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Red Sox 12, Tigers 9: I have no idea what I just watched

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But the Red Sox won, at least.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know what I’m supposed to write to quickly summarize one of the sloppiest, stupidest games I’ve ever seen. Typically getaway day games fly by, but this was an absolute slog featuring bad defense, poor pitching, and whatever the opposite of timely hitting is. But despite the latter, a ton of runs were still scored because of those first two items, and the Red Sox ended up with more. Also, Franchy Cordero wasn’t supposed to start but entered the game in the first due to an injury to Kiké Hernández and he had his best game in a Red Sox uniform. It was a weird day. I don’t know.


Let’s just jump right into this game because it was the perfect ending to this series, by which I mean it was an ugly game between two teams that are not exactly at the peak of their abilities at the moment. Although, to be fair, the first few innings for Nathan Eovaldi did look good. This appeared to be a positive game for the Red Sox in the first third of the afternoon, and that was largely due to their starting pitching. He had all of his pitches working early and was racking up strikeouts with a little bit of everything.

In fact, Eovaldi was perfect through the first two innings with three strikeouts to his name. The third did see a little bit of damage, starting with JaCoby Jones, who has been a bit of a best throughout this series. He smacked a double into the right field corner to start off this inning and then moved over to third on a ground ball. Another ground ball, this one up the middle with the infield back, allowed him to come in and give Detroit their first run of the day.

That was not the end of the world because the Red Sox offense was able to get some momentum pretty much every inning of this game. In the first, for example, Kiké Hernández led things off with a double and then moved to third on a grounder. However, as it turns out he tweaked his hamstring running into second on the double, and he’d leave the game after getting to third with Franchy Cordero coming in to replace him. Cordero would quickly come in to score on a base hit. The Red Sox got another single in the inning to put two on with one out, but they only scored the single run.

Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The got things going again in the second, this time getting the rally started with a one-out double high off the Monster from Kevin Plawecki. On a less windy day it may have found the seats, but he’d eventually come around to score anyway thanks to Cordero. He had not gotten a hit since Patriots Day coming into this at bat, but here he ripped a double into the right field corner to bring home the second run of the afternoon for Boston.

So it was a 2-1 game in the Red Sox favor heading into the bottom of the third, and again they were able to get things going against Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull. Niko Goodrum provided an assist at shortstop to start the inning as he tried to pull off a weird one-handed pick on a relatively routine ground ball. It didn’t work, and Marwin Gonzalez reached on the error. He’d move to second after Xander Bogaerts was hit by a pitch, then come in to score when Rafael Devers ripped a base hit. A few batters later Plawecki would bring another run home on a broken bat single, and it was a 4-1 game after three.

This was the point where things started to get a little wonky and Eovaldi’s day went downhill. Detroit started the top of the fourth with two straight singles, and then Wilson Ramos poked a double out to right-center field. That brought one run in and put two more in scoring position. Eovaldi got a big strikeout after that, but then Harold Castro hit a soft liner into left to bring those two runners home, and just like that we were all tied up at four. Eovaldi would proceed to load the bases — though that was in part thanks to an error on Devers, who appeared to get ahead of himself trying to turn a double play which led him to booting the easy grounder — but he escaped the jam and managed to only allow three runs in the inning.

But again, the Red Sox were able to answer back in part thanks to poor defense because that’s just the kind of series this was. The inning started with two quick outs, but then J.D. Martinez was able to reach when Jeimer Candelario couldn’t handle a relatively easy ground ball over at third base. The error put Martinez on second base, and he’d be brought home when a bloop from Bogaerts fell into center field, putting the Red Sox back on top 5-4.

Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

This was a rollercoaster of a game, though, and the Tigers were on the upswing after the Red Sox retook their lead. In the fifth, they started again with two straight singles against Eovaldi, who answered back with a ground ball that got the first out of the inning but moved both runners into scoring position.

That was a situation inherited by Josh Taylor out of the bullpen, and the southpaw immediately threw a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to come in and score. Goodrum followed that up with a ground ball to the right side, and not only did that bring home the go-ahead run, but it didn’t even result in an out because Taylor failed to cover first base. He did get out of the inning after that, but it was not great work out of the bullpen for the southpaw.

After the Red Sox failed to score in the bottom of the fifth — their first inning without a run on the afternoon — Phillips Valdez came in to pitch for the first time for the sixth. Despite having not pitched since April 24, he got two quick outs and didn’t show any rust. Well, until he did. Those two outs were followed by a single, a stolen base, a walk, and another single, and the Tigers got one more run out of that to make it a 7-5 ballgame.

Now, Boston’s offense was looking for their answer in the bottom half of the inning, and things got off to a good start with back-to-back singles from Cordero and Alex Verdugo to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Martinez then made it three straight singles, bringing Cordero in to score and cut the deficit down to one. Bogaerts followed that up with a walk to load the bases with Devers coming to the plate, still no outs on the board. He came through with a base hit through the middle, and the Red Sox were back out in front 8-7.

At this point the Tigers went to the bullpen, and Devers quickly moved up to second base on a passed ball. It was a big opportunity for the Red Sox to get a little bit of a cushion, but instead they got two quick outs without bringing in any more runs. After Plawecki drew a walk to re-load the bases, Bobby Dalbec had a chance to shake off what was a bad day and give the Red Sox the big hit they needed. Instead, he flew out to right field, and the Red Sox wasted their chance to open up a big lead.

Now it was on the bullpen to try and protect the narrow lead, starting with Darwinzon Hernandez in the seventh. After he gave up a one-out single, his defense let him down. It was Devers again, and again it was on a double play ball. This time he fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw over to second sailed a bit and got into right field. Instead of ending the inning, Detroit had a pair in scoring position with just one out. The error proved costly, as the Tigers once again tied the game on a ground ball.

After the Red Sox failed to score in the bottom of the inning, it was Matt Andriese coming in for the eighth. He got into a little bit of trouble with a leadoff walk, and then letting the runner move up to second on a balk when he twitched a bit on the mound. The runner eventually got to third as well, and then he’d come around to score on a base hit from Wilson Ramos, putting the Tigers back out in front. Detroit got two more singles to load the bases, but Andriese got a big strikeout to end the inning and prevent things getting away from the Red Sox.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Red Sox put up a threat to at least tie the game back up. The frame started with another error from Goodrum, and then after two straight strikeouts Plawecki kept the inning alive with a walk. That brought Christian Vázquez up as a pinch hitter for Dalbec, and he came through with a huge single down the third base line. That brought Devers in to score, and once again we were all tied up. Now, Cordero was back up at the plate, and he barely made contact but a little chopped to the left side was enough to get the run home, with a little help with more sloppy defense by the Tigers. After a wild pitch moved both runners up to scoring position, Verdugo came through a base hit through the middle to score two more and make it a three-run game.

Now, it was just up to Adam Ottavino to avoid disaster and not blow this in the ninth. He didn’t get off to a good start, issuing a leadoff walk, but he got three straight outs after that (including one on a really nice play from Christian Arroyo, who has a banged up glove hand and was not supposed to play at all today) to finish this one out after a clean four hours and 16 minutes. With the win, the Red Sox push their record to 19-13.


The Red Sox now head down to Baltimore to start a four-game series against the Orioles. Eduardo Rodriguez starts things off on Friday, taking on Matt Harvey. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

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Courtesy of FanGraphs