The Red Sox came into today on arguably the worst four game stretch for any team in the live ball era. They’d been outscored 59-9 in that stretch and all but run themselves out of the wildcard chase. Would they be able to pull it together, refocus, take it one game at a time, and avoid being swept at home by a division rival?
No, they were awful, with bad and bizarre mistakes on the mound, on the bases, and in the field. The Jays played fine, but the real story of this game is the Red Sox continuing to melt down. It was a fun afternoon.
Ross Stripling got the start for the Jays. He had a bit of trouble in the first, giving up a lead-off double to Jaren Duran. Singles from Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts cashed him in, but Strip was able to stop the bleeding there. the second and third innings were uneventful. In the fourth, Franchy Cordero lined a single and Yolmer Sanchez brought him in for the Sox’ second run. Danny Jansen gunned Sanchez down to end the inning. That was it for Stripling. He was pitching fine and had only thrown 62 pitches, but the top of the Red Sox order was coming up and it was 38 with high humidity in Boston this afternoon so I can see why Schneider wanted to cut it short.
Trevor Richards came in for the fifth. Duran hit a towering fly off the wall to dead centre for a triple and came around to score on a Verdugo line single, but Richards struck out Christian Vazquez and Bogaerts to limit the damage. He came back to start the sixth and got two outs before Jackie Bradley jr. lofted an opposite field fly over the monster for the Sox’ fourth run. David Phelps came on and K’d Jeter Downs to end the inning.
Phelps walked Duran to lead off the 7th, but got a fly-out from Vazquez and was lifted so Tim Mayza could face the lefty Verdugo. Vlad and Bo turned a smooth 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Yimi Garcia handled a clean eighth with a pop out, a ground out, and a strikeout. Adam Cimber worked the ninth and had a good bounce back after a tough outing yesterday, striking out the side after a soft fly ball single by Jackie Bradley jr.
Brayan Bello got the start for the Red Sox. Things went sideways for the home team immediately. George Springer lead off with a ground ball single that Bogaerts tried to bare-hand and missed. Vladimir Guerrero jr. followed with a ball chopped softly off the third base bag for the cheapest double you’ll probably ever see. After a Lourdes Gurriel jr. line-out, Bo Bichette walked to load the bases. Cavan Biggio poked a ground ball single through to score two, and Franchy Cordero miss-played it in left to allow Bichette to go to 3rd. Matt Chapman walked to re-load the bases, and Raimel Tapia cleared them with a line drive ripped into the centre field triangle for a triple to make it 5-0.
They Jays threatened again in the second, with Springer again leading off with a ground ball single, but Duran made a terrific leaping grab on a Bichette line drive to rob a run. They got two more hits in the 3rd, including the most Fenway double imaginable from Chapman, a lazy fly that just kissed off the monster above Cordero’s reach, but didn’t cash either in. The 4th was more of the same, with a Guerrero Texas leaguer and a Gurriel laser off the monster that went for a single but was probably a home run in most parks, but no runs. That was it for Bello. His final line was ugly (9H, 5ER, 2BB, 2SO), but could have been less bad with any help from his fielders.
Hirokazu Sawamura came on to start the 5th. The Red Sox weirdness continued, as Hernandez was awarded a walk with two automatic balls because Sawamura kept licking his fingers and touching the ball without wiping his hand off first. Chapman ripped a line drive double off the monster to send him to third, and a Tapia ground ball single scored him. Jansen chopped a ball to third and Downs tried to get the out at home but threw it off Chapman’s back, scoring the Jays’ 7th run. Downs got a chance to redeem himself on the next play, as Springer hit a ground ball to third that could have been two, but he bobbled it and everyone was safe. The capstone came on the next play. Vlad chopped the ball softly to Dalbec, who tossed to Sawamura for what should have been an easy out, but Sawamura ran past the bag, allowing an 8th run to score. Gurriel grounded into a double play to stop it there, but the Jays scored three in the inning with really only one well hit ball and half a dozen bizarre mistakes by the Red Sox.
The Sox bullpen was able to restore order after that point. Garrett Whitlock worked the sixth, and other than a line drive double for Hernandez didn’t allow any damage. Austin Davis worked a clean seventh. The Jays got a couple hits off Kaleb Ort in the 8th, including Vlad’s 4th of the day on his first semi-solid contact, but weren’t able to add onto their lead. Jake Diekman finished it off with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Jay of the Day: Tapia (0.205) and Biggio (0.140) had the number and deserved it. Vlad (0.112) also qualifies, but was more lucky than good out there today.
Suckage: the Red Sox. That’s not how this section works but no one on the Jays qualifies and Boston really did suck pretty remarkably.
The Jays are off tomorrow. They’ll be back in action at 7:07 ET on Tuesday night, facing the Cardinals back at Rogers Centre. Jose Berrios takes the mound, facing off against rookie Andre Pallante.