Monday was the annual day for morning baseball, with the Red Sox and White Sox starting things off shortly after 11:00 AM local time. This game is always interesting because there are certainly some players who are not quite as ready for morning baseball as others. For this game specifically, it appeared it would be a low-scoring affair with Nathan Eovaldi taking on Lucas Giolito. The latter is one of the best pitchers in the American League, but the Red Sox got to him early and often, essentially putting a bow on this one before it was even halfway through. It’s exactly what they were looking for after Sunday’s two-loss day.
The Red Sox had their first real scuffle of the season this weekend since opening weekend, dropping both halves of the doubleheader on Sunday. They didn’t want to let that snowball into a downward turn, so they were looking to come out and nip that in the bud right away Monday morning. Things didn’t really look like they were going to turn out that way right off the bat, with Tim Anderson starting the game off by smacking a base hit on the first pitch of the game from Nathan Eovaldi, and then quickly stealing second base. Luis Robert, the third batter of the game, then ripped a double into the corner in left field, and it was Chicago taking another early lead.
That has been a theme this series, but the Red Sox would quickly put any concerns about the first-inning deficit to bed. In fact, it was Kiké Hernández in the leadoff spot who quickly put the deficit out of mind. The righty got a pitch to hit and put it on a high line out to left field. Although it was originally called a double, replay clearly showed the ball cleared the line out in left and it was correctly changed to a solo homer.
That was not all the Red Sox were going to do against Lucas Giolito, however. It’ll be easier to just list it all out.
- Alex Verdugo singled on a ball through the left side.
- J.D. Martinez singled on a ball through the right side.
- Rafael Devers singled on a line drive into right field.
- Christian Vázquez dropped a bunt single on the left side. (It was called a sacrifice bunt iwth a throwing error at one point, but the ruling was correctly reversed.)
- Marwin Gonzalez singled on a line drive into right field.
- Hunter Renfroe grounded out to third base.
- Franchy Cordero singled on a line drive into left field.
- Bobby Dalbec drew a walk to end a 14-pitch at bat.
- Kiké Hernández popped out.
- Alex Verdugo flew out.
So, yeah. It was a pretty wild inning. For some strange reason Giolito was in for the entire inning, throwing a whopping 46 pitches, which is bordering on dangerous for a pitcher. By the time the dust had settled, the Red Sox quickly put the early deficit in the rearview and had a 6-1 lead.
They were not going to stop there either, as the offense was just in super mode all day long. Martinez crushed the first pitch he saw in the second — with Giolito still pitching — for a solo homer out to left field. After a walk, Giolito was mercifully lifted, but the offense kept going. They’d get one more run on a sacrifice fly in the second, and then one more in the third when Verdugo joined the party with a solo homer of his own to give the Red Sox their ninth run of the game. In the fourth, they got to double-digits on the day with another long inning that did see one run on another RBI base hit from Cordero.
On the other side, Eovaldi was not having nearly the same issues as Giolito with the early start time. There was a little bit of concern of how he’d come out throwing in the second after such a long time sitting down, but he was perfectly fine after the layoff. In fact, he couldn’t have been any more perfect as he struck out all three batters he faced. He did give up a couple of extra base hits, plus a run, in the third, but he also struck out two more.
He continued to cruise as the game went along, too, tossing a perfect fourth. He did allow one more run in the fifth on back-to-back two-out doubles, but the lead was large enough that these spare runs here and there were not really changing the complexion of the game. The score was still 10-3 as he came out for the sixth, still with only 65 pitches under his belt. Eovaldi would allow just a single in that inning, racking up his ninth strikeout of the day in the process.
The pitch count did start to get up there in a bit of a hurry for the righty from there, however. He ended up pitching into the seventh, recording one out there but also giving up a pair of singles before being lifted. In all, he allowed four runs over 6 1⁄3 innings on nine hits, no walks and 10 strikeouts. Garrett Whitlock got the call after Eovaldi’s exit, allowing one of the runners he inherited to come in and score on a ground out, but did retire both batters he faced.
After the Red Sox added another run to their tally with White Sox DH Yermín Mercedes pitching the seventh — an absurd move in a six-run game, in this writer’s opinion — Whitlock came back out for the eighth. He was perfect yet again, retiring three more batters in a row to make it five straight on the day.
The White Sox went to another position player — Danny Mendick this time — for the eighth, and the Red Sox failed to score. That left us with just one more half-inning, with Whitlock trying to quickly finish this one out. He was perfect yet again, finishing the game by retiring all eight batters he faced and, along with Eovaldi, helping save the bullpen for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox continue their home stand on Tuesday, welcoming the Blue Jays into town. It’ll be a quick two-game set, with Eduardo Rodriguez taking on Hyun-Jin Ryu for the first game.