Taking advantage of a starting pitching staff ravaged by injuries, Boston Red Sox right-hander Brayan Bello is quickly starting to establish himself as an ace
Bello has been rolling since late April and will look to continue dominating opposing lineups when the Red Sox open a three-game series against the host Chicago Cubs on Friday night to begin the second half of the season
After seeing left-hander Chris Sale hit the 60-day injured list due to a stress reaction in his shoulder blade, the Red Sox suddenly found themselves in more danger when right-handers Garrett Whitlock (elbow) and Tanner Houck (facial fracture) both landed on the 15-day IL
But Bello (6-5, 3.04 ERA) has come to the rescue.
Over his last 12 starts, the 24-year-old has gone 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA. In addition to allowing no more than three earned runs in each of those 12 outings, Bello has worked at least five innings on 11 occasions during that stretch.
In his most recent start, Bello held the Texas Rangers’ high-octane offense at bay on July 5, surrendering two runs on eight hits in seven innings. He didn’t issue a walk while striking out three.
“The sinker is my best pitch and it always gets me out of trouble, and (July 5) was no exception,” Bello said through a translator. “(July 5) was a really good day for me, everything was working well, the changeup and sinker, and I was glad to be able to get quick outs after those first couple innings.”
Bello has never faced the Cubs
Right-hander Kyle Hendricks (3-3, 3.04) will oppose Bello and try to bounce back from a rough outing against the New York Yankees on Sunday.
Hendricks was tagged for four runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings, but he escaped with a no-decision after Chicago scored six unanswered runs en route to a 7-4 win.
“That’s a really nice team win, something I think we needed going into the break,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “These guys have fought really hard. The way we’ve come back here lately has been really impressive.
Chicago has won four of its last six games after going 1-7 over its previous eight. The Cubs have received a boost from right fielder Seiya Suzuki, who is 9-for-22 (.409) with a home run, two RBIs and three runs in his last six games
Suzuki would be the hottest hitter heading into Friday’s matchup had it not been for Japanese countryman and Boston left fielder Masataka Yoshida, who is on a historic run.
Yoshida has logged seven consecutive multi-hit games, becoming the first rookie in Red Sox franchise history to accomplish the feat since Johnny Pesky did so in 1942. He is batting .517 (15-for-29) with two homers, five RBIs and seven runs during his streak
If Hendricks wants to contain Yoshida and the rest of Boston’s lineup, he will need to replicate his only previous performance against the Red Sox. On April 30, 2017, Hendricks limited Boston to two runs on three hits across six innings while walking three and striking out six
The Red Sox and Cubs last met in July 2022, when Chicago took two games of a three-game set at home. Prior to that, the clubs hadn’t faced each other since 2017
–Field Level Media