Game 86: Red Sox at Washington Nationals (July 2, 2018)

Run support? Rick Porcello says he'll make his own run support, thank you very much! As much as I hate interleague play (I believe I've mentioned that before, no?), I will grudgingly admit that it's nice to see the Sox play against some of the teams and players I don't normally get to see them go up against. In this case, even though he's having a miserable season, I was interested in seeing Bryce Harper play. We spent a full day visiting with my parents before my youngest daughter and I played in the parents vs. kids game to wrap up her softball season (it was a lot of fun!). We got home to watch the Sox in what turned out to be an interesting game.

The pitching match-up looked great with Porcello taking the mound against his former teammate, the phenomenal Max Scherzer. Rick got the first and last laugh, though, when he launched a double with the bases loaded in the second to give the Red Sox a quick 3-0 lead. While I don't have a problem with the DH rule as a lot of older fans (like my dad) do, especially since it's all I've ever known in the AL, I will say that it was very cool to see a pitcher get a big hit like that. Talk about helping your own cause! Anthony Rendon got the Nationals on the board with a solo shot in the fourth and Daniel Murphy did the same in the sixth. Mookie Betts answered those two with a solo shot of his own (his 21st of the season) in the top of the seventh. By then it was 4-2 Boston, and Mookie's home run looked a lot more important when Bryce Harper hit a solo blast off of Joe Kelly in the bottom of the eighth. It was too little, too late though as the Sox held on to win 4-3. With the Yankees losing to the Braves in extra innings, the Sox are back atop the AL East with a one game lead. 

The Sox were outhit in this game 9-7, but there was no hit bigger than Porcello's double. Brock Holt had a great game, going 3-3 while every other Sox player who had a hit in the game only had one. The win was Porcello's tenth of the season and he went six strong, striking out five and walking two while giving up two runs. Scherzer was also great, going six innings and striking out nine, but I'm sure he'd like to have the one he gave up to Rick back. Craig Kimbrel picked up his 25th save of the season and while the Sox continued to roll, the Nationals miserable season got worse. They're now only a game over .500, in third place in the NL East, and 2-8 in their last ten games. Combined with Harper's abysmal season, they look ripe for the Red Sox to take two of three if not sweep the whole series. Here's hoping that Boston does just that!