September 4, 2018

G140: Red Sox 5, Atlanta 1

Red Sox - 000 032 000 - 5  8  1
Atlanta - 010 000 000 - 1  4  0
Steve Pearce reached base four times (three singles and a walk) and had three RBI: the go-ahead run that snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth and two insurance runs in the sixth.

Rick Porcello (5-2-1-1-5, 100) threw 32 pitches in the second inning and 25 in the third, which led to his early exit.

In addition to their eight hits, the Red Sox also drew nine walks.

Atlanta led 1-0 when Kirk Suzuki homered with two outs in the bottom of the second. (But all that meant was the Red Sox would snag their 42nd come-from-behind victory.) Two batters later, Porcello hit Dansby Swanson in the back of the helmet with a 2-2 pitch. Swanson got up quickly and was walking around, but after the trainer and manager talked with him, he left the game.

The Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, with two walks sandwiched around Xander Bogaerts's double. But Sean Newcomb did not allow a run, as Eduardo Nunez popped to short, Jackie Bradley struck out looking, and Sandy Leon flied to center.

Newcomb (4.1-4-3-5-2, 78) was not so fortunate in the fifth. Porcello lined the first pitch of the inning into right for a single! The Red Sox will not play any more games in NL parks until the World Series, so Porcello's .429 batting average (3-for-7) is safe.

Mookie Betts walked, Ian Kinsler popped to right, and J.D. Martinez lined a single off the third baseman's glove, loading the bases. Newcomb walked Bogaerts on five pitches to force in the tying run. Shane Carle came in from the pen and Pearce smacked his 2-1 pitch into left to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. Nunez's groundout to third scored JDM with the third run.

In the sixth, Atlanta reliever Luke Jackson walked pinch-hitter Rafael Devers. Betts grounded to third, but because Devers was running on the pitch, he advanced to second. Kinsler singled him to third. With two outs, Bogaerts walked (again, on five pitches) to load the bases. Pearce came through once more, with a hard single grounded into left for two runs.

Atlanta made a slight bit of noise* with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Suzuki doubled and Steven Wright walked Ozzie Albies. Wright stranded both runners by striking out Charlie Culberson, who had replaced Swanson. And that was about it. Joe Kelly issued a one-out walk in the seventh, but got a strikeout and a groundout. Nick Markakis singled to begin the eighth, but Ryan Brasier started a 1-6-3 double play before ending the frame with a strikeout. Heath Hembree struck out two of his three batters in the ninth.

*: Speaking of noise, the PA system spewed near-constant sound effects through many of the half-innings in which Atlanta batted. There was the organ that accompanies the Racist Chop, of course, but there were also "Charge!" trumpets, direct orders to clap your hands, more than a few "Day-O"s, and a lot of tuneless thuds meant to encourage more clapping. Rock N Roll may not be noise pollution, but that shit certainly is.

Two follow-up notes to last night's posts: The official scorer's ruling on Eduardo Nunez's double was changed to a single and an error on left fielder Ronald Acuna, who allowed Nunez to tgo to second when he slipped and fell.

After hearing NESN's Dave O'Brien refer to Nick Markakis's arm in right field as "a hose", I had asked if anyone had ever heard that term before. Before tonight's game, I looked through the Statcast highlights on my Apple TV device. One was of Kevin Kiermaier's 100.6-mph throw to nail a runner at the plate. I clicked on it. It was a play from last Saturday's Rays/Cleveland game. The announcer's call:
The 1-1 to Brantley. Cracked into center and in front of Kiermaier. Gomes being waved in, Kiermaier's throw coming home. Strong as a missile - and Gomnes is out standing at home plate. What a hose by Kiermaier in center field to end the second.
What?!? I thought I was hearing things. Perhaps "hose" is a now-common term and I had simply been fortunate enough to not hear it until last night. ... It should be added to an updated OB Bingo Card.
Rick Porcello / Sean Newcomb
Betts, RF
Kinsler, 2B
Martinez, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Pearce, 1B
Nunez, 3B
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Porcello, P
Update: Last night was the sixth time since 1908 the Red Sox used eight or more pitchers in a nine-inning game. All six games have occurred since 1999. ... Brandon Phillips is the first Red Sox player to wear #0.

Porcello has allowed 10 runs in his last three starts. He has a 6.43 ERA over his last five games, and that includes his excellent outing (one run in seven innings) against Philadelphia.

Newcomb faced the Red Sox in Boston on May 26: 3-6-3-4-4, 88.

Matthew Kory takes a closer look at the Red Sox's 18-9 record in August.
It's safe to say at this point that Sox fans should start saving up some sick days for use in October. ...

David Price ... was the only Red Sox starter in August who threw more than five innings and had an ERA under 5.00. Price's ERA? 2.10. ... Price had his best month by far, striking out 27.7 percent of hitters while walking only 4.2 percent. ... Price looked like the guy Boston thought it was signing three years ago ...

Mookie Betts ... had another incredible, fantastic, amazing month. Ho hum. Another month with a .400 on base percentage? Yup. [yawns] Another month with a .600 slugging percentage? Sure, whatever. Another month where he walks at least as much as he strikes out? What? Sorry, I stopped listening. Betts also hit .353 and he now leads all baseball players in WAR. ... There isn't a better player in baseball, folks. ...

Mitch Moreland: ... He's been playing through knee pain, which may have been exacerbated when he slid into the small cement wall by the photographer's pen in search of a foul ball. ... [H]e started 18 games in August, hitting a less-than-robust .205/.259/.397. ...

Sandy Leon: Pitchers swear by Leon's defense. ... The problem comes when Leon picks up a bat. In August Leon hit .125/.222/.232. That's simply not major league quality.
The Red Sox are 95-44 with 23 games remaining. The 1912 team holds the franchise's win record: 105-47-2.
11-12: Minimum record needed to set a new franchise record for wins
11-4: Minimum record needed in next 15 games to set a new franchise record for wins in 154 games

AL Wild Card: MFY/Athletics, 10 PM. The Yankees lead the Athletics by 3.5 and the Mariners by 9.0.

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