May 28, 2019

G55: Cleveland 7, Red Sox 5

Cleveland - 000 000 025 - 7  8  1
Red Sox   - 000 003 020 - 5 10  0
There was an unmistakable feeling that this game was not going to end well even when the Red Sox still held a two-run lead. But that lead vanished in a flash and then the horror of the top of the ninth inning dragged on and on and on ...

I would have preferred if the Red Sox had said "Fuck this" and walked off the field and given Cleveland a win by forfeit. As far as the standings are concerned, it would have looked the same, but we would have been spared the sight of Ryan Brasier imploding (again) and Travis Lakins pitching as though he expected a hefty fine if he deigned to throw a strike. ... Oh, you know what? Today was also Craig Kimbrel's 31st birthday.

David Price's great effort (6-3-0-1-6, 96) was wasted. With his flu-like symptoms gone, Price allowed only two opposing runners past first base in six innings and faced a mere three batters over the minimum.

Zach Plesac (5.1-4-1-1-2, 86) enjoyed one hell of a debut. After a clean first inning, he allowed a leadoff double in the second and stranded men at first and third. Christian Vázquez singled to start the third, but Plesac picked him off. After a perfect fourth, he issued a two-out walk in the fifth.

With one out in the sixth, Rafael Devers hit his first career triple, a line drive into the soggy right field corner. (The game was begun in heavy rain and delayed 69 minutes in the middle of the second inning - and after play resumed, it drizzled all night.) Reliever A.J. Cole gave up a single to Xander Bogaerts and Boston had a 1-0 lead. J.D. Martinez hit his second double of the night and both X and JD scored on second baseman Mike Freeman's fielding error on Brock Holt's ground ball to Freeman's left.

Marcus Walden walked his first batter in the eighth, then gave up a single and a two-run double. After recording one out, Matt Barnes came in and walked Carlos Santana, but struck out Jordan Luplow and got Jose Ramirez on a grounder to short. Boston reestablished its lead with two runs of its own. Bogaerts doubled and scored on Michael Chavis's one-out single. After Holt flied out to deep right, Steve Pearce dropped a double into right field, making it 5-2.

Brasier began the top of the ninth by throwing 15 pitches to the first two batters. Roberto Perez homered to dead center on the seventh pitch and Jake Bauers walked on eight pitches. Greg Allen - who stepped in with a .087 average, a .157 on-base percentage, and an OPS under .300 - did not bother seeing a lot of pitches. Instead, he crushed Brasier's 0-1 offering to deep right for his first home run of the year, a game-tying, two-run dong.

Lakins took over and hit Freeman in the foot with his first pitch - and then he walked Francisco Lindor. Oscar Mercado squared to bunt and Pearce sprinted toward the plate. Pearce dove, but could not catch the ball. After a slight bobble, he whipped an off-balance throw to third, from his knees as he was falling onto his side. It forced the runner at third, an important first out.

Lakins celebrated that impressive play by walking Santana on four pitches, reloading the bases. Betts could not catch Luplow's drive to deep right, twisting around as he ran back to the bullpen wall. Two runs scored. Ramirez was walked intentionally, Perez hit into a fielder's choice (a runner was forced at the plate), and Bauers lined to right.

Brad Hand struck out Vázquez to start the bottom of the ninth. Betts walked and Devers singled, and it looked like the Red Sox might made it interesting. But looks were deceiving. Bogaerts and Martinez both went down swinging.

The Red Sox failed to take advantage of the Yankees' 5-4 loss to San Diego. The Rays moved to within one game of first place, while Boston stayed 6.5 games out.
Zach Plesac / David Price
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Chavis, 2B
Holt, LF
Pearce, 1B
Bradley, CF
Vázquez, C
Zach Plesac, the nephew of former pitcher Dan Plesac, will make his major league debut tonight. In 2019, the 24-year-old right-hander has a 1.41 ERA in nine starts (six in AA and three in AAA). Tonight will be only his 50th game in professional baseball. ... (One rude awakening, pls.)

Masslive's Christopher Smith says rain is expected tonight. "The tarp is on the field and heavy rain was falling as of 2:50 p.m. No on-field batting practice is expected to take place. The precipitation potential percentage is 100% at first pitch, per the National Weather Service. It's at 100% at 8 p.m., 94% at 9 p.m., 79% at 10 p.m. and 58% at 11 p.m."

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