August 8, 2018

G115: Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 5

Red Sox   - 004 012 120 - 10 12  1
Blue Jays - 000 002 300 -  5  9  0
Another game, another convincing win ... but this regular occurrence is far from boring. It's enjoyable every single day.

Of the Red Sox's starting nine: eight players had hits, seven players scored runs, and five players knocked in runs. Brian Johnson (7-6-5-2-6, 98) pitched extremely well until he appeared to tire in the sixth.

Rafael Devers returned from the disabled list, contributing a two-run homer, a double, a walk, and scoring two runs. Xander Bogaerts had an RBI in three different innings. Seven of the Red Sox's 12 hits were for extra bases, including six doubles (one shy of tying the season-high of seven, which happened in the first game of the recent four-game sweep of the Yankees).

A steady offensive attack in the third drove Toronto starter Mike Hauschild (2.1-3-4-3-0, 51) from the game. After needing 14 pitches in each of the first two innings, Hauschild threw 14 to the first two batters in the third. Devers doubled and Sandy Leon walked. Mookie Betts was hit on the left hand by a pitch, but did not exhibit a troubling amount of pain. Andrew Benintendi hit a sac fly to center for one run and Mitch Moreland doubled to deep center for two more.

On Moreland's fly, center fielder Kevin Pillar tracked the ball but stopped before he got to the warning track. It seemed like the ball was catchable if Pillar had kept going back. We've seen plenty of impressive catches where Pillar clearly is not afraid of bashing into a wall. Did he think the ball was going to clear the fence? Even so, why not go to the wall just in case?

Things grew even stranger in the sixth when Benintendi hit a similar fly to straightaway center - and again, Pillar pulled up and seemed to wait for the carom. This time, the ball hit off the base of the wall, which would have likely been a routine catch. Then, in the eighth inning, Moreland hit a long fly to left-center and Pillar ran it down and gloved it before banging into the wall. What was going through Pillar's head on those three plays?

After Moreland's hit, J.D. Martinez singled and the Jays went to their bullpen. Bogaerts's sac fly off Luis Santos upped the score to 4-0. In the fifth, Betts singled and went to third on Benintendi's double to right. After Moreland popped to short left and a BBI was given to JDM, Bogaerts took four balls as Santos forced in a run. (Robot Note: Balls 2 and 4 were probably strikes.) Eduardo Nunez singled to start the sixth and Devers homered to right-center.

Johnson cruised through the first 5.2 innings, throwing 73 pitches. He allowed only two hits (a leadoff single in the third and a one-out double in the fourth; neither runner advanced) and one walk (with one out in the fifth). With two down in the sixth, Justin Smoak singled and Teoscar Hernandez homered to left.

Manager Alex Cora should have gone to the pen for the seventh, but Johnson got another inning. With one out, he walked Russell Martin for the second time in the game. He fanned Aledmys Diaz for the second out, but Pillar lined a 2-0 pitch to left for a hit. While I made no notes during the inning, it clearly looked like Johnson was fatigued. Randal Grichuk crushed Johnson's first pitch to deep left for a three-run homer, cutting the score to 8-5.

Boston padded its lead with two runs in the eighth. Leon began with a single and Benintendi walked with one out. Martinez's two-out, opposite-field single scored Leon and after Bogaerts walked, Benintendi came home on a wild pitch.

Ryan Braiser allowed a leadoff single in the eighth and Bogaerts made an error with two outs, but the two baserunners were easily stranded. Joe Kelly was hit for two singles in the ninth before he closed out the win with Travis's grounder to shortstop; Bogaerts stepped on the bag and threw to first for a double play.
Brian Johnson / Mike Hauschild
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Moreland, 1B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Bradley, CF
Nunez, 2B
Devers, 3B
Leon, C
Rafael Devers returns to the lineup for the first time since July 28. ... Boston's starting pitchers have a 1.83 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over the last 18 games. Chris Sale - expected to come off the disabled list on Sunday - has pitched in only two of those games.

The Red Sox have scored five or more runs 66 times this season, the most in MLB. They are 57-9 (.864) in those games, including 37-3 (.925) since May 16.

The Red Sox have the best record of any MLB team when they score first (54-7, .885), when their opponent scores first (26-27, .491), and when leading after five innings (59-4, .937).

Mookie Betts leads the majors in average (.341) and slugging (.653). The only two Red Sox hitters ever to have a .340+ average with a .650+ slugging in a full season are Ted Williams (4 times) and Jimmie Foxx (twice).

The 2018 club has the most wins through 114 games (80-34) of any team in Red Sox history, topping the 1946 (79-33-2) and 1912 (78-35-1) teams. Boston has seven more wins than the Astros, who have the second-most victories (73). The last time the Red Sox were the first team to 80 wins was 2007 (80-51).

Most Wins Through 114 Games (MLB, Since 1900)
85-29   - 1998 Yankees
84-28-2 - 1902 Pirates, 1944 Cardinals
83-31   - 2001 Mariners
82-31-1 - 1907 Cubs, 1929 Athletics, 1931 Athletics
81-31   - 1906 Cubs
81-33   - 2017 Dodgers
80 wins - Seven teams, including 2018 Red Sox
AL East: MFY/White Sox, 8 PM. ... The Yankees are 4 GA of the Athletics and 6 GA of the Mariners in the race for the two spots in the Wild Card Game. New York will play three games against each team in early September.

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