August 4, 2018

G112: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1

Yankees - 000 000 001 - 1  5  0
Red Sox - 200 100 10x - 4  6  0

The Red Sox increased their lead to 8.5 games as Nathan Eovaldi pulled off an extremely convincing impression of Rick Porcello. Mitch Moreland welcomed Yankee starter Chance Adams to the major leagues with a two-run homer in the first inning. J.D. Martinez cracked his 33rd dong of the year in the fourth and a Boston challenge in the seventh ended up overturning a correct call and giving the Red Sox a fourth run.

Things got a decidedly dicey in the ninth when Craig Kimbrel, working for the first time since last Sunday and having thrown only 11 pitches over the last eight days, relieved Eovaldi. Things came in pairs. Kimbrel struck out the first two batters before giving up back-to-back doubles and back-to-back walks.

That meant New York had the potential tying run on first base, in a game where they had never been like a factor. Greg Bird took a 1-1 pitch up and away that looked like it was in the zone, but plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called it ball two. Fortunately, Bird hit the next pitch in the air to medium left-center and Jackie Bradley made the game-ending catch.

The Red Sox have won 22 of their last 27 games (.815) and 48 of their last 67 (.716). They have won 17 of their last 20 games at Fenway Park, where they have the best home record in baseball, at 41-15.

Piling up the runs on Thursday was a hell of a lot of fun, but watching Porcello and Eovaldi mow down the Yankees was more thrilling. Over 17 innings, they allowed one run, four hits, and one walk, while striking out 13. That's against the team with the second-best record in baseball (though, admittedly, with two of their regular hitters on the DL).

Porcelo and Eovaldi allowed a grand total of seven runners in 17 innings and only two of them advanced past first base. They faced only three batters over the minimum. The Yankees sent only three men to the plate in 14 of the 17 innings. In the other three frames, a fourth man came up.

Eovaldi (8-3-0-1-4, 93) breezed through the first inning with two popups and a strikeout. He watched from the bench as Andrew Benintendi singled with one out and went to second on a passed ball (speaking of impressions, catcher Austin Romine mimiced Sanchez). On 2-0 to Moreland, Adams (5-3-3-1-2, 83) snapped off a curve at 76 which broke in and caught the lower outside corner of the strike zone. Romine and Adams decided to throw another curve. It came in at 82 and at about the same height, but right over the plate. Moreland sent it into (or over?) the Red Sox bullpen for his 13th dong of the season.

Eovaldi walked the first man in the second, but Gleyber Torres grounded into a double play on the first pitch. After the Yankees went in order in the third, Brett Gardner singled to start the fourth. Eovaldi needed only two pitches to end the inning. Giancarlo Stanton flied to center (on the first pitch) and Didi Gregorius grounded into another double play (also on the first pitch). Stanton doubled to open the seventh, but he stayed rooted to the bag as Gregorius fouled to first, Aaron Hicks flied to center and Torres fanned.

Eovaldi was at 93 pitches and it would have been great to see him go the distance. But the recently underused Kimbrel got the call. Pinch-hitter Neil Walker saw seven pitches and struck out looking. Gardner was called out on three called strikes. (Both batters whined to Cuzzi about the calls.) Stanton fell behind 0-2 before lining a double to left-center. Gregorius doubled into the right field corner for a run. Kimbrel walked Hicks on 3-1 and Torres on 3-2 before Bird skied to center.

Boston scored their final run with some assistance from the people "in New York". With two outs, Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt both singled off A.J. Cole. Sandy Leon lined the first pitch down the left field line. The ball landed where the stands jut out near the line. The ball landed extremely close to the line and third base umpire Adam Hamari called it foul. The Red Sox challenged and while two umpires stood silently with headphones on, NESN showed a few replays. There seemed to be no question that the ball had landed foul, though it was not even an inch off the line.

The ball bounces near the line and you can see where it had hit.

The ball left a clear mark in the dirt. If the umpires waiting for clarification of the play had taken 10-15 steps down the line, they could have seen that mark and perhaps wrapped things up a little quicker.

Dennis Eckersley, on the above: "If you go by that, it's foul". Jerry Remy thought the ball might have hit some chalk, but he was sure the foul call would not be overturned.

