April 3, 2019

G7: Red Sox 6, Athletics 3

Red Sox   - 000 012 003 - 6  9  1
Athletics - 010 200 000 - 3  5  1
I'm extremely happy to have finally seen a Boston win this season (I missed last Friday's game) and having the Red Sox rally for three runs in the ninth inning off Fernando "Crooked Cap" Rodney made the victory even sweeter. Plus, the Red Sox got the winning runs with my favourite kind of inning: two outs and no one on base.

The game had been tied 3-3 since the middle of the sixth. Eduardo Nunez led off the top of the ninth with a single to center. He took off for second on a 1-1 pitch to Brock Holt, but stopped halfway to second and tried to get back to first. He was not successful, as the Athletics retired him 2-6-3. Nunez thought he eluded the tag, but manager Alex Cora did not challenge the call.

Holt fouled off a couple of full-count pitches before striking out. Blake Swihart, who celebrated his 27th birthday by cracking his first home run of the year in the fifth (and scoring Boston's first run in 22.2 innings), smashed a 2-2 pitch to Jurickson Profar. He tried to backhand it, but it ricocheted off his glove for a single.

Jackie Bradley followed by slicing an opposite-field single to left. With a 2-2 count on Mookie Betts, Rodney let fly with a wild pitch that hit the backstop - and the runners moved up to second and third. After two fouls, Betts hit a grounder down the third base line. Matt Chapman moved to his right to grab it, but the ball struck the base and bounced over him, landing down the left field line. Two runs scored and that was the end of Rodney's night. Rodney, who loves miming firing a bow-and-arrow after recording a save, simply walked off the field. I guess he wasn't in the mood for archery.

Yusmeiro Petit's first pitch to Andrew Benintendi was drilled to deep right-center. It hit the base of the wall and caromed out for a triple, scoring Betts with the Red Sox's sixth run.

Alex Cora had called on Matt Barnes, who had saved the Red Sox's first win, in the seventh, when Oakland had a man on first with two outs and Khris Davis batting in a tie game. It's wonderful to know that my team's manager will go to his best relievers when the game is on the line, whether that moment comes in the seventh or the ninth. Barnes made Cora's smart decision look good, by striking out Davis, though Swihart had to throw him out at first when strike three rolled towards the third base on-deck circle.

Barnes also pitched the eighth, giving up a two-out single to Marcus Semien, who stole second and took third on Swihart's throwing error. Ramon Laureano had hit a two-run homer in the fourth, but this time he grounded a 2-1 pitch to the shortstop hole. Brock Holt made a fantastic off-balance throw to first. Umpire Nic Lentz called Laureano safe, but when the Red Sox challenged the call, we all saw the play wasn't even all that close - and Laureano was out!

Using Barnes early meant that Ryan Brasier would pitch the ninth. He plunked Chad Pinder to start things off. Robbie Grossman forced Pinder at second for the first out. Matt Chapman flied to center and Stephen Piscotty grounded to shortstop, a more routine play for Holt that ended the game.

Nathan Eovaldi (5-4-3-4-3, 96) allowed at least two baserunners in three of his five innings. He got out of a bases-loaded-no-outs jam in the second allowing only one run, leaving the sacks full. He threw a lot of pitches through four innings (23-26-18 21), but needed only eight pitches in the fifth, his only perfect inning.

The only Boston runners on base through 4.2 innings came in the second inning, when J.D. Martinez singled and Holt was hit by a pitch. Swihart stranded then when he flied to center. In his next at-bat, Swihart got the Red Sox on the board by belting a changeup over the wall in right-center.

Betts walked on five balls to start the sixth (Plate umpire Tripp Gibson called one of them a strike). With one out, Rafael Devers grounded to second and Profar lobbed the ball about 15 feet over the shortstop's head. No one was covering third so Betts raced on to the hot corner. Martinez also saw five balls and walked (because Gibson blew one of those calls, too), loading the bases. That was it for Marco Estrada (5.1-2-3-2-3, 91). Ryan Buchter came in and threw only one pitch, which was ripped down the right field line by Mitch Moreland for a game-tying, two-run double.

Speaking of shitty umpires: Kendrys Morales singled to lead off the second. Profar followed with a single to right and Jackie Bradley's throw to second base hit umpire Kerwin Danley.
Nathan Eovaldi / Marco Estrada
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Núñez, 2B
Holt, SS
Swihart, C
Bradley, CF
Chris Sale claimed that throwing more off-speed pitches was all part of the plan last night.
It seemed like they were kind of waiting for the fastball, so we were kind of heavy on the changeup and slider tonight. It's kind of what we had to do. That was the game plan going through. It seemed like even if I threw two or three fastballs in an inning, they were ready for (them). You kind of see how the game goes ... and adjust accordingly.
Sean McAdam (Boston Sports Journal) had a few questions:
[I]t has to be at least a little worrisome that when Sale did go to his heater, they were often way below major league average velocity. Last year, average fastball velocity in the big leagues was 92 mph, and Sale himself frequently lives at 96-97 with his fastball.

Which is it? He didn't want to throw his fastball much? Or he didn't throw his fastball because his velocity was subpar?
Oakland's starting pitchers have allowed only one run in their last 36 innings - and the team has allowed more than two runs only once in their last six games (0, 6, 2, 1, 0, 0).

Dustin Pedroia could be back with the Red Sox for the home opener (and ring ceremony) next Tuesday, April 9.


allan said...

The Red Sox have not started 1-6 since 2011.

The Red Sox have not lost 5 straight games since an 8-game losing streak July 12-23, 2015.

allan said...

DET - 000 100 010 - 2 3 1
MFY - 001 000 000 - 1 5 1
The MFY set a new franchise record by striking out 18 times! (They also had a rally cut short when a batted ball hit Judge's foot for the third out!!)

Jacob deGrom struck out 14 batters - and hit a home run today. It was his 26th consecutive quality start, tying Bob Gibson's MLB record, set in 1967-68. He has also made 31 consecutive starts allowing three runs or fewer, extending his own MLB record.

driverdave said...

Typical ESPN bullshit: espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/26434374/our-hottest-hot-takes-one-week-mlb-season?

"The Red Sox are 1-6."