Monday, June 25, 2018

Game 79: Seattle Mariners at Red Sox (June 24, 2018)

So that's what happens when you score runs for Chris Sale. Who knew? It was a day that was bittersweet for me as it was the end of my son's travel baseball season. We lost our final tournament game, but we played those trophy hunters tough and I couldn't be more proud of the boys. My son was so sad because he wants to keep playing this summer (as do I), and I was sad because we've been playing our best ball of the season the last few weeks and I want to keep it going. It was a great group of boys to coach and I enjoyed every bit of it. From where we started the season in September to where we're at now, the difference is amazing. However, a little break will be good for us before the fall season ramps up in August.

Chris Sale was spectacular against the Mariners in the series finale. He struck out thirteen batters and only walked one in seven innings. He gave up four hits and completely stymied Seattle, and unlike his last few starts the offense scored some runs for him. The biggest (and nicest) surprise was that Jackie Bradley went 3-3. He had been hitting the ball hard the last month and putting it in play, but they weren't dropping in for hits. I'm hoping this is the start of something good for him because if he can even get his average up to .220, it will make the bottom of the lineup that much more dangerous (he's at .189 right now, so he's got a ways to go). Rafael Devers drove in the first Boston run with a double to push Xander Bogaerts across in the bottom of the fifth. Sandy Leon, who has been swinging a pretty hot bat himself lately, followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in Eduardo Nunez. Later in the inning, Mookie Betts drove in Leon with his own sac fly to make it 3-0 by the end of the fifth. The final damage was done by Mitch Moreland, who crushed a two-run homer to center field (his 11th of the season) to make it 5-0, which is how the game ended.

As they've shown all season, the Red Sox are dangerous in the final game of a series. With this victory, they took two of three from Seattle and moved into a tie atop the AL East owing to another Yankees loss (the Yankees were swept by Tampa Bay this weekend...thank you, Rays!). For the second Monday in a row (and third this month), the Sox have an off day. It'll be some much needed rest since they'll follow it with a series against a good Angels team (with the transcendent Mike Trout) followed by a big series in the Bronx against the Yankees. That's followed by road series against Washington (have I mentioned I hate interleague play?) and Kansas City before two home series against Texas and Toronto. That will take them all the way up to the All-Star break with only one additional day off (July 5th). It's a tough stretch of games where it will be important to keep pace with the Yankees and Astros. It's going to be a fun ride, even though I'm sure there will be some frustrations along the way. That's the nature of baseball, but that's also what makes the summer season so exciting and enjoyable.

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