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Fake Sox Game 34: Starting the doubleheader with a blowout

A big first inning is all Boston needed.

Chicago White Sox v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

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

Our Fake Sox have been off for a couple of games in a row now, giving themselves a chance to get a little bit of a breather after a scheduled day off on Thursday before Friday’s game was rained out. Now, they are playing two against the Rangers on Saturday, with the first pitting Kyle Gibson against Collin McHugh as both teams were looking for big games out of their starters to preserve the bullpen for the doubleheader.

It appeared very early on that neither team was going to get their wish. Even before the game started it appeared it could be an afternoon that favored the offense with the wind blowing out towards left field, and it played out that way early. McHugh was hit around a bit in the first, immediately giving up a line drive base hit to start things off. After a line drive out, Willie Calhoun came up with one on and one out, and quickly gave his team the lead. The Rangers young left fielder blasted one 391 feet into the bullpen for a two-run shot, and just like that it was a 2-0 lead.

McHugh came right back with a four-pitch walk, and it looked like it could be a disaster of an afternoon for him. Instead, he caught Joey Gallo at first base and then got the third out of the inning in the next at bat, and things appeared to settle down a bit after the pickoff.

On the other side, the Red Sox offense was already trailing and were looking to keep up the momentum they had built in the previous series up in Toronto despite the two days of downtime. It was clear very quickly that the off days would not affect them. Andrew Benintendi started the game off with a base hit to right and moved up to second when Gallo muffed it, his second mistake already in the game. It wouldn’t matter where Benintendi was standing, though, as Jackie Bradley Jr. blasted his team-leading seventh homer out 409 feet to right field, and two batters into the bottom of the first the game was tied at two.

After J.D. Martinez made the first out of the inning, the first kept going with a single, a double and another single to bring one more home and put runners on the corners with one out for Mitch Moreland, who was looking for a fly ball to bring another run home. He did better than that, blasting one a single foot shorter than Bradley’s for a three-run shot, and it was already 6-2. Gibson would give up a single before getting the hook, and the Rangers got just one out from their starter in the first game of a doubleheader. Not ideal for them.

That first inning was basically the game, as McHugh looked like it he might have a rough game but really seemed to settle down after picking off Gallo at first base. He came back after that big first from his offense with two straight perfect innings. The righty did give up another run in the fourth on an RBI double from Danny Santana and worked his way around another rally or two in the game, but overall it was a very solid day for the Red Sox righty. In all, McHugh tossed and allowed just three runs on six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. Even better, Boston needed just on reliever for the final two frames with Heath Hembree retiring all six batters he faced.

On the other side, the Red Sox offense kept pressing all game long basically, forcing the Rangers to continue going back to the well over and over again as Texas used five pitchers in the game. There were no more homers for Boston after that first, as they instead used a more methodical approach with singles, doubles and walks. Everyone in the lineup had one hit and Bradley led the offense with four hits, including the home run, and three RBI as well as three runs scored. Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo each contributed three hits as well.

Overall, Boston plated 11 runs for their fifth straight victory, all of which have been by at least a five-run cushion. Their record now sits at 21-13. They’ll look to turn right back around to keep the momentum, too, with the second game of the day coming up in a few hours at 7:05 PM ET.