June 1, 2018

G58: Astros 7, Red Sox 3

Red Sox - 010 200 000 - 3  7  0
Astros  - 202 000 03x - 7 12  0
It was rough going for Chris Sale (6-6-4-1-6, 100) in the first and third innings. The Red Sox closed Houston's lead to one run when Mitch Moreland and J.D. Martinez hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth, but that was as close as they got. The Astros put the game out of reach with two dongs off Joe Kelly in the eighth.

Sale walked George Springer, his first batter of the night, and Alex Bregman followed with a single. Sale struck out Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, but strike three to Correa ricocheted off Sandy Leon's shin guard and both runners advanced two bases, with Springer scoring on a headfirst slide. Yuli Gurriel's infield hit made it 2-0.

With two outs in the second, Eduardo Nunez singled and Brock Holt doubled him home.

Springer led off the third with a home run to center. Two outs later, Sale gave up a single, threw another wild pitch, and allowed another (run-scoring) single.

Boston had runners at first and second with one out in the fifth, but Gerrit Cole (7-5-3-1-7, 105) struck out Xander Bogaerts and Moreland.

The Red Sox's only other threat came in the eighth. Bogaerts singled with one out, took second on a wild pitch, and went to third on a groundout. Martinez was walked intentionally and pinch-runner Blake Swihart stole second. Both runners were left on base when Astros reliever Chris Devenski got Rafael Devers on a lineout to center.

AL East: The Yankees beat the Orioles 4-1, so they are now 1 GB.
Chris Sale / Gerrit Cole
Benintendi, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Martinez, RF
Devers, 3B
Nunez, DH
Holt, 2B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Looking at the American League's lowest ERAs, the Astros have three of the top four spots: Justin Verlander #1, 1.11), Gerrit Cole (#3, 2.05), and Charlie Morton (#4, 2.26). Chris Sale comes in at #8, 2.76.

Verlander and Cole are #1 and #2 in both fewest hits allowed per 9 innings and lowest WHIP. Sale is at #5 and #6, respectively. Cole leads all AL pitchers with 13.1 strikeouts per 9 innings. Sale is #2, with 12.5.

Taking all of that information into careful consideration, I believe the Red Sox will win tonight's game by a score of ..... 17-14.

Dustin Pedroia will likely not play tonight.
I was a little sore during BP [on Thursday] and then ... I did all my activation stuff before the game and it was still a little sore. Then I went out and ran. I have to be honest with them right now ... so they can catch it before you have to be down for a while. ... They knew this was going to happen certain days and today was one of those days.
Manager Alex Cora said Mookie Betts might be back in the lineup tonight.
He's coming in early ... [Thursday] he hit a little bit off the tee, so he's going to go through a whole thing of baseball activities, and then we'll make a decision. [Possibility of Betts on DL?] No, no, I do feel with the roster we have, we're OK. We're flexible enough we can pay Blake [Swihart], we can play J.D. [Martinez], we can play Brock [Holt]. We're good.
Matthew Kory recaps the Red Sox's performance in May at The Athletic:
It may seem like the Red Sox took a step back after their incredible April, and they did. But it was a very tiny step. The Red Sox won 19 games in April (plus two in March), but only 18 games in May. Cue the talk radio fear mongers! ... Only the Nationals and Brewers won more games. When a team posts one of the top three records in baseball two months running, that's pretty positive. ...

In March and April, the Red Sox scored 159 runs and gave up 96 while going 21-7. That record almost exactly meets what would be expected with that run differential. In May, the Red Sox scored 142 runs and allowed 116, which works out to an expected record of 17-11 (they went 18-11). ... They've earned their good records over the past two months, and that bodes well for the rest of the season. ...

[O]f the league-leading 50 homers the Red Sox hit in May, 13 were from [J.D.] Martinez. ... Six players hit five or more homers. ...

[Andrew] Benintendi rebounded from a mediocre April and was on fire in May. ... Benintendi was taking too many hittable pitches in April. In May, he turned on the pitches he had been taking and drove them. ...

The Red Sox put together another fantastic month in May. They finished the month with the best record in baseball, with the best offense, and with one of the best pitching staffs. That's a nice place to be. ... Don't be surprised if continued struggles by Pomeranz lead to a [Jalen] Beeks promotion sometime in the near future.
The Red Sox have released Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez was placed on waivers on Wednesday and because he was not claimed, he is now a free agent.

Boston is 1.5 GA of the Yankees, who are in Baltimore tonight.

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