July 15, 2018

G98: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 2

Blue Jays - 002 000 000 - 2  8  1
Red Sox   - 200 021 00x - 5  6  0
The Red Sox will go into the All-Star Break with a 68-30 record (the best in baseball) and the largest lead in the American League East this season: 4.5 games. The 68 wins also ties the franchise record for most wins through 98 games (the 1946 team was 68-28, with two ties).

How great are these Red Sox? They could play .500 ball for the rest of the season (32-32) and still become only the fourth team in franchise history to win 100 games.

Doubles from Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley in the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie; a fourth run scored on Xander Bogaerts's groundout. Bogaerts got the scoring started in the first inning with his 16th home run. Brock Holt singled in two runs, one in the first and one in the sixth.

There was a bit of a scare in the top of the eighth, when Heath Hembree gave up a one-out single and two more singles with two outs. Dwight Smith, batting with the bases loaded, represented the go-ahead run for Toronto, but Hembree made him look clueless and lost, striking him out on three pitches. He swung and missed a breaking pitch in the dirt, took a strike in the lower half of the zone, and then fanned on an unhittable curve that was riding down and extremely inside.

Brian Johnson (4.2-2-2-4-5, 84) gave up a double to Randal Grichuk and a two-run homer to Teoscar Hernandez. Those were the only hits allowed by Johnson, though he did walk four. And other than those two baserunners in the third, the Blue Jays did not get a runner to third base until there were two outs in the eighth inning.

This is the second straight start in which Alex Cora has pulled Johnson after 4.2 innings - one out shy of qualifying for a win. I can understand the move today: tie game, runner on 1st, two outs, Johnson at 84 pitches and Teoscar Hernandez (who had homered) coming up. But pulling him on July 3 made little sense. The Red Sox led 9-2, Johnson had thrown 77 pitches and had runners at 1st/2nd with two outs. Mark Reynolds, who had struck out and singled, was up. I am not clear on why Cora went to the bullpen at that point.

If Johnson had finished the fifth inning today and everything in the game had been the same (or better!), he would have qualified for the W. I wonder if Johnson is getting paranoid, thinking Cora is out to deprive him of wins?

Bogaerts homered to left with one out in the first. J.D. Martinez walked and Mitch Moreland reached on an infield error, Toronto's eighth error of the series. Steve Pearce forced Moreland at second, moving JDM to third. Holt dropped a single into center for a 2-0 Boston lead.

In the sixth, Moreland walked and Pearce was hit by a pitch on the inside of his right knee. Holt chopped a single just past the reach of the second baseman, moving to his left, and into right field.

AL East: Cleveland scored three times in the bottom of the eighth and beat the Yankees 5-2. New York is 62-33. They are 4.5 GB. Did you know that is the largest AL East lead of the season?
Marcus Stroman / Brian Johnson
Betts, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, LF
Moreland, 1B
Pearce, DH
Holt, 2B
Nunez, 3B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Brian Johnson makes today's start, having been activated from the disabled list. Eduardo Rodriguez was put on the 10-day DL with a right ankle sprain.

This is the last game before the All-Star break. The Red Sox will not play until Friday night, in Detroit.

AL East: MFY/CLE, 1 PM. The Yankees are 3.5 GB.

1 comment:

allan said...

July 15

1914 - At Fenway Park, Dutch Leonard shuts out the Cleveland Naps, 4-0. Umpire Tom Connolly, tiring of the taunting from the Red Sox bench, ejects eight Boston players.

1916 - The Red Sox play their fourth doubleheader in six days, losing the opener, 2-1, to the St. Louis Browns. Tilly Walker's RBI double in the 8th gives Boston its first score in 28 innings. Boston breaks out in the second game, pounding four Browns pitchers for 18 hits to win 17-4. Babe Ruth picks up the win, leaving after six innings.

1920 - Babe Ruth ties his 1919 record of 29 home runs with a game-winner in the 13th to beat the St. Louis Browns, 13-10. Two days later, he will break it by hitting two off White Sox pitcher Dickie Kerr.

1994 - In the 1st inning at Comiskey Park, White Sox manager Gene Lamont accuses Cleveland slugger Albert Belle of using a corked bat, and umpire Dave Phillips confiscates the bat and stores it in the umps' dressing room. In a Mission Impossible caper revealed in 1999, Cleveland pitcher Jason Grimsley crawls 100 feet along a ceiling, drops down into the dressing room, and exchanges Belle's bat for one of Paul Sorrento's. After the game, the switch is discovered to the consternation of the umps and the White Sox. Cleveland subsequently turns over one of Belle's bats and Belle is given a 10-day suspension, later reduced to seven games.