Going for sweep against Shohei Ohtani on Patriots’ Day, the Red Sox started play in the afternoon (/faints) after a rain delay and finished many hours later, ultimately coming up just short of a memorable comeback in a 5-4 loss. Here’s the play-by-play ish report:
So my brother is running the marathon. Grant’s position at first pitch: 10.47 KM, just past the Framingham Amtrak station. He’s cooking. So is Brayan Bello, who blows the first batter away before Ohtani yanks the first pitch for a single because of course he does. No Trout today. A hit-by-pitch later and Bello was facing down yet another big first inning against the Sox, at which point old friend Hunter Renfroe made it 3-0 with a homer into the monster seats. Do not take the lack of capital letters or anything cover up how mad we are. We are furious.
Another walk later, a Jake Lamb single to a wobbly Duran made it first and third with one out and the boo birds began to file in. The Angels scored on a sac fly to make it 4-0. Bello went to 3-2 on Logan O’Hoppe and had trouble putting him away long enough that O’Hoppe got hurt during the at-bat. He stayed in the game and singled to left. Mercifully, Bello struck out the next batter. No more runs. Which leads us to:
The good news: Ohtani, a legend! In Boston, in the flesh! The bad news: Ohtani, a legend at playing baseball, which they were playing. competitively. But he started with a four-pitch walk to Raimel Tapia... and then a wild pitch sent Tapia to second... and then a wild pitch sent Tapia to third. Rafael Devers popped out to third (Gio Urshela might have dropped it, but whatever) and Ohtani brutalized Rob Refsnyder with fastballs, or seemed to until Ref hit a fielder’s choice to shortstop to make it 4-1. Then it was time for Ohtani vs. Masataka Yoshida, his Samurai Japan teammate, and Ohtani struck the everliving fuck out of him (to use the technical term).
Grant’s position in the second inning: 16.70 KM. It was a long inning! Much ground. Zach Neto started the second off with a single, his first career hit, to continue the early innings pitching nightmare apace. Ohtani hit another single to right, Neto went to third and a Renfroe chopper made it 5-1 but it was a great play by Enrique Hernández to get an out, and Bello stopped the bleeding there, so there were upsides.
After a rain delay, the Sox did nothing, then Bello got two outs in the third with two on and... there was another rain delay. It lasted a while, and I walked my dog, who likes to run very fast:
April 17, 2023
Anyhow they started back up at 2:35, but Ohtani was no longer pitching, having given way to Tucker Davidson, who was matched by Kutter Crawford on the Sox side. Crawford got out of the jam, and Duran finally got his first plate appearance, but against a lefty, and... he struck out looking. Then the Sox did something wild and had a quick inning, bringing up Devers, who laced a leadoff double off the monster. Whee! Then Yoshida walked with one out. The park started to stir. Then Casas walked. Mind you that’s three lefties in a row on-base, bringing up Kiké with the bases juiced. He lined it to first. Butts. The Sox didn’t score.
By this time, my brother had finished the marathon in 3:11, which is ludicrous. That’s too fast. He solidly beat the game, though, but oh brother (not intentional, that just came out) did the pace pick up once the skies cleared. It was 2023 baseball again, finally and blissfully for those of us who expected to be done recapping this game by like 1:30.
Anyhow Duran hit a double! In the fifth! Against a lefty! I declare him fixed. Nothing came of it, though, and the game (finally) headed to the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Triston Casas hit a double with Ref on base to put runners on second and third for Kiké, who hit the first pitch he saw for a sac fly to make it 5-2. Then, amazingly, Reese McGuire dribbled a ball up the first base line that would be an out 99 times out of 100 but wasn’t, making it 5-3. Whee! Buy lotto tickets.
Moving forward, Duran walked (!!!) to open the bottom of the seventh, then easily stole a base — on a pitch-out, no less — to get things moving. With one out, Devers flied out to center, moving Duran to third, as he is extremely fast. But nothing came of it.
Crawford worked a clean eighth and it’s worth mentioning that he was amazing in this game. Far and away his best performance of the year. Kiké hit a two-out single off the monster to bring up pinch hitter Justin Turner, who had a day off prior to now. He hit one to the warning track in center field.
Crawford pitching another scoreless inning in the ninth, having gone 6.2 shutout innings. He really was Boston’s best player today. Alex Verdugo pinch-hit to start the inning and laced a single to right to give the Sox some life. Duran struck out on a 3-2 pitch, but it was a good at bat, for what it’s worth (and no double play meant Devers was still set to bat). Tapia walked.
Two on for Devers.
This is what you want.
So here’s what happened: He swung at the first pitch, a fastball at 97, and missed it. Then he singled to right to make it 5-4. (YESSS!) Refsnyder ran it to 3-0, then 3-1, then 3-2, and then... 3-3, as Ref struck out to bring up Yoshida to save the day. He did not save the day, we all died, and the Sox fell below .500 again. Butts.