Game 76: Red Sox at Minnesota Twins (June 21, 2018)

As you've no doubt gleaned from the last week, I'm fairly down on the Red Sox right now. Not in a rooting/interest sort of way; I'll always root like hell for them. Rather it's in the way I feel about how they've been playing and their chances to contend for the World Series right now. Since this final game against the Twins in Minnesota was an afternoon getaway day game, I was able to listen to it at work in my office. All I was hoping for was a win so that Boston could avoid the sweep. With Rick Porcello on the mound, I liked their chances although the way they've (not) been swinging the bats lately and stranding runners, I wasn't particularly confident it would make a difference.

Just as his fellow starters Chris Sale and David Price did, Rick Porcello gave the Red Sox yet another fantastic performance. He went seven innings and only allowed one hit while striking out five and walking one. He finished off his afternoon by retiring the final sixteen batters in a row he faced. However, unlike Sale's and Price's ultimate fates, Rick actually got some run support. They scored a run for him in the fourth when Sandy Leon drove in Mitch Moreland on a sharp single down the right field line, and another in the fifth when Mookie Betts belted an opposite field solo homer (his 19th). It was in the seventh and eighth innings when the Boston offense really exploded. In the seventh inning, Xander Bogaerts drove in two on an RBI double and advanced to third on the throw home. Rafael Devers followed up driving in Xander on a fielder's choice. In the eighth, Andrew Benintendi clubbed his 13th homer with a solo shot followed a little later by Moreland doubling to drive in JD Martinez. The final run of the day for the Sox came in the top of the ninth when Jackie Bradley drove in Brock Holt with a single to right field. The Twins picked up a couple of meaningless runs in the bottom of the ninth, but there was no damage as the Sox won this game easily by the final score of 9-2.

Everyone in the starting lineup got a hit except for Devers (who still drove in a run) and everyone drove in a run except for Holt and Martinez (who both scored runs themselves). This was just what the team needed after the last two dismal nights at the plate. Still, anyone as old as I am who goes back a ways with the Sox will remember how they always seem to explode for runs in easy games like this while struggling in closer contests. When I was younger there was always a feeling of "gee, I wish they'd save some of these runs for the next game" especially when they were already up by a lot and continued to pour it on. That's how I'm feeling right now. The explosion was nice, but I hope they can keep that sort of production up going forward and that it wasn't just a one game aberration. I'll stop nitpicking now, especially since the Sox actually head home finishing this tough road trip with a 6-4 record. When I realized that, I was surprised it was that good given how bad they looked the first two games in Minnesota and how much those middle two they dropped to Seattle still rankle. That sweep of the brutal Orioles to start this trip off really helped. It won't get any easier going forward with Seattle coming to town tomorrow night for a three game set. Let's see if the Sox can get some revenge for those two games last week and take this upcoming series. One game at a time...