The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox had an extremely tough start to this three-game weekend series in Minnesota, with the offense being totally and completely shut down in a series-opening loss on Friday. For Saturday’s game, they were looking at a matchup against Jake Odorizzi while countering with Collin McHugh. The latter wasn’t at full-strength, either, as he was hampered by flu-like systems, which isn’t as scary in our fake world as it is here in the real world.
Given how poorly things went on Friday, Boston was looking for a hot start on Saturday to get the offense out of the funk as quickly as possible. That’s exactly what happened, too, with some help from Twins’ mistakes. Andrew Benintendi started the game off with a base hit out to left, and was able to move to second thanks to an error in left field but Luis Arraez. He’d quickly get over to third, too, on a wild pitch before giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly, just two batters into the game. It looked like they would get more, too, when J.D. Martinez drew a walk and then, with two outs, Alex Verdugo smacked a double out to center field. Rather than settle for two in scoring position, however, Martinez got greedy and was thrown out at the plate to end inning with just the 1-0 lead.
McHugh would work his way around a couple of baserunners in the bottom of the inning, but after his offense wasted a two-out triple from Ryder Jones in the second, the Twins just started going nuts with singles. Each of the first five men Minnesota sent to the plate in the bottom of the second hit singles, resulting in two runs and still leaving the bases loaded with nobody out. It looked like this could be a spot where the game could be put out of hand having barely even begun. It wasn’t quite that bad, but the Twins did get two more on a ground out and a sacrifice fly, and it was 4-1 by the time the dust settled.
It looked like the Red Sox were going to limp away instead of answering back in the first, getting two quick outs at the top of the order. Martinez had some other ideas, though. He took advantage of some strong winds pushing out to right field and drove one the other way. It barely made it up and over the wall for a solo shot, and it was now 4-2.
That was still the score as we headed into the fourth, and this time the offense got going more quickly. Christian Vázquez ripped a leadoff double before coming home on a base hit from Mitch Moreland, who was able to move to second on an unsuccessful attempt to throw Vázquez out at the plate. A few batters later, with Moreland now at third and two outs, Benintendi came through in the clutch with his second base hit of the day. Just like that, this game was tied up at four.
Both teams would go down in order in their next chances, bringing McHugh back out for the fifth and the fatigue from the flu caught up with him here. He gave up a double to start things off, and then a couple of batters later Miguel Sanó got a hold of one. He ripped a line drive down the left field line that made it up and over into the seats for a two-run shot, giving the Twins a two-run lead and ending McHugh’s day. Heath Hembree, who has been terrible this season, came on next and, well, he was terrible. After a strikeout against the first batter he faced, he gave up a double followed by back-to-back homers from Max Kepler and Mitch Garver, and with that the Twins quickly jumped out to a five-run lead and Hembree’s day was over.
That, essentially, was that. The Red Sox got two more baserunners the rest of the game, and neither of them made it beyond first base. The Twins, meanwhile, did add one more run to their total. By the end, it was a 10-4 victory for the Twins and a second straight loss for the Red Sox, who are still 1.5 games behind the Yankees in the division.
Down on the farm, Jantzen Witte and César Puello hit homers in a PawSox win, Darwinzon Hernandez for some reason is in Double-A and blew a save in a SeaDogs loss, Jorge Rodriguez was roughed up in a Salem loss and Aldo Ramirez cruised in a victory for the Drive.