July 18, 2019

G97: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 0

Blue Jays - 000 000 000 - 0  2  0
Red Sox   - 000 040 10x - 5  7  0
Chris Sale (6-2-0-2-12, 101) struck out nine batters in the first four innings and Rafael Devers clubbed a three-run homer as the Red Sox cruised to victory on Thursday afternoon. Marcus Walden and Darwinzon Hernandez combined for three stress-free innings of relief.

The Red Sox took three out of four against Toronto and are headed to Baltimore for three games. After that series, beginning next Monday, the Red Sox – 9.0 games out as I type this – will have their best opportunity at getting back into the AL East race. This is the schedule from July 22 to August 4: 3 games at Rays, 4 games vs Yankees, 3 games versus Rays, 4 games at Yankees. That's 14 straight games against the two teams ahead of them in the standings.

Sale and Thomas Pannone (4.1-5-4-2-3, 65) matched zeroes for four innings, with the Red Sox presenting the only threat, when they had men on first and second with one out in the first. In the fifth, Sam Travis doubled to left and scored on Sandy León's single to center. Mookie Betts walked (though ball 4 was likely strike 3). Devers hit his 19th home run of the year on Pannone's first pitch, an 88-mph fastball more or less down the middle that was pounded 417 feet to right-center into a 12-mph wind.

Betts's solo homer in the seventh gave him a run scored in 13 consecutive games, which ties the Red Sox franchise record set in 1946 by Ted Williams. (Two other Red Sox batters had 13-game streaks, but those were split over two seasons: Joe Cronin (1940-41) and Tony Armas.) Billy Hamilton of the Phillies scored in 24 straight games back in 1894, but the "modern" record is 18 games, shared by Red Rolfe (1939 Yankees) and Kenny Lofton (2000 Clevelands). ... Betts finished the seven-game homestand with a .429 average (12-for-28) and nine runs scored.

[In looking up the Yankees' record, I found that Babe Ruth has the second-longest streak in Yankees history, 16 games in 1928. Ruth also has two streaks of 15 games (1921 and 1930-31) and two streaks of 14 games (both in 1926: April 20-May 5, May 13-26).]

The Blue Jays had six baserunners:
T2: Justin Smoak leadoff single, Danny Jansen fielder's choice
T3: Cavan Biggio leadoff walk
T5: Vladimir Guerrero leadoff walk, Brandon Drury two-out single
T7: Jansen HBP
Sale threw 67 of his 101 pitches for strikes. He had 20 swings-and-misses, including eight on his slider, even though his velocity was down. In the first inning, Sale struck out the side in the first inning with a fastball that stayed around 90-92.

Pawtucket: Nathan Eovaldi pitched the second inning against Louisville today and struck out the side (and issued one walk). He threw 19 pitches, 11 strikes. Eovaldi is expected to be with the team tomorrow night in Baltimore.

AL East: G1: MFY 6, Rays 2. G2: MFY 5, Rays 1. ... MFY –, TBR 8.0, BOS 10.0.
Thomas Pannone / Chris Sale
Betts, CF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, RF
Vázquez, DH
Chavis, 2B
Benintendi, LF
Travis, 1B
León, C
Rafael Devers is hitting .455 against the Blue Jays this year. In 14 games, he has hit seven home runs, collected 25 RBI, and posted an OPS of 1.409. (The 25 RBIs are the most any Boston player has ever had against Toronto in one season (since 1977) - and the teams still have four games against each other.)

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo:
He's probably going to become one of the best hitters in baseball. He's 22 years old and he's hitting .320-something. I know he hits good against us, but he hits good against everybody else, too, because that's why he's hitting over .320. I wish I could say it's fun to watch, but he really is, because he's a good hitter and he's just a kid. He might be the batting champion one of these years, for sure. I'm making that call.
Over the last five weeks (since June 11), Devers is hitting .393/.437/.735 with 11 doubles, eight homers, and 30 RBIs.

Manager Alex Cora:
Yesterday I was talking to J.D. [Martinez] and said, "J.D., where were you when you were 22?" And he said, "I was raking in A-ball."
AL East: Rays/MFY, DH: 3 & 7 PM. ... MFY –, TBR 6.0, BOS 9.5.

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