The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox are rolling a bit right now, having won three in a row including a pair of blowouts to start their three-game set in Toronto. They headed into Wednesday night’s matchup looking for a sweep. It was going to be an uphill battle, though. The pitching matchup was starkly in the Blue Jays favor with Matt Hall facing off against Hyun-Jin Ryu. Then, on the other side, both Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi got days off, leading to a wild lineup that included things like José Peraza and Kevin Pillar hitting in the first two spots of the lineup. It sort of seemed like Boston was conceding the game.
Things got off to a bit of a rocky start, too, with Boston’s offense going down in order in each of the first two innings while the Jays got going against Hall right away in the first. Cavan Biggio started things off right away with a base hit, though Hall did come back with two outs. That left it up to Bo Bichette, who continued to feast on Red Sox pitching by smacking one into the left field corner for a double that brought Biggio around to score. Bichette made it to third on the throw in, but would be stranded 90 feet from home. So, it could have been worse but it was a 1-0 lead for the Blue Jays.
That was about the only point the Red Sox would be feeling down in this game, however. In the top of the third, Ryder Jones came to the plate with Ryu having retired the first seven men he faced. Boston’s third baseman, who has filled in admirably for the injured Rafael Devers (two to three weeks away from return, by the way) jumped on the first pitch he saw. Jones sent it into the second deck in right field for a solo shot and tied the game up at one apiece.
That was still the score heading into the fourth, and this time things got started when J.D. Martinez drew a one-out walk to put a runner on in front of Michael Chavis. The first baseman hasn’t played a ton this year, but he made the most of this start. He crushed one out to the power alley in left field for a two-run shot, and just like that it was a 3-1 lead. Just one inning later, Ryu issued a walk and allowed a base hit, eventually leading to a two-on, two-out situation for Kevin Pillar. The former Blue Jay was totally miscast as a number two hitter in this game, but he looked the part here. In a 2-2 count he blasted one 401 feet to left-center field for a three-run shot. Just like that, it was a 6-1 game and the Red Sox were once again holding on to a comfortable lead in Toronto.
That was really the game right there, as the Blue Jays never really made too much noise to make things stressful after that. Matt Hall had his best outing of the year in this one. He did allow one more run on a Biggio homer, but in all he went six solid innings allowing just two runs on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Kevin Shackelford then came on for two scoreless innings before Ryan Brasier tossed a scoreless ninth. On offense, the Red Sox would push for four more runs and by the end of the game it was a 10-2 blowout to finish of a sweep in which Boston outscored Toronto by a score of 30-7 over three games.
The victory pushed Boston’s record to 20-13. With the team being off on Thursday I simmed ahead to Friday, and the Red Sox have a 1.5 game lead over the Yankees on May 1. Around the league, Hunter Pence announced he would be retiring at year’s end an Robbie Ray struck out 16 batters in a game. The Player of the Month awards were also handed out, with Daniel Vogelbach winning in the AL and Bryce Harper getting the award in the NL. Best pitchers went to Sean Manaea and Jacob deGrom while best rookies went to Austin Hays and Gavin Lux.
Meanwhile, down on the farm, Josh Ockimey won Player of the Month in the International League and Ricardo Cubillan won in the South Atlantic for Greenville. Brandon Howlett, meanwhile, fractured his foot and will miss three weeks. On the field, Pawtucket was blown out on both Thursday and Friday, Portland was shut out on Thursday despite a four-hit effort from Jarren Duran, Ryan Zeferjahn tossed 6 1⁄3 scoreless on Wednesday and Salem won both games, and Greenville split the two games with Tyler Dearden hitting his fifth homer in the win.