The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
After a long layoff with just one day of games in a span of five days, our Fake Sox didn’t look like the break affected their play on the field with a nice and crisp series-opening win against the AL West-leading Angels on Tuesday. They were looking to make it two in a row and a series victory with another win on Wednesday, and they had Matt Hall going up against Cam Bedrosian, who was serving as an opener in front of Dylan Bundy.
With those pitchers going, it seemed like there could be a lot of offense happening at Fenway in this one, and the start for the Angels didn’t change that belief much at all. L.A. immediately got their first two runners on base with a walk and a base hit, and with a heart of the order featuring Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, it looked like very early trouble for Hall. Except, well, he settled down in a major, major way. He got a ground ball, a pop up and a strike out against those two plus top prospect Jo Adell to get out of that inning and keep the scoreboard clear.
He just continued to cruise after that as well and actually put together a very nice start. He was perfect in the second, allowed just a single in the third, and then was perfect again in both the fourth and fifth innings. So, in other words, he was through five scoreless innings and after those first two runners reached base he allowed only one more baserunner against the next 16 batters he’d face.
The bad news is the Red Sox offense was having just as much trouble against the Angels pitching. They went down in order in the first, and then couldn’t do anything with a leadoff single in the second. They drew a pair of walks against Bundy in the third, but there was a double play sandwiched between them and no runner even made it beyond first base that inning, never mind scored. The fourth, meanwhile, saw a wasted one-out double and the fifth things just got even more frustrating.
There, Ryder Jones got a little mini rally going with a one-out single, his second time on base. He has been fantastic filling in for the injured Rafael Devers, with that base hit raising his line to .309/.350/.521. I mentioned that because, well, he won’t be filling in much longer. With two outs in the inning Andrew Benintendi came through with a base hit on which Jones made it over to third, but apparently he misstepped a bit because he came up limping and had to be removed from the game. It was revealed right away that he had a sprained ankle and will be out for the next month. Not ideal! Also not ideal: After Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch to load the bases in front of J.D. Martinez, the slugger grounded out and the game was still scoreless after five.
It felt like all of the air was being sucked out of the Red Sox during that last inning, and sure enough that converted over to the other side as well. Hall had been fantastic up to that point, but the third time through the heart of the Angels order proved to be too much. Shohei Ohtani, who was very good on the mound in Tuesday’s game, started the rally top of the sixth on Wednesday with a one-out double, his third hit of the game. Boston then decided to walk Trout in front of Rendon to set up the double play, and that backfired. The former National ripped a double out to left-center field, bringing home two runs and breaking the scoreless tie.
To Hall’s credit, he did get out of the inning without any more damage. It wouldn’t matter either way, though, because the Red Sox offense just had nothing. It was even more clear it was not their night in the seventh. Still trailing 2-0, they caught a break with the eight and nine hitters reaching on an error and a walk, respectively, putting two on with nobody out and the top of the lineup coming up. If they weren’t going to score here, they didn’t deserve to win. Well, they didn’t deserve to win. Benintendi, Bradley and Martinez recorded three straight outs and left the runners on base, and that was pretty much that.
The score got uglier, too. Hall was tasked with coming back out to five the top of the order in the eighth, which felt like a mistake despite how well he had been pitching. He allowed the first two batters to reach before being taken out. Matt Barnes got the call with two on and nobody out against Trout in what was Barnes’s first appearance since being taken out of the closer’s role after the trade for Ken Giles. Barnes hadn’t allowed a run to this point in the year, but that changed quickly as Trout went the other way for a three-run shot, extending the Angels lead to five. Barnes would allow another run in the ninth as well.
The 6-0 loss dropped the Red Sox record down to 22-15. The Yankees picked up a win, dropping the Red Sox lead in the division down to one. Meanwhile, as expected Jones was placed on the IL after the game with Chad De La Guerra getting the call up and Michael Chavis now getting the everyday role at third base. Rafael Devers still has one-to-two weeks left on his injury. Also following the game, there was a little bit of good news for the fans with Giles agreeing to stay in Boston beyond this year, signing a three-year, $31.5 million extension. It would have been pretty terrible to trade all they did for him and then have him walk after the year.
Around the league, Aroldis Chapman suffered a setback with his injury that will affect him for another six days. He’s not on the IL, but this is relevant with the Red Sox playing the Yankees this weekend. Also, Germán Márquez threw a shutout for the Rockies. Meanwhile, down on the farm, Brian Johnson and Trevor Hildenberger were lit up in a loss for the PawSox, Bobby Dalbec homered in a loss for the Sea Dogs and was later promoted to Triple-A, Cameron Cannon hit his first homer of the year in a win for Salem and Greenville forced extras with a three-run comeback but then lost in the tenth.