April 4, 2019

G8: Athletics 7, Red Sox 3

Red Sox   - 201 000 000 - 3 10  0
Athletics - 003 301 00x - 7 13  0
A 3-0 Red Sox lead (courtesy of two bases-loaded walks and a J.D. Martinez home run) and two economical innings from Eduardo Rodriguez seemed to indicate that this afternoon's contest would build on last night's ninth-inning rally. Sadly, no.

Rodriguez threw 30 pitches in the first two innings - but he had to throw 29 in the third. With a runner on third and one out, Rodriguez (3.2-8-6-3-2, 84) walked Marcus Semien on seven pitches and gave up a three-run homer to Stephen Piscotty.

In the top of the fourth, Steve Pearce struck out, leaving the bases loaded. Oakland surged ahead in the home half. Piscotty got the big hit in this frame as well, as his fly to the track in right-center fell untouched between Jackie Bradley and Mookie Betts, as each man appeared to think the other one was going after the ball. Piscotty (4-for-4, 5 RBI) reached base in all five plate appearances, also drawing a walk in the eighth.

The Red Sox had a runner on base in four of the final five innings, but could not get anyone home. Betts walked to start the ninth and raced around second on Andrew Benintendi's bloop hit to center. But Ramon Laureano scooped up the ball and gunned Mookie out at third. Enough with this fucking guy. We will see him three more times at the end of the month (April 29 and 30, May 1) and then that's it for the season.

Betts began the day with a single to right-center. Benintendi dropped down a bunt and Oakland first baseman Mark Canha threw to Marcus Semien to try and force Betts. But the throw was late. After Pearce fanned, Martinez singled to right, loading the bases. Xander Bogaerts walked (cbbbb) to force in a run and, after Eduardo Nunez fouled out to first, Brock Holt (cbbbb) also walked, making it 2-0. Martinez's third home run of the year in the next inning sailed out to right-center.
Eduardo Rodriguez / Brett Anderson
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Pearce, 1B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Núñez, 3B
Holt, 2B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
Steve Pearce is back with the team today. He has been on the injured list since suffering a left calf strain on March 17. Sam Travis was optioned to Pawtucket. Manager Alex Cora says when both Pearce and Dustin Pedroia are back, Andrew Benintendi will return to the top of the order, with Mookie Betts batting second.

Gregor Chisholm, mlb.com:
The Major League Baseball season is only entering its second week and yet there are already clues about what to expect in the American League East.

The Yankees are dealing with injuries, the Red Sox are facing questions in the bullpen and the Rays are thriving in such a way that some people are predicting them to be the surprise of the division. Then there's an Orioles team that is two games above .500 and a Blue Jays rotation that opened the year with 24 scoreless innings. ...

One thing we still don't know: Is Matt Barnes the primary closer? The Red Sox have consistently been trailing, so it's still hard to know exactly what Cora has in mind when deploying his relievers in the ninth. Barnes was used in the first save opportunity and succeeded. But on Wednesday, in a tie game, Cora brought Barnes on for the seventh inning with two outs to face Khris Davis. For now, it looks like Cora will go with matchups rather than a set closer.
A few thoughts:

1. Each team in the AL East has played either six or seven games. I know you have to write something, but that is nowhere near enough time for clues to emerge about "what to expect".

2. Boston's bullpen has a 2.42 ERA. The only sensible question about the 'pen is probably "why aren't the starters doing as well"?

3. Using your best relievers when the game is on the line - and not sticking slavishly to a rigid 'this is my 8th inning guy, this is my closer' mentality - makes common sense and Bill James has been writing about it for decades. Yet most baseball writers (even younger baseball writers) seem not to grasp the concept. I know this fact should not surprise me, since almost no one understood what Moneyball was about (one media person never even figured out who wrote the book), but it still does.

10 Crazy 'On-Pace-For' Stats To Watch
3) The Yankees are on pace to win 54 games.
10) The Mets are on pace for 134 wins.

1 comment:

GK said...

I think the starting pitchers are on extended spring training. Playing 11 games on the road to start the season is not easy. On the other hand, Yankees may be totally screwed.