Red Sox Notes: Boston Applauds Mitch Moreland For Putting Team ‘On His Back’

Moreland's blast in the ninth inning provided the Red Sox breathing room.

by Sean T. McGuire

Aug 21, 2020

Xander Bogaerts put it pretty simply after the Boston Red Sox claimed a 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.

“Mitch (Moreland) is putting us on his back, and it’s real nice and fun to see,” Bogaerts told reporters in a video conference, expressing the importance of Moreland’s three-run home run in the ninth inning to create some much needed separation.

Moreland’s shot to center field not only provided some breathing room, but also helped the reliever-relying Red Sox not have to use one of their tired bullpen arms to close out the win. That was among the thoughts of manager Ron Roenicke, as well.

“That home run was obviously huge, and it allows us to save some guys that we would be pitching to the point where maybe they would have to be down tomorrow,” Roenicke said postgame.

“I think part of that consistency is the way he’s hitting the ball,” Roenicke added of Moreland. “He’s been hitting the ball all over the field. He’s getting base hits the other way, the home runs to center. So, I think when he’s using the whole field like that, and it’s also different pitches. It’s change ups, he’s hit some curveballs, he hit a good fastball today … So, I think that allows him to stay really consistent in his swing.”

Nathan Eovaldi, who went seven innings in the start, praised Moreland postgame, too. After all, it was the first baseman’s final plate appearance which helped the starter earn his second win of the season.

“He’s consistent. Every time. I felt like he was like this last year as well. As long as we can keep him healthy, he’s going to be a huge key for us,” Eovaldi said. “Defensively, everybody knows how talented and everything he is over there. But for this year, he’s been coming up, it always seems like it’s a big situation as well. Tonight, he was able to break the game open for us… Same in the past. He had the walk off not too long ago. He’s had big clutch hits to get us back in the game. He’s been huge.”

Moreland entered the night with a .348 batting average before tacking on another two hits in four at-bats Thursday.

Here are some other notes from Thursday’s game:

— Eovaldi was equally crucial in helping the Red Sox to a second-straight win. He threw seven full innings scattering five hits with one run allowed.

“I know Nate, he’s been after me to let him go longer so I didn’t have to think about it today. Great job with all his pitches. His pitch count was fantastic throughout the game. He really didn’t have any stressful innings that we were worried about,” Roenicke said. “And just mixed his pitches well, and located well. So great job there.”

— Ryan Brasier entered in relief of Eovaldi in a mere two-run game. But Brasier, who had allowed three runs on three hits in two separate appearances this season, shut the door on Baltimore with an impressive 1-2-3 inning (12 pitches, 10 strikes).

“Yeah, I think the last outing he threw was really good also,” Roenicke said of the 32-year-old right-hander. “The ball has been coming out of his hand really good for probably four outings now. Velocity is up, but not just velocity, it’s got life to it. You can see it. You can see the swings that are being taken. He’s commanding his slider better. He threw two good split fingers today. So, I think he’s gaining confidence, hopefully to the point where he was a couple years ago when we depended on him so much.”

— Roenicke, like all many Red Sox fans, enjoyed the “stress-free game” Thursday, especially after Moreland’s late homer.

“The stress free games are really nice for us. The staff loves them,” he joked. “Hopefully we’ll have a few more of those.”

— Colten Brewer will get the start for the Red Sox on Friday against Baltimore while Darwinson Hernandez is another arm Boston would like to get in, per Roenicke.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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