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Fake Sox Game 28: The lineup takes the night off

Not a great decision, because there was indeed a game.

Boston Red Sox v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

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

Our Fake Sox are playing decent baseball right now, coming most recently off a series win against the Blue Jays and before that splitting a four-game set with Cleveland, who are one of the best teams in the league early in the year. On Friday, they started up a three-game set in Minnesota against a Twins team that is in third in their division but had won eight of their last ten coming into this game. Boston had Matt Hall on the mound while Minnesota had Blaine Hardy going, a matchup that didn’t seem conducive to a pitchers’ duel.

However, that’s what we got. The Red Sox offense was, frankly, atrocious. They basically had zero momentum all game long, with perhaps their best chance actually coming right off the bat in the top of the first inning. There, José Peraza and J.D. Martinez came through with back-to-back one-out singles, and with Xander Bogaerts coming up it actually looked like it would be some early production for Boston. Instead, Bogaerts grounded into a 1-6-3 double play and the inning ended in the blink of an eye.

That was the best they would do for quite some time. They did get a runner on in each of the next five innings, to their credit, but none of the runners advanced beyond first base and there was one more double play mixed in there to be extra frustrating.

The good news is that, on the other side, Hall was doing pretty damn well against a very talented Twins lineup. The southpaw did issue a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first, but a double play quickly canceled that out and the Twins went down scoreless in the first as well. Hall then had a couple of perfect innings in the second and third before again facing only three batters in the fourth after Josh Donaldson reached on an error but then was part of a double play.

After he worked around a base hit in the fifth, Hall had to face the Minnesota lineup for a third time in the sixth, and what was a scoreless game started to see some signs of life for the first time all night. Byron Buxton got the rally started with a one-out double before quickly stealing third. Donaldson then smacked a single into left field, and just like that it was a 1-0 lead for the Twins. After another base hit followed by a Miguel Sanó double, things were quickly starting to pile up and it was a 3-0 ball game. Hall did get out of it after that, but the Red Sox offense now needed to pick things up.

Instead they went down in order, and then after Hall worked around a hit batter and a walk in the bottom of the seventh, Boston’s lineup went down 1-2-3 once again in the eighth. Hall for some reason came back out again for the eighth, and he was quickly pulled after a leadoff walk. Ryan Brasier came in next, and did get himself two quick outs but couldn’t finish off the inning. The inning was continued when Eddie Rosario lucked out on a little nubber to the right side of the infield, and then Max Kepler did the exact opposite of that. That is to say, he crushed one. It was a two-out, three-run shot to really put the game away.

The Red Sox offense, of course, had shown no indication that they were ready to put forth a comeback by any amount, but the six-run deficit now seemed totally insurmountable instead of the three-run deficit, which only seemed mostly insurmountable. Anyway, the Sox went down in order for a third straight inning in the ninth, and that was that.

The 6-0 loss pushed Boston’s record down to 16-12, and they are now 1.5 games behind the Yankees in the division. Down on the farm, meanwhile, Pawtucket followed their big-league team’s lead in a shutout loss, Jeter Downs hit a homer and Johan Mieses hit two in a Portland loss, Salem got shutout themselves, and Tyler Dearden hit two doubles in a Greenville loss. For those keeping track at home, that’s an 0-5 day for the organization.