September 23, 2018

G156: Cleveland 4, Red Sox 3 (11)

Red Sox   - 101 010 000 00 - 3  8  3
Cleveland - 000 300 000 01 - 4  9  0
There cannot be too many games in which the Red Sox's fourth pitcher of the day/night throws 93 pitches. William Cuevas (5.1-2-1-3-4, 93) took the mound in the sixth and weathered several storms before leaving with two men on in the eleventh. An intentional walk put Robby Scott on the hot seat, with the bases loaded and one out.

Scott got ahead of Greg Allen 1-2 before the count was full. Allen fouled a pitch down the third base line before grounding Scott's eighth pitch past the drawn-in infield and into left field for a single, giving Cleveland its second consecutive extra-inning walkoff victory over the Red Sox.

If the Red Sox are to set a new team record with 106 (or more) wins - and they will have six chances - they will do so at Fenway Park.

Mookie Betts had four hits and is 8-for-11 in his last two games, with four doubles, two home runs, and two singles. He cracked a "Baltimore Dong" to leadoff the game and later scored on a wild pitch. His single in the third was part of a rally that saw Christian Vazquez score on Rafael Devers' groundout.

Hector Velazquez (3.1-4-2-0-3, 54) worked out of a jam in the second after Edwin Encarnacion tripled to center with none out. Jackie Bradley slipped while approaching the liner and it bounced over his glove.

When ESPN's Matt Vasgersian reported it was EE's first triple of the season, Jessica Mendoza added, "And it was a stand-up [triple]." ESPN's replay promptly showed Encarnacion making a textbook slide into third. No one in the ESPN booth is worth listening to, however. As the top of the fourth ended, video of the Red Sox's locker room celebration for clinching the East was shown and Vasgersian intoned: "Champaigne wishes and caviar dreams and three straight division titles for the Red Sox." Caviar dreams? Alex Rodriguez called Francisco Lindor "a five-tool player ... no, a six-tool player". The sixth tool was the most important, according to Slappy. That tool - more essential than hitting for power or baserunning or fielding - was ... Lindor's "leadership" and his "smile". No word on whether his eyes are calm. Watching a game on mute is not generally preferred, but on Sunday nights, it is essential.

... Where was I? Oh, right, man on third, no outs. Josh Donldson grounded to shortstop. Xander Bogaerts moved to his right, gloved the ball and threw on the run to nail Encarnacion at the plate. (X's play was positively Lindor-esque! This is your first warning that Lindor is going to get the Jeter/Judge treatment this October. It is going to be over-the-top and constant and inescapable (maybe even after Cleveland gets eliminated). When the Red Sox batted in the top of the third, ESPN's taped interview with Lindor pushed the actual live game into a box that covered perhaps one-third of the screen. Between pitches, the interview was full-screen. That was some serious bullshit. SHOW THE GAME! If the interview is so important, run it between innings instead of commercials!) Yonder Alonso singled, but Melky Cabrera hit into a double play.

Michael Brantley singled to start the fourth and went to second on Velazquez's errant pickoff attempt. With Encarnacion batting, a wild pitch put Brantley on third and he scored on EE's one-out single. Steven Wright relieved Velazquez and struck out Donaldson, but a passed ball on strike three moved the runner to second. Alonso singled to center and Encarnacion went to third; Alonso advanced to second when Bradley's throw sailed over the catcher for an error. Cabrera doubled into the right-field corner, giving Cleveland a 3-2 lead. (Wright had not allowed a run since coming back from the disabled list (7 games, 10 innings.)

Betts led off the fifth with his 31st home run, a 409-foot blast to center than tied the game. Jon Edwards walked the first two Red Sox batters in the eighth. With two outs, Neil Ramirez hit Bradley on the foot with a pitch, loading the bases for Vazquez. But S.N. turned out to be a nobody, fouling off three pitches before popping to second.

Cuevas took over after Wright walked the leadoff man in the sixth and got a strikeout and a double play. In the seventh, after walking Cabrera, Cuevas struck out Jason Kipnis and Vazquez gunned down pinch-runner Allen at second. He also threw out Rajai Davis in the ninth.

Bogaerts left the game during his at-bat in the seventh, with discomfort in his left shoulder. Tzu-Wei Lin replaced him and doubled with two outs in the ninth. Devers was intentionally walked and Steve Pearce grounded out pitcher-to-first.

