The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox are playing some good baseball heading into the All-Star break, having won each of their last five games. That includes a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays earlier in the week as well as the first game of their current set against the Orioles. They were looking to make it six in a row on Saturday at Fenway against Baltimore. Matt Hall was on the mound for the Red Sox making his first start in the majors since mid-May after a strong run in Pawtucket while Baltimore countered with swingman Kyle Lloyd.
Despite Hall having been in the minors for a while, there was some reason for optimism as he’d been cruising in Triple-A and frankly didn’t deserve to get demoted when he did back in May. Unfortunately, all optimism went out the window pretty much immediately. The lefty walked the first batter he faced, and then Yusniel Díaz took a 1-1 mistake and put it just up and over the Monster for a two-run shot. Two batters into the game and Boston was already trailing 2-0. Hall would issue another walk and hit a batter later in the inning, though he did work out of that trouble to ensure a scoreless inning.
The good news is, after scoring 12 runs on Friday the offense was ready to stay hot on Saturday. Andrew Benintendi started the inning off with a walk, and then after a couple of outs Lloyd had one get away that hit J.D. Martinez. That put two on with two outs for Xander Bogaerts, and he came through. The shortstop ripped one into center field for extra bases. Both runners would come around to score and tie up the game, but Bogaerts was caught being too aggressive. The throw home was cut off and he was thrown out at third base to end the inning. Still, it was a 2-2 ballgame.
Unfortunately, the second would not go much better for Hall and the Red Sox. The inning started with what looked like an innocuous pop up to shallow left field, but Michael Chavis couldn’t squeeze it. The easy pop up turned into an error, and the Orioles had the leadoff man. That was followed with another hit batter and a walk, and suddenly the bases were loaded with nobody out. All things considered, the inning was not as bad as it could have been with Hall getting a huge double play next. That did give Baltimore their lead back with a run, but that was all they got in the inning. The 3-2 deficit seemed like a positive.
Unfortunately, frustration kicked in for Boston after They sent only three to the plate in the third, then started to waste some chances. In the fourth, they got a runner to third base with just one out but couldn’t get a run across. In the fifth, Alex Verdugo smacked a one-out double but was left at second.
As they entered the top of the sixth, Parker Markel came out of the bullpen to replace Hall, who had settled down a bit after the brutal start. The score was still 3-2, and Markel got a couple of quick outs to start the inning. José Rondon kept the inning going, however, with a base hit before Chance Sisco ripped a double into center field. Rondon came around to score, and it was now a 4-2 game.
With the Red Sox offense scuffling a bit, that run felt big, but Boston got their act together in the bottom of the inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a one-out walk to end Lloyd’s night. Old friend Travis Lakins then came in to pitch with Michael Chavis being the first batter he’d face. Chavis got ahold of one, blasting a 431-foot shot to straightaway center field to tie the game up at four.
That was the end of the offense in regulation, and we headed into extras with Ken Giles on the mound for the Red Sox in the tenth. He had gotten the final out of the ninth, and then started this frame with back-to-back strikeouts. Then Anthony Santander came to the plate. The Orioles left fielder jumped on the first pitch and hit it into the right field seats, and just like that it was a one-run lead for the Orioles.
Boston had one more chance in the bottom of the inning, and got off to a nice start when Rafael Devers drew a walk. Unfortunately, that was immediately followed by a double play from Martinez. Bogaerts would reach base with two outs representing the tying run, but Bradley followed that up with a strikeout, and that was that.
The 5-4 extra innings loss snapped the Red Sox win streak at five and dropped their record to 51-43. The Yankees picked up a win, too, and the deficit in the division rose to five games. Around the league, the All-Star rosters were announced with J.D. Martinez being the lone Boston representative. The American league starters were:
C- Gary Sánchez, NYY
1B- Yordan Alvarez, HOU
2B- José Altuve, HOU
3B- Alex Bregman- HOU
SS- Gleyber Torres, NYY
LF- Eloy Jiménez, CHW
CF- Mike Trout, LAA
RF- Joey Gallo, TEX
DH- J.D. Martinez, BOS
P- Michael Kopech, CHW
And the National League:
C- Will Smth, LAD
1B- Josh Bell, PIT
2B- Keston Hiura, MIL
3B- Nolan Arenado, COL
SS- Fernando Tatís Jr., SD
LF- Christian Yelich, MIL
CF- Cody Bellinger, LAD
RF- Bryce Harper, PHI
P- Jacob deGrom