Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Game 61: Detroit Tigers at Red Sox (June 5, 2018)

I'm writing this game recap from the road as I've been traveling for work this week, but nothing can keep me from watching the Sox (or writing about them!). After a long day of work, dinner, and a few drinks with my colleagues, I retired to my hotel room to watch the Sox on my phone. There was news earlier today that Drew Pomeranz was placed on the DL, so Steven Wright got the start in his place. As with most knuckleball pitchers, Wright is either unhittable or he's up there pitching BP. Luckily for the Red Sox, on this night he was the former.



Before I get to the offense, I want to point out what a great job Wright did and how different he was to Pomeranz. Wright went seven innings and only gave up two hits. He threw 96 pitches and stuck out six against three walks. And, he worked quickly; this game was finished in less than three hours. Compare that to Pomeranz who labors to throw 90+ pitches in four or five innings and gets hit a lot harder and you'll see why my call for switching Drew to the bullpen and Wright back to the rotation doesn't sound so crazy after all. This game was also the return of Brandon Workman who hadn't pitched yet this season. After Hector Velazquez pitched a scoreless eighth inning, Workman closed the game out with a hitless ninth. For the game, the Sox had ten hits while holding the Tigers to only three.

So what about the offense? The Sox rolled to an easy 6-0 win and got contributions from a lot of guys. The Sox jumped all over Tigers rookie starter Artie Lewicki in the first when JD Martinez hit his league leading 20th homer, a two-run shot to give them a quick 2-0 lead. They added two more in the fourth when Eduardo Nunez and Rafael Devers both drove in runs, although Devers' RBI came on a fielder's choice double play with the bases loaded and no outs. The Sox loaded the bases again with two outs later in the inning but came away empty handed. It didn't matter, though, as they kept Detroit off the bases and plated two more runs in the fifth when Xander Bogaerts hit a solo homer and Brock Holt drove in a run on a fielder's choice. That 6-0 lead would hold and help the Sox go a game ahead of the Yankees in the division. Jackie Bradley also had a two hit night which tells me the last couple of games were probably just a normal dip and that he's on one his hot streaks for the time being.

I realize that the Tigers aren't particularly good this year, but the fact that the Sox have been able to win or split every series they've played in the absence of Mookie Betts tells me this team is even deeper and more dangerous than we thought. If they can play this well with Mookie, Dustin Pedroia, and Pomeranz out, with Chris Sale not pitching at his best, and still have the best record in baseball, then there's no telling what they can do when everyone is back contributing. 

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