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Red Sox 8, Angels 2: Let the good times roll

The team continues to do everything well.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox are never going to lose again. Probably. Maybe. This game wasn’t quite the same kind of utter dominance as many of their recent wins have been, but it was still convincing enough. Boston now has seven wins in a row, with their latest coming behind a strong effort from Eduardo Rodriguez, yet another leadoff home run from Mookie Betts and another strong day in the middle of the lineup for J.D. Martinez. This team is seriously a machine right now.

The Red Sox offense wasn’t quite as explosive on Thursday as they have been at other points during this incredible recent run, but honestly that says more about the run they’ve been on than anything. The offense was just fine in this one, and it got off to a familiar start. Betts did what Betts has been doing of late, and he started the game off with a bang. Nick Tropeano left a changeup in the upper part of the zone, and honestly I would not advise doing that against Betts. The Red Sox star smashed it out to left field for a leadoff home run, the thirteenth of his career. He’s only 25! He already has 13 leadoff home runs! Good lord!

From there, the lineup kind of slowed down in startling fashion. Obviously, not every game is going to be an offensive explosion for the first few innings to develop an early blowout, but also it kind of felt like every game was going to be that way? Instead, Tropeano settled down and allowed just two baserunners after that home run through the third inning.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

While the Red Sox offense was struggling (relatively speaking) after Betts put them up 1-0, Rodriguez was dealing with the Angels offense and having decent success. The first inning was particularly impressive as he set the top of their order down 1-2-3 including back-to-back strikeouts against Mike Trout and Justin Upton, getting both sluggers on high fastballs. That inning, it should be noted, was delayed after home plate umpire Jerry Layne was hit with a foul ball and had to leave the game.

Rodriguez wouldn’t have as much success in the second inning, though this wasn’t entirely his fault. He did walk Andrelton Simmons with one out, but then he got Shohei Ohtani to hit a ground ball to Brock Holt. The Red Sox were in a shift and Holt was behind the bag, and while he did have to wait for Rafael Devers to cover the second base bag it sure seemed as though he could have made a play there. Instead, he got Ohtani at first, which allowed Simmons to advance a base and he’d advance one more when no one covered third due to the shift. That turned out to be important heads-up baserunning with Simmons scoring right after that on a Zack Cozart single to tie the game at one.

That was the busiest inning Rodriguez would have through the game, as he allowed just one more run in the game. This one was courtesy of an old friend as Chris Young showed that he can still hit left-handed pitching contrary to what he showed with the Red Sox last year. The outfielder took a fastball on the outer half from Rodriguez and yanked it out to left field. Other than that, Rodriguez was great. He was mixing his pitches fairly well with his changeup being the secondary that stood out the most in this game. The young lefty racked up twenty swinging strikes in the game and in the end he made it through six innings allowing just the two runs on three hits, three walks and five strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox offense was able to pick things up a bit after those few quiet innings to kick things off. The fourth inning started with a 1-1 score, and the middle of the order did their thing to change it. Hanley Ramirez led things off with a walk, and then he was able to score from first base on a J.D. Martinez double to give the lead right back to Boston in the blink of an eye. That wouldn’t be all, either, as Devers would knock Martinez in on an RBI single of his own. From there, we’d fast-forward to the sixth and Andrew Benintendi led that one off with his first homer of the year. Later in the inning, Martinez, Mitch Moreland and Devers had back-to-back-to-back hits, giving the Red Sox a solid 5-2 lead. The inning could have continued, too, but Eduardo Nuñez grounded into one of the most impressive double plays you’ll ever see, started by Andrelton Simmons.

So, it was up to the Red Sox bullpen to finish things off in the last three innings of this game. Heath Hembree was called upon first, and that seventh was a little scary. Cozart would reach on a throwing error by Devers — his fourth error of the year — and then he’d move over to second on a wild pitch. The Angels couldn’t come through with a runner in scoring position and nobody out, though. Hembree got a pair of groundouts sandwiching a strikeout and Cozart was stranded at third base and the score stayed 5-2.

Fortunately, the Red Sox would add another run on a Ramirez single, a Martinez double — his second of the day — and a Moreland sacrifice fly. That left it a four-run game, and in the eighth Boston turned to Carson Smith. The righty didn’t have much trouble with the heart of the Angels order, setting them down 1-2-3. After the Red Sox added two more in the top half of the ninth, Joe Kelly came on for a scoreless bottom half to finish things off. Seven in a row, and 16 in 18 games. Yowza.

The Red Sox will look to get another sweep out in Oakland in a series that starts Friday night. It’s another late game for those of us on the East Coast, with first pitch coming at 10:05 PM ET. Boston will be getting Drew Pomeranz back for this one and Oakland will counter with Kendall Graveman.


Courtesy of Fangraphs