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Red Sox 5, Angels 6: Ohtani around the Pole crushes Red Sox

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Matt Barnes blew a save, something you probably won’t see a lot of this year.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Going for the sweep against the Los Angeles Angels, the Red Sox trotted out Nathan Eovaldi to counter José Quintana of the Angels.

The Red Sox started from behind. I know, same story, different day. The second inning began with Eovaldi hitting Anthony Rendon. Afterwards, Jared Walsh set up a second and third, with no outs situation with a double. Taylor Ward singled home a run, the first of the contest. José Iglesias reached on a fielder’s choice, and Walsh got caught in a run down between third and home. He bought enough time to get Ward on to third for the next hitter, but this was a key out, the first of the inning for the Red Sox.

It did not get much better from there in the second inning, as Eovaldi served up a double that went down the first base line, scoring the second run, still with only one out in the inning. Eovaldi was already up over 30 pitches, and had only picked up one out in the second inning. Drew Butera drove up the pitch count with a nine-pitch plate appearance that culminated in a two run double, making it 4-0 Angels. Further damage was avoided, but he was already at 49 pitches, and Alex Cora had Darwinzon Hernandez warming up by the end of the inning. Not the best of starts for Eovaldi, who has not had a kind May so far.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox had their first salvo of the day in the bottom of the third inning, as Marwin Gonzalez and Kevin Plawecki began the inning with back to back singles, the first hits off of José Quintana. Jonathan Araúz laced a double down the left field line that rolled to the wall. While Gonzalez scored easily, Plawecki rounded and probably could have scored, but ended up circling back and sliding into third safely. Unfortunately, they never brought Plawecki in, and the Sox had to settle for just the one run, making it 4-1 after three innings.

Eovaldi settled in after his disastrous second inning, although it took some good defense and a strong arm by J.D. Martinez(!?) to throw out Shohei Ohtani at the plate, to keep the score at 4-1.

Kevin Plawecki picked a good time for his first home run of the season, as he took a Quintana offering deep with nobody on in the bottom of the fourth inning, taking his first ride in the Dinger Cart (that he invented, as we are oft-reminded). The value of a home run may rise with the number of players on base, but I’m sure that was a priceless experience for him. One single by Araúz later, and Quintana was removed from the game.

And it turns out, that was all the Red Sox needed to get back in this one. The new pitcher, Aaron Slegers, gave up a single to Michael Chavis (clearly did not read the scouting report, why throw low to Chavis?), which set up a massive three-run home run by Rafael Devers to push the Sox ahead, 5-4.

With a lead, the Red Sox turned the page on Eovaldi, and turned to Phillips Valdez (making his fifth appearance in May). Eovaldi’s final line on the day: five innings pitched, six hits, one walk allowed, and six strikeouts. He gave up four earned runs, all in the same inning, the second. Outside of the second, he looked great, but he needs to be better than he was in that inning if he’s going to be at the front of the rotation for the Red Sox.

Phillips Valdez and Josh Taylor relieved Eovaldi, and pitched well. Most importantly, they kept the Angels from scoring additional runs. Adam Ottavino had a more precarious outing. After striking out the first batter, he gave up a single to Jared Walsh, and then uncorked a wild pitch to move them to second. Then he walked Ward (who has become a pest in this series) to put a runner on first and second, with only one out in the inning.

While Ottavino was able to get another out, it required another great play by Marwin Gonzalez in right field to make it happen. Alex Cora determined with a runner on third that it was too risky to continue employing Ottavino in this game, as he turned to the best reliever in baseball to get a four out save: Matt Barnes.

Barnes came in and immediately shut the door, leaving no room for argument by the Angels. And then he came back out for the 9th inning, and started out well, getting two quick outs. Then Mike Trout blooped a single between three fielders, and Shohei Ohtani poked a ball around the Pesky Pole for a home run and... wait a minute, Matt Barnes blew a save? He is human? The Angels now led 6-5. But seriously, Barnes gave up a home run?

The Red Sox brought in Alex Verdugo to pinch-hit for Bobby Dalbec, and he drew a walk, to put the winning run at the plate. They also brought in Christian Vázquez to pinch-hit for Kevin Plawecki. He also drew a walk. Winning run 270 feet away. With two outs, they turned to Michael Chavis. Mike Mayers read the scouting report: not a single pitch was in the bottom two thirds of the zone. Chavis struck out, and the Red Sox dropped the final game of the series to fall to 25-17.