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Red Sox 4, Tigers 7: Sox, Sale slide in Game 1

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Chris Sale couldn’t find his fastball and no one could keep the ball in the yard as the Sox got blasted this afternoon at Fenway.

Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox - Game One
It all slid away.
Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

You saw the headline; you know what’s up.


In the first inning... very little happened. Sale walked Miguel Cabrera on this overcast day but otherwise looked good, striking out two. Mookie got on base for the Sox only to have J.D. Martinez hit into a double play.

Tigers 0, Red Sox 0

In the second inning... Dennis Eckersley says he thinks Sandy León is back strictly to catch Chris Sale, and he says this is the last time he’ll talk about it until Dave O’Brien says Eck is lying, because what if Sale throws a perfect game? Eck admits his error. Meanwhile, Dustin Peterson hits a topspin grounder through the hole for a single just as Eck predicts it, but Sale follows it up with a three-pitch strikeout of Ronny Rodriguez, Josh Harrison flies out to center and Grayson Greiner watched a slider to end the inning.

Xander Bogaerts grounded out on the first pitch but he hit it well so hey. It took Steve Pearce two pitches, but he popped out, so much worse. Michael Chavis blasted the first pitch to center, but not far enough. Four pitches for Boston. Whee!

Tigers 0, Red Sox 0

In the third inning... Another three-pitch K to start and the lineup is now turned over. Jeimar Candelario grounds out to second on a 1-2 count and Sale is working it. He’s throwing a lot of sliders and pretty much only the middle of the Tigers order can hang with him, and after a perfect strikeout pitch to Castellanos was called a ball... he threw a 3-2 slider that Casty swung through for his sixth (!) strikeout.

Christian Vázquez — excuse me, designated hitter Christian Vázquez — walked, and Tzu-Wei Lin showed bunt for strike out, swung through strike two and drove a double to the corner on pitch three, because baseball! Sandy León then softly hit it to third base with runners on second and third, meaning nothing happened except for the out at first. Then Andrew Benintendi did the same thing but to the pitcher, so now two outs. Mookie saved the day, though, with a grounder through the hole to score both runs and make it 2-0. J.D. struck out tho.

Red Sox 2, Tigers 0

Chris Sale strikeouts: 6

In the fourth inning... I went to take a shower and came back to a mess. There were two outs, the score was 2-1, and there was a runner on second. What the heck? Boo. Unfortunately no records exist about what happened, so we’ll just pick up from here. Harrison struck out easily to end the frame. Do I really have to sit in front of the computer the whole time for Sale magic to work? Ugh. Fine. Eight strikeouts now.

Xander popped out. I just traded for him in dynasty and I don’t know how I feel about it. Pearce, obviously working through some issues at the plate, reaches on catcher’s interference on a 3-2 count. NESN doesn’t have the first base thing lit up for Pearce but he’s there as Chavis hits an absolute bomb to left that just missed being a homer. He eventually grounds in a double play, and all was lost.

Red Sox 2, Tigers 1

Chris Sale strikeouts: 8

In the fifth inning... Sale was at 76 pitches to start, for what it’s worth, as Greiner smacked a monster homer to tie it on a batting practice fastball, 90 miles per hour down the middle of the plate. Our comment: Boo. JaCoby Jones singled to left and our comment stood. Eck used the phrase “back-door Johnson.” Sale is gassed, obsessed with Jones at first and Heath Hembree is up in the bullpen, so you know things are great. He at least got Candelario to whiff on a 92 mile per hour fastball, which is more like it. As Castellanos swung through one, it’s worth nothing how incredible bendy Sale’s slider was today — and as if to prove it, Casty missed a second one and meekly popped up a third for the second out.

But that’s not the end, as Miggy thwacked a double to left to put runners on second and third for Goodrum. At this point, Sale’s at 92 pitches, there are two outs, and after a mound visit it’s pretty clear this is his last batter as he pumps in two straight fastballs, which he hasn’t done all day, I think, to run it to 2-2, at which point he gets Niko on the back-door Johnson. Eck be knowing.

Vázquez reached on an infield throwing error, having spent the his free time from catching practicing mind control, apparently. Lin struck out faster than I could write this sentence, and León popped out to right, as he does. Benintendi flew out to center. I know I’m not the ESPN play-by-play option but this stuff happened so fast

Red Sox 2, Tigers 2

Chris Sale strikeouts: 10

In the sixth inning... Hembree gave up a solo homer to Rodriguez with one out, making it 3-2 Detroit. Lovely. León caught a guy stealing for the second out (because Hembree allows baserunners in bunches), but then Heath walked another guy on and he was lifted for Tyler Thornburg, everyone’s favorite reliever. In fairness Thornburg struck out Jones, but the damage was done.

Mookie lined out sharply to third, because it’s just that kind of season. Boyd was still going strong with 69 pitches midway through J.D.’s at-bat, which he worked to 3-2 before popping out to short center. Love this season! Kidding. But what I do love is Bogaerts going yard to make it 3-3. Which he did, over the monster seats. Hey, that’s our name! Anyhow at one point in time (before 2014) these homers were rare. They are not now. Pearce struck out to bring balance to the universe, because, you know, Endgame tie-in, and we move along.

Red Sox 3, Tigers 3

In the seventh inning... I walked to the bar for the last hour and listened to Thornburg make quick work of the meaty part of the lineup, which is a great sign. They were saying not-nice things about Castellanos? Anyhow, Boyd was still going strong until it looked like Lin put a charge into one to right but came up short.

Red Sox 3, Tigers 3

In the eighth inning... Colton Brewer pitched and walked Goodrum on a full count to start the frame. LOL. He was chunking his curveball, giving León a workout behind the plate, but he got Peterson to pop out to right on a 1-0 pitch at which he probably shouldn’t have swung, to be honest. Rodriguez doubled off the wall tho and put runners at second and third with one out, which was Very Bad. Could Harrison take advantage? Could Brewer overcome his self-inflicted mess? There were many questions! The answer to all of them was that the 2019 Red Sox are cursed and/or have bad relievers, and because of that Harrison doubled to left-center, making it 5-3 Tigers. Then it was 6-3, because Greiner hit a single. At least the Sox turned a double play to end it.

With Boyd now finally out of the game, Rafael Devers pinch-hits and drives a single to center. Benintendi struck out on three pitches, looking, and was not happy about it. The Tigers switched pitchers again, and Betts grounded into a double play.

It’s not what you want.

Tigers 6, Red Sox 3

In the ninth inning... Bobby Poyner — sorry BOBBY POYNAH! —- took the mound and walked Candelario on a full count. Casty singled to center, and one has to imagine the exits became a very popular place at Fenway even before Cabrera dumped a single to right, making it 7-3 and putting runners on first and third with no outs. BUT! A fun thing happened when Goodrum flew out to right and Castellanos tried to score and failed, which is, you know, a double play in which Casty got tagged on the head which they reviewed and upheld. Then there was a very high pop out and the Tigers were probably done hitting for the day.

The Red Sox were not, as Bogaerts hit a solo homer to make it 7-4 with one out, but then they lost anyway, so butts. See you in a couple hours.

Final: Tigers 7, Red Sox 4