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Fake Season Game One: A gut punch for Opening Day

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Poor managing, poor situational hitting and poor baserunning in a tough Opening Day loss.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

We started our day-by-day Out of the Park Baseball 21 simulation of the Red Sox season today with our Opening Day contest up in Toronto, and things didn’t go too well. You can check out the full game (the game itself was probably like 25ish minutes) above, or you can just read along with the quick recap.

Things got off to a solid enough start for the Red Sox when Andrew Benintendi led things off with a base hit, and he would eventually get over to third base for Rafael Devers. Devers couldn’t come through, though, and it was a wasted opportunity for the Sox. The bottom of the inning went pretty similarly for Toronto, when Bo Bichette led things off with a double. He got a little greedy after that, though, trying to swipe third base against Christian Vázquez. That did not work out for him, and would prove costly as Teoscar Hernandez immediately slapped a base hit after that.

So, it was still scoreless heading into the second when Jackie Bradley Jr. came to the plate with one out. Right before the at bat I mentioned how bad he is in this game against lefties, so of course I was made a fool in short order. Bradley hit Boston’s first homer of the fake season, smashing it 380 feet out to right field for a solo homer. Just like that, it was 1-0 Blue Jays.

Eduardo Rodriguez didn’t waste much time giving that run right back, though. After a quick first out, Lourdes Gurriel and Derek Fisher came through with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with just one out. Danny Jansen quickly followed that up with a sac fly, and just like that we were all tied up once again.

Things stayed that way for a bit as Rodriguez started to roll, allowing just a single in the third but still only facing three batters thanks to an inning-ending double play. He then followed that up with three straight perfect frames. On the other side, the Red Sox had a couple of chances, most notably when J.D. Martinez led things off in the fourth with a double into the left-center field gap but inexplicably tried to stretch it to a triple. He was thrown out by at least 40 feet. Rafael Devers followed that up with a double, but he was left stranded.

Then, in the sixth, the Red Sox got going again. Devers kicked off the rally with a second straight one-out double, and after Hyun-Jin Ryu was lifted Michael Chavis ripped a base hit up through the middle to bring home the run and give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.

So, now we fast-forward to the seventh with the same score and Rodriguez rolling. Unfortunately that roll came to a screeching halt. Travis Shaw led things off with a walk, and then back-to-back base hits brought in the tying run and left two runners on with still nobody out. Jansen then hit yet another single, and the bases were suddenly loaded with still nobody out in a tie game. Rodriguez was left in for who knows why (I should note that for some reason I couldn’t find Ron Roenicke in this game, so Jerry Narron is out manager. The sim’s not perfect, okay) and he walked the number nine hitter Cavan Biggio to give Toronto the 3-2 lead. Still, Rodriguez was left in and Bichette really made him pay, destroying a 424-foot home run. Just like that, Rodriguez went from rolling to disastrous and the score went from 2-1 Red Sox at the start of the inning to 7-2 Toronto with still no outs.

Rodriguez was finally lifted after that, with Heath Hembree coming in next. He allowed one more run to come across in the inning to make it 8-2. Martinez did make up for his baserunning blunder earlier in the game with a two-run homer in the eight to make it an 8-4 game, but that was all the Red Sox would muster. Not the start we were looking for in our fake Red Sox season.