The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox are coming off a tough week of baseball in which they lost both series they played and have dropped four of their last five overall. The good news is they have a chance to bounce back here this week as they get started today with a four-game series against the Royals. For the series opener, Boston had Collin McHugh on the mound with Kansas City countering with Danny Duffy.
McHugh got things off to a solid start with two quick outs, but Jorge Soler made sure it wasn’t a perfect first inning for the Red Sox righty as he smacked a two-out double out to right field, then quickly moved over to third base on a wild pitch. McHugh would come through with a big line out, though, and the Royals left the runner on third base.
That was basically the last time the game felt in doubt in any way for the Red Sox. They were desperate for an easy win, and that’s exactly what they got. The early onslaught against Duffy started a bit in the first when Alex Verdugo and J.D. Martinez smacked back-to-back two-out singles to put runners on the corners and Xander Bogaerts brought the first run home on a sacrifice fly.
They were better in the second, catching a break to start when Michael Chavis reached on an error from Hunter Dozier. He’d then move up to third base on a Jackie Bradley Jr. double, and then come in to score on a Christian Vázquez single. After a fielder’s choice brought in another run and another fielder’s choice put a runner in scoring position, Verdugo came through with a base hit to make it a 4-0 game.
In the third, the rallies just continued to come, with Rafael Devers leading this inning off with a double on the first pitch he saw. After two straight walks to load the bases, it looked like the Red Sox might waste this golden opportunity as they followed the walks up with a fielder’s choice that cut down a runner at the plate and then a strikeout. José Peraza didn’t let the opportunity go to waste, though, smoking a double out into right-center field and clearing the bases, giving him three of his five RBI on the night and handing Boston a 7-0 lead. That ended the night for Duffy, who made it through just 2 2⁄3 innings, a very good development for the Red Sox at the onset of a four-game series.
The offense didn’t stop when Duffy left the game, either, as Boston had some energy left in the tank in the fourth. It got started with Devers, playing in just his second game since coming off the IL, used the wind blowing out to right field to his advantage on a 389-foot shot into the bullpen for his first homer since his return, pushing Boston’s lead to eight. After a single and an error, Vázquez then came through with a two-run double before Peraza brought in yet another run with a double of his own, and that made it 11 runs for Boston. They’d be shut out in their final four innings, but the 11 was plenty.
The 11 was plenty because while the offense was pouring it on, McHugh was cruising against the Royals lineup, not allowing a single run over the first four innings. He did lose his shutout bid in the fifth when Maikel Franco smoked a bomb the other way for a 449-foot solo homer, but the rout was already on at that point. He’d give up a couple of runs later in the game as well, but had a chance for the complete game and the Red Sox desperately wanted to give it to him. He got two quick outs in the ninth, but then gave up a solo home run — the third run scored off him on the night — and then a single, and with 122 pitches his night was over. It was a brilliant performance though, as McHugh allowed just three runs (two earned) over 8 2⁄3 innings with 11 strikeouts and just one walk.
Martín Pérez would come on and get a strikeout against the only batter he faced, and that was that. The 11-3 blowout win pushed the Red Sox record to 30-24, and with the Yankees winning as well the deficit in the division remains at three games. Down on the farm, Mike Shawaryn got knocked out after just 3 1⁄3 in a loss for Pawtucket, Jonathan Araúz homered in a win for the Sea Dogs, Salem’s bullpen combined for 8 2⁄3 innings of one-run ball in a win, and Elih Marrero hit a walk-off homer for Greenville in the 11th.