The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox had a bit of a rough week last week losing both of their series, but they did win the last one in Pittsburgh on Sunday and will look to carry that momentum into their final week before the All-Star Break. They have a chance to regain some momentum here, too, with three against the Blue Jays and three against the Orioles, the two worst teams in the division. That quest was started on a rainy Monday against the Jays at Fenway with Collin McHugh taking on Pat Murphy.
The first three half innings were fairly uneventful with both sides going down in order in the first and the Jays managing just a two-out single in the second. In the bottom of the second, though, the Red Sox started to roll. Or, to start it was more like Murphy started to lose control. The Blue Jays righty hit the first batter of the inning then issued three straight walks after that, and the Red Sox had a 1-0 lead without a hit. José Peraza then brought a second run home with a fielder’s choice before Christian Vázquez smacked a base hit to make it 3-0. A couple batters later, Alex Verdugo smacked a single of his own before J.D. Martinez decided to join the singles party. Just like that, it was a five-run inning for the Red Sox and the night was over for Murphy.
McHugh then faced just three batters in a scoreless third, and the Red Sox would go down scoreless in the third as well. That inning was notable, though, because it included a 64-minute rain delay. Once play was resumed, the story turned to McHugh. He was never really great all game, but he lasted much longer than one would expect after having to sit for over an hour.
After the delay, the Red Sox righty faced just three batters in the fourth thanks to a pickoff. He did lose his shutout in the fifth, though that wasn’t all his fault. Teoscar Hernandez drew a one-out walk then immediately took off to steal second. He did just that and then made it over to third thanks to a bad throw from Vázquez. One ground ball later and the Blue Jays had a run on the board and it was a 5-1 game. McHugh gave up another run in the sixth before coming back out for a scoreless seventh.
On the other side, the Red Sox got a sixth run on an Alex Verdugo double, and then a couple innings later they made it a 7-2 game with an RBI double off the bat from Andrew Benintendi. That was still the score heading into the eighth, and somehow McHugh was still in the game ready to start that inning. It did not go well. McHugh gave up a double and two singles to start the inning to bring Toronto to within four, and then a sacrifice fly to bring them to within three.
That would do it for McHugh, with Matt Barnes coming out of the bullpen with a runner on first and just one out. The right-handed reliever has been much, much better this year with a clean inning than coming in with runners on base, and sure enough he struggled a bit here. He did get a first out fairly quickly on a very loud fly ball, but then Bo Bichette ripped a double, and suddenly it was a two-run game with the tying run coming to the plate. Fortuntaley, Barnes had a little left in him and got a strikeout to end the inning with a 7-5 score.
Things were a little more tense now, but that didn’t last long at all. The Red Sox offense came out smoking in the bottom of the inning with a base hit and then an RBI double from Vázquez to make it 8-5. After an intentional walk and a base hit, the bases were loaded and J.D. Martinez made it 9-5 with a base hit. The bases were still loaded a couple batters later for Xander Bogaerts, and he had the final blow. The shortstop went the other way into the bullpens for a 412-foot grand slam, and just like that it was a 13-5 rout.
Matt Barnes then came back out for the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning, and that was that. The 13-5 win pushed the Red Sox record to 48-42. With the Yankees having the day off, Boston is now an even five games back in the division. Around the league, there was a minor trade with the Marlins sending Francisco Cervelli to the Rays for a pair of minor-leaguers.