June 27, 2017

G77: Red Sox 9, Twins 2

Twins   - 000 010 010 - 2  8  3
Red Sox - 021 213 00x - 9 10  1
The Red Sox took sole possession of first place as Drew Pomeranz (5-4-1-0-7, 83) did not allow an earned run in five innings that included two hours of rain delays. Someone Named Christian Vazquez hit his first home run of the year, Dustin Pedroia reached base four times and scored twice, and Chris Young crushed a three-run shot to put the game on ice.

The game began at 8:00, after a delay of 50 minutes. Pomeranz set down the first six Twins and Vazquez's dong into the Monster Seats gave Boston a 2-0 lead before the tarp was brought out again. After 76 minutes of waiting, Pomeranz returned to the hill. He allowed a leadoff, first-pitch double to Eddie Rosario, and when he threw a called strike to Byron Buxton, NESN's Dave O'Brien worried that Pom's outing had become "a little choppy". Rosario tried to steal third on the next pitch and Vazquez gunned him down easily. Then Pomeranz struck out both Buxton and Jason Castro. (Yeah, "choppy".)

Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts singled to start the third as the Twins went to the bullpen after the delay. Jackie Bradley lined a one-out single to center. Pedroia stopped at third but then Buxton's throw from the outfield sailed to the backstop on the fly - and Pedroia scored. In the fourth, Vazquez walked and stole second. Deven Marrero lined the ball to right-center. Buxton raced over and tried making a diving catch, but the ball glanced off the tip of his glove. Marrero had a double but Vazquez could advance only one base, to third (so much for being in "scoring position"!). Vazquez came home on Mookie Betts's sac fly and Pedroia singled in Marrero, but FY was thrown out foolishly trying for a double.

Bogaerts singled in the fifth and eventually scored on an error by second baseman Brian Dozier. Also, during the inning, Young and Bradley pulled a double steal without a throw. Boston had some two-out/no-one-on fun in the sixth. After two groundouts, Pedroia singled and Bogaerts reached on Minnesota's third error of the game. Young followed with a three-run homer to left.

An error by Marrero allowed Polanco to reach with one out in the top of the fifth. He moved to second on a wild pitch, went to third on a single by Rosario, and scored on Buxton's single to left. This was actually a crucial moment in the game. Boston led 5-1, but there were two men on base with only one out. Pomeranz fell behind Castro 3-0. A walk would have loaded the bases and brought Dozier to the plate as the potential tying run. But Pomeranz rallied. He got a called strike, a foul, and a swinging strike to punch out Castro. Then he struck out Dozier (cbbss) to end the threat.

In Chicago, the Yankees led 3-1 in the middle of the eighth. Domingo German and Tyler Clippard combined to walk four men and Clippard tossed in a wild pitch, but the White Sox scored only one run. In the bottom of the ninth, Dellin Betances loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter - at that point Chicago had seven baserunners in 1.1 innings on no hits - and Jose Abreu singled in two runs to win the game.

So on a night when Betances completely wilts and blows a game, Vazquez belts his first home run since he went deep way back on May 1, 2016 ... which was a seventh-inning shot off (yep!) Betances to snap a 6-6 tie and propel the Red Sox to an 8-7 win over the MFY. (JoS remembers the win and the tabloids. "Someone Named"!)
Hector Santiago / Drew Pomeranz
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Young, DH
Bradley, CF
Travis, 1B
Benintendi, LF
Vazquez, C
Marrero, 3B
John Farrell was fined and suspended for one game for arguing a balk call in Saturday's game. He will serve the suspension tonight.

Santiago is making his first start since June 6. He had been on the DL with a left shoulder strain. Left-handed batters have destroyed Santiago this season: 20-for-40 (.500/.608/1.000, 1.608 OPS) with more home runs (six) than strikeouts (five).

The Yankees (41-33) and Red Sox (42-34) are tied for first place, although New York is actually .001 ahead of Boston.

Joel Sherman, Post, Saturday, June 24:
[T]he Yankees are not going to outrun their current problems by designating one underperforming veteran [e.g., Chris Carter] at a time. They now have lost nine of 11, fallen out of first place and very possibly revealed they already have played the best they are going to in 2017.

What the Yankees did for the first 10 weeks is proving unsustainable. ... There is a lot of regression to the mean. And perhaps worst of all there are growing indicators the division might play out how expected, with Boston just a grade better than the rest of the AL East.

For the Red Sox are in first place now and it does not feel like we have seen their best gear yet, as we have the Yankees. ...

[C]an the Yankees keep up with even a watered-down version of the Red Sox? ...

General manager Brian Cashman ... has seen the best of the Yankees for 10 weeks and the worst the past two. There are five weeks until the deadline for these Yankees to reveal fully exactly who they are in 2017.

No comments: