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Game 101: Brewers at Red Sox

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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

It’s been a while since the Red Sox played the Milwaukee Brewers. The last time was in 2017, with the Sox on the road, and pitchers still hitting! While Drew Pomeranz eventually settled down after a 5 run first, the Sox ultimately feel to the Brew Crew. Look at those rosters...Xander Bogaerts is the last man standing.

Sox vs Brewers May 9, 2017

Lineup spot Red Sox Brewers
Lineup spot Red Sox Brewers
1 Mookie Betts, RF Jonathan Villar, 2B
2 Dustin Pedroia, 2B Eric Thames, 1B
3 Xander Bogaerts, SS Ryan Braun, LF
4 Andrew Benintendi, CF Travis Shaw, 3B
5 Mitch Moreland, 1B Domingo Santana, RF
6 Chris Young, LF Manny Pina, C
7 Sandy Leon, C Keon Broxton, CF
8 Josh Rutledgem 3B Orlando Arcia, SS
SP Drew Pomeranz, LHP Wily Peralta, RHP

Brayan Bello was slated to start this game but at the last minute Alex Cora tapped Austin Davis for the starting duties instead. While the southpaw is a career reliever he does have two starts this season: May 15th against the Texas Rangers and July 4th against the Tampa Bay Rays. In May, Davis pitched two innings as The Opener and was partnered with Tanner Houck for an additional three. Through 5 innings the pair allowed just one run (Houck) but then Ryan Brasier came in to give up 4 and that was that.

The story was similar on Independence Day. Davis for two and, yesterday’s ace, Kutter Crawford for 5.1 innings. They allowed no runs and handed the last 1.2 innings to John Schreiber for the save. This is probably what Alex Cora wants to duplicate. Make the Brewers give up the platoon advantage against Davis and bring in Bello. Or just get through the toughest outs in the lineup once and let the rookie start with the bottom third.

You might be thinking “why have Bello pitch at all” and looking at his 10.5 ERA over three starts of a combined 12 innings you might be right. But scan down the page a little more and Brayan Bello has a FIP of just 3.87. On the same scale, FIP is looking at what a pitcher can control: home runs, walks, hit by pitches, and strikeouts. And over the last few weeks the fielding in FIP has loomed large on Red Sox pitchers. Where does this show up? Well, batters have hit .400/.484/.582 against Bello so far yet their expected triple slash using XBA etc. is just .268/.371/.361. That’s worlds better. Kutter Crawford is holding batters to .232./296/.387. So definitely Bello is still making progress but his expected performance isn’t that far off from what Crawford is doing. And we’re seeing the result from the kid as he improves on the fly in the majors.

The Red Sox are back at .500 with the win last night. They climbed back into the race once before this year, can they do it again? Can they convince Chaim Bloom and team to not blow it up? Start with a second straight win tonight and go from there.

Game 101: Brewers at Red Sox

Lineup spot Brewers Red Sox
Lineup spot Brewers Red Sox
1 Christian Yelich, LF Jarren Duran, CF
2 Willy Adames, SS Christian Vázquez, C
3 Andrew McCutchen, DH Alex Verdugo, LF
4 Hunter Renfroe, RF Xander Bogaerts, SS
5 Rowdy Telles, 1B J.D. Martinez, DH
6 Luis Urias, 2B Franchy Cordero, 1B
7 Victor Caratini, C Bobby Dalbec, 3B
8 Kolten Wong, 2B Jackie Bradly Jr., RF
9 Tyrone Taylor, CF Yolmer Sanchez, 2B
SP Brandon Woodruff, RHP Austin Davis, LHP