Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Game 16: Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels (April 17, 2018)

I went into this game knowing there was no way I could possibly stay up and watch the entire thing. After a full day of work, family time, taking my kids to the batting cages, and then watching the Celtics win their second playoff game, it was just after 10pm when I laid down in bed to watch the start of the Sox game. I'd been looking forward all day to seeing Shoehi Ohtani with my own eyes, and to be honest what I saw was pretty ugly. Coming into the game, he'd been lauded beyond belief by the media. The highlights I'd seen showed that he had some truly nasty stuff, but I also knew he'd only faced the woeful Oakland A's (twice). How would he fare against a real lineup like the Red Sox? The answer: not well. He lasted two innings and really labored, throwing nearly seventy pitches and didn't look sharp at all. His fastball was good but he had zero command of his off-speed stuff. Mookie Betts hit a leadoff solo home run in the top of the first and the Sox tacked on two more in the second inning. It could've been more because they had loaded the bases with one out and only came away with two runs. The top of the third is when the wheels completely fell off the cart for LA. Hitting against Angels reliever Luke Bard (brother of former Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard, which is a sad story if you haven't read it), the Sox exploded for five runs off of three home runs! First was a two-run blast by Jackie Bradley, followed two batters later by another two-run homer from Brock Holt. Immediately after Holt, Mookie clubbed another solo shot. The Angels pushed across a run in the bottom of the third, but at that point it was 8-1 Red Sox and my 6am alarm was getting ever closer so I called it a night. Rafael Devers hit a solo shot later and Mookie hit his third homer of the game in the eighth inning as the Sox ended up embarrassing the Angels 10-1. It was the fifth straight win in their latest streak and pushes their record to an absurd 14-2 on the season. The official story from the Angels was that Ohtani was pulled from the game because he was dealing with blisters on his pitching hand...the truth or a convenient excuse after getting rocked? You decide...

David Price started the game for the Sox and while he wasn't sharp, he was more than adequate, going five innings and only giving up a single run. He struck out six but he also walked four. He's much too talented to continue giving mediocre performances like this so I hope it's just a case of needing to get into a groove early in the season. Love him or hate him, if the Red Sox are going to make a run at the World Series, they're going to need everyone to contribute and perhaps none more so than Price. I'm now looking forward to seeing if Rick Porcello can keep up his redemption tour tonight, although once again I'm sure I won't be able to watch more than a few innings. While I've always enjoyed staying up late to watch west coast games, whether they're baseball or basketball, it's just not doable to watch entire games when I've got to be up early the next morning. With a series in Oakland following this Angels series, I'll do the best I can over the next week and hope I can catch up on my sleep next week.

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