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Fake Sox Game Eight: New faces lead the way in the home opener

A second straight big game for the bats.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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

Our Fake Sox are coming off of a three-game sweep of Baltimore that was finished off with an absolutely beatdown in a 17-2 victory, and they were looking to carry that momentum into Fenway Park for the home opener against the White Sox. Chicago had Dallas Keuchel on the mound while the Red Sox were going with Josh Taylor as an opener in front of Martín Pérez.

Unfortunately, Taylor did not do his job as the opener. The top of the first started with a weakly hit infield single against the shift for Yoán Moncada, which was followed by a walk and then back-to-back base hits for Eloy Jiménez and José Abreu. Taylor faced four batters to open things up for Pérez, and he didn’t record one out and left the game with his team trailing 2-0. So Pérez had to come in with two on and nobody out and Chicago had a chance to really break this open. Fortunately, the southpaw came through in his Fenway debut, getting a fly out and a double play to limit the damage and keep the score at 2-0.

The Red Sox sent only six to the plate in their first two innings, but fortunately Pérez worked around one baserunner in each of the next two frames as well, keeping the 2-0 score as we headed into the bottom of the third. In the blink of an eye, things fell apart for Keuchel here. The bottom of the order was coming up, but they were all ready to jump on the White Sox lefty and the inning started with three consecutive doubles from Michael Chavis, José Peraza and Kevin Pillar to tie the game up at two. That brought Andrew Benintendi to the plate, and he destroyed one against the southpaw for a 444-foot moonshot out to center field for a two-run shot, and just like that it was a 4-2 lead and there was still nobody out. Alex Verdugo followed that up with a double of his own to make it five straight extra-base hits to start the inning, and Boston would eventually get two more after a walk, a base hit and a wild pitch. Keuchel’s day ended in the middle of that inning, and a 2-0 deficit turned to a 6-2 lead in the third.

So now it was up to Pérez to maintain his little rhythm and hold on to this lead. He got a couple of quick outs to start the fourth, but he couldn’t keep Chicago off the board completely. Nomar Mazara took a 1-2 offering into the bullpen in right field for a solo homer, cutting the Red Sox lead back down to three. Pérez settled down from there, though, getting out of that inning with just a bunt single on top of the homer and then coming back for two strong frames after that.

The offense, meanwhile, wasted a couple of chances in the next two innings, and with the score still 6-3 Peraza came on to lead off the bottom of the sixth with two doubles to his name already. He did even better this time, going the other way for his second home of the year and the 404-foot solo shot gave Boston a 7-3 lead. They’d add one more on a Pillar double and Verdugo RBI single to make it 8-3.

That was pretty much that. Pérez had one more good inning in him to get through seven innings with just one run against him. The offense got a couple more runs late in the game. Heath Hembree had a perfect eighth before Marcus Walden came on with a seven-run lead in the ninth. He struggled a bit and Chicago did get two, but that wasn’t nearly enough as the Red Sox got a 10-5 win to make it four in a row and to take the home opener. Their record stands at 5-3, and they get rewarded with a Friday day off tomorrow.

Peraza, by the way, is now hitting .520/.520/.840.