This was a dumb baseball game. That’s all I have to say on the matter.
I really have to write about this game, huh? I’m going to be totally honest with everyone right now: I don’t really want to! This was a dumb, boring, slog of a game and everyone would have been better off if it didn’t happen. That said, it did have a little bit of excitement, particularly early, with Darwinzon Hernandez on the mound for his first major-league start. It was clear before the game even started that he probably wasn’t ready for this role long-term, but he’s also the top arm in the farm system so how could you not be excited, ya know? Well, we saw why people are so excited about the young lefty’s future in flashes of this game, but we also saw why he needs some more time in the minors and there’s a decent (good?) chance he won’t be a starter long-term.
In the first, though, it was all good. The lefty came out firing, almost certainly feeling the adrenaline from the excitement of making his first career start. Hernandez was pumping 98 mph fastballs and placing his breaking balls in the zone. When he’s doing that, he’s borderline unhittable and that showed here as he struck out each of the first three batters he faced. He actually extended that streak to four in the second inning, too, and everyone was feeling good.
Then, things got bad quickly and we saw the biggest issue with Hernandez: He struggles to hit his spots consistently. The lefty has had major walk issues all year, and really over his whole professional career, and those started to creep up in that second inning. After the fourth strikeout, Hernandez came back and walked the next two batters he faced. Then, he left a pitch up over the middle of the plate that Rougned Odor smacked out to right field for a ground-rule double to knock in the first Rangers run of the night. It was actually a break that it bounced over the wall, as two runs likely score if it stays in play. Hernandez did get out of the jam after that to strand two in scoring position.
The third was similar to the second, with the lefty getting a quick first out before walking three of the next four batters to come up. That loaded the bases with two outs for Asdrúbal Cabrera, who started his at bat with a 3-0 count. Hernandez worked it back full, but then the Rangers infielder poked a single into center field to score two and give Texas their second and third runs of the game.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox offense was trying to keep pace against another young pitcher, although one with a little more experience than Hernandez. Ariel Jurado did get through the top of the order with relative ease, walking Mookie Betts to start his evening but getting three outs after that. In the second, though, with Boston trailing 1-0, Xander Bogaerts changed the score quickly. He got a fastball up in the zone over the outer half of the plate and he crushed it out to left-center field for a solo homer, and just like that it was a 1-1 game. Similarly, after the team went down 3-1 in the top of the third they got a big two-run triple from Rafael Devers in the bottom half of the inning to again tie the game back up.
Now, it was up to Hernandez to keep the game tied and give his team a chance to take the lead back. He was not up to the task. Once again in the fourth he struggled with control. The inning started with a defensive miscue, though, when Shin-Soo Choo popped one up on the infield. Devers was underneath it but lost it in the twilight sky and eventually having it pop out of his glove. After that, Hernandez gave up a base hit and his night was over. The young lefty did get seven strikeouts in three-plus innings, but he also walked five while allowing three hits. That’s...too many baserunners.
Colten Brewer then came in and picked up where Hernandez left off, walking the first batter he saw. All things considered, he actually did a good job from there with the bases loaded and nobody out. The next batter did knock in the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly, but that was all Texas got out of the situation.
Bobby Poyner came in next in the fifth with the score still 4-3 in Texas’ favor, and this is where things started to get away from the Red Sox. Poyner walked two of the first three batters he saw before giving up a double to Danny Santana (who has killed the Red Sox in this series so far). That scored two more runs and the Rangers had a 6-3 lead.
The bottom of the inning didn’t see any runs for the Red Sox, but it did see the game start to get weird. Andrew Benintendi hit into what appeared to be a routine ground out, but he didn’t like a strike call earlier in the count. He had some words for home plate umpire Ángel Hernández on his way back to the dugout, and first base umpire Vic Carrapaza took it upon himself to toss Benintendi from the game. It was bizarre, and Alex Cora came out to yell about it some more, ultimately getting himself tossed.
In the sixth, the game officially turned into a laugher. Texas got a run early in the inning that included an error on Betts, and then Hunter Pence came to the plate. The veteran hit a shout out to the right field corner that Brock Holt tried to leap and catch. He came up short and the ball bounced around in the corner. Holt didn’t move — I’m assuming he got the wind knocked out of him with the way he hit the wall, but whatever happened it was weird — and Betts didn’t attempt to back up from center field. As a result, Pence jogged around the bases for an inside-the-park home run. Later in the inning, the second base umpire called Cabrera safe on a double before immediately changing his mind, which led to another ejection, this one of Texas manager Chris Woodward. Again, it was a very strange baseball game.
And, well, that’s about all I got. Nothing much happened after that as Texas ran away after taking the six-run lead on Pence’s home run. The Red Sox did score a couple of garbage time runs including one on a homer from Betts.
The Red Sox and Rangers continue their series on Wednesday with an earlier game than originally scheduled due to Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals later in the evening. The Red Sox will send out Rick Porcello to take on Lance Lynn, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:10 PM ET.