I wish to take this time to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. For without our mothers, where would any of us be? I surely would not be here, and the same would be true for all of the players we enjoy watching day in and day out. Thank you to all mothers.
The matchup for this special Mother’s Day edition of Red Sox baseball featured Dean Kremer for the Orioles going against Nick Pivetta for the Red Sox. Pivetta has been having an excellent season to this point, with the only minor nitpick against him being that he’s walking too many batters, which ups his pitch count and keeps him from going deeper into ballgames.
Hunter Renfroe, clad in all pink socks, arm sleeves, and wrist bands for the holiday, made a resplendent play in right field off a solid shot in the first inning off Pivetta. He made the grab at the wall, giving up his body yet again for a highlight-reel effort. It doesn’t get enough attention, but Renfroe has been one of my favorite players to watch defensively.
Pivetta struggled with the walks again, early. He walked two in the first inning, and it came back to bite him, as a single with two outs caused one of the runners to come in to score. Another hit looked to be on the horizon, but Renfroe made his second great play of the inning, snagging it just before it hit the ground, to keep the game at 1-0. Pivetta ended the first inning having thrown 30 pitches.
Rafael Devers tied the game on one swing in the second inning. Off the bat, it looked to be a standard double, but the line drive hit off the outside edge of the bat just kept carrying and carrying, and ended up getting over the wall in left-center field. The exit velocity off the bat was 110.7 mph. Off the end of the bat. The man has some serious power.
The game sort of flew by for the next several innings. Action resumed in the bottom of the fifth inning, with Cedric “Red Sox Killer” Mullins launching a home run off of Pivetta, who managed to calm down following his first-inning battle with control. After totaling 30 pitches in the first, he pitched the next four innings using only 49 pitches to do it.
The Red Sox were trailing 2-1 as a result and needed to fire back soon. In the next half inning, Marwin Gonzalez and Alex Verdugo both singled, to set up a first and second situation with no outs for J.D. Martinez. With this situation being a tense one for the Orioles, they decided that was enough for Kremer, who pitched well enough to keep their team in it. They turned to Adam Plutko, who would be tasked with holding off the Red Sox onslaught in the 6th inning. Plutko walked Martinez on four pitches setting up bases loaded and no outs for Xander Bogaerts.
He struck out.
Enter Rafael Devers. Devers drove a ball deep into right-center field. It was almost the first grand slam of the season for the Red Sox. Instead, it ended up as a two-run double to put the Red Sox up 3-2.
There’s been a lot written about Rafael Devers this season, but it may bear repeating that the Red Sox have something special in Devers, who won’t turn 25 until late in October. Extensions are a tricky subject, but it may be time to sit down and hammer that bad boy out, with how key he has been to the Red Sox in 2021.
Pivetta managed to get through the 6th as well, although he had to walk a bit of a tightrope to make it happen. Having throw 103 pitches total, his night ended with the 6th inning. His final line was six innings, three hits, three walks, and two earned runs allowed, with only two strikeouts to his name. While he wasn’t fooling many Orioles hitters, he was able to keep them off-balance enough to depart with the lead, hoping for his 5th win of the season.
Super exciting foul ball stat time: O's fouled 30 balls off against Pivetta, that's the third most off a starter in an MLB game this year. 17 of them came with 2 strikes. Pivetta also has two 25 foul ball starts this year. He's been good but needs to find a putaway pitch.— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) May 9, 2021
The Red Sox set out to get him that insurance. After another Franchy Cordero bunt (which has been happening a lot lately) led to an out to lead off the inning, an error and a liner put the Red Sox in position to potentially score. Alex Verdugo grounded into a force out, which was not a double play only because of the great decision making by Marwin Gonzalez, who retreated back enough to 1st base to delay the throw long enough to prolong the inning. Not wanting to mess around with J.D. Martinez, the Orioles walked him for the 2nd time today, to load the bases up for Bogaerts once more. Bogaerts got good wood on it, but it was a hot shot right to the Orioles third baseman Rio Ruiz. Just like that, the Red Sox threat was averted, and the Sox would have to settle with scoring nothing.
Hunter Renfroe rectified this in the 8th inning with a solo shot off of Cole Sulser to make it 4-2. The ball traveled 453 feet, so there was never a doubt off the bat that the ball was annihilated. Between the home run and his nice defensive plays in the outfield, Renfroe had himself a great Mother’s Day.
The last Red Sox homer to go further than Renfroe's 453' blast was JBJ going 478' in Coors in 2019.— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) May 9, 2021
Adam Ottavino came in and was effectively wild. The emphasis was on wild. He led off the inning by hitting a batter, and then quickly got two outs. Ryan Mountcastle doubled, bringing home a run to make it 4-3, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. He threw a good half dozen non-competitive pitches that were nowhere near the zone, outside of the hit batter, but was able to escape with the lead intact.
The Red Sox were unable to get any insurance in the top of the 9th, meaning they would take just a one-run lead into the bottom half, hoping to get away with the third win in the series, and seal a series victory.
Matt Barnes was tasked with getting the final three outs, and he made quick work of the Orioles. No drama. No fuss. Just three easy outs to put the Orioles down for the third straight game this series. The Red Sox improve to 22-13 with the victory. The final game in the series is tomorrow at 7:05, as the Red Sox attempt to go for a sweep of the Orioles.