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Fake Sox Game 26: Bad pitching catches up

The offense has made up for it at times this year, but not tonight.

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

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

Our Fake Sox took the first game of this three-game set against the Blue Jays, keeping open the possibility of a sweep as revenge of the season-opening series in which Toronto took two of three. Boston was looking for a big performance from Martín Pérez while the Blue Jays had Chase Anderson on the mound.

Before Pérez got his night started, though, the Red Sox had Josh Taylor going as an opener. He’s struggled a bit in this role so far this year, but he was solid this time around, allowing just a single in a scoreless inning of work. Meanwhile, Boston’s offense had a chance in the bottom half of the first when they got the first two runners on. The heart of the lineup couldn’t come through, though, and it was scoreless after one.

For some reason, Jerry Narron decided to try and get a second inning out of Taylor instead of going to Pérez to start this inning. He got a quick first out, but then after issuing a walk Pérez came in with a runner on base and one out. That’s generally something managers try to avoid here in the real world, but fake Narron is a wild man. This one didn’t work out. After Travis Shaw ended a ten-pitch at bat with a base hit, Reese McGuire followed that up with a double to bring two runs home, and Toronto had themselves a 2-0 lead. It could have been more, but Pérez got a couple of big outs to strand a runner in scoring position.

While the Red Sox offense went down in order in their next two tries, the Blue Jays kept the pressure on, this time with the long ball. In the third, Lourdes Gurriel led things off with a solo blast out to left field, while Derek Fisher did the same, out to right field, in the fourth to push the Blue Jays lead up to four runs. Again, though, both innings could have seen more runs but Toronto stranded a runner in scoring position in each of those two frames as well.

Boston, meanwhile, finally started to get a little bit of momentum in the bottom half of the fourth. Alex Verdugo got the rally started there with a one-out single before moving over to third on a Christian Vázquez double. After Mitch Moreland struck out it looked like it’d be another wasted chance, but Ryder Jones came through with a double of his own, cutting the Red Sox deficit in half. José Peraza then followed that up with the third double off Anderson in the inning, and we headed to the fifth in what was suddenly a one-run game.

Pérez again escaped danger in the fifth with Toronto stranding two, and then Jackie Bradley Jr. started off the fifth with a bang by somehow legging out a triple on a ball off the Monster. J.D. Martinez immediately followed that up with a double, both tying the game at four and knocking Anderson out of the game. After an infield single put runners on the corners, Moreland eventually came through with a base hit, and the Red Sox went into the sixth with a one-run lead.

It took about five seconds before that was no longer true. Pérez had been walking on eggshells all night, even beyond the damage he’d allowed, but he faced two batters in the inning, giving up a double then a two-run homer to Anthony Alford, and as quickly as the Red Sox took the lead they gave it right back up.

Marcus Walden would come on and finish that inning, and then after the offense wasted a one-out double, he came back out for a perfect seventh. The Red Sox wasted a one-out double for a second straight inning in the bottom fo the seventh, and Narron was once again weird with his pitching, bringing Walden back out for another inning of work. He’d face one batter, allowing a double, before Kevin Shackelford came on in relief, immediately giving up back-to-back singles for another run. He’d eventually load the bases, and Ryan Brasier then came out of the bullpen and subsequently walked in one more. By the end of the inning, it was an 8-5 lead for the Blue Jays and Boston had six more outs to play with.

They did not get it done. The Red Sox went down in order in the eighth before managing just a single in the ninth with Ken Giles shutting the door for the save. The loss drops Boston down to 15-11 and with the Yankees winning New York jumps to the top spot in the division with a half-game lead. After the game, Walden was sent down for Colten Brewer, a transaction that has now happened pretty much every other day all season.

Meanwhile, down on the farm, Josh Ockimey had a four-hit game in a PawSox win, Bobby Dalbec (in Double-A for unknown reasons) had three hits in a Portland loss, Salem came one run shy of a seven-run comeback and Greenvile lost 3-1 despite piling up ten hits.