The regular season was over before this game began and all of us are just waiting for the playoffs to start. Unfortunately, things don’t work as we’d all like them to and the Red Sox and Astros had to play this last game. It was not an intense one, though it was actually fairly entertaining. This recap will be about as intense as the game itself, a game the Red Sox could not win.
While this game had no bearing on the standings and really wasn’t all that exciting to watch for the fans because of this fact, it did matter for many of the players who took part in the game who didn’t get a lot of chances in the bigs this season. Among them was Hector Velazquez, who got the start for the Red Sox in this game. The righty pitched extremely well in Triple-A for his first year in affiliated ball out of Mexico and he did his job whenever he was called upon in the majors as well outside of a tough first outing. He deserved the chance to start in this game, even if it was a meaningless one.
Velazquez took full advantage of the opportunity as well and pitched very well against this Astros lineup, albeit one full of bench players and minor leaguers. Still, Velazquez did an excellent job of commanding the strike zone and limiting his damage. He did allow three hits and walked a couple of batters in his four innings of work, but he also didn’t allow a run. The key was spreading around the damage rather than allowing himself to get into any true high-pressure situations. He won’t see any action in the postseason barring a crazy run of injuries, but Velazquez will certainly play a key role in 2018, whether it be for the Red Sox or a team willing to pay Boston for the righty to play a bigger role in their rotation.
Aside from Velazquez, there wasn’t much of note in this game. The Red Sox offense featured a few regulars and they combined to put up a strong inning in the fourth that was gave them an early lead. That inning started with a Brock Holt double followed by a Christian Vazquez single to put two in scoring position with nobody out. Rafael Devers was up next, and he hit a fly ball out to left field that just barely found fair territory but fell in for a two-RBI double. After a Chris Young single moved Devers over to third, the rookie would come in to score in the next at bat on a passed ball.
With Velazquez only going four innings in this game — likely because he’s pitched a ton since last year and the team is trying to limit his workload as the year winds down — the Red Sox bullpen was obviously busy. Robby Scott came in first and pitched very well, going 1 1⁄3 innings without allowing a run. Brandon Workman was on next, coming in with one out in the sixth. He’d allow a leadoff double, but that was all for that inning.
The seventh wouldn’t go so well for the Red Sox bullpen. Workman started that inning and allowed a single and a walk before passing things off to Fernando Abad. The lefty recorded one out on a hard-hit liner to go with three singles that knocked in three runs and tied the game up, making everyone fear that this game could go into extras. Matt Barnes took care of that fear by allowing a sacrifice fly to the first batter he faced before picking up a strikeout and ending the inning.
That would be it for the scoring in this game as the Red Sox couldn’t tie it up. In the bullpen, Matt Barnes came back out for a 1-2-3 eighth and Joe Kelly came in for a scoreless ninth.
So, the Red Sox finish the year with 93 wins in what could only be described as a successful regular season. Now, it’s time to pair that with a successful postseason. That ride will begin on Thursday.