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Fake Sox Game 95: Finishing the first half with a win

A strong final week before the All-Star Break.

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.

This is Sunday’s game. Due to some technical difficulties, we had to push back the simulation, and there is no video for this one.

Our Fake Sox have been ending the first half in style, having won five in a row before Saturday’s game against Orioles. They lost that one to snap the streak, but they were looking to end the first half on Sunday with another win to make it six of their last seven. They had Collin McHugh on the mound for this one while Baltimore countered with Glenn Sparkman, for whom they recently traded.

Early on, it was all about the pitching as both offenses struggled to get going against their opposing pitchers. McHugh, in fact, was nearly perfect over the first half of his start. He tossed 1-2-3 innings in three of the first four innings he tossed, with the only blemish on his record during those four frames as a walk he issued in the second. On the other side, Sparkman was perfect through three, with Boston’s first baserunner coming in the bottom of the fourth on an Alex Verdugo base hit. Verdugo would eventually get to third with two outs, but he couldn’t score.

So, the game was still knotted at zeros heading into the fifth, which is when almost all of the offense from the afternoon actually took place. The Orioles finally got their first hit of the day in the top half of this inning when Renato Núñez smacked a one-out double. That was followed up with a walk before a fly ball put runners on the corners with two outs. That brought Richie Martin to the plate for a huge at bat, and the Orioles infielder won the battle. Martin ripped a triple into the triangle, bringing two runs home and giving Baltimore a 2-0 lead.

Now it was on Boston to answer back after having fallen behind, and they were up to the task. Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. started the inning with back-to-back singles to put two on with nobody out. Michael Chavis came up next, and he came through with a huge double into left-center field, making it a 2-1 game and putting a pair in scoring position. José Peraza then followed that up with a sacrifice fly and just like that the game was tied. Christian Vázquez was next at the plate, and he had a nice at bat that saw him foul off four straight two-strike pitches before shooting a ground ball up through the middle for an RBI single, and the Red Sox suddenly had a 3-2 lead.

McHugh then came through with an easy shutdown inning, and the Red Sox added to their lead in the sixth. Rafael Devers got things started in that inning with a leadoff single, and then a couple batters later Bogaerts came back to the plate. He smacked one into the right field corner for a triple, bringing Devers in to score and giving Boston the 4-2 lead.

From here it was all up to the pitching, and they got the job done. McHugh had another perfect inning to continue his great day in the seventh. Ryan Brasier got the call for the eighth and he allowed just a single in a scoreless inning. Brasier then got two outs in the ninth before making way for Parker Markel to finish things off. Markel did struggle a bit giving up a double and a walk, but eventually he made the final out to finish off the game.

The 4-2 victory pushed the Red Sox record to 52-43 to finish off the first half. The Yankees lost, too, so Boston headed into the break trailing in the division by four games. They trail the White Sox by 1.5 games in the wildcard race. Below you can see the final first half stats for Red Sox players as well as the final first half MLB standings. As a quick programming note, I still have not decided how we will proceed from here in this simulation. The team is off until Friday, anyway, so I’ll make some sort of decision this week.