September 23, 2016

G154: Red Sox 2, Rays 1

Red Sox - 200 000 000 - 2  9  0
Rays    - 010 000 000 - 1  6  0
The red hot Red Sox (90-64) extended their winning streak to nine games and lowered their division-clinching magic number to four. Any combination of Boston wins and Toronto losses totalling four will give the Red Sox the 2016 AL East flag.

David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the first inning (#37) and the Red Sox pitching staff made that dong stand up, holding Tampa Bay to only one run.

Ortiz now has 124 RBI, which is a new record for a player in his final season. Shoeless Joe Jackson had 123 RBI in 1920 but was banned from baseball before the 1921 season. The home run also tied Ortiz with Lou Gehrig for 10th place on the all-time list for extra-base hits (1,190). Ken Griffey and Rafael Palmeiro are just above Ortiz, at 1,192. Big Papi needs three more extra-base hits in the last eight games of the season to move into 8th place all-time.

Drew Pomeranz (5-4-1-0-4, 78) gave up a solo homer to Mikie Mahtook in the second and pitched out of a couple of jams in the following two innings. Luke Maile doubled with one out in the third and went to third base on a groundout. Pomeranz battled Kevin Kiermaier for nine pitches, and finally got him to fly to left.

With one down in the fourth, Brad Miller doubled to left and Mahtook singled him to third. Pomeranz escaped trouble when Corey Dickerson grounded to Bogaerts who started a 6-4-3 double play (the third out was close but the Rays declined to review it). Pomeranz pitched a clean fifth, with two strikeouts.

Joe Kelly took over in the sixth. Facing the top of the Rays' order, he got two groundouts and a foul pop. Robbie Ross retired the first two batters in the seventh, but Dickerson cracked a ground-rule double to right-center. Matt Barnes came in and got pinch-hitter Nick Franklin to pop to shortstop.

The Red Sox had a chance to fatten their lead in the top of the eighth when Danny Farquhar walked three batters (one intentionally). Batting with the bases loaded, Brock Holt fouled out to Longoria who made the catch down the line near the bullpen mounds.

Barnes stayed on the mound for the eighth and struck out Bobby Wilson on three pitches. He then struck out pinch-hitter Jaff Decker on three pitches. Barnes lost the strike zone and walked Logan Forsythe on five pitches (although ball four should have been called strike two). Manager John Farrell called on lefty Robby Scott to face the left-hand-batting Kiermaier. Scott got ahead 0-2, then missed with two pitches, before Kiermaier grounded out to third.

The fact that Barnes and Scott pitched the eighth meant that Koji Uehara was unavailable. Farrell was also staying away from Craig Kimbrel, as Kimbrel had pitched in each of the last three games, throwing 14, 5, and 11 pitches. So the ninth inning belonged to Brad Ziegler, facing Tampa Bay's 3-4-5 hitters.

Evan Longoria doubled to the wall in left-center, immediately putting the pressure on. Miller popped up a 2-2 pitch to shortstop. Mahtook struck out, lunging at an outside 1-2 pitch. Ziegler intentionally walked Dickerson, putting the potential winning run on base, and faced Juniel Querecuto (who was appearing in his second major league game). Ziegler kept everything down, and most of it away, and struck out Querecuto out on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.

Mookie Betts reached base four times, on three singles and a walk. Betts now has 207 hits, which leads all MLB players (Houston's Jose Altuve has 206).

Chris Archer took the loss, his 19th of the season. He is the first pitcher in Rays history to lose 19 games in a season.

The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 9-0 and have been eliminated from the AL East race.
Drew Pomeranz / Chris Archer
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Bradley, CF
Holaday, C
Holt, LF
WEEI's John Tomase calls the Red Sox "the most complete team in baseball":
The deficiencies of April, May, June, and July now feel like strengths. The starting pitching, among the worst in the AL for three months, has been so good for the past two that the Red Sox rank fourth in the AL in ERA.

The bullpen, a trouble spot as recently as August, now looks unhittable, thanks to the return of setup man Koji Uehara, who has been lights out, and the return to form -- with a vengeance -- of closer Craig Kimbrel. The two finished Thursday's win with an inning and two strikeouts apiece. The bullpen as a whole owns a 0.82 ERA in September.
"Big Papi Immortalized In Donuts" - 10,000 donuts, to be exact.

Boston's magic number for winning the AL East is 5 with 9 games to play. ... Also: Yankees/Blue Jays and Diamondbacks/Orioles.
BOS --- 
TOR 5.5
BAL 7.0
MFY 9.5


allan said...

FWIW: The Red Sox are the first team ever to win five consecutive games in which they scored exactly five runs.

Dr. Jeff said...

The W/L contest had 40 entries, and half of them guessed 89 wins or lower. The Sox currently have 89 wins with 9 games to play. Thus, the maximum is 98 and the minimum is 89, if they win 5 of the last nine they will be at 94. There are entries at 90, 91, 92, 93, NONE at 94, two at 95, and then the eternal optimists, Jere (99) and Laura K (100). Winning at least 6 of the last nine is highly likely given how strong the team has been lately, which puts David P and Chris S in the running.

For the tie-breaker, Price's ERA is currently 3.91. Of the 40 entries, only ONE of them was over 3.8 (Kathryn at 3.98).

Thus, the Sox are likely to have exceeded the group expectations, whereas Price's ERA clearly did not meet our expectations.

allan said...

Steve Clevenger of the Mariners is a racist moron.

allan said...

I was curious what I predicted: 90 wins.

Glad to be under the actual (eventual) total.

allan said...

It's only the second time Ortiz hit a first-inning homer that accounted for his team's only runs in a winning effort. The only other time he did that was on June 7, 2007, when his solo home run in the first inning led the Red Sox to a 1-0 win over the A's.