Kipnis doubled off Cuevas with one out in the tenth. Eric Haase reached on an infield hit to Lin. The Red Sox challenged the call, but it was upheld (the play was impossible to call even on the super-slo-mo replay, but it appeared that Mitch Moreland did not have full control of the ball). Lindor fouled off five of six pitches before grounded to second, moving the runners to second and third. Cuevas got Brantley to swing and miss before throwing two balls and getting a grounder to first.

In the eleventh, Cuevas walked Jose Ramirez and Davis bunted him to second. Erik Gonzalez grounded to shortstop. Lin came in and to his left, but the ball hit off his glove and he could not grab it in time to make a throw. Scott came in with runners at first and third. Pinch-hitter Yandy Diaz was intentionally walked. Scott got a strike call on a pitch off the plate to Allen. He threw a ball inside and low, Allen fouled off two pitches and Scott threw two balls, running the count full. Allen fouled off another pitch. Vazquez and Scott talked things over on the mound, but Allen grounded the next pitch into left.
Hector Velazquez / Adam Plutko
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Pearce, DH
Moreland, 1B
Kinsler, 2B
Bradley, CF
Vázquez, C
The Red Sox (105-50) will try to set a new franchise record for wins tonight in their final road game of the regular season.

The Red Sox have six home games remaining: three against the Orioles (Monday-Wednesday) and three against the Yankees (Friday-Sunday). They will then be off for four* days before hosting Game 1 of the ALDS on Friday, October 5, against either the Yankees or the Athletics.

Where that Wild Card Game will be played remains undecided, with the MFY holding a 1.5-game lead over Oakland.

(*: Friday's game likely will be played at night, so would they actually be off for five days (Monday through most of Friday)?)

Update on 2018 W-L Contest: JoS readers have always been optimistic when it comes to predicting the Red Sox's regular-season record. However, the 2018 team left even the most hopeful outcomes in the dust. All but two of the predictions in this year's contest ranged from 92 to 102 wins. (I had them at 95.)


Jere said...

In the contest tie-breaker, JD's total bases amount is now higher than everyone's prediction for the whole season, except for two people, both of whom predicted the same amount AND the same W-L record. Any chance that's one person who tried a second account to get through in case the first didn't work? If that ONE person hadn't picked a higher win total than those two identical people, you would have had a dead heat including tie-breaker!

laura k said...

I hope I still did triple digits!

allan said...

You were at 101.


Last night:
LAA - 000 000 050 - 5 7 1
HOU - 000 100 09x - 10 12 2
BOS's Magic # for HFA throughout postseason remains at 1.

allan said...

Any chance that's one person who tried a second account to get through in case the first didn't work?

I can pretty confidently say they are two different people.

Pitching Change Bonus Content: The entries came in 10 days apart.

allan said...

Aaron Boone finds a way to blow stunning and important game
Dan Martin, Post

If the Yankees end up playing the wild-card game in Oakland instead of The Bronx, you can point to Sunday’s ugly loss as a big reason why. ...

Possible wild-card starter J.A. Happ was staked to a 3-0 lead after one of Baltimore’s few serviceable starting pitchers, Alex Cobb, was forced from the game with an injury after just four pitches. But instead of putting away the dreadful Orioles, the Yankees let them hang around, as Happ lasted just five innings before he was pulled after throwing 107 pitches and giving up one run.

Aaron Boone then began making some odd decisions, first going to A.J. Cole to start the sixth with the Yankees holding a two-run lead.

While the Yankees have had to use a number of their high-leverage relievers in their playoff push as they try to hold off the A’s for the top wild-card spot, the decision to go to Cole — who has been dreadful for much of the second half — was strange. And it quickly backfired ...

(A)fter scoring those three first-inning runs, the Yankees’ bats went to sleep. Baltimore relievers retired 19-of-21 batters from the first inning to the eighth ...

The loss left the Yankees with plenty of questions, including whether Happ is the right option to start the wild-card game instead of Luis Severino or Masahiro Tanaka. ...

On top of that, Stanton and Aaron Judge also continue to struggle at the plate ...


allan said...

Note to Boone: Blowing a 3-0 lead and losing to a 44-110 team is not the best way to tune up for the postseason!