June 21, 2018

G76: Red Sox 9, Twins 2

Red Sox - 000 110 331 - 9 16  0
Twins   - 000 000 002 - 2  4  0
Rick Porcello (7-1-0-1-5, 97) was outstanding, retiring the last 16 batters he faced. Only one Minnesota runner reached second base in the first eight innings. Meanwhile, seven Red Sox batters had at least two hits.

Xander Bogaerts's two-run double in the seventh increased the Red Sox's lead from 2-0 to 4-0 and they added on from there, although even a two-run lead felt comfortable the way Porcello was dealing.

Porcello allowed three baserunners, all of them with two outs. With two down in the first, he hit Eduardo Escobar in the right elbow with a pitch. Escobar coped with the pain for a few innings before leaving the game after striking out in the third. Logan Morrison followed the HBP with a hard single to left, but Robbie Grossman grounded out. Porcello walked Ryan Lamarre with two outs in the second. And that was the Twins' last baserunner until Lamarre singled off Hector Velazquez in the eighth.

Mitch Moreland walked to start the fourth and, after two were out, singles by Brock Holt and Sandy Leon (who reached base four times) brought him around to score. Mookie Betts belted his 19th home run on Kyle Gibson's (6-7-2-3-5, 105) first pitch of the fifth. Gibson allowed three singles in the inning, but escaped further damage when Rafael Devers popped to second and Holt grounded to second.

The Red Sox scored their final seven runs against Minnesota's bullpen. Ryan Pressly got Andrew Benintendi looking in the seventh, but J.D. Martinez singled to right-center, Moreland walked, and Bogaerts (on an 0-2 count) doubled over Grossman's head in left. Taylor Rogers allowed another run to score on Devers's groundout.

Matt Belisle was battered in the eighth. Leon singled to right and Jackie Bradley struck out. Betts smoked a liner to left, but Grossman made a leaping catch on the track. Benintendi clubbed a two-run homer towards the second deck in right-center, where a fan on the railing tried catching the ball in his cap. He failed, losing the ball and watching his cap float down to the warning track.

Martinez doubled off the wall in right and Moreland doubled to left-center. Boston led 8-0 and had outhit the Twins 13-1. Holt doubled in the ninth and scored on Bradley's single.

Velazquez gave up a single and a double to start the ninth. A groundout and a sac fly ruined the shutout bid. But the Red Sox head home on a good note. Their next opponents - at Fenway Park - are the Mariners and Angels.

MFY Watch: The Yankees held off the Mariners 4-3, so Boston remains 2 GB.

Twins Feed Watch (and Listen):
I spent the afternoon with Dick Bremer and Jack Morris. First of all, Morris cannot shut up. As soon as Bremer stopped calling a pitch, Morris started talking and he did not stop until Bremer had to announce the next pitch. Nothing he said was horrible, but it was constant. There was absolutely no chance for a viewer to relax and think about the game. Morris's favourite word is "wheelhouse", which he said five times by the end of the third inning.

When Porcello hit Escobar in the elbow in the first inning, Bremer noted: "I'm not implying anything, but Rick Porcello has better control than that" and he said we'll have to see how the game "unfolds from here". (This is the baseball equivalent of "I'm not racist, but ...")

In the fourth, Morris offered the opinion that every player ends the season with his stats right where they are usually are. I previously had been under the impression that players can sometimes have good years or bad years, maybe even "a career year", but Morris says they don't. They generally have the same year every season throughout their careers.

Both men got little bits of information wrong, which was annoying. In the sixth, Morris said Gibson had thrown "two pitches for two outs". Bremer agreed, but it had been three pitches. (And the plays had been less than 10 minutes earlier.)
In the next inning, Bremer stated Morrison singled on Porcello's first pitch for the Twins' only hit to that point, but he singled on an 0-1 pitch. Morris told us Gibson had thrown two 1-2-3 innings: the third and seventh, but Gibson drilled Leon in the ass to begin the seventh before getting a GIDP and a flyout. He faced three batters, but that is not a 1-2-3 inning.

I muted the broadcast in the eighth when both men jumped on the false nostalgia train and headed straight for the town of Oh I Miss The Good Old Days. I hit the button after hearing about the rarity of complete games and why can't anyone throw 200 innings anymore? Why do these people think baseball started changing only 10-15 years ago? Context is important in such discussions. Starting pitchers used to throw 300 innings in a season. Morris never did that - not even once in 18 years. Would Morris object if I referred to him as a candy-assed wimp?
Rick Porcello / Kyle Gibson
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Holt, 2B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Further to my Mike Trout mention yesterday: In last 8 games, he has made a total of 8 outs. ... He has reached base in 29 times of his last 37 plate appearances: 16 hits, 11 walks, 1 HBP, 1 interference. That's a .778 OBP. ... The Angels are 2-6 in those games, showing (if you needed proof) that one player cannot single-handedly lead a baseball team to victory.

1 comment:

allan said...

McAdam, BSJ:
The Red Sox devote a lot of time to studying where opposing hitters tend to hit the ball and position their fielders accordingly. The team's analytics department determined that the outfielders should shift way around to left against left-handed hitting Joe Mauer. That meant having right fielder Mookie Betts shifted way around toward center against Mauer, leaving most of right field unoccupied. Sure enough, leading off the sixth, Mauer hit a ball that Betts had to move about a half-step to glove. After making the catch and throwing the ball back into the infield, Betts took the information card that instructs players where to position themselves for every member of the lineup and with a smile, playfully waved the card toward the Sox' dugout.
"That was a big topic before the game," said Cora with a smile. "It was an extreme (shift) from the analytical department. The (players) see stuff like that and they panic, so we made a few calls before, and they were like, 'It's right on — go with it.' I'm glad that it happened because while (the players) believe in what we're doing, sometimes they see something extreme. I was the happiest guy because...it reinforces what we're trying to accomplish."