The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox hit a bit of a snag in their season last week and late in the previous one, giving back some of that ground they had been starting to gain in the division. They entered this week trailing the Yankees by a full six games, but had a real chance to mount a comeback in the division this week with series against Toronto and Baltimore. They got off to a nice start with a blowout win against the Blue Jays on Monday, and after rainout Tuesday they had a chance at a sweep Wednesday if they could take both games of the doubleheader. The first had Nathan Eovaldi going up against Tanner Roark.
Both pitchers had been struggling coming into this one, though for Eovaldi it was just for a couple games as he had been red hot before that. Roark, however, has had a rough year all year, coming into the game with an ERA over 8.00. Early on, though, the pitchers led the way. Toronto did get a runner to second in the top of the first, but they didn’t score in either of their first two chances while the Red Sox went down in order in their first.
With the game still scoreless heading into the bottom of the second, Boston got going against Roark. They caught a break to start the inning when J.D. Martinez hit a ground ball over to shortstop and Bo Bichette made a bad throw, allowing Martinez to get to second on the two-base error. He’d then move over to third on a ground out before coming in to make it a 1-0 game on a Jackie Bradley Jr. single. That brought Mitch Moreland to the plate, with him getting his first start at first base in a while. He made his mark on this game very early, getting to a 3-1 count before absolutely demolishing a two-run shot. His homer traveled 448 feet over the bullpens and gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. Boston would get another chance later in the inning, too, after a Christian Vázquez double, but they settled for just the three runs.
Unfortunately, Eovaldi didn’t take the lead and run with it. The Blue Jays started the inning with a whole bunch of singles, three in a row to be exact. That loaded the bases with nobody out, and then a ground ball brought their first run home. They’d get another run on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. base hit, leaving runners on the corners with just one out. Randal Grichuk came up and got ahead 3-0, making things look real dicey for Eovaldo. Grichuk got the green light, though, and ended up grounding into a huge, inning-ending double play to keep it a 3-2 game in favor of the Red Sox.
That would be the lone black mark on the day for Eovaldi, who came back from that struggle of an inning and absolutely dominated the rest of the afternoon. In fact, he was perfect almost the rest of the afternoon. Starting in the fourth, he tossed five straight perfect innings to get him through the eighth, and he seemingly got stronger as the outing went on. The righty struck out the side in that eighth inning.
On the other side, the Red Sox offense did struggle for a few innings, and it was still a 3-2 game heading into the bottom of the sixth. From here, though, things took off and got out of hand fairly quickly. In the sixth, they scored three and sent eight to the plate, leaving with a 6-2 lead. In the seventh, they scored a whopping eight runs and sent 12 to the plate, and at this point the rout was officially on with a 14-2 lead. They’d add insult to injury in the eighth by sending eight more to the plate and scoring three more to make it 17-2.
Eovaldi did give up a homer to Guerrero in the ninth to ruin his perfect streak, but he and Martín Pérez finished off the game without too much trouble. While Eovaldi was really impressive, though, the offense was the story with their 17 runs. Vázquez was the MVP with a 5-5 performance, but Rafael Devers wasn’t too far behind with four hits and four RBI. All total, the team had 21 hits.
The 17-3 victory pushed the Red Sox record to 49-42. That leaves them 4.5 games behind the Yankees heading into tonight’s nightcap where Boston will look for their fourth straight win and a sweep of the Blue Jays.