One replay, from the high first base camera, was shown in a box covering maybe 40% of the screen. "We can't see this!", Eck moaned. ... No shit, Eck. We deal with mindless crap like that during every game.

It took 3:10 from the time Cora signaled for a review to the final decision - and they called it FAIR! They awarded Nunez the plate, put Holt on third, and gave Leon a double. WTF? I was dumbfounded that an obvious correct call was overturned. Many replays are inconclusive, but this one was not.

Alex Cora cheered the decision and tipped his cap down the runway to the people behind the scenes for the suggestion to challenge.

It was one more reason to cheer in a series that has had dozens of such moments.
Chance Adams / Nathan Eovaldi
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Moreland, 1B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Nunez, 3B
Holt, 2B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Ian Kinsler is now on the disabled list after straining his left hamstring while running the bases in the first inning last night. Alex Cora said: "It's a little bit tight. ... We don't feel it's that bad."

Kinsler is the fourth Red Sox player (and third position player) to be placed on the DL this week. There were reports last night that the Red Sox would call up infielder Tony Renda (Tzu-Wei Lin is dealing with an injury of his own). Adding Renda to the 40-man roster meant transferring Dustin Pedroia to the 60-day DL. (I have also seen one tweet reporting that catcher Dan Butler was called up.)

Bench coach Ron Roenicke:
He takes ground balls every third or fourth day. ... I was comfortable with it. We talked about it in spring training. ... He played a few years there, and was basically moved out because of Pedroia.
Mookie Betts:
I don't know if he told me (to play second); I kind of asked. He asked, "Are you sure?" I went and got an infield glove. But before I ran out on the field, I asked, "So you want me to go second?" At that point, I wasn't really sure he wanted me to go to second, but I ran out there. I didn't want to run out there and look dumb. ... It was like a dream come true. That's why I take some ground balls and some early work (in the infield), just in case.
Last night's game took only 2:15 to play, the shortest game between the Red Sox and Yankees since May 6, 1994 (2:13). Boston's outfield that day was Mike Greenwell-Lee Tinsley-Billy Hatcher. Andre Dawson was the DH.

MFY manager Aaron Boone said this afternoon that he also wanted to protest the warnings given to both benches last night. "As I started out there Alex is already getting held back and stuff, so I just kind of let it run its course."

In his appreciation of Dave Dombrowski, OTM's Matt Collins begins:
Contrary to what some segments of the Boston media would tell you, there’s basically no reason not to like this Red Sox team. They are a big ball of fun on almost a nightly basis and are having (to this point in the year) perhaps the best season in franchise history. They have the best record in baseball, and it’s not particularly close, and are cruising through every section of their schedule.
These mediots say this team is not fun. They say this team is dull. They say this team isn't really as good as it appears to be. If you are still looking for an example of how insane some members of the Boston media are and why you should completely ignore them - and I don't think you are - these last two nights are it.
CHB, July 9: Meaningless game after meaningless game as the Red Sox put up cartoonish numbers while we wait for the real games to start in October. So much winning. Whoop dee do. ... The 2018 Red Sox are ... studiously bland [and] rarely interesting ...

Rick Porcello, July 11: You come to a ballgame it’s up to you what you want to appreciate ... You can be the guy who boos. You can be the guy who cheers. ... I don't know of any other way you can keep the crowd entertained. ... There are two ways to go from here: One, keep coming if you enjoy it. The other is if you don't like it, then don't come.

"Porcello" (last night?): "Did you know in the last 110 years - or, more likely, ever - there have been two games in which any pitcher threw a complete game against the Yankees with only one hit, no walks and at least nine strikeouts? Pedro in 1999 and me tonight. Buy that media bullshit if you think you have to, but you are missing some great fucking baseball."


Dr. Jeff said...

"Both batters whined to Cuzzi about the calls." While watching live, I thought they had a point. Then I thought Kimbrel was getting squeezed. Can you post the Pitch FX or whatever it's called for those at bats?

allan said...

You're right. They had a point. The first strikeout was not a strikeout. Pitch 7 is certainly outside (scroll maybe halfway down). And the second strikeout was close, but strike 3 was a bit too low (according to Brooks). .... GDGD's zone tells the same story.

So they had legit beefs. ... Well, fuck them!