August 21, 2019

G129: Phillies 5, Red Sox 2

Phillies - 000 030 101 - 5  6  1
Red Sox  - 110 000 000 - 2  8  2
Wednesday evening featured yet another discouraging performance by the Red Sox. The bats scored two early runs and then took the rest of the night off. Rick Porcello (5-3-3-4-3, 100) ran into trouble in the fifth and those three runs were enough for the Phillies to finish off a sweep of the two-game series.

The Red Sox are now 33-34 on their home field this season and last week's five-game winning streak feels like a distant memory.

The night started with some promise when Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers hit back-to-back doubles, but the first inning ended with a sizeable squander. A one-out wild pitch put Devers on third and J.D. Martinez walked. The opportunity for more runs fizzled as Andrew Benintendi struck out and Sam Travis flied to center.

Bad luck stung the Red Sox in the second as Marco Hernández was gunned down trying to steal second right before Jackie Bradley homered to right (#16). In the fourth, Benintendi doubled and Travis was safe on an infield single (events that would have been very welcome back in the first). Christian Vázquez bunted the runners to second and third and Hernández walked. Bradley struck out swinging and - after the Phillies pulled Drew Smyly (3.2-5-2-3-4, 84) and brought in Jared Hughes - Betts grounded to third, leaving three runners on base.

Immediately after that LOB-tomy, the Phillies (naturally) grabbed the lead. César Hernández doubled to right. Porcello threw a wild pitch and Hernández scored when Devers could not catch Vázquez's off-balance throw. Adam Haseley walked. Rhys Hoskins flied out, but Bryce Harper homered to left (#27), giving Philadelphia a 3-2 lead. (Porcello walked a batter in each of the first three innings.)

Ryan Brasier gave up a single and a walk and was charged with an error on a wild pickoff throw, but escaped without allowing a run. Andrew Cashner was not such fortunate in the seventh, issuing a leadoff walk to Hoskins and a two-out triple to Corey Dickerson.

The Red Sox had one more squander up their sleeves. They put the potential tying runs on base, as Travis reached on a fielder's choice and Vázquez doubled to right. Alex Cora sent Chris Owings (his OPS+ this year is 7) up to pinch-hit for Hernández. José Álvarez had little trouble striking out Owings (who is now 1-for-13, with nine strikeouts, with the Red Sox).

Héctor Neris retired Boston's 9-1-2 batters in order in the ninth, with Betts and Devers making the game's final two outs.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 7.0.
Drew "Guy" Smyly / Rick Porcello
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Travis, 1B
Vázquez, C
Hernández, 2B
Bradley, CF
Mookie Betts is on pace to finish the season with 146 runs scored (he leads the majors with 115 right now). Ted Williams is the only Red Sox player to score 140+ runs in a season: 141 in 1942, 142 in 1946, 150 in 1959. (Before 1961, regular seasons were roughly eight games shorter than they are now.) A Red Sox player has not topped 130 runs in almost 70 years, since Dom DiMaggio finished the 1950 season with 131. Betts scored 129 runs last season.

Red Sox relievers have allowed only one run in the last five games (23.1 innings, 0.39 ERA). ... They have not allowed a home run since August 12 (102 batters). ... Matt Barnes leads American League relievers with 16.13 K/9.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 6.5.

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