July 31, 2017

G107: Red Sox 6, Cleveland 2

Cleveland - 000 000 020 - 2  7  1
Red Sox   - 030 200 10x - 6 13  0
Over five games in July, Doug Fister had a 9.42 ERA. And I doubt many Red Sox fans felt confident as he took the mound on the final day of the month. To say he exceeded expectations would be a gross understatement. Fister (7.2-5-2-2-5, 108) allowed only three singles over seven shutout innings. Manager John Farrell foolishly tried squeezing a few more outs as Fister's pitch count passed 100 and the right-hander gave up a two-run homer. Farrell's decision didn't affect the outcome of the game, but it also did not make much sense.

Mookie Betts (2-for-5) drove in three runs and Eduardo Nunez (3-for-5) drove in two. And Rafael Devers went 4-for-4 and knocked in Boston's final run. Devers became the youngest Red Sox player with a four-hit game since Tony Conigliaro on April 18, 1965. And he joined Conigliaro, Ted Williams, Dalton Jones, and Babe Ruth as the only Red Sox hitters in last 100 years with at least four hits in a game by age 20.

The bottom of the Red Sox's lineup set the table for the first five runs of the night. Devers singled to open the second. Xander Bogaerts lined to center and Mitch Moreland reached on a force. The Red Sox challenged the 1-6 play on Devers, claiming that Francisco Lindor's foot was not on the bag, but the out call was upheld. Christian Vazquez nailed a first-pitch double into the left field corner, putting runners at second and third. Betts also swung at the first pitch, and dropped a broken-bat flare into center for two runs. After Brock Holt walked, Nunez doubled down the left field line. Betts scored, but Holt was easily thrown out at the plate.

In the bottom of the fourth, Moreland walked on four pitches and Vazquez singled to center. Betts also singled to center, scoring Moreland and ending Mike Clevinger's night (3-7-5-4-2, 64). Zach McAllister recorded one out, but Nunez singled Betts home to make it 5-0. Nunez led off the seventh with a double. stole third without a throw, and scored on Devers's single to right.

Fister looked sharp from the outset, retiring the side on only eight pitches in the first. He allowed a single and a walk in the second, and ended up throwing 29 pitches to five batters, but it was his only rough inning. He followed that with a seven-pitch third inning. Cleveland managed to advance only one runner past first base in the first 7.2 innings. Bradley Zimmer homered with two outs in the eighth to end Boston's shutout bid. Brandon Workman came in and allowed two singles, which was a little disconcerting. But he got the third out and threw a perfect ninth.

AL East: The Yankees beat the Tigers 7-3 and the Rays lost to the Astros 14-7. The Red Sox are 0.5 GB and the Rays are 4.5 GB.
Mike Clevinger / Doug Fister
Betts, RF
Holt, LF
Nunez, 2B
Ramirez, DH
Bradley, CF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vazquez, C
Cleveland leads the AL Central by two games. They had a nine-game winning streak snapped yesterday.
AL Team ERA (and MLB Ranking)
Cleveland    3.68   (# 3)
Red Sox      3.71   (# 4)
Yankees      3.84   (# 6)
Rays         4.11   (# 9)
Astros       4.15   (#10)
Royals       4.16   (#11)
AL Team Relievers ERA (and MLB Ranking)
Cleveland    2.78   (# 1)
Red Sox      3.03   (# 3)
Yankees      3.33   (# 4)
Royals       3.73   (# 7)
White Sox    3.94   (# 9)
Mariners     3.96   (#11)
On Saturday, David Price told reporters he would be speaking with Dennis Eckersley "face-to-face", but despite "back-channel efforts" by Red Sox officials, no meeting has been scheduled.

Kevin Youkilis (now a special consultant for the Cubs) was asked if it takes a certain type of player to play in Boston:
I think it's 100 percent true. ... When you come up through the system, you feel the energy because you're watching NESN, you're playing in Portland, you're playing in Pawtucket. ... And there is some negativity. You know, even at the minor league level you can see it. ... There's some guys that really can handle it because ... And I can only speak for myself ... I'm a perfectionist. ... I was my hardest critic. So when other people wanted to criticize me, I was more harsh on myself. ...

If somebody ever came up to me right now and asked me "What do you think about Boston?" I would say OK, well, what's his personality? Does he like this? Does he want to be up there in the ninth inning and want the ball or want to get the big hit? ...

A clubhouse is a big deal. But, I always say, there's a lot of losing teams that have a really good clubhouse. ... [W]inning heals all wounds in sports. So, the clubhouse dynamic is important in a way, but it's not the end-all, be-all. I mean, there's guys, the Oakland A's stories from the 70s, where they hated each other, got in fights and they still won.
AL East: The Red Sox are 0.5 GB, with the Rays 3.5 GB. ... DET/NYY and TBR/HOU.

1 comment:

allan said...

Mitch Moreland batted .149/.253/.176 in July. Nine of his 11 hits (in 87 PA) were singles.