The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox snapped a streak of some rough baseball to start off their series against the Royals on Monday, using a big performance from their offense to jump out to a big, early lead and eventually go home with a stress-free 11-3 victory. They were looking to pick up right where they left off on Tuesday, and seemingly had a good chance at it too with a red-hot Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound taking on Brady Singer, a rookie making his second career start.
It was very clear basically immediately, however, that this was not going to be Rodriguez’s night. Nick Heath led off the game with a base hit for the Royals, and then he moved up to second on another base hit. Heath and Whit Merrifield then successfully pulled off a double steal — the first two of eight stolen bases on the night for the Royals — to put a pair in scoring position for Hunter Dozier with nobody out. It didn’t actually matter where they were standing, though, because Dozier left the yard. He hit a 342-foot shot out into the Monster Seats for a three-run homer, and the Royals had a 3-0 lead just three batters into the game. Rodriguez did get out of the inning without any more being added to the tally, but the tone was set.
Rodriguez did settle down for a couple innings after that, though Boston struggled against Singer in the first two innings. In the bottom of the third, though, they finally got going with back-to-back singles from Christian Vázquez and Mitch Moreland. The good news is that put runenrs on corners with nobody out. The bad news is Vázquez was hurt sliding into third base. Fortunately, it’s not a serious injury and he won’t need an IL stint, but he was removed from the game. Boston had a chance to get back into this one, though, but they missed their chance, scoring just one run on a fielder’s choice and settling for the 3-1 deficit.
It didn’t take any time at all for the Royals to get that run back, either. After his two solid innings, Rodriguez started to get hit around again in the fourth, giving up a single and a double to start the inning and once again put a pair in scoring position with just one out. He did avoid the long ball this time, but Cam Gallagher came through with a base hit to make it a 4-1 game, and Rodriguez did end up getting a big inning-ending double play later in the inning to avoid allowing more than just the one run.
After the offense would go down in order in the bottom of the inning, Rodriguez gave up a walk before recording one out in the fifth and then getting taken out after just 4 1⁄3 innings. It was not the start the Red Sox were looking for, to say the least. On the bright side, the bullpen did do well for a few innings, with Parker Markel, Josh Taylor and Matt Barnes combining to get through the seventh without any more runs being scored. Unfortunately, Singer just continued to mow through the Red Sox offense as they didn’t even get a runner beyond first base from there all the way through the seventh inning.
Barnes would come back out for the eighth with the score still 4-1, and after issuing a leadoff walk he was lifted for Brandon Workman. The Royals would then steal a base, ground out, get intentionally walked, have the runner on second steal third, then a couple pitches later have the runner on first steal second, and finally get a two-run double from Gallagher to make it a 6-1 game. Kevin Shackelford then came in and did issue another walk but didn’t allow any more runs to score.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Red Sox offense did finally get a little momentum against Singer when Benintendi faced him for the fourth time in the game. The left fielder launched one against the wind in right field for a two-run shot, making it a 6-3 game. The lineup couldn’t continue the momentum from there, though, and the Royals got another run back in the ninth, and to make matters worse Ken Giles had to come in with a four-run deficit to finish the inning.
That was pretty much that, with the Red Sox going down quietly in the ninth to finish off the game. The 7-3 loss dropped Boston to 30-25, though the deficit in the division stayed at three. After the game, Kevin Pillar complained about his role, which... I’m not sure what he was expecting. The Red Sox also signed Oliver Pérez to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Pawtucket.
Around the league, the Dodgers scored 25 runs in a win over the Rockies with Corey Seager and Mookie Betts getting five hits apiece. Meanwhile, the AL Central-leading Indians suffered a big injury as Carlos Santana went down with a fractured hip that will cost him the rest of the year. Meanwhile, down on the farm, Brian Johnson had a solid day in a PawSox win, Portland managed just three hits in a loss, Alex Scherff took the L for Salem, and Logan Browning led the way in a win for Greenville.