The Boston Red Sox have waited for this kind of week all season long.
They will look to make it five straight wins and complete a four-game sweep of the visiting Seattle Mariners on Sunday afternoon.
Boston showed resilience to extend the streak with Saturday’s 6-5 win, overcoming a 5-0 deficit to take its first and only lead on Christian Vazquez’s game-winning RBI single in the eighth.
“It was a total team effort today. Garrett (Whitlock) got hit hard, but we just tried to figure out a way to get all 27 (outs),” said Sox manager Alex Cora, whose team has come from behind in three of its last four wins. “Offensively, it felt like we had good at-bats early. … It’s getting there. We’re feeling good about ourselves.”
Whitlock lasted just three innings on Saturday, but five relievers allowed just two hits combined and kept Boston in the game to make its largest comeback of the season.
Nathan Eovaldi (1-2, 4.32 ERA) will be looking to shake off a rare bad start when he takes the mound Sunday, as he allowed nine runs (six earned) on eight hits in just 1 2/3 innings last Tuesday.
The Astros tagged Eovaldi for five home runs in a single inning during his last outing. It was his shortest start since 2016 and the only one this season in which he has given up more than three runs.
“In the past, I feel every time I’ve faced the Astros, they came out swinging, and tried to jump on the fastball,” Eovaldi said. “I was able to locate it in the first and had a quick inning. I tried to do the same thing the second inning, and they didn’t miss. … I have to do a better job of mixing my pitches and attacking them differently.”
Eovaldi made two starts against the Mariners last season, going 0-1 while allowing six earned runs over 10 innings.
It has been a struggle of a road trip for the Mariners as they are 3-6 in the last nine games, but Logan Gilbert (4-2, 2.40 ERA) will look to continue his recent success in his second career start against Boston.
April’s American League Pitcher of the Month, Gilbert struck out nine in his two most recent starts, tying the career-high mark that he set on Sept. 13, 2021, at Fenway Park.
In his second consecutive loss last Tuesday at Toronto, Gilbert worked seven innings of three-run ball. The second-year Mariner enjoyed great success with his fastball as it averaged 96.7 miles per hour and topped out at a career-high 99, according to MLB.com.
“I think it sets everything up,” Gilbert said. “I tried to use everything how I could, but I felt like I had a good fastball (on Tuesday) and I tried to play off that. Then the curve and slider, good enough.”
Prior to a May 6 no-decision against Toronto, Gilbert had gone 4-0 while surrendering just one total earned run over his previous four consecutive starts.
Julio Rodriguez enjoyed a 3-for-4 Saturday with a double, RBI and run scored, upping his May average to .342 in 20 games. But the Mariners were scoreless after Whitlock left the game.
“Unfortunately for (Saturday starter Chris Flexen), it was about the only time we’ve scored any runs for him this year and wasn’t able to get a bit deeper in the ballgame,” manager Scott Servais said. “He wasn’t fooling anybody. It turned into a bullpen game after that. And their bullpen was a little bit better.”
–Field Level Media