July 27, 2018

G105: Red Sox 4, Twins 3 (10)

Twins   - 000 000 102 0 - 3  6  0
Red Sox - 000 020 001 1 - 4  8  1
Mookie Betts hit the first walkoff home run of his career on Friday night, one inning after Rafael Devers had tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot off Fernando Rodney. Those two home runs came after Craig Kimbrel had surrendered two runs in the ninth, snapping a streak of 23 consecutive saves dating back to early May. And all of that happened after Chris Sale pitched six shutout innings.

Let's start with Sale. Here are his last 40 innings:
0619 at MIN -         0
0624 vs SEA - 000 000 0
0630 at NYY - 000 000 0
0706 at KCR - 010 000
0711 vs TEX - 000 000 0
0722 at DET - 000 000
0727 vs MIN - 000 000
40 innings, 1 run. 0.23 ERA. ... 21 hits, 6 walks, 69 strikeouts.

Sale fanned five Twins in the first two innings, but apparently became possessed by a demon in the fourth. With two outs, he walked Ehire Adrianza, hit Max Kepler, and walked Robbie Grossman. Jake Cave battled Sale for eight pitches, fouling a slider at 79, followed by a fastball at 99, before striking out. Sale snapped back to his old self and struck out four more batters in the next two innings.

Eduardo Nunez doubled off the Wall to open the fifth. Sandy Leon flied to right, but Jackie Bradley homered to left-center for a 2-0 lead. Betts followed with a walk, but was stranded at third.

Ryan Brasier was the first man out of the Boston pen. Kepler doubled to start the seventh and went to third on a comebacker. Cave's seemingly routine ground ball went through Nunez's legs for a two-base error and Kepler scored. (Nunez may have been screened by Steve Pearce who was ranging to his right from first base.)

Jorge Polanco singled and Eddie Rosario grounded into a double play. Pearce fielded the ball and threw to Xander Bogaerts at second. He dashed back to the bag and caught X's relay while he was flat on his stomach in the dirt - with his left leg on the bag.

Kimbrel came into the game with two outs in the eighth and immediately issued a four-pitch walk. (Why is he so often unable to throw strikes when he first takes the mound?) Joe Mauer pinch-hit and flied to left for the third out. In the ninth, he walked Grossman with one out. Polanco batted with two outs and Kimbrel bounced several pitches, including one that got away and allowed Grossman to go to second. Polanco walked also. Then Rosario hit an 0-1 pitch off the Wall in left-center and both runners scored.

Rodney faced the bottom half of the Red Sox lineup in the ninth, after having thrown 25 pitches last night in a less-than-textbook outing. Devers swung and missed and took two balls before smashing a line drive into the Red Sox bullpen. Kepler ran over and it looked like he might have a play, but he did not. He slammed his right shoulder into the wall and crumpled to the ground as Devers trotted around the bases for the 15th time this year. Rodney retired the next three hitters, but he needed 18 pitches to do so. It was Minnesota's 22nd blown save, the most in the majors.

Tyler Thornburg pitched a perfect tenth, although the third out was a deep drive that Bradley caught on the track in left-center, in the shadow of the Wall.

Matt Belisle and his 6.18 ERA took the mound in the home half of the tenth. His first pitch to Betts was a fastball at 89 that was pretty much down the middle. Mookie watched it for a strike. What does Belisle do next? He throws another fastball at 89 that was pretty much down the middle. It was the exact same pitch, in the exact same spot, and Mookie destroyed it. It clanged off a railing in the back row of the Monster seats.

Betts's teammates dumped no fewer than three huge coolers of water and ice (and one small bottled water) on him while he was out in front of the dugout waiting for, and then talking with, NESN. He did not seem bothered.

AL East: The Royals/Yankees game was postponed. The MFY are 5 GB.
Lance Lynn / Chris Sale
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Pearce, 1B
Devers, 3B
Nunez, 2B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Alex Speier tweets that Mitch Moreland "says he's been 'banged up,' with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee. He said he couldn't have pinch-hit last night, but thinks there's a better chance he could today. Anticipates lineup return this weekend."

Alex Reimer, WEEI:
[T]he Red Sox have no reason to be frightened. JA Happ and Zach Britton aren't going to bring the Yankees back from their 4.5-game deficit in the AL East. ...

Make no mistake: the additions of Britton and Happ make the Yankees better. ...

But there's a limit to how much impact Britton can have in the regular season. One-inning relievers generally don't lead teams on extended runs.

For the last six weeks, Happ has pitched like Sonny Gray [6.03 ERA over his last six starts] ...

If the Red Sox play sub-.500 play the rest of the way, they'll still win more than 100 games. The division is in their firm control, despite the Yankees' additions.
AL East: KCR/MFY, 7 PM. The Yankees are 4.5 GB.

1 comment:

allan said...

Only the second time in Kimbrel's career that he pitched at least 1.1 innings without a strikeout.