The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
So, before we get started, a quick note about me being a big ol’ dummy. There’s no video for this game because I made a mistake! I meant to click a different button to fix an error with someone’s name and without thinking hit the “simulate day” button. So, a game was played between the Red Sox and Braves in our fake world on Tuesday and we have the play by play, but it will be extra imaginary tonight. My bad!
Anyway, our Fake Sox are coming off a tough series up in the Bronx in which they dropped two of three to the Yankees and lost their division lead in the process, and are looking for a rebound in Atlanta against the Braves. After winning the NL East in 2019, the Braves have been one of the biggest disappointments in baseball thus far, entering this game with a record of 18-23. They did have Max Fried on the mound, though, and he’s been outstanding with a 1.91 ERA and only one start to date in which he allowed more than two earned runs, and only two starts with more than one earned run. Boston countered with Nathan Eovaldi, who after a tough start has gone three straight starts with at least 6 2⁄3 innings and no more than two runs allowed.
So, both pitchers were red hot coming into this game and that’s exactly how the action played out, too. The Red Sox did have three batters reach in the first two innings, but it was on two walks in the first and a single in the second and it resulted in no runs. On the other side, Eovaldi was perfect through the first six batters he faced.
Boston would have the top of the order coming back around in the third, though, and José Peraza (who was in the leadoff spot with Andrew Benintendi getting the day off so J.D. Martinez could play in the DH-less NL park) started the inning off with a base hit to put speed on the base paths right away. He’d move up to second on a ground out, and after Martinez struck out it was up to Xander Bogaerts to not waste an opportunity in a game that felt like it’d be dominated by pitching. The shortstop came through, smacking a double out to right-center field to give Boston a 1-0 lead. He would be stranded at second, though, so the Sox had to settle for just the single run.
Eovaldi followed that up with yet another perfect inning in the third, but he would hit his first path of trouble as we moved into the bottom of the fourth with the score still 1-0 Boston. The Braves got their first baserunner of the game right away with a leadoff walk, and then another walk followed by a base hit suddenly loaded the bases with nobody out, and it appeared things were going to turn on a dime for the Red Sox righty. Except, well, they didn’t. Eovaldi got two huge strikeouts after that, though, leaving it up to Marcell Ozuna to not waste the chance for Atlanta. He made good contact with a 104 mph line drive, but it was right at Alex Verdugo and the Red Sox somehow escaped the inning with the lead still in hand.
They wouldn’t be so lucky in the fifth. There, the Braves got things started with a Tyler Flowers base hit, and after a one-out bunt from Max Fried moved the runner to scoring position, Atlanta was once again in a big spot with two outs and a runner in scoring position. This time, they came through with Ender Inciarte smacking a base hit into left field and Flowers beating the throw home. Said throw allowed Inciarte, the go ahead run, to get to second base, too, but he’d be stranded there.
So, with the score tied at one the Sox were looking for a bounce back in the sixth. They did get a leadoff walk, but a double play immediately followed that. Two more runners would reach, too, but nobody crossed the plate. Boston would go down in order in each of the next two innings while Eovaldi allowed just a single in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
That left one inning left to end it in regulation, and Mitch Moreland got the Red Sox going with a one-out single. After the Braves went to get Chris Martin out of the bullpen, Benintendi came in to pinch hit and had a base hit of his own to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with just one down. Kevin Pillar, who got the start in center for this one, didn’t let this opportunity to waste, giving Boston their third straight hit and a 2-1 lead. Kevin Plawecki followed that with a double play, but there was a one-run lead for Ken Giles to protect.
The Red Sox new closer continued to look great with his new team in the ninth here. He did give up a two-out single to ruin the bid for a perfect inning, but he struck out two and more importantly kept runs off the board, giving Boston a 2-1 win.
The victory pushed the Red Sox record to 24-17. However, despite the win they are still a half-game back in the division with the Yankees having won a pair of one-run games in Tampa Bay the last two days. Meanwhile, down on the farm, Pawtucket went 1-1 with Brian Johnson and Tanner Houck combining for 14 1⁄3 innings of one-run ball in the two games, Portland went 2-0 with the first win coming thanks to a five-inning, no run, eight strikeout performance from Kyle Hart, Salem lost the only game they played with Jay Groome allowing five hits and five walks in just 3 2⁄3 innings, and Greenville lost their only game with the bullpen allowing five runs over the last four innings.