June 28, 2018

G82: Red Sox 4, Angels 2

Angels  - 000 100 010 - 2  6  0
Red Sox - 000 011 20x - 4  7  0
Can someone in Boston hypnotize Jackie Bradley so he believes he's playing against the Angels all the time? Bradley clubbed a two-run homer in the seventh inning that cleared the bullpens in right-center and gave the Red Sox some necessary breathing room.

Bradley went 9-for-21 (.429) in the six games against the Angels, with three homers (half of his season total) and eight RBI. With 20 total bases in 21 AB, Bradley slugged .952. (He is also 8-for-14 in his last four games.)

The Red Sox won all six games against the Angels, outscoring them 49-12. They also cracked 20 home runs, setting a record for the most homers by one team in a season series of six games or fewer. And they increased their lead in the AL East to one full game, on the eve of a weekend series in the Bronx.

Brian Johnson (4-3-1-1-2, 61) retired eight of his first nine batters and allowed a solo home run to Andrelton Simmons. The Angels came into the game with a .230 batting average against lefties. They went 3-for-15 against Johnson (.200).

Rafael Devers tied the game by hitting his 13th dong of the year to straightaway center.

Jaime Barria (5.1-4-2-2-4, 98) pitched well, but he was pulled after he walked J.D. Martinez with one out in the sixth. Jose Alvarez, who was charged with the loss on Wednesday, gave up a double to Mitch Moreland that put runners at second and third. Center fielder Chris Young gave up on the ball, only to see it land on the warning track in left-center. (It looked extremely catchable.) The Angels put Xander Bogaerts on intentionally and then Brock Holt worked a full-count walk to bring in the go-ahead run. The rally was cut short when Devers hit into a 1-2-3 double play.

Former Red Sox reliever Noe Ramirez pitched the seventh. He got ahead of Christian Vazquez 0-2, but Vazquez grounded a hard single into left. Ramirez got ahead of Bradley 0-2, but JBJ hit a high fastball to deep right-center, his sixth homer of the season.

Joe Kelly had an unusual eighth inning. He walked Mike Trout, as Trout watched two strikes followed by four balls. Justin Upton singled to left and Albert Pujols flared a hit into short left-center, scoring Trout. When Kelly threw ball one to Simmons, the Angels trailed by two runs and had men on first and second with no one out. Kelly then got three outs on three pitches. Simmons lined the 1-0 offering to Betts in right, Fletcher smoked a drive to left that Andrew Benintendi leapt and caught at the scoreboard (roughly where the Red Sox's "1" for the bottom of the sixth was posted) and Young popped to center.

In the ninth, Craig Kimbrel's control was initially absent. He needed seven pitches to strike out pinch-hitter Martin Maldonado and he walked Kole Calhoun on four balls (the first two were wild and the other two were not close). The key pitch in the inning was his 1-1 to Ian Kinsler. It hit the bottom of the strike zone and certainly could have been called a ball by a less-than-observant umpire, but Ed Hickox correctly called it strike two. Kinsler then chased a fastball up and away for the second out.

Now it was Kimbrel versus Trout (the potential tying run). Kimbrel started with a 96 mph fastball low and away that nailed the corner of the zone, and Trout swung and missed. Kimbrel went up and away at 96, just off the top corner of the zone, and Trout took it for a ball. (A ton of lesser hitters would have flailed at it.) The 1-1 fastball hit the outside black at 97 and Trout missed that one, too. Kimbrel's final pitch was in the zone up a bit and a tad away, at 97. Trout swung and missed for strike three - and the dirty water flowed.

In addition to his home run, Bradley made another highlight reel catch. With two outs in the first inning, Upton crushed a ball to deep center. Bradley sprinted towards the wall, turned and leapt and caught the ball a split-second before crashing into the padding. His speed in getting back to the track was remarkable, as was his utter lack of concern about smashing his body into the wall.

Viewing Note: I listened to the Angels TV announcers. Victor Rojas and former pitcher Mike Gubicza were both extremely low-key. (It turns out it is possible to name the various fielders without shouting.) I did not hear any gaffes that caused me to make a note on my scorecard, although I did not always pay close attention. This was a Fox Sports broadcast and I noticed a lot of extreme closeups on replays. Now I'm wondering if perhaps this annoying and often pointless practice is an industry-wide trend. If so, does NESN believe it must adopt a practice that fails to offer viewers a proper replay? NESN should realize that the current zooming is a mistake - if you are showing a replay of the bat hitting the ball and both bat and ball are out of the picture, it might be time to buck the system and try something else.
Jaime Barria / Brian Johnson
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Holt, 2B
Devers, 3B
Vazquez, C
Bradley, CF
Johnson is making his first start since April 2 (the fifth game of the season). Since then, he has a 5.10 ERA in 21 relief appearances.

Red Sox's Record After 81 Games (And Ranking In Team History)
2018 - 54-27       #4
2017 - 46-35
2016 - 44-37
2013 - 48-33
2007 - 50-31       #11
2004 - 44-37
2003 - 47-34
1986 - 52-29       #5T
1978 - 56-25       #2T
1975 - 44-37
1967 - 42-39
1946 - 56-23-2     #1
1912 - 56-25       #2T
Seasons In Which Red Sox Won At Least 50 Of First 81 Games (And Final Record)
1946 - 56-23-2    104-50    Won AL Pennant
1912 - 56-25      105-47    Won World Series
1978 - 56-25       99-64
2018 - 54-27
1903 - 52-29       91-47    Won World Series
1986 - 52-29       95-66    Won AL Pennant
1979 - 51-30       91-69
1904 - 51-30       95-59    Won AL Pennant
1939 - 51-30       89-62
1915 - 50-29-2    101-50    Won World Series
2007 - 50-31       96-66    Won World Series
1951 - 50-31       87-67
2002 - 50-31       93-69
2006 - 50-31       86-76
Worst Red Sox Teams Through 81 Games: 1927 (19-62), 1932 (19-62), and 1906 (19-61-1).

Seven Red Sox teams have failed to win at least 30 of their first 81 games - and six of those seasons occurred in a span of only eight years: 1906, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1931, and 1932. (And the 1930 team was 30-51.)

AL East: MFY off. Boston is 0.5 GA.

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