July 29, 2017

G105: Red Sox 9, Royals 8 (10)

Royals   - 000 404 000 0 - 8 14  1
Red Sox  - 011 220 110 1 - 9 13  3
The Royals brought the infield in with runners on second and third and one out in the bottom of the tenth. Eduardo Nunez, who had homered twice earlier in the game, battled Mike Minor for eight pitches - one of which was the Royals' fifth (!) wild pitch of the night - before grounding a full count offering to shortstop.

Alcides Escobar dove to his left and threw to first from a sitting position on the infield grass. Leon hesitated (because?) before finally breaking for the plate. Eric Hosmer fired the ball home, seemingly in plenty of time for catcher Drew Butera to tag Leon. But the burly catcher was agile. He stretched himself to the right, away from the plate, and somehow avoided Butera's mitt, and got his hand to the plate before tumbling into the dirt. There was some milling about as (I think) the Royals debated whether to challenge the call. (Why would they not challenge it? Maybe they did not have the option.) Regardless, the call stood, and the Red Sox were winners. And Nunez got a few pounds of baby powder thrown in his face.

Nunez finished the night 3-for-6, with two home runs, two runs scored, and three runs batted in. Christian Vazquez singled, doubled, and tripled, and drove in two runs.

I did not see most of this one, but I did see Lorenzo Cain's three-run homer that turned the Red Sox's 2-1 lead into a 4-2 advantage for the Royals in the fourth. Cain hit it down the right field line where it squeaked past the Pesky Pole and also eluded Mookie Betts's glove. Boston tied the game right away on Vazquez's double and Rafael Devers's single.

Both Vazquez and Leon caught a Kansas City baserunner trying to steal second in the late innings. With one out in the top of the eighth and the Royals leading 8-7, Vazquez threw out Cain at second. Heath Hembree then struck out Hosmer to end the inning. In the top of the ninth, pinch-runner Terrance Gore was on first with no outs. Leon gunned him down and Craig Kimbrel set the next two batters down on strikes.

The Red Sox had a good chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. Minor struck out Andrew Benintendi, but strike three was wild and Benintendi was safe at first. Hanley Ramirez flied out to center (NESN thought this fly ball was going to land somewhere beyond the Mass Pike and the cameraman truped everyone so bad we almost did not see Cain make the routine catch on the outfield grass). Jackie Bradley walked. Xander Bogaerts struck out, but (again) Minor's strike three was a wild pitch and the runners moved to second and third. Mitch Moreland grounded out to second on the first pitch to send the game into extras.

Matt Barnes allowed a leadoff single in the top of the tenth, but got the next three batters. Leon began the home tenth with a double to center. Devers struck out and Mookie Betts was intentionally walked. Nunez turned in a terrific at-bat: foul, foul, ball, ball/wild pitch, foul, foul, foul, ball, grounder to shortstop.

AL East: The Red Sox remained 0.5 GB as the Yankees beat the Rays with a 5-4 walkoff win.
Trevor Cahill / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF Nunez, 2B
Pedroia, 2B Benintendi, LF
Ramirez, DH
Bradley, CF
Nunez, SS Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vazquez, C
Devers, 3B
[Lineup: Dan Roche reports: "Farrell says Pedroia scratched for knee maintenance reasons"]

The Red Sox are second in the American League in hits, but 15th (dead last) in home runs. They are 14th in slugging, 12th in OPS+, and 10th in total bases. And the team have hit their nadir in July. Boston is slugging only .352 this month, with three games remaining. According to Joe Sheehan, the Red Sox haven't slugged under .350 in July since 1925 (.344).

And even that paltry .352 is somewhat inflated. The Red Sox scored 40 runs in the first four games of July, but only 64 runs in the last 20 games (an average of 3.2 per game). In those 20 games, the Red Sox are batting .208/.276/.306. They went 7-13 - only two of the other 29 teams had a worse record in that time - and lost 4.5 games in the standings.

Meanwhile, the Royals have won nine in a row. Cahill was recently acquired from San Diego and is making his KC debut. In 11 starts with the Padres, Cahill had a 3.69 ERA, although he died allow 10 runs in his last three starts (15.1 innings).

