The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21
Our Fake Sox bounced back from a laugher of a loss on Friday to recover with a come-from-behind victory on Saturday. They had game three of four against the Indians, the American League’s best team early in the year, on Sunday and were looking to guarantee at least a split in the series with a win here. They had Matt Hall, who struggled with six walks his last time out, on the mound and Cleveland had Zach Plesac, who came in with a 0.33 ERA in his first four outings.
As has been the case all series long, and really for most of the season, things did not go well for the Red Sox starter in the first. After a quick first out, Hall came back with more control issues, tossing a four-pitch walk and then hitting a batter to put two on with one out. That brought Franmil Reyes up, who came through with a base hit to give Cleveland an early 1-0 lead and a chance at much more. Hall eventually hit a second batter to load the bases with a pair of outs, but fortunately, Carlos Santana hit a routine fly ball to end that inning as Cleveland settled for just the one run.
Also fortunate was that Boston didn’t waste any time in answering back. They didn’t want to let Plesac get into a groove, and Andrew Benintendi kicked things off with a leadoff double. José Peraza would follow that up with a sacrifice bunt — a bit of a bizarre decision, but it was successful at least — but then after J.D. Martinez struck out it looked like the opportunity would be squandered. Instead, Plesac did Boston a favor and threw a wild pitch, allowing Benintendi to come in and tie up the game.
Cleveland would waste a two-out double in the second before Hall came back and settled down a bit for a 1-2-3 third. So, it was still 1-1 as we entered the bottom of the third where the Red Sox had another chance after Peraza and Martinez had back-to-back two-out singles and Xander Bogaerts drew a walk to load the bases. The brought Alex Verdugo to the plate, and he also would draw a walk, this one bringing home a run and giving the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. That was all they’d get, though, with Christian Vázquez swinging at the first pitch after back-to-back walks and stranding the bases loaded on a routine fly out.
Now, it was up to Hall to keep Cleveland with answering back. Unfortunately, the control issues came back. First, though, it was back-to-back singles with one out to put a pair on, and then after a second out he issues a walk to Oscar Mercado. Then he did the same to José Ramírez to tie up the game at two runs apiece. Then he issued a third straight walk, this one to Francisco Lindor, and just like that the Indians were back out in the front with a 3-2 lead.
From there, things settled down a bit. Hall came back after that brutal fourth and had two straight perfect innings in the fifth and sixth. He got one out to start the seventh before giving way to Colten Brewer, who got two more for a third straight perfect inning for Boston pitching. In the eighth, Brewer worked around a one-out walk for another scoreless frame. Meanwhile, the Red Sox offense was also struggling, with their best chance coming in the seventh after Benintendi had a two-out triple but couldn’t make it the last 90 feet.
So, with that we headed to the bottom of the eighth with Plesac now rolling and Boston trailing by a run. The Indians starter issued a leadoff walk to Martinez to end his day, and Nick Wittgren came out of the bullpen. He immediately issued a four-pitch walk to Bogaerts to put two on with nobody out, but then came back with two straight outs. That left it all up to Michael Chavis, but he came through. Chavis ripped one over the head of Mercado in center field, allowing both Martinez and Bogaerts to come around to score without a throw, and Chavis’s clutch double gave Boston a late one-run lead.
With the score 4-3, it was up to Matt Barnes in a big spot to come through once again. He was dominant. The righty struck out all three batters he’d face, and Boston squeezed by with another come back win to push their record to 14-9. With it being Sunday, at the bottom of the page we’ll have the team-wide individual stats as well as league-wide standings.
But first, around the league Aaron Judge and Jean Segura were named players of the week. Down on the farm, meanwhile, Josh Ockimey hit his fifth homer in a loss for Pawtucket, Alex Scherff tossed five strong innings in a win for Portland, Salem’s lineup was shut down in a loss and as was Greenville’s.