May 30, 2017

G51: Red Sox 13, White Sox 7

Red Sox   - 043 030 012 - 13 16  1
White Sox - 031 200 010 -  7 14  0
Perhaps Chris Sale was a bit overwhelmed by the emotions of pitching in the Chicago park he had called home for seven seasons. Or maybe he simply had a bad game, as will happen even to the best of pitchers.

Sale (5-10-6-2-9, 111) threw 42 pitches in the second inning, an inning in which he struck out the first two batters. Sale worked with a four-run lead three different times (4-0, 7-3, and 10-6). The Red Sox belted six home runs, with much of the run support coming from the bottom of the order.

Deven Marrero (#9 hitter) hit two home runs and drove in five of Boston's first seven runs. Jackie Bradley (#8) drove in four runs with a double and a home run (he also walked twice). Sam Travis (#6) went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored. Mitch Moreland replaced Travis at first base in the seventh and hit a two-run homer in the ninth. Boston's #8 and #9 hitters drove in nine runs and the bottom four spots in the order scored nine of the 13 runs. (Further up in the order, Xander Bogaerts went 4-for-5.)

Craig Kimbrel came into the game in the eighth inning, with the score 11-7. Chicago had two runners on, meaning the potential tying run was on-deck. (That made it a save situation.) Kimbrel got Jose Abreu to tap an inconsequential grounder back to the mound. In the ninth, Kimbrel walked the first batter. It was his first base on balls since April 9 (!). He had faced 65 batters without issuing a walk. Kimbrel then retired the next three batters, two by strikeout.

Kimbrel has now retired 29 of his last 32 batters (with 18 strikeouts) and 60 of his last 65 batters (with 37 K). For the season, he has struck out 42 of the 80 batters he has faced (52.5%).

But the main story was the bats. Travis doubled with one out in the top of the second and Bradley doubled him home with two outs. Marrero and Mookie Betts then hit back-to-back home runs to left field. Josh Rutledge doubled and Bogaerts singled, but Hanley Ramirez grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Sale had given up a single and a walk in the first, but he struck out three. He fanned the first two batters in the second, but then Kevan Smith singled. Sale walked Yolmer Sanchez and gave up a run-scoring single to Leury Garcia. Melky Cabrera singled and Abreu knocked a single into left field for two more runs. Todd Frazier drove a ball to the warning track in left-center, but Bradley made the catch.

Young and Travis opened the third with singled and after two were out, Marrero hit his second home run, again to left field, to make it 7-3. that ended Quintana's night (2.2-10-7-0-14, 81).

Sale could not settle down, giving up two hits and a run in the third and three more hits in the fourth, including a two-run homer by Frazier that cut the Red Sox's lead to 7-6.

Boston added to its lead right away. With one out in the fifth, Travis doubled off Michael Ynoa and Sandy Leon walked. Dan Jennings came in to face Bradley. Travis stole third before Bradley smacked a 2-2 pitch to right-center for three runs.

The score remained 10-6 for a couple of innings before Bogaerts went deep in the eighth. After Sale departed, Heath Hembree threw two perfect innings.

Blaine Boyer took the hill for the eighth and surrendered a home run to Tim Anderson, his first batter. Smith singled, but Sanchez grounded to first. Moreland grabbed the ball, stepped on the bag and threw to second, where Bogaerts applied the tag for the double play. However, Leury Garcia doubled and Cabrera singled - and Kimbrel's services were required.

(Before Cabrera singled, he fouled a ball straight down that came back up and hit him in the face, near the left eye. He was replaced by a pinch-runner, Willy Garcia - which eventually gave the White Sox an all-Garcia outfield: Willy in left, Leury in center and Avisail in right).

As mentioned, Kimbrel took care of business. And so the Red Sox kept pace with the Yankees, who beat Baltimore 8-3. Boston is 3 GB and the Orioles are 4.5 GB.
Chris Sale / Jose Quintana
Betts, RF
Rutledge, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ramirez, DH
Young, LF
Travis, 1B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Marrero, 3B
Chris Sale pitched for the White Sox for seven seasons - and he will make his first start in Chicago as a visiting player tonight.
A little of me will be [nervous], but I think I'm more looking forward to this opportunity than any other emotion just because it's fun. I'm playing against my friends. It might be hard not to smile out there on the mound at a couple of them. It's fun. These are my buddies. It's going to be a fun atmosphere and a fun time.
Opposing starter Jose Quintana: "I miss him. He was one of my best teammates ever that I played with. ... I miss the energy he had every time we talked in the dugout, watching the game."

In his 10 starts this year, Sale has struck out 101 batters (which leads MLB). Since 1893 (when the mound was set at its current distance from the plate), only one other pitcher had as many strikeouts in his first 10 starts with a team: Randy Johnson, 1998 Astros, 108 strikeouts. For the Red Sox, Pedro Martinez held the old record: 88, in 1998. ... Sale also leads all major league pitchers in lowest opponents' on-base percentage: .223.

Sale (2.34 ERA, 3rd in AL, 4th in MLB) told Rob Bradford (WEEI) that he has not shaken off a catcher's pitch selection in six years.
It simplifies it for me. For me personally, the less I think on a baseball field, just reacting and doing, I don't have contradicting thoughts going on in mind when I'm pitching. I'm never second-guessing myself. It's never, "Should I throw this here? Should I throw that there?" Whatever pitch it is, it's just executing. For me, it's just easier.
Bradford notes that Sale's philosophy means he is forced to have confidence in all of his pitches in every start.
You still have got to throw it. Let's say your fastball is down a tick, or your command isn't there, you still have to throw it. Especially as a starter. I truly believe that you can have two pitches working on a certain day, but you still have to mix in that third one just to get them off balance.
Down in Pawtucket, Pablo Sandoval (recovering from a right knee sprain) is hitting .160 in seven games.

1 comment:

allan said...


Jackie Bradley Jr., batting eighth in the Red Sox order, had a home run and four RBIs, while Boston’s batter in the ninth slot, rookie Deven Marrero, had two home runs and five runs batted in. The last time the eighth and ninth hitters in the batting order for a team combined for at least three homers and nine RBIs was on August 22, 2007, when the Rangers’ Jarrod Saltalamacchia (batting eighth) and Ramon Vazquez each had two homers and seven RBIs at Baltimore.

Marrero is the second Red Sox rookie with at least two homers and five RBIs in a game out of the ninth slot, joining Trot Nixon. Nixon had three home runs and five RBIs at Detroit on July 24, 1999.

(I was at that July 24, 1999 game!)