The Red Sox unleashed the beast against Kohei Arihara, exploding for four home runs off the Rangers starting pitcher.
Tonight, the Red Sox got their first look at Kohei Arihara, one of the Rangers premier imports this season. He entered play with a respectable 4.03 ERA in 22 1⁄3 innings of work. The Red Sox entered play averaging three runs per game over their last nine games. If they were going to score, it was going to be off a guy who didn’t have fantastic stuff.
Early on, the game was very fun. Christian Arroyo, taking over for Enrique Hernandez at leadoff, drew a walk, and Alex Verdugo also drew a walk. J.D. Martinez lived up to his nickname “Just Dingers”, and destroyed a baseball. It still hasn’t landed, even at this hour of the night. Just like that, it was 3-0, and Nathan Eovaldi hadn’t even taken the mound yet.
And more was on the way. Xander Bogaerts smashed a liner over the head of Adolis Garcia, that ended up landing on the other side of the fence in left-center field. Another home run, another run on the board.
The Rangers struck back in the 2nd inning off of Eovaldi, as former Red Sox legend Brock Holt drove in a run, forsaking his old friends in Boston. Eovaldi limited the damage to one, making the score 4-1 Red Sox after two full.
J.D. Martinez must have taken offense to Brock Holt’s driving in a run, because he took a splitter that hung over the middle of the plate, and parked it over the center field fence, to take back the run Eovaldi just surrendered, leading off the inning. With his second home run of the game, the score was now 5-1. Then it became 6-1 on a Rafael Devers home run (the Sox fourth of the game). If this sounds repetitive, it’s because it was, the Red Sox hit a lot of home runs, and it was great.
The next several innings were extremely low-key. Eovaldi kept the Rangers off the board, doing his usual, mixing speeds and locations, and being one of the most underrated starting pitchers in baseball. In kind, the Rangers took Arihara out after 2 2⁄3 innings (having given up two walks and four hits, allowing six runs to score, primarily off of four home runs), and turned to Hyeon-Jong Yang, another of their new imports. Yang pitched well, holding the Sox to a hit and a walk over 4 1/3 innings of work.
Eovaldi did reach a cool milestone in this one, as he amassed his 1000th career inning. Just over 200 of those have been with the Red Sox, which feels surreal, since he’s a guy who has both been around forever, and one who has not been healthy enough to get more innings under his belt in his career. A reminder: he is under contract through the end of the 2022 season. Today, he finished with 6 innings, four hits allowed, two walks, one run, and five strikeouts.
Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Austin Brice relieved Eovaldi in this one. Hernandez in particular was straight filth for the second night in a row, something that I can only call encouraging. A lot has been made of his control issues, but none of them were present in these last two games.
While the Red Sox were unable to put together any further runs against the Rangers relief core, it was also encouraging to see the offense rebound in a big way after yesterday. The Red Sox didn’t need six runs (they only really needed two), but it is sure nice to experience a comfortable, drama-free win every now and then. The Red Sox move to 17-10, (likely) 3.5 games up on the Blue Jays (two outs away, with an eight run lead), and 4 games up on the Rays in the AL East.
The Red Sox and Rangers show down tomorrow at 7:05 PM, as the Sox attempt to win their second straight game on the road, and force at least a split in this series.