Bats pave the way in Boston's 3rd straight W

August 22nd, 2020

It was an interesting Friday night in Baltimore for the Red Sox and manager Ron Roenicke.

While his club was in the process of running a modest winning streak to a season high of three games with an 8-5 victory over the Orioles, Roenicke stopped closer Brandon Workman from walking to the bullpen in the mid innings, telling the veteran righty he had just been traded to the Phillies.

Heath Hembree, another trusted reliever who was packaged with Workman in the deal that brought young righties Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold on board, was called in from the bullpen in the middle of the game.

Matt Barnes, suddenly thrust into the role of closer, recorded the save in the ninth.

And when the Red Sox gathered after the game in the visitors clubhouse, Workman and Hembree said their goodbyes.

“They were nice enough to stay around until the end of the game and they wanted to talk to the guys, so I thought that was pretty cool,” said Roenicke.

While the Red Sox are clearly in sellers’ mode this trade season, their offense continued its recent revival in Friday’s strong showing.

J.D. Martinez celebrated his 33rd birthday by bashing a two-run homer to center in one of his best swings of the season.

Rafael Devers continued his hot week by mashing a three-run homer to center, his traveling at an exit velocity of 108.1 mph and a projected distance of 447 feet, per Statcast.

Cleanup man Xander Bogaerts homered for the second straight night, a solo shot in the second that put the Red Sox in front.

“I thought the quality of at-bats were really good,” Roenicke said. “We’re walking some, we’re not chasing out of the zone so much and then when we get that mistake, we’re getting some guys that are really hitting the ball well.

“I think it was big for J.D. and Devers to do what they did today. Bogey continues to do it, so if we set the table for those guys, hopefully they all get hot at the same time and then it will certainly be fun to watch.”

As an opener, Colten Brewer was excellent, firing four shutout innings.

Power lefty Darwinzon Hernandez made his 2020 debut after being sidelined by COVID-19, striking out three over two shutout innings.

With Workman and Hembree gone, look for Hernandez to have even more high-leverage opportunities than originally planned, though it remains to be seen what role he will be used in most often.

“Coming out today for the first time, he threw some nasty pitches. I know sometimes he may get a little wild, but his pitches, you see the swings they take and the bats that break and it’s really good stuff,” Roenicke said. “So fun to see him back, nice to have him in our bullpen again.”

With 33 games left in the regular season, the Red Sox will move on without a couple of familiar faces.

“Hopefully we’ll continue to play good ball and we’ll still have fun,” Roenicke said. “I know it hurts losing those two guys, but we’re still going to have fun, and we’re still going to compete.”