Game 80: Los Angeles Angels at Red Sox (June 26, 2018)

What a new phenomenon for me: a night off where I didn't have to be anywhere or do anything after work. As much as I'm already missing coaching and the hustle and bustle of my kids' travel seasons, I had forgotten how nice it was to also have nothing to do after getting home besides eating dinner with my family and relaxing. After we ate dinner, we all went for a walk to enjoy the beautiful (and unseasonably cool) weather. When we got inside, I plopped down on the couch to watch the game while my kids went outside to play a little whiffle ball in the backyard. By the time I had watched the entire game, my kids were still outside with the floodlights on having an epic game with some neighborhood kids who had come over to join in. Isn't summer the best, especially when you're a kid?

I've made no secret here and elsewhere that Mike Trout is my favorite non-Red Sox player, so I was really excited to watch him play while still hoping that he didn't do anything too spectacular that would help the Angels beat the Sox. I needn't have worried because Boston picked up right where they left off when they swept the Angels in LA back in April. David Price got the start for Boston and while he wasn't Chris Sale-good, he was solid and continued his run of excellent performances. He threw six innings and only gave up five hits. He struck out seven and walked two and the only damage was a solo home run given up to former Red Sox Chris Young in the third inning. Otherwise, it was all Boston in this one. I knew it was going to get off to a good start when Mookie Betts hit the very first pitch of the game into the bullpen for a quick 1-0 lead. There were shades of Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS with Officer Steve Horgan reprising his iconic arms-up pose as Michael Hermasillo did his best Torii Hunter impersonation in flipping over the wall.  The star of the night was Jackie Bradley, who went 3-4 and hit a couple to the opposite field, something I and other fans have wanted to see him do for years. He has been hitting the ball very hard the last month with little to show for it, but over the past week they've been falling in which is a very good sign. He hit a two-RBI double in the second, a solo homer over the Green Monster in the third, and an RBI single in the seventh. He finished the game a triple shy of the cycle! The Sox knocked Angels pitcher John Lamb out of the game in the second when Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland both drove in runs after Bradley, and they did just as much damage against Angels reliever Deck McGuire. Christian Vazquez and JD Martinez both got in on the fun when they each hit solo homers in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, respectively. Bradley's aforementioned RBI single in the seventh finished off the scoring as Boston cruised to an easy 9-1 win. As for Trout, the Sox held him to a 1-4 night...while I like to see the amazing things he can do, I'm glad he didn't hurt the Red Sox in any way.

Owing to scheduling quirks and the uneven number of games played, the Sox are a half game behind the Yankees in the AL East. With two more games at home against the Angels before a big series this weekend against the Yankees in New York, if the Sox keep pace then they should be in good position to do some damage in the division race...I'm hoping they can take two of three. The summer weather is heating up and so is the season; every game is starting to be more and more important. This is also when it gets the most fun to root for your team...I'm really looking forward to it!