April 2, 2019

G6: Athletics 1, Red Sox 0

Red Sox   - 000 000 000 - 0  7  0
Athletics - 100 000 00x - 1  3  0
Xander Bogaerts blasted an 0-2 slider to deep right-center with one out in the top of the ninth. It hit the higher section of wall near the bottom half of the "3" on the "388" marker. (The ball has just caromed off the wall in the picture above.) Just two feet to the left and it would have been a home run. Ramón Laureano chased the ball back towards center field and fired a one-hop throw to third base and Matt Chapman brought the tag down.

It was a close play, but you could tell the "out" call was correct by the look of utter disbelief on Bogaerts's face. The Red Sox challenged the call, of course, but during the delay, Bogaerts walked back to the dugout, something he would never do if he felt he was actually safe.
I can't fault Bogaerts for trying for three, with Blake Treinen on the hill and two outs left in the final inning. However, as he went around second, Bogaerts turned towards the outfield and slowed for a split-second. If he had gone all-out after hitting the ball, he would have easily beaten the throw. (He also had fouled the previous pitch off his left ankle, so I'm wondering if that affected his running, even just a little bit.)

[It turns out the foul-off-the-foot was a factor. Rob Bradford (WEEI): "I shouldn't have gone. I shouldn't have gone. Bad foot," Bogaerts could be heard repeating to himself while walking away from his locker following a four-minute media scrum."]

It was an extreme 15-second rollercoaster ride, from not expecting anything much to happen to thinking the game was tied 1-1 to seeing Bogaerts gunned down. Could the Red Sox maybe stop challenging Laureano's arm in the next two games?

With two outs and no one on, Mitch Moreland drew a walk. Eduardo Nunez pinch-ran and stole second on an 0-2 pitch to Brock Holt. That pitch was a ball - no throw was made on the steal, no infielder bothered to cover the bag - and then Holt swung and missed the next pitch, ending the game.

This loss was a tough one, because Chris Sale (6-3-1-2-1, 87) pitched quite well. (It was the first time in his career that he pitched more than four innings and had only one strikeout.) He gave up a solo home run to Matt Chapman, his second batter of the evening. His one punchout was of the subsequent hitter, Stephen Piscotty.

Outside of the home run, Oakland got only one runner past first base all night, and that came with two outs. By contrast, Boston had five runners at second or third.
3rd: Mookie Betts doubled with two outs. Andrew Benintendi grounded out to second.

4th: Rafael Devers led off with a single and went to third on Moreland's two-out hit. Holt ended the inning with a grounder to first.

6th: Benintendi singled and stole second. Devers popped to third, J.D. Martinez grounded to second (Benny took third), and Bogaerts struck out.

7th: Christian Vazquez doubled with two down, but Ryan Buchter struck out Jackie Bradley (Buchter struck out the side).

9th: Nunez was at second base when Holt fanned for the final out.
Chris Sale / Mike Fiers
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
It's almost a sure thing that the second trip through the rotation will be better than the first: 21 innings, 33 hits, 32 runs, 13 walks, 24 strikeouts. 11 home runs allowed. 11.14 ERA, 2.190 WHIP. Opponents hit .351/.420/.798 for a 1.218 OPS.

There are only two American League teams hitting higher than .238. The Tigers are hitting .140 with seven runs scored in five games. (Boston is at .233.) The AL's overall batting average is .211, 40 points lower than the NL. Viva la DH!

Dear Alex Cora: I hope you are keeping informed, as May 9 gets closer. Having the privilege [sic] of choking down cold and soggy fast food hamberders is not worth acknowledging this callous idiot's existence.


allan said...

The 1998 Yankees began their season on the west coast and got off to a 1-4 start, losing their 5th game by a score of 8-0. ... Hey, the Red Sox (also 1-4) lost their 5th game by only 7-0!

This is the 20th time in team history the Red Sox have started a season 1-4 or 0-5, most recently doing so in consecutive years in 2011 (0-5) and 2012 (1-4).

allan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
allan said...

It's been 67 years since a Red Sox team played a game on each of its first 10 days of the season. In 1952, Boston played 11 games in the first 10 days of the season. They went 9-2, but finished the year 76-78, in 6th place.