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Fake Sox Game Nine: A loss in more ways than one

I wish we had a do over here.

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

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

Our Fake Sox entered Saturday’s game against the White Sox having won each of their last four games and also coming off of their first day off of the season. The matchup, though, did not appear to be in their favor with Matt Hall on the mound for Boston going up against Dylan Cease for the White Sox.

Sure enough, things got off to a terrible start for the Red Sox lefty. The White Sox started things off with back-to-back singles, and after Hall got his first strikeout of the afternoon he lost the zone a bit and issued two straight walks. Already it was 1-0 Chicago and the bases were still loaded with nobody out for Yasmani Grandal. Fortunately, Hall wiggled out of it after that, with a big strikeout and a ground out. It was a 1-0 deficit, but it could have and probably should have been much worse.

After the Red Sox managed just a walk in the bottom of the inning, Hall once again struggled in the second. Things started off with a walk, and then a couple of batters later after a single and a walk the bases were once again loaded with just one out. Hall made a crucial mistake at this point with a bases loaded balk to bring home Chicago’s second run. Once again, though, he impressively limited the damage and kept the scoring to just one run in the inning. Xander Bogaerts came back in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff double and moved over to third on a one-out wild pitch, but the Red Sox couldn’t bring him home. It was already starting to look like it just wasn’t their day.

The third was yet another tightrope act for Hall, although to be fair this one wasn’t entirely on him. With one out Grandal hit what appeared to be a routine fly ball out to left field, but it was dropped by Andrew Benintendi. A crucial mistake. Hall got a big fly out after that for out number two, but Danny Mendick came through for Chicago with an RBI double to make it 3-0 after the top of the third.

The good news is Hall kind of settled down a bit after that. The bad news is, well, a couple of things. For one, the offense wasn’t coming through. They stranded Tzu-Wei Lin, who got the start at second, in scoring position in the third and then in the fourth Jackie Bradley Jr. had a two-out double but they couldn’t get him home. Then, in the top of the fifth, disaster struck. Chicago got a two-out base hit from Grandal followed by a base hit into center field from Nomar Mazara. Grandal challenged Bradley’s arm and was gunned down at third, but there was a collision at the base on the play that would knock Rafael Devers out of the game with what was at the time an unknown injury. We’ll learn more on that a bit later.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox were still down three heading into the bottom of the fifth with one of their top hitters suddenly out of the lineup. Some other guys would step up, though. Mitch Moreland started the inning with a base hit before Lin had his second hit of the game, this time ripping a double into center field that would bring Moreland all the way around to make the score 3-1. Lin then moved to third on a ground out before another ground out brought him home and brought Boston to within one.

Hall came back out for the sixth as he had settled into a little bit of a groove after those first three innings, but after a two-out double Brandon Workman got the call to try and keep the deficit at one. He did just that thanks to a big strikeout against José Abreu. In the bottom of the seventh, Lin came through with another double, this one with the bases empty and just one out, but he made a big mistake trying to stretch it for a triple and was thrown out. You can’t do that in a one-run game. Workman, meanwhile, was still in for the eighth and got two outs before Ryan Brasier had to eventually come in and finish the inning.

So, it was still 3-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth, and this was Boston’s chance to at least tie it up with the middle of the order coming up. They got off to a good start with a base hit and a walk to start things off. As I said before, though, it just wasn’t their day. Michael Chavis, who came in for Devers, flew out and then Bogaerts hit into a double play and the Red Sox stranded the runners and still trailed by a run. Matt Barnes came in for the ninth and did give up a triple but otherwise was perfect, giving Boston one more opportunity in the ninth. They got a runner into scoring position with two outs for Lin, who had three hits in the game to that point, but he ended a ten-pitch at bat with a ground out to third, and the White Sox got the win.

To make matters even worse, we got the diagnosis for Devers after the game. The collision at third base resulted in a partially torn labrum that will keep him out for six weeks. Not great!