July 24, 2020

G1: Red Sox 13, Orioles 2

Orioles - 000 001 100 -  2  6  0
Red Sox - 004 603 00x - 13 17  1
The Betts-less Red Sox battered four Baltimore pitchers for 13 runs and 17 hits (including eight doubles) in a pleasurable romp before an Opening Day crowd of 0.

With only 59 games left in the regular season, the Red Sox are in a three-way tie for first place with the Blue Jays and Yankees. It's a pennant race!

This was only the fifth game in Red Sox history in which Boston totaled at least 13 runs, 17 hits, eight doubles, and seven walks. The others: May 18, 1946; June 8, 1950; June 27, 2003; and July 21, 2003.

The performance of the pitching staff is a bigger question mark for the next nine weeks, so we'll start there. The first pitch of the day from Nathan Eovaldi (6-5-1-1-4, 89) hit 100 mph. He was sharp, going to three balls on only three of 23 batters. Eovaldi allowed only one runner past first base in the first five innings. Two doubles in the sixth scored a run against him.

Eovaldi also changed uniform numbers during the game. He began the game with his usual #17. When he took the mound in the top of the third, he was wearing #7 (which is Christian Vázquez's number). Eovaldi was back to #17 for the fourth inning.
Vázquez and I both sweat a lot so we had the jerseys hanging down in the batting cage. I didn't realize his were down there, too. I glanced over and saw the No. 7, thought it was mine and grabbed it off the hanger, threw it on. And once I came back through the dugout [at the end of the third inning], they were like, "Atta boy, Vázqyy!" ... "What?" ... "You have his jersey on." ... "I thought it felt a little tight on my arms."

Austin Brice pitched the seventh and gave up a solo shot. Phillips "Exxon" Valdez had the final two innings. No hits or walks allowed, but he did hit two batters.

José Peraza (4-for-5), Jackie Bradley (3-for-4), and J.D. Martinez (3-for-5) all reached base four times. Everyone in the starting lineup scored at least one run, with JBJ crossing the plate three times. Martinez and Kevin Pillar knocked in three runs apiece.

The bottom of the order got Boston's first two rallies started. Back-to-back doubles from Bradley and Peraza to begin the third off Tommy Milone (3-4-4-3-5, 57) put the first run of the season on the board. With one out, Martinez doubled. (All three doubles were hit towards or into the left field corner.) Rafael Devers worked a seven-pitch walk. Kevin Pillar also doubled to left, with two down, to make it 4-0.

Baltimore's Cody Carroll walked the first two batters of the fourth, Michael Chavis (seven pitches) and Bradley (eight pitches). Peraza banged a first-pitch single to left, loading the bases. Carroll then issued a full-count walk to Andrew Benintendi, forcing in a run and forcing his manager to change pitchers. Travis Lakins, who pitched in 16 games for the Red Sox last year, was greeted by Martinez's ground-rule to right. Lakins got an out before allowing three straight run-scoring singles (Xander Bogaerts, Pillar, Christian Vázquez). 10-0. A wild pitch put runners on second and third, but Lakins struck out Chavis and Bradley to save some face.

Boston added three runs against David Hess (who, as the Orioles' fourth pitcher, faced more batters (17), threw more pitches (67), and allowed more hits (7) than any of the previous three). Pillar battled Hess for 10 pitches, winning with a one-out single to left. Vázquez's ground-rule double sent Pillar to third, and both runners scored on Bradley's two-out double to left. Peraza then doubled Bradley home.

NESN Being NESN: Dave O'Brien managed to get three words out before he uttered the first commercial of the season: "Baseball is back, presented by Taco Bell." ... After Pillar singled in the sixth, Jere threaded: "NESN would like you to know this is Pillar's first 3-hit game of 2020. Which is weird because I swear he's had at least 4 so far." ... I replied: "He also extended his hitting streak to one game."

Tommy Milone / Nathan Eovaldi
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Pillar, RF
Vázquez, C
Chavis, 1B
Bradley, CF
Peraza, 2B
Happy (Belated) Opening Day!

This is the Red Sox's 120th season. They are 58-60-1 on Opening Day. It's the 43rd season the Red Sox have begun at home (24-18) and the 40th at Fenway Park (21-18). It's only the fifth time in the last 25 years (2002, 2009, 2010, 2017), however.

The Red Sox have not been shut out on Opening Day since 1976 (43 seasons), the second-longest active streak (Mets, 57). Boston lost 1-0 to the Orioles on April 9, 1976.

Prior to this season, the fewest games played by the Red Sox in a season was 108 (1981). They played 115 games in 1994 and 126 games in 1918.

Xander Bogaerts is making his 7th Opening Day start as the Red Sox's shortstop (2014-20). He is tied with Heinie Wagner (1907-13) and Joe Cronin (1935-41) for second place in team history, behind Everett Scott (8 seasons, 1914-21).

Factoid: Brandon Workman is the only player to pitch in a postseason game for both the 2013 and 2018 World Series champions.

AL East Note: The Blue Jays will "stage" the "greater part" of its home schedule at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York. (The team's press release also used the verb "host". What the hell is wrong with the extremely-accurate "play"?) The Red Sox will be in Buffalo on August 25-27. It's the first time since 1957 that New York state has had three major league baseball teams.

And a Happy Sweet 16 to Jason Varitek telling Slappy McBluelips to smell the glove.

Okay, here's the deal: The 2020 Red Sox will make the postseason ... if they are one of the two best third-place teams in the American League. ... Woo-hoo! ... Transition to Greatness!

Also good to know Angel Hernandez is in mid-season form.

1 comment:

GK said...

Wow, huge win . Does it mean the Sox are going 60-0 ? Crap, I wish I sent in my W-L prediction in this year