Sunday, July 22, 2018

Game 100: Red Sox at Detroit Tigers (July 21, 2018)

Here we are, the one hundredth game of the season. Overall we can't be anything but pleased with where the Red Sox are right now, but what happened in this game was exactly what I was afraid of coming out of the All Star break. They were sluggish and none of the momentum from before the break carried over after the long layoff. It was even more apparent in this second game against Detroit since the black hole that is the fifth rotation spot was due to pitch. Brian Johnson got the start and I wasn't feeling very confident that the Sox would win if they didn't hit better than the night before. One run isn't going to cut it no matter who you face.

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The longer this game went on, the more it became obvious that the Sox got lucky the night before. The scoring in this game was all Detroit, aided and abetted by a bad play in the field. Former Red Sox Jose Iglesias did the most damage in this game, doubling in two runs in the second and hitting a two run homer in the sixth to drive in four of the Tigers' five runs. (Remember when the knock on this guy in Boston was that he was all glove, no bat? He always seems to do damage at the plate when he faces the Sox!). The other came off a Jeimar Candelario sacrifice fly earlier in the sixth. Those final three runs were off of Tyler Thornburg while the first two came off of Johnson. There was also a brutal throwing error by Rafael Devers, his twentieth of the season. Boston actually outhit Detroit 8-7 but they left a whopping fifteen men on base; it's hard to win any game when you strand that many baserunners. The worst culprit was Xander Bogaerts, who for the game left six men on base. Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Eduardo Nunez, and Jackie Bradley each left two while Steve Pearce stranded the remaining runner. There's not much more the dwell on with this game. Johnson actually pitched well enough to win: five innings, two runs, five strikeouts and no walks. The team just couldn't give him any run support and by the time Tyler Thornburg was done (one inning, three runs, a walk, and a strikeout) the game was out of reach. The lone bright spot for the Sox came in the bottom of the third when Mookie made a ridiculous leaping catch at the wall to rob Leonys Martin of a sure home run. If it wouldn't get me shut down by MLB, I'd share the video here because it was one of the greatest catches I've seen this season. It was another reminder (along with his 2-5 day and .355 average) that's he's one of the rare five tool players in the game today.



With the Yankees somehow managing to hold on for a win despite Aroldis Chapman's awful performance, the Sox lead in the AL East was cut by a game. They're still 4.5 games up and in good shape to win the series today with Chris Sale on the mound. They just need to convert all of those hits they've been piling up in Detroit into runs. At least they've got back-to-back series with cellar dwellers like Detroit and Baltimore to get back into the swing of things coming out of the break before the stretch run really heats up. 

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