Our Fake Sox rebounded from a tough Opening Day loss in Toronto with their first win of the 2020 season on Friday, and they were looking to make it win number two on Saturday. Unfortunately, while the pitching did okay and was able to finangle themselves out of a couple of jams, the Red Sox bats went mostly quiet and wasted a couple of big opportunities elsewhere, and it just wasn’t to be.
The real Red Sox had been considering using openers if they got to play baseball this season, and it seems our Fake Sox were not opposed to that idea themselves. Darwinzon Hernandez ended up taking the ball for the first inning here. He wasn’t great, but luck was on his side. Bo Bichette started things off with a base hit, but then immediately tried to steal second base and was gunned down by Christian Vázquez at second base for the first out. That would prove to be pretty big as Teoscar Hernandez and Vladimir Guerrero followed that up with a base hit and a walk, but Darwinzon came back with a strike out and a ground ball to escape the jam. That would become a theme on the day.
After the Red Sox went a second straight inning of not advancing beyond first base, Martín Pérez came on for the bottom half of the second as the bulk arm for this game, and he had an easy 1-2-3 inning in his first inning of work. The offense, meanwhile, finally got a little bit going in the third. Andrew Benintendi got things started with his second hit of the game, and then with two outs J.D. Martinez had a single of his own to give the Red Sox runners on the corners with two down for Rafael Devers. Devers has been the team’s best hitter to this point, and he came through here with the team’s third single of the inning and the Red Sox had a 1-0 lead. Xander Bogaerts, however, couldn’t keep it going and they’d settle for just the one run.
Our Fake Sox have had a bad habit in this early season of giving runs right back after getting on the board, and Pérez was trying to avoid that in the bottom of the third. It looked dicey when he gave up a one-out double to Bichette followed by a misplayed pop up from Hernandez that fell next to José Peraza in center field and was ruled a single. So, with that, Toronto had men on the corners with one out, but Pérez got the ground ball he needed from Guerrero. It was a 5-4-3 double play, and the Red Sox still held onto the lead.
From here we can fast-forward all the way to the bottom of the sixth. Pérez had worked around a leadoff double in the fourth before tossing a perfect fifth while the Red Sox offense wasted a one-out double from Devers in the sixth. In the bottom of that inning, Pérez’s luck in dealing with jams began to run out. Hernandez started the inning off with a double, and then after Guerrero grounded out it was Randal Grichuk’s turn. He smashed the first pitch he saw into the corner in left field for a double of his own, and just like that the game was all tied up and the Blue Jays still had a runner in scoring position with just one out. He would issue a walk after that, but nothing more and Toronto would settle for a tied score after six.
After the Fake Sox got just a single in the top of the seventh, Pérez came back on for what has been a trouble inning for starters in their first two games. Sure enough, he would get into some trouble himself with a single and a walk to put two on and one out. After a ground ball moved both runners into scoring position, Marcus Walden came on to try and escape the jam. The righty came through, getting Guerrero to pop out to Vázquez in foul ground to preserve the tie.
Now, the Red Sox were looking for another late-inning win, and they had the heart of their order coming up. Things looked to be going extremely well when Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a walk and then old friend Travis Shaw dropped a pop up to put two on with nobody out. Devers would once again come through, too, with a base hit into right field. However, the Fake Sox are just as aggressive as the real Sox, and Bradley was thrown out at home plate on a play that really wasn’t even close. So, the score remained tied, but there were still two on with just one out, and a Xander Bogaerts walk loaded the bases for Mitch Moreland. The Blue Jays countered with Chase Anderson out of the bullpen, and he got both Moreland and Vázquez — who went a combined 0-7 with five strikeouts in the game — to go down looking and the Red Sox couldn’t muster anything out of the inning.
Sure enough, Toronto took advantage of the circumstances. With Walden coming back out for the bottom of the eighth, Grichuk started things off with a base hit and then Shaw made up for his error with a double. Just like that, there were two in scoring position with nobody out, and Walden needed a miracle. He didn’t get it. The Jays would get a sacrifice fly to take the lead and then another sacrifice fly later in the inning to add an insurance run. Meanwhile, Boston went down in order in the ninth and that was that. It’s now a 1-2 record for our Fake Sox.
Also, in other league-wide news, Mark Canha somehow tore his labrum when his kid ran into him on his bike and he’ll miss five months for the Athletics.