Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)
When an offense is this hot, there’s just no way to shut them down. Everybody in the lineup tries to build off each other, and the team performs best this way. The Boston Red Sox are benefiting from a very hot offense but were faced in a tough situation today. They were facing a left-hander, and many people in their lineup struggle against lefties. David Ortiz got the night off, and he has been the main leader on offense for the Red Sox.
However, even that couldn’t slow down the offense.
The Red Sox defeated the Oakland Athletics for the second consecutive time on Tuesday by a final score of 13-5. Sean O’Sullivan got the win for Boston while Sean Manaea got the loss for the Athletics. Boston improves to 20-13 while Oakland is now 14-20.
Boston now has seven players hitting above .300, and have now scored 13 runs in both their games against Oakland.
Red Sox offense gets going early and produces all night
Mookie Betts was one of those players struggling against lefties to begin the season and had overall been struggling recently, dropping his average to .250 heading into the game. Betts began the season 1-18 against lefties but would get his second hit against southpaws in the first inning in a big way. Betts took Manaea’s hanging slider over the monster, his fifth home run of the year. Betts would finish the night with two hits against the left-hander, more hits than he had during his first 18 at-bats against southpaws.
Just two batters later, Hanley Ramirez would add to the Red Sox early lead. Ramirez got a low fastball, and smoked it over everything in left field, hitting off the light pole above the Green Monster. The ball exited the bat at 114 mph and traveling 468 feet. The blast was the third longest so far in the season, trailing just Giancarlo Stanton (490 feet) and Nolan Arenado (471 feet).
Although the offense was silenced in the second, they would jump right back on Manaea in the third. The first five hitters of the inning would record hits. Betts began the inning with a single, followed by an RBI double from Dustin Pedroia. Xander Bogaerts would bring Pedroia home two pitches later, stretching the lead to 5-0. Chris Young and Travis Shaw would follow with RBI hits, and by that point, it was 8-0 and the end of Manaea’s worst start of his career. The 24-year-old finished just 2.2 innings surrendering ten hits, eight runs, two home runs, and struck out just one.
In the fifth inning, Shaw would strike again with two runners on base. Shaw, although struggling against left-handers this season, took a Daniel Coulombe pitch over the Green Monster in left field for a three-run home run, giving Boston an 11-0 lead. Shaw would also get another RBI in the seventh, and would finish his great night with three hits, five RBIs, and a home run.
Shaw also struggled early this season against left-handers, as he was just 2-25 prior to tonight. Similarly to Betts, Shaw got two hits against left-handers, as many as he had all season long. Jackie Bradley Jr.would also get an RBI single in the seventh, and extended his hitting streak to 15.
O’Sullivan turns in solid spot start
After getting signed to a minor league contract in December, the 28-year-old got his first start as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Joe Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez are both getting rehab assignments as they work their way up to Boston while Henry Owens didn’t show enough during his first three spot starts to secure another one.
So it was O’Sullivan who got the nod, and he surely did everything the Red Sox asked of him, especially on a night where his offense scored 13 runs.
O’Sullivan finished six innings, allowing 12 hits, four runs, no walks, and struck out three. Through the first five innings, the right-hander did not allow a run but allowed at least one hit during each of those innings. O’Sullivan is the type of pitcher to pitch to contact and did that tonight with a low pitch count and high strike percentage.
O’Sullivan would run into some trouble in the sixth. After beginning the inning with back-to-back singles to Khris Davis and Stephen Vogt, O’Sullivan gave up his first and second runs of the night with a single from Yonder Alonso and an RBI groundout from Marcus Semien. Two hitters later, after a Chris Coghlan double, Coco Crisp would bring home both Alonso and Coghlan on an RBI double. Oakland would tack on another run in the seventh on a Billy Butler RBI double, but it would not nearly be enough to catch up to Boston’s 13 runs. Although scoring just five runs, Oakland did have 15 hits, just one short of Boston’s 16.
The Red Sox will look for the sweep against the Athletics as Rick Porcello will hit the mound against Eric Surkamp.