The following simulation is courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox did not have a great time up in Toronto for their opening four-game set against the Blue Jays. All four games were close, with this last one going extras, but the good guys dropped three out of four.
In Sunday’s game, Shun Yamaguchi got the start for the Jays, but it wouldn’t last long. In fact, it would last exactly one batter. Yamaguchi struck out Andrew Benintendi to lead things off, but an elbow injury forced him out of the game. The good news for Toronto is that it is not a serious injury — he’s day-to-day for a week with a sore elbow — but the bad news is they had to dig into their bullpen with Williams Perez coming in first. Boston got a two-out double from J.D. Martinez in that first, but that was all.
Meanwhile lefty Matt Hall got the start for the Red Sox in this one and did not get off to the best of starts. After a quick first out, Teoscar Hernandez came up and smashed an opposite-field homer out to right field. The 402-foot shot gave the Jays a 1-0 lead. The Red Sox would answer back, though. Christian Vázquez came to the plate against Perez in the second with one on and one out, looking for his first hit of the season. He did that and then some, smoking one 395 feet for a two-run shot, and just like that the Red Sox had a 2-1 lead. They would keep going, too, as Kevin Pillar followed that up with a double before José Peraza smacked a base hit to bring in a third one. A couple batters later Jackie Bradley Jr. ripped his first of two doubles on the day, and the Red Sox ended the inning with a 4-1 lead.
That score would hold into the bottom of the third when Hall got back to the top of the order. Bo Bichette came to the plate with one out and on a 1-2 pitch he drove one out to left field for a solo homer. It wasn’t hit particularly hard with an 88 mph exit velocity, but it snuck over the wall to cut Boston’s lead down to two. Hernandez came up next and for the second straight at bat he went deep. This one was much more authoritative than Bichette’s, and the Blue Jays cut their deficit down to just one in the inning thanks to back-to-back homers from Bichette and Hernandez.
From here we fast-forward to the bottom half of the sixth with the score still 4-3 and both pitchers in a bit of a groove, though the Red Sox did strand Xander Bogaerts at second in the previous half-inning. Hall was still in the game for Boston and he would give up a leadoff single before walking Travis Shaw to put two on with one out. A ground ball moved both runners into scoring position for Derek Fisher in a huge two-out at bat. Hall came up big, striking out the Toronto lefty looking and preserving Boston’s lead.
After our Fake Sox wasted back-to-back singles to lead off the top half of the seventh, Hall came back out for the seventh which has been a trouble inning for Boston starters all series long. This game would be no different. The lead went away in the blink of an eye as Cavan Biggio led things off with a solo homer, Toronto’s fourth of the day to tie this one up at four apiece. Josh Taylor would eventually come in to finish off the frame. The Red Sox got back-to-back one-out singles in the eighth, but Mitch Moreland tried to go first to third on the second base hit and was thrown out by a mile, stopping a potential rally in its tracks.
Taylor came back out to start the eighth and got the left-handed Travis Shaw swinging before Ryan Brasier came in to face the right-handed Lourdes Gurriel. He didn’t get it done, giving up what would be Toronto’s fifth solo homer of the day, and suddenly it was a one-run deficit for our Fake Sox. Brasier did come back with two outs after that, but the damage was done.
So, Boston had one more chance in the ninth to score at least one run, and the good news was that Ken Giles had pitched a couple days in a row so Toronto was trying to avoid him. Chase Anderson came in with one out and the top of the lineup coming in, and Boston started to get going. Benintendi drew a walk, Bradley smacked a bast hit and J.D. Martinez followed up with a single of his own, and the game was tied. A Devers single would then load the bases for Bogaerts, but a ground ball got the runner forced out at home before Moreland struck out swinging to prevent our Fake Sox from taking the lead.
Brasier and Matt Barnes then tossed a perfect inning each in the ninth and tenth, and we headed to the eleventh where Bradley hit his second double of the day with just one out, but he was stranded there. Barnes would allow just a single before Brandon Workman came on to finish the bottom of the eleventh, and after Boston went down in order in the top of the 12th Workman came back on to face Bichette. The Blue Jays shortstop was the MVP of this series, and he came through again, hitting Toronto’s sixth homer of the day and his fourth of the young season. It was a 380-foot shot out to left field for a walk-off dinger, and the Red Sox drop three of four in the first series of the year.
Following the game, the Fake Sox made a few roster moves. They optioned Darwinzon Hernandez for Trevor Hildenberger, which is weird. They also optioned Hall and designated Cesar Puello for assignment to make room for Collin McHugh and Alex Verdugo, both of whom are coming off the IL to play in Monday’s series opener against the Orioles.