Boston was looking for some momentum heading into this week after dropping an ugly series to the Blue Jays over the previous weekend. They needed some good play under their belts as they headed into a couple of consecutive days off and a two-game series overseas in London against the Yankees. The division is looking more and more like a win for New York, but this could be the Red Sox last stand. They are playing good baseball heading in, and picked up a second straight win on Tuesday in the rain. David Price was solid, the defense recovered after some sloppy play early on and the offense did its thing led by Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts.
The Red Sox and White Sox were kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place with this game on Tuesday. The weather was rough all night long, bad enough to start the game with a 24-minute delay. They do play an afternoon game on Wednesday and normally in a worst-case you could schedule a doubleheader, even on a getaway day. It’s not ideal, but it’s doable. However, this is a different kind of getaway day with the Red Sox traveling across the pond to London following the game. They weren’t going to delay that flight, and because of that as well as the difficulty in finding a shared day off to make up a rainout they were going to do whatever they could to get this game in. As a result, these two teams played in some crappy conditions for a lot of this game, with the play on the field being about as sloppy as the radar.
David Price was on the mound for the Red Sox, looking to continue what has been a consistently strong season. He wasn’t done any favors by his defense and the weather seemed to play a bit of a factor, but all of that considered it was another solid outing for the veteran. Granted, it certainly wasn’t the best of the year for Price, but it was fine.
He started this game with the conditions mostly dry, and he rolled with a perfect first inning that included a pair of strikeouts. However, the second wasn’t as strong. He was handed a 1-0 lead, which we’ll get to in a minute, but quickly gave it up as the game turned sloppy. Chicago’s rally started when James McCann hit a ground ball to shortstop but Xander Bogaerts watched his throw ride up the first base line to get by Michael Chavis and allow the runner to reach on an error. McCann would then move up to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a broken bat bloop single from Jon Jay. Chicago would get another runner in the inning, but couldn’t get any more runs.
Things only got worse for Price and the team behind him in the top half of the third, too. This seemed to be when the weather was at its worst, and Price looked a little bit wary with his motion. He ended up giving up a one-out double to Tim Anderson, and after getting the second out he made a bad pitch to McCann that resulted in an RBI double to make it 2-1 in favor of the White Sox. It appeared he had gotten out of it after that when Eloy Jiménez hit a grounder out to shortstop, but the ball skidded a bit on the muddy infield and Bogaerts let it go right under his glove. That play (somehow ruled a hit but definitely an error in my mind) scored another run and put Chicago up by three.
After the error, Price got into a groove and gave his offense the chance they needed to get back in the game. The lefty got the final out of the third after the run scored before striking out the side in the fourth and allowing three singles — including one on which Anderson was thrown out at second by Jackie Bradley Jr. — over the course of the next two innings. Price would be done after those six innings, giving him a quality start, even if it wasn’t always pretty.
So, with Price being solid but not perfect, the offense needed to get to work on their side of things. As I alluded to above, they did get on the board first thanks to some sloppy defense on the White Sox part. Mookie Betts led off the inning with a ground ball to Anderson at shortstop. He made a nice play on the ball but his throw was off-target and allowed Betts to get to second. Rafael Devers came up next and hit a weak fly ball out to left field towards the line. Jiménez appeared to think it was going foul because he just let up on it, but it landed in fair territory and ended up bouncing over the rookie’s head. Technically it was an RBI double, but it was a clear misplay by Jiménez. Either way, it was 1-0 two batters into the inning, but the Red Sox couldn’t get more.
Boston would get back to action in the bottom of the third after the White Sox had taken the 3-1 lead. That rally started when Devers ripped a single out to left field before moving up to second when Bogaerts was hit by a pitch. After J.D. Martinez hit a base hit to load the bases and Bradley failed to get a run home with a shallow fly ball, it was up to Christian Vázquez with two outs. He put up a great at bat, and on the seventh pitch his poked a single through the left side to get two runs home, and just like that this game was all tied up. It also knocked the catcher’s hit streak up to 11 games.
A couple of innings later, things got better. Devers started this rally as well, this time smoking a double into the right-center field gap to lead off the inning. That brought Bogaerts to the plate with rain still falling from the sky. The shortstop got an 0-1 fastball right down the middle of the plate, sending it through the rain drops and into the Monster Seats for a two-run shot to put the Red Sox up 5-3. That’s one way to make up for the defensive miscues from earlier.
Boston would continue to tack on in the sixth as well. There, Chavis put a base hit through the middle before he moved on up to third on a well-executed hit-and-run with Marco Hernandez at the plate. That put runners on the corners with nobody out, and Eduardo Núñez came through with a deep fly ball to center field that brought a sixth run home. Boston couldn’t keep it going, though, as Betts followed that up with an inning-ending double play.
Now, it was on the Red Sox bullpen to preserve this three-run lead, and the struggling Matt Barnes was up first in the seventh. The righty walked the first batter he faced but got three straight outs after that. The eighth belonged to Ryan Brasier, and he worked his way around a two-out double for another scoreless inning. Finally, it was up to Brandon Workman in the ninth. The righty did allow a two-out double but nothing more to pick up the save.
The Red Sox and White Sox finish this series with an afternoon contest on Wednesday. Boston will send Chris Sale out to the mound for this game while Chicago counters with Reynaldo López. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.