September 26, 2019

G159: Rangers 7, Red Sox 5

Red Sox - 000 300 200 - 5 10  1
Rangers - 000 140 20x - 7  7  1
In their last road game of the season, the Red Sox blew a 3-0 lead, battled back to tie the game at 5-5, and then immediately gave away the game for good.

Events in the final two innings led to both managers accusing the other team of not giving 100%, of either speeding up the game (by consistently swinging at first pitches) and denying a pitcher a milestone strikeout or by slowing it down (deliberately letting an easily-caught foul pop-up fall untouched).

Mike Minor retired the first nine Red Sox batters, including striking out the side in the third inning. But Boston collected five hits and three runs in the fourth. Marco Hernández was safe on a bunt single to start the inning. Andrew Benintendi struck out, but J.D. Martinez and Sam Travis both singled (1-0). After Brock Holt hit into a force play, Gorkys Hernández doubled to left (2-0) and Jackie Bradley singled to short right (3-0).

Texas got one run back in the fourth and battered Mike Shawaryn in the fifth. Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled to right and stole second. Shin-Soo Choo struck out looking. Elvis Andris also singled to right and also stole second. Willie Calhoun walked and Danny Santana hit a grand slam to right-center. Shawaryn got the second out, but Nick Solak singled to center and (after Colten Brewer came in) stole second.

The Red Sox had a frustrating sixth inning: single, double play, single, groundout. They got two solo home runs in the seventh, by Bradley (#21) and Chris Owings (#3). That tied the game but the Red Sox squandered a chance at more runs. Juan Centeno singled with two outs and Martinez walked. A double steal put runners on second and third, but Sam Travis went down swinging.

Calhoun hit Ryan Weber's 1-1 pitch for a leadoff dong in the bottom of the seventh. One out later, Roughned Odor went deep, making it 7-5.

The Red Sox were retired on three pitches in the eighth. This does not happen very often, since if the first two guys hack away, it is almost a guarantee the third guy will take at least one pitch. Not this time. Holt grounded to first, Gorkys Hernández grounded out to shortstop, and Bradley popped to shortstop.

In the ninth, Minor (8.2-10-5-2-9, 126) struck out Owings for the second out (and his 200th K of the season) only because first baseman Ronald Guzmán deliberately dropped a foul pop (and was charged with an error).

Alex Cora was not amused: "I'm just happy our guys are playing the game the right way. We're playing hard until the end."

Rangers manager Chris Woodward countered by claiming the Red Sox were trying to keep Minor from getting his 200th strikeout by swinging at the first pitch: "It got gut-wrenching as a manager. I didn't love the idea that we dropped a popup at the end. But on the other side of that, they swung at three pitches in a row in the eighth inning down by two. ... They chose to not try to win the game as well, they were trying to keep him from striking a guy out."

Cora noted that both Bradley and Owings hit their home runs on the first pitch.

Woodward, who nearly pulled Minor in the seventh, sent Minor out for the ninth because he was pissed off at the three-pitch eighth: "I said you're going back out. If they want to do that, you're going back out. There was no question. It was only three pitches."

Minor: "I knew what they were doing. They were laughing about it. ... [On the foul pop] I knew it was going to be a two-strike count if he dropped it. So I yelled at Guzie to drop it."

Guzmán: "Honestly, on that play I was going for it. I wasn't exactly sure if it was gonna be fair or foul. And when I got close to it, I heard like the whole stadium telling me to drop it, so I just couldn't do anything else. They were making it really hard on him, swinging at the first pitch every at-bat, even though the game was close."

With one out to go, reliever Jose Leclerc was summoned, and he struck out Marco Hernández.

The Red Sox finish the 2019 season with three games against the Orioles at Fenway Park.
Travis Lakins / Mike Minor
M. Hernández, 2B      61
Benintendi, LF       100
Martinez, DH         138
Travis, 1B            71
Holt, 3B             106
G. Hernández, RF    (-21)
Bradley, CF           88
León, C               45
Owings, SS            18
OPS+: 100 = league-average hitter; 110 = 10% better than league-average hitter; 85 = 15% worse than league-average hitter, etc.

1 comment:

Jim said...

I dunno, the way the Sox were flailing away at pitches, how could Woodward not want them to swing at everything? And all we heard was that it was 95 degrees out. You think anybody wanted to stay out there? What whiny bullshit.