The final leg of a nine-game homestand for the Boston Red Sox continues with the second of three games against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
The pitching matchup features a 42-year-old veteran, Boston left-hander Rich Hill, and a 24-year-old rookie who is making just his 11th career start, Detroit right-hander Beau Brieske.
Brieske is coming off back-to-back scoreless starts. He beat the Toronto Blue Jays while firing 5 2/3 innings on June 11, and then he limited the Texas Rangers to three hits across seven innings in a no-decision on Thursday.
“He was really good at attacking the strike zone,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said following Brieske’s most recent start. “He got into a lot of good counts. He was able to spin enough (pitches) and landed some pretty good changeups. His fastball location was the best it’s been since he’s been a big-leaguer.”
Brieske’s effective pitch mix led to six strikeouts, the second-highest total of his young career.
Tuesday will mark Brieske’s first career appearance against Boston.
Before arriving in Boston, the Tigers won back-to-back games to conclude the series against the Rangers, bouncing back from a six-game losing streak. Brieske started in the fifth of those six losses, but he has helped bring stability to a struggling club.
“Really I feel like I’m starting to feel a little bit more comfortable up there and more consistent in my mechanics,” Brieske said. “You can make adjustments better when you’re repeating your mechanics more and more, and we can attribute a lot of that to the work I’ve been doing with (pitching coach Chris Fetter) in between my starts.”
The Red Sox will look to improve to 6-2 on the homestand with Hill on the mound following a 5-2 win in the series opener on Monday.
Franchy Cordero had three hits and two RBIs for Boston, while Jarren Duran contributed two hits, two runs and two stolen bases.
“I feel like personally I’ve been trying to have more fun,” said Duran, who was recalled from Triple-A Worcester on Wednesday. “Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself coming up here. I expected myself to do a lot, but I’m trying to enjoy the moment now.”
Earlier Monday, Boston infielder Jeter Downs earned his first call to the big leagues, and he awaits his debut. The 23-year-old hit 11 home runs and stole 11 bases for Worcester this season.
“He’s a good defender, good baserunner, right-handed hitter,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “Obviously, the situation with (Enrique Hernandez) and Christian (Arroyo) had to do with it.”
Hernandez is out due to a hip injury, while Arroyo is battling COVID-19.
Hill (2-4, 4.42 ERA) tied his season high with seven hits allowed in his 5 2/3-inning start against the Oakland A’s on Thursday. He allowed four runs (three earned) and struck out four, taking a loss for the first time since May 30.
The Boston native has issued two or fewer walks in all but one of his 12 starts this year and tossed at least five innings in five of his past eight.
Hill faced the Tigers for only the second time since 2017 on April 12, when he worked 4 1/3 innings of three-run ball in a no-decision. He is 3-0 with a 4.03 ERA in 18 career appearances (five starts) against Detroit.
Boston is 14-4 in June and sits six games over .500 for the first time this season.
“Every season has certain moments where you want to see how the team responds and (last weekend’s series against St. Louis) was one for us,” outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said on Sunday after the Red Sox took two of three from the Cardinals.
–Field Level Media