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Fake Sox Game Seven: No mercy in the sweep

Alex Cobb faced only one batter and then Boston beat up on Baltimore’s ‘pen

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21

Our Fake Sox had a tough first series of the year up in Toronto but they had a chance to reverse that trend in Baltimore with their next set against a team still looking for their first win. Boston took the first two games of the series including a win behind Eduardo Rodriguez on Tuesday, and they had Nathan Eovaldi going up against Alex Cobb on Wednesday afternoon.

There wasn’t much doing on either side in the first inning, but the Orioles still got some bad news. After just one batter Alex Cobb had to be taken out of the game with some sort of elbow issue (the diagnosis is still pending) and that meant Baltimore would have to get 26 outs from their bullpen. That did not turn out too well. Our Fake Sox got it going right away in the second when Xander Bogaerts led things off with a single before a couple of ground outs eventually lefty Jackie Bradley Jr. on second with two outs. At this point Miguel Castro, Baltimore’s third pitcher already, lost his command and issued two straight walks to load the bases for Andrew Benintendi. He’d come through with an RBI single before Alex Verdugo drew the team’s third free pass of the frame, and it was a 2-0 lead after two.

Nathan Eovaldi answered back with a second straight perfect inning — with two strikeouts apiece, too — to bring Boston back to the plate in the third. This time it was just one swing of the bat as Bogaerts jumped on the first pitch from Richard Bleier — Baltimore’s fourth pitcher of the afternoon — for a solo homer out to left field to push Boston’s lead up to three.

So, the Red Sox offense was tiring out the Orioles bullpen and Nathan Eovaldi had cruised through two and came back with two quick outs in the third. It looked like this would be easy, but then the Fake Sox righty made a couple of mistakes. José Iglesias was the number nine hitter and he absolutely demolished a mistake from Eovaldi. The former Boston prospect hit one almost 450 feet out to left-center field for a solo home run to cut Baltimore’s deficit to two. Hanser Alberto followed that up with a 430-foot homer of his own, and suddenly it was only a one-run lead.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Fortunately, that was the only trouble Eovaldi was going to get into in the game. No other Oriole would make it beyond second inning and it was really just that third-inning hiccup in an otherwise great game for the righty. He ended up going 8 13 innings with nine strikeouts and no walks.

The offense, meanwhile, did get two on with one out in the fourth, but they couldn’t answer the back-to-back homers there as Mitch Moreland grounded into an inning-ending double play. The fifth would be better. There, they started things off with back-to-back walks and a wild pitch moved both runners to scoring position. They didn’t take full advantage of the situation, but Jackie Bradley Jr. brought one in on a single to make it 4-2. Then, in the sixth it was Rafael Devers coming up with two on and two out and he ripped a double the other way into the left field corner to bring both runners home and open up a four-run cushion.

That was only the third batter for Mychal Givens, but he’d end up having to eat this one with Baltimore starving for pitching. Boston went down in order in the seventh but the eighth was a blood bath with Givens just totally exhausted. The Fake Sox got two singles and a walk to bring Devers back up with the bases loaded and just one out, and he unloaded on one. A 435-foot homer out to right-center field brought everyone home and just like that it was suddenly a 10-2 lead. Bradley would join in on the fun a couple batters later with a two-run homer of his own and it was a 12-2 lead at that point. Baltimore finally turned to starter John Means, but even he couldn’t get it done with Boston getting two more on a two-run shot from Michael Chavis. They’d end up scoring three more in the ninth including a solo shot from Martinez, and mercifully the game ended — after an appearance on the mound from Baltimore catcher Pedro Severino — with a 17-2 score.

So, the Fake Sox picked up a sweep in Baltimoer against the still-winless Orioles. That pushes Boston’s record up to 4-3 on the year as they head to Fenway for Thursday’s home opener against the 3-3 White Sox.