Jhoulys Chacin likely is far from the savior of the Red Sox’s pitching staff.
But he certainly got off to a pretty solid start with his new club, tossing two spotless innings, striking out four and setting the tone for Boston’s 6-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night at Fenway Park.
Chacin was tabbed as the opener for Friday’s game after David Price was scratched from his start, leaving Alex Cora to turn the series opener into a bullpen game. With the best team (and offense) in baseball coming to town, that could have meant an incredibly long night for the Red Sox pitching staff.
Instead, Chacin had batters dancing, paving the way for 13 Yankees strikeouts on the evening.
“He hasn’t pitched in a while, he did a good job. He put us in a good spot,” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “He did an outstanding job moving the ball around. Fastball command was good, slider was good, it’s a different look, it’s not North-South, it’s East-West and he is expanding. He has done it before. He has pitched in big games and he was an Opening Day starter. He’s an accomplished big leaguer and he set the tempo for us right away.”
Chacin had not pitched since July 24 before his release from the Milwaukee Brewers. And while there is a reason he was released (3-10, 5.79 ERA), he has managed a serviceable career through 11 years in the big leagues, including a 4.00 career ERA. After spending early years of his career in hitters havens like Colorado and Arizona, he posted a 15-8 record with a 3.50 ERA in 2018 with the Brewers.
He proved Friday that he has what it takes to provide value down the stretch.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees game:
— Boston needed seven pitchers to get through the game, the first of two bullpen games the Sox have planned for the four-game series. But perhaps even more eye-popping was that none of the pitchers used Friday were on the Opening Day roster.
“Like I said in Spring Training, it takes more than the guys you that you take on Opening Day to win a World Series. … That’s the way it works,” Cora said. “You look around the league, and somebody has to contribute and honestly they have done an outstanding job over the last month a half.”
All together Josh Taylor, Marcus Walden, Andrew Cashner, Ryan Weber, Darwinzon Hernandez and Bobby Poyner combined to throw seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball.
— Xander Bogaerts continues to close in some crazy milestones.
The shortstop went 1-for-4 with a two-run double in the win. The knock was the 999th of his career. One more hit will make him just the third Red Sox player to reach 1,000 before turning 27.
He also sits at 49 doubles on the season. One more two-bagger will make him just the second shortstop in baseball history to have 30 home runs and 50 doubles in the same season, joining Alex Rodriguez.
— Mitch Moreland celebrated his birthday in style, going 3-for-4 with a three-run home run.
The first baseman has not had a ton of success on his birthday in the past.
Moreland was 2-for-13 (.154) in his five previous birthday games. Friday was his first home run on his birthday.
Thumbnail photo via Gregory J. Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images