In two starts since coming off the disabled list, Rodriguez has allowed 12 hits, six walks, and seven runs in only 10.2 innings.

Scott Lauber, ESPN:
Pedroia said he spoke to Price "one-on-one" after the pitcher berated Eckersley for a comment he made during an NESN telecast about fellow lefty Eduardo Rodriguez's poor performance in a minor league rehab start earlier that night. ...

But Pedroia stopped short of saying Price should apologize. ... And Pedroia claimed Price hasn't talked to Eckersley only because he hasn't seen him, which seems unlikely considering Eckersley called 10 consecutive games in three cities after the episode happened. ...

[B]eing a team spokesman isn't a role Pedroia has ever appeared comfortable playing. ...

Indeed, Pedroia isn't always available to the media after games, which is his prerogative. But it's not the hallmark of a prototypical leader. ...

Give credit to Pedroia for doing the right thing Friday. ... He tried to defuse the situation before it got any worse.

If only someone had thought to do that a month earlier.
Adrian Beltre, a 20-year veteran who played the 2010 season in Boston, has 2,998 career hits. As you know, he really hates people touching his head. But his Texas teammates will not be considerate when he hits #3,000.

Elvis Andrus: "If he hits a homer, then yes. For sure. A hundred percent. If his 3,000th is a homer, then we'll all touch his head. We've talked about it. He said he would let everybody touch his head at least once." ... Cole Hamels: "He's probably going to have to expect it. We gotta get him. ... He can't fight the whole team."

AL East: The Red Sox are 0.5 GB, with the Rays 3.5 GB. ... TB/NYY at 1 PM.


Jere said...

"Cahill had a 3.69 ERA, although he died"

This is exactly the type of pitcher we need to face right now.

allan said...

TBR - 101 010 010 - 4 8 0
MFY - 010 102 001 - 5 9 2

After Longoria stranded a runner at third in the T9, Boxberger came on for the B9. He got ahead of Headley 0-2, but walked him. Ellsbury ran for Headley and stole second. Frazier was hit by a pitch. Torreyes reached on a bunt single to third, loading the bases with no outs. Jennings relieved Boxberger. Gardner took a strike, then singled to center.

The Greatest And Most Humble Human Being In The History Of The Universe did not hit a fair ball all afternoon. He walked and struck out three times.

allan said...

Sean McAdam Tweet: "Price says intends to speak w/ Eck. Acknowledges he could have handled situation better. Remains miffed that Eck not in clubhouse more."

That's a pretty weak excuse from Price. The Red Sox were home for seven games right after the All-Star break (and I'm assuming that Eck worked all 7 games). if Price admits he should have acted differently, then he should have made an effort to find Eck and speak to him. Price seems to be admitting (at least somewhat) he was in the wrong and he knows he should talk to Eck about it, yet what? He's expecting Eck to come over to his locker? He's miffed that Eck isn't visible at the exact moment Price wants to see him? Jesus Fucking Christ! You are not playing in 80% of the games. You have some time.
GO FIND ECK! ASK AROUND! MAKE A GODDAMN EFFORT! (Or forget talking to Eck and take responsibility for your actions and tell the media, yeah, that's right, fuck that guy!)

Maxwell Horse said...

I've never disliked a Sox player more than I dislike Price. Yes, that includes Schilling.

allan said...

This is exactly the type of pitcher we need to face right now.

I'm keeping that typo!

allan said...

I've never disliked a Sox player more than I dislike Price. Yes, that includes Schilling.

He's not there for me yet, but he's high on the list.

Price can pitch well at times, but what is there that is actually likeable about him? I cannot think of a single thing. ... (He likes his dog, I guess.)

Benjamin said...

There was some milling about as (I think) the Royals debated whether to challenge the call. (Why would they not challenge it? Maybe they did not have the option.)

They lost their manager challenge in top of the 9th on Bogaerts's tag that caught Gore stealing.

allan said...

MLB.com reports that last night's win was the Red Sox's first walk-off groundout without an error since August 8, 1937, when Jimmie Foxx scored on a Ben Chapman groundout to the second baseman (after two intentional walks to load the bases).

Eduardo Nunez is the first Red Sox player since Gabe Kapler (June 29, 2003) to have a multi-homer game within his first two games for Boston.