuesday.
Starting Friday, the Yankees will visit the Red Sox for a three-game series that could make or break either club’s season. The Yankees also have three games remaining against the Blue Jays.
But first comes Wednesday’s contest. Ace left-hander Chris Sale (4-0, 2.40 ERA) will toe the rubber for Boston opposite righty Taijuan Walker (7-10, 4.27).
The Red Sox were dealt a blow prior to Tuesday’s contest when key reliever Garrett Whitlock (8-4, 1.99 ERA) was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Monday, due to a right pectoral strain. Though the ailment does not appear serious, Whitlock’s absence will force others in the bullpen to step up.
Ryan Brasier, recalled from Triple-A Worcester in a corresponding move, answered the call by earning the victory against the Mets on Tuesday. He came on in the fifth inning with runners on second and third and one out and escaped the jam unscathed.
“We talked about (Whitlock) before the game and how big of a loss it is, but whoever comes up has got to do the job,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “Brasier got the chance to come in, and he was amazing.”
Enrique Hernandez and Bogaerts homered in the bottom of the frame to give Boston the lead for good. Bogaerts has two homers and eight RBIs in his past three games.
The Red Sox improved to 38-18 in their past 56 games at Fenway Park after a 10-11 start at home.
The Mets (73-78) have dropped six of their past seven to slip closer to postseason elimination. Pete Alonso hit an eighth-inning home run Tuesday — his major-league-leading 24th on the road and 34th overall.
A highlight for the Mets down the stretch would be seeing right-handers Jacob deGrom (right elbow inflammation) and Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery) take the mound, as both are progressing toward their respective returns.
“It’s important to see the guys healthy and what they can be,” manager Luis Rojas said.
Sale is unbeaten in six starts since his return from Tommy John surgery. Shaking off a bout with COVID-19, the southpaw held the Baltimore Orioles to one run and two hits over five innings Friday in his latest performance.
Sale is 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two lifetime starts against the Mets.
Walker took the loss Friday despite holding the Philadelphia Phillies to two runs in five innings his last time out. He hasn’t been victorious in 12 starts since a July 3 win.
Walker is 0-0 with a 1.69 ERA in two starts vs. the Red Sox.
–Field Level Media