August 30, 2019

G135: Red Sox 7, Angels 6 (15)

Red Sox - 112 002 000 000 001 - 7  8  1
Angels  - 001 020 102 000 000 - 6 11  1
Mookie Betts slugged his 22nd home run of the year to begin Friday night's game and, fourteen innings later, his 23rd dong was the game-winner. Andrew Cashner pitched four no-hit innings in relief as the Red Sox won for the tenth time in their last 13 games.

Betts is the second player in major league history to hit home runs in the first inning and in the fifteenth inning or later in the same game. Vern Stephens, also of the Red Sox, is the other (May 30, 1951, an 11-10 victory over the Yankees).

Nathan Eovaldi (4-3-1-1-8, 81) had a good start and the Red Sox led 4-0 and 6-3, but the Angels came back, tying the game in the bottom of the ninth.

Brandon Workman entered the game with one out in the eighth inning with the Red Sox ahead 6-4 and gave up a single to Justin Upton that loaded the bases. He then got Kevan Smith to ground his first pitch to second for the third out.

Ryan Brasier had walked two Angels in the eighth, which necessitated Workman's presence in the game. In the ninth, it was Workman who walked the first two batters: Brian Goodwin and Mike Trout. Shohei Ohtani forced Trout at second, but Albert Pujols singled to right. That hit scored Goodwin; when J.D. Martinez could not grab the ground ball cleanly, Ohtani scored.

The Angels had tied the game 6-6 and had Pujols on second. Workman intentionally walked Kole Calhoun. David Fletcher struck out on a wild pitch, which moved the runners to second and third. Andrelton Simmons was then walked intentionally and Matt Thaiss grounded out to second.

Darwinzon Hernandez pitched the tenth and eleventh and allowed three hits, but also struck out five batters.

After scoring in the sixth inning, the Red Sox's bats went on vacation. The Angels retired 20 Boston batters in a row, from the sixth through the twelfth. The Red Sox had a leadoff walk in the thirteenth and left runners at first and third in the fourteenth. Betts homered with two outs in the fifteenth.

Cashner walked Trout with one out in the home half of the fifteenth. Ohtani forced Trout at second before Pujols lined to left to end the game at 3:23 AM (Boston time).

AL Wild Card: CLE/OAK –, TBR 1.0, BOS 5.5.
Nathan Eovaldi / Jose Suarez
Betts, CF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, RF
Travis, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, 1B
Holt, 2B
León, C
The Globe's Alex Speier says the Red Sox's "postseason hopes, though not extinguished, remain faint." The Red Sox are in the worst position of the four teams (Athletics, Rays, Cleveland) vying for the two wild card spots. Boston must continue its winning ways (9-3 over the last 12 games) and hope the other teams get cold.

Of Boston's 28 remaining games, 13 are against teams with records of .500 or better. The Red Sox have a .383 winning percentage against .500+ teams, worst among the four contenders (though Cleveland is not much better, at .408).

The Athletics have only seven games remaining against .500+ teams and they have done well against them (.564 winning percentage). The Rays have 11 of 27 games against .500+ teams, including four at home against the Red Sox: September 20-23, on the penultimate weekend of the regular season..

FanGraphs gives the Red Sox a 7.9% chance of making the postseason, with FiveThirtyEight predicting a 5% chance. Baseball Reference has the Red Sox at 2.8% of winning a wild card spot and 1.3% at reaching the ALDS. Baseball Prospectus has the Red Sox at 1.5% for making the ALDS.

The team's best 28-game stretch of the year occurred way back in mid-April. After starting off 6-13, the Red Sox went 19-9. That's something to shoot for - the team would end the season with 91 wins - though Speier acknowledges that the Red Sox turning in perhaps their best four-week stretch of the year while at least two of the three other wild card contenders go into significant slumps is "an improbable development".

AL Wild Card: CLE/OAK –, TBR 1.0, BOS 5.5.

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