May 2, 2019

G32: White Sox 6, Red Sox 4

Red Sox   - 102 000 100 - 4  8  1
White Sox - 200 001 003 - 6  9  0
Nicky Delmonico's game-winning, three-run homer off Ryan Brasier with one out in the bottom of the ninth on Thursday night didn't even clear the fence in right-center. It eluded Jackie Bradley's glove and hit the yellow padding on top of the wall. They say baseball is a game of inches. Or, as broadcaster Tim McCarver once famously declared, "a game of inch".

But the home run counted the same as if Delmonico had smashed it 500 feet. It wiped out a 4-3 Red Sox lead - the third lead of the night that Boston lost - and handed the visitors a defeat on the first night of a seven-game road trip.

The final half-inning began with Brasier striking out Yoan Moncada. Jose Rondon grounded to third. Rafael Devers came in and scooped the ball, but it went flying when he brought his glove up. Tzu-Wei Lin had replaced Michael Chavis at second base at the start of the inning. Perhaps Alex Cora should consider replacing Devers in the future.

Yonder Alonso sliced an opposite-field single to left, near the line. Rondon went to third. Delmonico, who had pinch-hit in the seventh inning and taken over in left, drove an 0-1 pitch to right-center. He was 3-for-17 on the season with a .498 OPS when he faced Brasier. (Small sample size, I know, since the hit raised his OPS all the way to .744, but come on ...)

Brasier threw an 0-1 slider that broke right over the heart of the plate, and Delmonico jumped on it. (Alonso's single was a fastball down the middle, also.) It was the second straight walk-off win for the White Sox, who scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Orioles, winning 7-6.

As mentioned, the Red Sox blew three leads. They also left 10 men on base, six of them at second or third, and went 0-for-9 with RATS. (The White Sox went 4-for-7.) Chavis ended three innings and stranded five runners. Xander Bogaerts and Devers each left four men behind.
Lineup spots 1-3: 8-for-13, 4 runs scored (Benintendi, Betts, Martinez)
Lineup spots 4-9: 0-for-20
The Red Sox held a brief 1-0 lead. One-out singles from Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez and a walk to Bogaerts loaded the bases in the top of the first for Devers, who lifted a sac fly to left. In the bottom half, David Price (6-7-3-2-5, 97) gave up a leadoff double. He got the next two batters, but James McCann homered to center and Chicago led 2-1.

Andrew Benintendi tied the game with a solo dong leading off the third. Betts and Martinez both singled again. Betts was on third but he had to stay put on Bogaerts's grounder to Moncada; he was able to score on Devers's groundout to second. Boston 3-2.

Price was cruising after the home run. He gave up two singles and a walk over the next four innings, but no runner advanced past first. And he had thrown only 69 pitches through five innings. Price walked Jose Abreu with one out in the sixth. McCann drove a long fly to the base of the wall in right-center. Abreu tried to score from first, but was thrown out Bradley to Bogaerts to Christian Vazquez. Two outs, man on second, still up 3-2, but Price could not slam the door. Moncada beat out an infield single to the shortstop hole and Rondon singled to center, retying the game at 3-3.

The Red Sox quickly grabbed the lead back. Benintendi walked against Josh Osich to start the seventh. Evan Marshall gave up a single to Betts. Benintendi went to third and scored when Martinez forced Mookie at second. After Bogaerts struck out looking, Devers was walked intentionally and Chavis flied to center.

Carson Fulmer walked Martinez and Bogaerts with two outs in the top of the ninth, but nothing happened as Devers flied to left.

Devers knocked in two runs, but had no hits. Betts had a similar game on April 12, 2018 against the Yankees, but it hadn't happened to a Red Sox batter before that since 2014, when Mike Napoli and David Ortiz did it. The major league record is four RBI, by Bob O'Farrell of the Cubs on August 19, 1923 (he went 0-for-5 and also scored a run) and Ben Petrick of the Rockies on September 20, 2000 (0-for-3). Since 1908, a player has had no hits and three RBI 64 times, including Bobby Doerr on May 16, 1947.

Fun With Numbers: The White Sox used four relievers, and they threw, in order of appearance, 19, 18, 17, and 16 pitches. I noticed the first three totals when the ninth inning began and wondered in the game thread if Fulmer would throw exactly 16 pitches. He did!
David Price / Lucas Giolito
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Chavis, 2B
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
Peter Abraham, Globe: "The Nationals and Red Sox are 1-12 in games started by 2018 All-Star game starters Max Scherzer and Chris Sale."

Mookie Betts

Betts's home run on Tuesday was his 500th career run scored. He reached that milestone in 674 games, the second-quickest among active players. Only three active players have scored 500 career runs in fewer than 700 games:
Albert Pujols       629 games
Mookie Betts        674 games
Mike Trout          690 games

Four Red Sox players have scored 500 runs within their first 700 games:
Ted Williams        548 games
Nomar Garciaparra   661 games
Johnny Pesky        668 games
Mookie Betts        674 games

Betts is also the fifth-youngest Red Sox hitter to reach 400 career RBI, behind Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Tony Conigliaro, and Jim Rice.

Here's something I never suspected: Betts ranks third all-time with a .340 career batting average with runners in "scoring position" (179-for-526). He trails Tony Gwynn (.350) and Rod Carew (.347) (minimum 500 AB).

Rafael Devers

Devers has reached base in each of his last 15 games, the longest streak of his career. In that time, he is batting .367 (18-for-49) with a .456 OBP.

Devers has a .388 OBP and has struck out in 16.4% of his plate appearances this season. This is a significant improvement from last year, when his numbers were .298 and 24.7%.

Michael Chavis

Michael Chavis went 1-for-9 in his first three games, but has reached base in each of his eight games since. He has a .515 OBP in those eight games, going 10-for-26 (.385) with three home runs, eight RBI, and six walks. Chavis has reached base multiple times in five consecutive games, and seven of his last eight games.

Chavis has eight RBI in his first nine games. The last Red Sox hitters with eight or more RBI in their the first nine games of their career were Morgan Burkhart (11, in 2000) and Will Middlebrooks (11, in 2012).

Chavis is the seventh Red Sox hitter with three or more home runs in his first eight career games, joining Jerry Moses (1965-68), Bill Conigliaro (1969), Sam Horn (1987), Mo Vaughn (1991), Will Middlebrooks (2012), and Rafael Devers (2017).

Mitch Moreland

Of Mitch Moreland's 20 hits this season, 14 have gone for extra bases: nine home runs and five doubles. That's why he leads the team in slugging (.565) despite a .217 batting average.

Starting Pitchers

Red Sox starters have allowed four or fewer earned runs in each of the club's last 18 games (and three or fewer earned runs in 16 of 18 games).

Red Sox starting pitchers have allowed only 0.75 HR/9.0 IP in the club's last 22 games (since April 6), the lowest mark in MLB in that time (10 HR in 120.2 IP).

In 21 of their last 22 games, Red Sox starters have allowed zero (13 games) or one home run (8 games).

Bullpen (Well, Everyone Except Thornburg)

Boston's relievers had allowed no homers to their previous 107 batters (until Tyler Thornburg gave up a dong on Tuesday).

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