The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox are coming fresh off of a tough loss in a winnable game on Wednesday in Atlanta, but they didn’t really have much time to dwell on that with a quick turnaround. They head to Texas on Thursday for a weird doubleheader. It’s weird because, well, this is one of the few areas where Out of the Park Baseball messes up. Sometimes when a game gets rained out and there are no more games between the two teams at that park, instead of rescheduling on a shared day off, they make a doubleheader happen at the other park. For example, the Red Sox and Rangers were rained out on May 3 at Fenway. They’re making it up today, in Texas, but with Boston at the home team. It makes no sense! But, it did open up the chance for a walk off on the road, which would be pretty wild.
This first game of the doubleheader had Collin McHugh going for the Red Sox against Lance Lynn for the Rangers. It was, well, not a good day for the former. Pitching in the top of the first outside of his home park was apparently not something McHugh was able to adjust well to. The Rangers teed off on the righty, starting the game with two doubles and a single. Three batters in, it was a 2-0 game. The Red Sox then proceeded to shoot themselves in the foot when José Peraza botched a potential double play ball.
McHugh finally got the first out of the inning on a fielder’s choice, but the fun didn’t last long. Robinson Chirinos came to the plate with runners on the corners and unleashed on one. The catcher sent the ball 370 feet to the seats in left field for a three-run shot, and the rout was on with a 5-0 score. McHugh would get the second out before giving up a single and issuing a walk, and that was that. In the first game of a doubleheader, Boston’s pitcher recorded all of two outs. Not ideal! Martín Pérez would come in next, and he immediately gave up a double and then threw a wild pitch, allowing two more runs to scored. Once the dust finally, mercifully settled, Texas had a 7-0 lead.
The good news here is that the pitching settled down in a major way after that absurd start to the game. Pérez worked around a couple of baserunners for a scoreless second, was perfect in the third, worked around two more runners in the fourth, and then was perfect again in the fifth. After giving up a single to lead off the sixth, his day was done and it was Ryan Brasier’s turn. He struck out the first batter he faced then followed that up with a strike-him-out, throw-him-out to end the inning. Brasier then tossed a perfect seventh and got two outs in the eighth before leaving for Matt Barnes, who came in and stranded Brasier’s runner at second. Barnes handled the ninth, too, walking the leadoff man but then coming back with three straight strikeouts. So, the pitching did the job after the first, keeping Texas’s run total at seven.
The job was then on the other side for the offense to come all the way back after finding themselves in the big hole. Let’s go all the way back to the first, because the Red Sox didn’t lie down after falling behind. Jackie Bradley Jr. smacked a one-out base hit there and then came in to score on a J.D. Martinez double. A couple batters later, Alex Verdugo brought Martinez home with a base hit to make it 7-2. There was a chance for more, but Mitch Moreland stranded a couple to end the inning.
Xander Bogaerts, who struck out in the first and has been a little on the colder side of late, made it 7-3 in the third when he hit an absolute rocket of a line drive home run. In the fifth, it was Michael Chavis hitting a solo shot, one of three hits for him in the game (he was the player of the game, too), this one making it 7-4.
Then, things got really interesting in the sixth. Christian Vázquez led things off with a walk, bringing Peraza to the plate. He’s been cooling off after a hot start, but he found his swing here, sending one out 405 feet to left-center field for a two-run shot, and all of a sudden it was just a one-run game. They had a chance to tie in that inning two with runners on first and second with two outs, but Verdugo hit a routine ground ball to keep the deficit at one.
An even better chance came in the seventh, when Chavis led things off with a base hit and then Moreland had a single of his own to put the first two men on base. This was the chance to tie the game, but Vázquez struck out. That brought Peraza to the plate, and he hit it on a line, which is his goal every time up. Unfortunately, this one was right at Nick Solack at second base, and Michael Chavis was caught in no man’s land off the bag. He got doubled up, and just like that the scoring chance went up in smoke.
That was basically the game, with the Red Sox going down in order in their final two chances. The 7-6 loss dropped Boston’s record to 24-19, and they’ll look to get back in the win column in just a few hours with game two of the doubleheader coming at 8:05 PM ET.