By MyFM's Jake Archer - After the Sox dropped two of three to Baltimore last weekend and then lost both games of a rain-shortened series to the Yankees this week, they needed to bounce back, fast. They did so by taking two of three from the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs at Fenway over the weekend. They won 5-4 on Friday night and 6-2 on Sunday night.
In all reality, this series probably should have been a sweep, and neither Sale nor Porcello got to pitch in it. The Sox totally botched the Saturday game as they committed four errors and blew an early 3-0 lead to lose 7-4. But that was the one bad spot of the weekend as two of the game’s most storied franchises faced off at one of the game’s most iconic ballparks.
I was actually in the house for the Sunday night game and I can confirm multiple reports that Cubs fans travel well. Either that, or there are a lot of bandwagon jumpers after the Cubs became the new hot team. Honestly, the Cubs are an awesome team. They’ve got great players, a great manager and one of the best front offices in probably all of sports. Their fans seemed friendly enough and all in all I don’t think they are very different from Red Sox fans. It was a cool experience to see the two teams go at it.
Anyway, last night Eduardo Rodriguez was on the mound for the Red Sox. He would be opposed by Kyle Hendricks, who is coming off a season where he finished third in the Cy Young voting behind Max Scherzer and his teammate Jon Lester. It looked like it could be a bit of a mismatch. Rodriguez however, pitched six innings while giving up only five hits and striking out nine. The only run he allowed was on a solo shot by reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant.
Hendricks pitched six innings, giving up only three hits and striking out six. He did allow two runs however, as Hanley Ramirez hit an absolute rocket over the Green Monster in the first inning. The game stayed tight and rather uneventful until the bullpens took over. Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly struggled to find the plate and would give up a run after a few walks and a wild pitch. At this point, in the seventh inning, the game looked like it could go to extra innings.
Luckily for the hometown team, their former closer and playoff hero Koji Uehara would enter in the eighth inning for the Cubs. Koji came in and faced three batters, allowing each to reach base with a hit. At that point, Cubs manager Joe Maddon would pull him and go to Pedro Strop to try to get out of the jam. Strop was not up to the challenge and he would allow two of Uehara’s men to score. The third man, and one of his own came across the plate on a throwing error by shortstop Addison Russell.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth the Red Sox had taken advantage of Cubs mistakes and used hustle to pad their lead. Craig Kimbrel would enter trying to lock down the game and the series win and he did so easily. The Sox now sit at 13-11 and in third place in the American League East behind Baltimore and New York. They will open a four-game series with the Orioles tonight at Fenway Park. Rick Porcello will get the ball opposite Dylan Bundy. First pitch is at 7 p.m.