The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox had a rough ending to their month of May as they slid through the last couple of weeks of the month with a tough schedule. Things didn’t get off to a great start in June, either, with Boston heading into Cleveland to face the AL-leading Indians and dropping Monday’s game 7-3. They were looking for a bounce back on Tuesday with Nathan Eovaldi on the mound. Cleveland was countering with Nick Wittgren, who was set to serve as an opener in front of Aaron Civale.
After their loss on Monday, the Red Sox offense was looking to grab hold of some early momentum here, but they didn’t get it going enough in the first two innings. They managed just a single in the first, though they did get a leadoff double from Xander Bogaerts in the second. That was when Civale entered, however, and after an error put runners on second and third, the Red Sox had a pop up, a shallow fly ball and another fly ball to end the inning again without any runs.
The good news is that Eovaldi had it going on in the bottom halves of the innings. The righty allowed just a single in the first and then came back with a 1-2-3 second.
Then, in the third, the Red Sox found themselves in the same exact position they had in the previous inning. After Andrew Benintendi reached on a bunt single and Alex Verdugo singled, there was once again runners on the corners with nobody out. This time, the situation wasn’t wasted. J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers came through with back-to-back singles to make it 2-0 and still nobody out with runners still on the corners. Bogaerts struck out for the first out, but Jackie Bradley Jr. continued to be the MVP of the team this year with an RBI single of his own. Then, after a walk to load the bases, Mitch Moreland came up with a chance to put the game away early. Instead, he ended the inning with a double play. It was 3-0, but it felt like it could have been more.
Eovaldi, meanwhile, didn’t let Cleveland take any of that momentum back for themselves, allowing just one single over the next two innings to keep the Indians off the board.
In the top of the fifth, the Red Sox once again got going offensively. This time, they did it with the long ball. First it was Martinez, who was also the leadoff man in the inning. He swung at the very first pitch he saw in this at bat and launched it 371 feet into the left field seats to make it a 4-0 game in favor of the Red Sox. Then, a couple of batters later Bogaerts would pick up his second hit of the game with a single to put a runner on ahead of Bradley. Remember when I said Bradley was the best player on the team this year? That continued to hold true yet again, this time with a two-run homer out to right-center field. Just like that, Civale’s night was over and it was a 6-0 lead for the Red Sox.
Now, it was all up to the pitching, but this is when things actually started to get shaky for Eovaldi. Looking for another quick shutdown inning in the bottom of the fifth, he gave up a single and a double right off the bat in the inning to put a pair in scoring position with nobody out. He then issued a walk to load the bases, and it looked like this could be a whole new ball game very quickly. Instead, he got a huge ground ball off the bat of Francisco Lindor, giving Cleveland a run but also two outs in a trade Boston will take every time. Eovaldi then got out of the inning after that, and it was still a 6-1 lead.
After the Red Sox wasted a leadoff double in the sixth, Eovaldi got into a little more trouble there as well after a leadoff walk and later a two-out single to once again put multiple runners on base. Once again, though, he’d work out of trouble and keep Cleveland off the board.
Eovaldi would have one more inning in him, stranding yet another runner in the seventh to end his night allowing just one run. With the score still 6-1, Martín Pérez came on for the eighth. He did not have it in this one, but like Eovaldi worked his way out of a situation that could’ve been worse. The southpaw issued a leadoff walk and then a single to put the first two men on, but then got a huge double play. After another walk, he then got a third out to somehow get out of the eighth without allowing a run.
He would then come out for the ninth with the same score, but things got way more interesting than they should have gotten. Pérez gave up a leadoff double here followed by a walk, and that was his night as Ryan Brasier came on with two on and nobody out. He immediately started his night by giving up a two-run triple to Lindor to make it 6-3 before a ground out suddenly made it a two-run game. After José Ramírez singled, the tying run came to the plate and Ken Giles had to come in, a situation the Red Sox desperately wanted to avoid. Fortunately, Giles only needed one pitch as he got Franmil Reyes to ground into the 5-4-3 double play, and that was that. Closer then it needed to be, but the Red Sox will take whatever they can get.
The win pushed the Red Sox record on the year to 33-28. The Yankees also picked up a win on Tuesday, keeping Boston’s deficit at a half game in the division. After the game, the Red Sox also announced they were going to retire Manny Ramírez’s number, so that’s neat. Down on the farm, Matt Hall picked up a loss for Pawtucket, Johan Mieses hit his 11th homer of the year in a win for Portland, Salem was rained out, Greenville pitching gave up ten runs in a loss, and both DSL teams won their first games of the year.