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Red Sox 4, Angels 3: Bobby Dalbec comes through in the clutch

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The rookie hits a big home run to give Boston the win.

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Los Angeles Angels v Boston Red Sox Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

The Red Sox have had a tough week offensively, and in this series opener against the Angels it wasn’t great either. They struggled to get sustained rallies all night long. It didn’t matter, however, because they got a couple of homers and a really good start. The latter came from Nick Pivetta, who just continues to roll through this season. He was as good as he’s been all year shutting down a good Angels lineup. The offense, meanwhile, got two two-run homers, including a clutch one from Bobby Dalbec that would eventually serve as a game winner. Put it all together and you get a second straight win.


One of the most remarkable parts of this Red Sox season, which we’ve mentioned time and time again as the season has gone on, has been Nick Pivetta. He looked like he was on the verge of being out of the bigs altogether when he was with the Phillies, but things have totally turned around with the Red Sox. For a lot of the season his lack of control has made it appear as though the performance was a house of cards waiting to come down, but the fact of the matter is he’s gotten the job done day in and day out this season.

That is a fact that continued on Friday. And although he was facing a last-place team, this was very much not a last-place lineup the Angels were throwing out there. Not only do they have guys like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh, but they also got Anthony Rendon back from the injured list right before first pitch. It didn’t matter, because Pivetta had it going on.

It wasn’t a perfect outing, though, as there was a little bit of hard contact as the night went on, including right in that first inning. Ohtani hits the ball harder than just about any other player in the league, and he showed it in his first at bat when he went the other way for a one-out double. He’d be left at second base. The second also saw a baserunner when José Iglesias showed off a nice piece of hitting with a weak single the other way, but he too would be stranded.

From there, it was cruise control. He retired the batter after Iglesias to end that inning, then was perfect in the third with two strikeouts, and did the same thing in the fourth. The fifth didn’t feature the two strikeouts, but it was another perfect inning to make it 10 Angels in a row set down by Pivetta.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Over on the other side, Griffin Canning was having his own impressive start against the Red Sox lineup, though it wasn’t on the same level. Like L.A., Boston did get a hit in the first inning on a J.D. Martinez single, but that was all they got. The second would go better.

In that inning, it was Rafael Devers starting things off with a base hit to put the leadoff man on for Boston. It looked like it’d be a squandered chance with two straight outs, but then the red-hot Hunter Renfroe stepped to the dish. He got a fastball up in the zone on a 3-1 count, and he was all over it. The ball sailed to the deepest part of the park for a homer to straightaway center field, and just like that it was a 2-0 lead for the Red Sox.

That was just about all the offense for the next few innings of the game. Pivetta was doing his thing, and the only real chance Boston had after that was in the fourth when they got back-to-back singles to start the inning. This time, however, Renfroe grounded into a double play and killed that scoring chance.

So it was still a 2-0 game as we headed to the sixth with Pivetta on his streak of 10 straight Angels retired. He got that streak up to 12 with a pair of quick outs, but then Ohtani changed the script. Pivetta didn’t even really make a bad pitch, throwing a curveball down and away. It didn’t quite get down enough, though, and Ohtani is on another planet at the moment. He threw his bat on the outer half and somehow hit it well enough to get it just barely up and over the wall in left field for a solo shot, cutting the Red Sox lead in half. Pivetta did, to his credit, come back and get Trout after that to get out of the inning.

The Red Sox would send only three to the plate in the bottom of the inning, and Pivetta came back out in the seventh with 90 pitches. He would only be out there to face Rendon, who put a single off the Monster before Pivetta left after yet another strong outing. It was Matt Andriese coming in out of the bullpen.

Things did not go well for Andriese as the Red Sox continue to have problems with most of their bullpen. The righty gave up another single to put two on with two outs, and then both runners moved up a base on a fly ball to deep right field. That put two in scoring position for Iglesias, and he came through with his second hit of the night. This one was a double out the other way, and it brought two runs home to give the Angels their first lead of the game by a score of 3-2. He got out of it after that, but now the offense had to get to work.

They got to work, and it was the long ball again. Renfroe got things started here, but he stayed in the yard, instead fighting off a tough pitch and getting it into left field for a one-out single. That brought Bobby Dalbec to the plate, and he got a pitch in a place where, well, you don’t want to leave one for Dalbec. It was a changeup middle-in, and Dalbec hit it way out to left field for a two-run shot, and just like that they were back out in front with a 4-3 score.

With the lead now in hand, it was Adam Ottavino coming in for the Red Sox in the eighth. The righty has been a bit of a rollercoaster this year, but this was a high point as he was perfect in the inning, including strikeouts against both Ohtani and Trout to keep the lead at one.

That just left one more inning to get through, and it was of course Matt Barnes coming out for the ninth in what was still a one-run game. He continued what has been just an absurd season, striking out all three batters he faced to close this one out. The 4-3 win moved the Red Sox record to 24-16.


The Red Sox and Angels will continue this three-game set on Saturday with Martín Pérez taking on Dylan Bundy. First pitch is set for 4:10 PM ET.

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Courtesy of FanGraphs