The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox are in the midst of their worst stretch in this season so far, combining a tough portion of their schedule with inopportune mistakes and a slump from the bullpen. They headed into Saturday night’s game against the Brewers having lost their series opener on Friday thanks to yet another blown game from the bullpen, and were looking to bounce back in this one. They had Collin McHugh on the mound for the second game of this three-game set while Milwaukee countered with Adrian Houser.
McHugh found himself in a little bit of trouble right away against a very tough top half of the Brewers lineup. He did get a couple of quick outs, but then issued a two-out walk to Christian Yelich, who then quickly swiped second base. That put a runner in scoring position for Keston Hiura, who just so happened to lead the National League in batting average. To the surprise of no one, Hiura came through with a base hit into center field. Jackie Bradley Jr. was there to save the day, however, throwing Yelich out at the plate to keep the Brewers off the board and end the inning.
The Red Sox then got going quickly against Houser, swinging early and often as they tried not to fall behind. Case in point, Andrew Benintendi swung at the first pitch Houser threw and smacked a leadoff double into the left field corner. He’d then move over to third on a grounder, but after a pop out from J.D. Martinez, he was in danger of being stranded 90 feet from the plate. Fortunately, Rafael Devers was able to come through. The third baseman didn’t hit it particularly hard, but his floater made it into right field for a single and gave Boston an early 1-0 lead.
Once again, McHugh would find himself in some trouble in the second. This time, it was a little bit of a two-out rally for Milwaukee as they got back-to-back two-out singles to put runners on the corners for Eric Sogard. McHugh once again worked his way out of trouble, though, getting a ground ball to end the inning.
After the Red Sox left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning, it was more trouble for the Boston starter in the third. It started right away with Lorenzo Cain extending his hit streak to 17 games thanks to a triple out to left-center field. McHugh came back with a big strikeout against Ryan Braun, but then issued another walk to Yelich. The Brewers star did the Sox a favor, though, getting caught stealing at second for the second out of the inning. McHugh then got Hiura swinging, and once again the Red Sox righty wiggled out of a jam.
This time, the offense gave him a little bit more of a cushion. Devers got the rally going in the bottom of the third with a one-out single, and Xander Bogaerts followed it up with a single of his own. Jackie Bradley Jr. then moved Devers over to third base on a fly ball, but it was also the second out of the inning. That left it all up to Mitch Moreland, but he came through. The first baseman smashed a double down the third base line, bringing both runs home and giving Boston a 3-0 lead.
McHugh’s luck did, unfortunately, run out in the fourth. This time, though, it wasn’t a barrage of baserunners like the previous four innings. Instead, with one out Omar Narváez came to the plate. He didn’t even hit it that well, but he found one of Fenway’s quirks and his 333-foot pop up found the right field corner and the first row of seats out there. It was a solo shot and brought the Brewers to within two. It was also their only hit of the inning.
The Red Sox of the game firmly belonged to the Red Sox, though. McHugh settled into a groove after that home run, recording two straight outs after that, then coming back for a 1-2-3 fifth, and then another one in the sixth, and then another one in the seventh, and then yet another in the eighth. That was the end of his night, and after retiring those last 14 consecutive outs he had allowed just the single run over eight innings. On the other side, the Red Sox added one more runs to their total with José Peraza knocking in a run on a base hit in the fifth.
That left it up to Ken Giles to finish things off. The closer came through with the three-run lead. He did allow one runner on a Hirua single, but that was all as he struck out the next two batters after the base hit to end the game and give his team the victory.
The 4-1 win gave pushed the Red Sox record to 34-30. The Yankees did also win, though, so the deficit in the division stuck at 2.5 games.
Down on the farm, Brian Johnson allowed just one run over six innings in a PawSox win, the Sea Dogs got a win thanks to an eight-inning, one-run performance from Daniel McGrath, Salem dominated thanks to a Cameron Cannon grand slam and seven innings of one-run ball from Alex Scherff, Brandon Howlett homered in a win for Greenville, and the two DSL teams split their two games.