July 17, 2017

G94: Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3

Blue Jays - 210 000 010 - 4  8  1
Red Sox   - 000 000 300 - 3  6  0  
Minutes after the Red Sox had tied the game with three unearned runs against Marcus Stroman (6.2-5-3-3-5, 106), Heath Hembree walked the leadoff man and gave up two singles, resulting in a run that pushed the Blue Jays to a victory in the first game of a four-game series. The Red Sox went down in order in both the eighth and ninth innings.

Eduardo Rodriguez (5.1-6-3-4-8, 111) allowed at least one baserunner in every inning. His command seemed a bit off, and he was hit hard in the early innings. He started the game by striking out Jose Bautista on three pitches (the first of four whiffs for Joey Bats), but then gave up a single to Russell Martin and a two-out walk to Justin Smoak. Kendrys Morales doubled off the Wall to bring both runners home. Steve Pearce led off the second inning with a home run to left.

The Blue Jays did not score any more runs off Rodriguez, but they made him work. He struck out three batters in the third, but he also stranded runners at first and third. He allowed a one-out double in the fourth. Toronto had runners at first and second with one out in the fifth before Brock Holt started a sterling 5-4-3 double play that ended that threat. And Rodriguez was pulled after issuing a one-out walk in the sixth.

Meanwhile, Stroman was either keeping the ball on the ground or not having it hit at all. In the first four innings, 11 of the 12 outs were either on the ground or strikeouts, and only one Boston runner advanced past first base. In the fifth, Andrew Benintendi walked and went to second on Christian Vazquez's one-out single, a wicked shot back to the mound that caromed off Stroman's glove towards the third base line. Brock Holt forced Vazquez at second, moving Benintendi to third. However, Mookie Betts struck out.

As Stroman prepared to pitch the bottom of the seventh, NESN showed him gesturing numerous times to the sky. Judging by the way the inning developed, Stroman's prayers were not answered. With one down, Benintendi doubled into the right field corner. Jackie Bradley grounded to first, but Smoak had trouble getting the ball out of his glove and made a late underhand toss to Stroman, who was near the bag, but did not have his foot on it. Bradley was safe on the pitcher's error. Stroman then walked Vazquez to load the bases. Holt flied out to the track in left-center, deep enough to score a run. Betts followed with a single to left, scoring Bradley. Dominic Leone relived Stroman and threw only one pitch: it was lined off the Wall by Dustin Pedroia. Vazquez scored to tie the game at 3-3. Betts ran through a stop sign at third and was thrown out at the plate, but it took a perfect relay throw from Troy Tulowitzki to Martin.

Left-handed hitters are batting .351 with an OBP of .400 against Heath Hembree, yet manager John Farrell had Hembree start the top of the eighth against two lefties. And (perhaps predictably) they both reached base. Smoak walked on five pitches and Morales ripped a first-pitch single to right-center. Tulowitzki popped to second, but Pearce lined a single to left, scoring pinch-runner Ezequiel Carrera with the go-ahead run. Hembree struck out the next two batters, but the damage had been done.

After Pearce's hit, NESN's Dave O'Brien told us (as he has done often) that "nothing ever good comes from a leadoff walk." Yet in tonight's game, the Red Sox's leadoff man walked in the fourth inning, but was stranded at second. And the Red Sox's leadoff batter walked in the fifth inning, but was stranded at third. ... However, since that happened three innings earlier, I shouldn't expect O'Brien to remember - or let facts get in the way of something clever [sic] he wants to say.

Back on November 15, 2010, I asked (after Tim McCarver insisted that leadoff walks "always score"): "Do Leadoff Walks Lead To More Runs?" The answer: No. In that post, I quoted Retrosheet's David Smith: "Anecdotal observations and gut feelings ... have no inherent credibility." That's something that O'Brien should take to heart.

Back in the first inning, home plate umpire Chris Segal was hit in the head by Josh Donaldson's bat when it flew out of his hands on the backswing. There was a short delay, and Segal stayed in the game. We wouldn't have that possibility of injury if we had robots back there. I'm just sayin'. ... Also, a microphone near the plate picked up Donaldson asking Segal: "Are you okay?" O'Brien repeated that comment, calling Donaldson "classy" for showing concern for the umpire.
Marcus Stroman / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Ramirez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C
Holt, 3B
Eduardo Rodriguez will be activated for tonight's start, after being on the disabled list since June 2 with a right knee subluxation.

After last night's game, Tzu-Wei Lin and Austin Maddox were sent back to Pawtucket. (Because of Saturday's 16-inning game and yesterday's doubleheader, there may be additional roster moves.)

This is the Blue Jays' first series at Fenway Park this year, a four-game set that includes a Thursday afternoon tilt (as they used to say). The Red Sox have won five of the six games at Skydome.

Boston continues looking high and low for a productive third baseman, with Todd Frazier of the White Sox as the leading candidate.

AL East: The Rays are 3 GB and the Yankees are 3.5 GB. ... TB/OAK and NYY/MIN.


allan said...

Early SoSH Game Thread comment: "If NESN isn't going to break away for live look-ins on Aaron Judge's at-bats and dugout demeanor I am not sure what point there is in watching this game."

johngoldfine said...

"Also, a microphone near the plate picked up Donaldson asking Segal: "Are you okay?" O'Brien repeated that comment, calling Donaldson "classy" for showing concern for the umpire."

Less classy: "Watch your fuckin' head, asshole. That's my favorite bat." What does O'Brien think someone might say if not exactly what Donaldson said?

johngoldfine said...

Sure, Donaldson is classy, but can you imagine what Aaron Judge would have said? We might have needed a new word to replace classy.

laura k said...

Sure, Donaldson is classy, but can you imagine what Aaron Judge would have said? We might have needed a new word to replace classy.

Aaron Judge would have touched the ump's head, and he would be healed.

(At least that's what Red Sox fans taught me about Derek Jeter.)

allan said...

First of all, Judge's backswing would have killed Segal immediately.
But then Judge would have brought him back to life.

allan said...

THIS is the guy you want as The Face Of Baseball? Seriously?!