Game 73: Red Sox at Seattle Mariners (June 17, 2018)

First and foremost, a happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there! I hope you were able to spend the day with your loved ones, those who call you dad and/or the man you call dad. I was fortunate enough to spend the day watching my oldest daughter's travel team play in and win their tournament! It was sweltering hot and humid with temperatures in the 90s and 55%+ humidity and we spent almost thirteen hours at the fields playing games and grabbing any scrap of shade and relief we could. There was much water and Gatorade consumed (by both players and parents!) and a lot of sweat and dirt. Through it all, I was lucky enough to spend time with my girl, not only watching her play and rooting for her and her teammates, but having some really great bonding time with her in the car and between games. She and her teammates played great all weekend and even though they were hot, sweaty, dirty, and exhausted by the championship game they played hard and fought off a very tough opponent to win the whole thing by a final score of 3-2. For the weekend, my girl hit a whopping .833 with 2 triples, 3 singles, a walk, and 3 runs scored. She also played a stellar third base and made several outs for her team. All in all, it was one of the most fun and exciting Father's Days I've ever had, capped off by having dinner and ice cream with my wife and the rest of our kids (who smartly chose to stay home in the air conditioning!). I am truly blessed and I look at Father's Day as a way to be thankful that I am my children's father as much as I'm thankful for my own dad, grandfathers, and uncles.

Now on to the Red Sox. After the previous two disasters, I was really hoping they could still salvage the series with a split. In a turnabout that was the polar opposite of their anemic showing at the plate the previous game, they exploded in this one. Mitch Moreland got things started with a two RBI single in the top of the third to push the first runs of the day across for the Sox. Rafael Devers followed this up with a three run homer and just like that, the Sox were up 5-0. However, as we saw two nights ago Seattle is more than capable of coming back from a deficit like that (and the Red Sox bullpen is more than capable of blowing a lead like that). The pesky Nelson Cruz got the Mariners on the board with a solo shot in the fourth while Jean Segura drove in a run on a fielder's choice an inning later. Thankfully, the Sox didn't let up and continued to pour it on starting with Jackie Bradley's solo shot in the seventh. Xander Bogaerts hit a home run of his own later in the inning, a two run blast that also brought in Andrew Benintendi and when the dust settled, it was 8-2 Boston. Benintendi tacked on the final Boston run when his sacrifice fly brought in Christian Vazquez. There were no bullpen meltdowns in this one and even the final Seattle run in the eighth off a Ryon Healy double didn't hurt as the Sox cruised to the 9-3 win. With the Yankees loss, the Sox are now tied atop the AL East with New York; the Yankees' winning percentage is still slightly higher, but the Sox are even in games so MLB is saying they're tied now (whereas last week they were saying the Yankees were in first in the same situation). I'll take it.

What a difference a day makes. The Sox couldn't buy a hit the last game and in this one they belted thirteen of them. Every starter had at least one in this game except for Mookie Betts, who looks like he's still trying to get back into rhythm after his long layoff from injury. Benintendi continues to be incendiary and went 3-4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Bogaerts and Devers each had two and it's great to see their power returning on a regular basis...ditto Jackie Bradley who has had a few homers over the last week. On the other side of the ball, Eduardo Rodriguez is quietly having a phenomenal season. He picked up another win and ran his record to 9-1 (am I the only one who didn't realize he'd already won this many games?!). He pitched six innings, striking out nine and only walking one. He gave up two runs on six hits and has stealthily been having one of the best seasons among Red Sox starters. If they're going to keep getting quality pitching from him and Steven Wright at the back end of the rotation, the Sox will be right there in the thick of it come October. For now, it's on to Minnesota as the road trip continues.