Rick Porcello gave up only two runs in a dominant complete game five-hitter to lead the Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Angels on Friday.
He fanned three batters without issuing any walks to raise his record to an impressive 14-2. The win puts him in a four-way tie for the major league lead. Only three starting pitchers have a better walk rate than Porcello this year. He will take his 3.47 ERA into a matchup with the Mariners on Wednesday.
Tim Lincecum had yet another bad outing, giving up four runs in five innings in a loss to the Red Sox on Friday.
He allowed five hits and walked six batters as his record fell to 2-5 with the loss. When a pitcher gives up four runs in five innings and actually lowers his ERA you know something has gone badly wrong. Today's game was a microcosm of his season. The home run he gave up to Jackie Bradley Jr. was the 10th one he has given up in only 35 innings this year. He has a very poor 31/21 K/BB ratio. He has given up an unbelievable 59 hits in those 35 innings. The Angels are desperate for starting pitching but they surely can't run Lincecum and his 8.49 ERA out there forever.
Junior Guerra almost went the distance Friday against the Pirates, allowing just one run over 8 2/3 innings as part of a 3-1 victory.
Guerra entered the ninth with a chance at his first career shutout (and complete game), but he allowed the first two batters to reach base before a run eventually scored on a fielder’s choice. He then gave up a single to Starling Marte before getting the hook. While Guerra ran out of gas at the end, it was still an excellent outing. He gave up just four hits and one walk while striking out five batters. The 31-year-old journeyman now owns a surprising 2.70 ERA and 85/34 K/BB ratio in 103 1/3 innings through 16 starts this season. He could be an interesting trade chip for Milwaukee.
Making his second major league start, Steven Brault took the loss Friday against the Brewers after giving up three runs in six innings.
Brault surrendered seven hits and three walks, but the big blow was a two-run homer to Chris Carter in the first inning. He threw just 58 out of 106 pitches for strikes, but managed to work around trouble and keep the Pirates in the game. It’s unclear what the plan is beyond Friday, but the young southpaw should get more opportunities down the stretch.
Jeremy Jeffress needed just one pitch to secure his 25th save of the season Friday against the Pirates.
Junior Guerra ran into some trouble in his bid for a shutout, so Jeffress got the call with the tying run on first. However, he quickly sent Brewers fans home happy by inducing a grounder from Jung Ho Kang. Jeffress is now 25-for-26 in save opportunities this season to go along with a 2.11 ERA. He’s been a popular name in trade rumors this month, but the Brewers understandably want a nice haul for him. It’s worth stashing Will Smith just in case someone meets their asking price. Of course, Smith is also a trade candidate.
Chris Carter launched a two-run homer Friday against the Pirates.
Carter took Steven Brault deep in the first inning and that was more than enough for Junior Guerra. The 29-year-old has amassed 23 homers this season, but this was his first since his two-homer game against the Cardinals on July 8. He’s batting just .173 this month, so he’ll be happy to see the calendar flip to August.
Jung Ho Kang went 0-for-4 with a strikeout against the Brewers on Friday.
Kang had a chance to come up big in the ninth inning, as the Pirates had the tying run on first base against closer Jeremy Jeffress, but he grounded out to third to end the ballgame. The 29-year-old is batting just .158 (12-for-76) over his last 27 games. More importantly than his struggles on the field, Kang is still being investigated by Chicago police for an alleged sexual assault. It’s unclear when there will be a resolution on the matter.
Xander Bogaerts smacked a two-run homer and added an RBI double in Friday's game.
He finished 2-for-5 on the night with three RBI and two runs scored. The longball was his 13th of the season. His .331 batting average ranks him fourth in the major leagues while his 78 runs scored rank sixth.