Game 69: Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles (June 13, 2018)

For the series finale, the Red Sox had a 3pm start time; seeing as it was a getaway day with the next series starting in Seattle, it made sense. And it was another day and another weird lineup from Alex Cora. This time Mookie Betts was back and hitting leadoff as normal, but Brock Holt was at first base. I'm at the point where I'm going to give up trying to understand Cora's logic when it comes to the lineup and batting order, but as I said in the beginning of the season I do wish he'd settle on a more or less finalized version to give the team and players some consistency. It's probably not going to happen, though, so I guess I'll just keep complaining about it as the season goes on!

Last night I coached my youngest daughter's team in their third tournament game. It was a hard fought battle that saw us come back from an 11-0 deficit to pull within a run. Heading into the bottom of the last inning we were down 12-11, had all of the momentum, and looked like we would take the game, but the other team stopped us and we came up just short. Yes, we got screwed by a couple of blatantly incorrect umpiring calls and yes, the other team was cutthroat in a way that beggared belief for 8U softball, but we were so proud of our girls. Since it's double elimination, we're still in it and play again tonight so I'm looking for us to bounce back with a win. I was grateful for the early Red Sox start time: I was able to listen to the first few innings on the radio (i.e. my phone) at work and then watch the rest of the game when I got home before heading the ball fields to coach.

Unlike the last time he pitched, Chris Sale did get some run support in this one. He went six innings and struck out nine while walking four and only giving up two hits. He was charged with only a single earned run on a batter that Brandon Workman inherited after he left the game. The way Sale left the game was fairly comical: he'd been squeezed all afternoon by home plate umpire Brian Knight and was lifted in the seventh after walking two batters on very questionable calls. After Cora gave him the hook, he started barking at Knight when walking to the dugout and promptly got tossed. He then continued to berate the ump from the dugout before heading into the clubhouse. I love to see that fire and intensity, especially from our best pitcher. As far as the Red Sox offense, Mookie got things started with a solo homer in the third to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead. Xander Bogaerts returned the favor by driving in Mookie with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Boston added two more runs that inning on RBI singles from Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez. To cap off the scoring, JD Martinez crushed yet another opposite field homer, his 22nd, in the seventh. Apart from a sac fly to drive in a run in the bottom of the seventh, Baltimore didn't do anything at the plate, only getting four hits to Boston's nine. With the 5-1 win and the Yankees loss, the Red Sox find themselves in the peculiar position of being a game ahead of the Yankees in the standings, but still in second place based on being 0.002 percentage points behind New York (by virtue of having played six more game). In my more than thirty years of following baseball, I can't recall ever seeing a situation like this. Very bizarre!

I'm glad the Sox swept the Orioles after that disastrous series against the White Sox; they picked up three valuable wins and have some good momentum heading into a very tough part of their schedule. First up will be the surprising Seattle Mariners who are leading the AL West and are playing great baseball. The first matchup of David Price against Felix Hernandez looks like a good one on paper...I hope Price can continue to pitch as well as he has lately and keep the Sox close. The only downside to these next four games are the late start times. West Coast games starting at 10pm are always tough and with as busy as I've been lately and with as little sleep as I've gotten it'll be a challenge, but it's one I'll do my best to meet head on. Maybe I should start placing bets on which inning I'll fall asleep in for each game?