Where does a play-at-the-plate rank in the pantheon of cool shit that happens on baseball field? It’s way up there! Home runs are cool, of course, if not relatively common. Triples are fun as hell. And maybe nothing beats a straight steal of home, though those are tell-your-kids-about-them rare. The point is that plays-at-the-plate are amazing — so much so that the penultimate scene of the greatest baseball movie of all-time features a ballgame that ends on one. But that’s the problem: stuff that happens in Hollywood usually doesn't happen in real life.
It did today in Toronto.
For the third game in a row, a Red Sox starting pitcher produced an outstanding performance. For the second game in a row, the team didn’t squander it. But they tried!
Today it was Kutter Crawford, fowling up Brayan Bello and James Paxton with a shutdown performance. Crawford cruised into the sixth, hardly wasting a pitch and surrendering just three hits, two of which happened to be relatively innocuous solo shots.
But after he got hit by a scary comebacker in the fifth and then walked Brandon Belt subsequent to coming back out for the sixth, Alex Cora got spooked and turned to Josh Winckowski, even though Crawford had thrown just 74 pitches. With Vlad Guerrero due up, it looked like Cora was trying to avoid the ol’ one batter too late call. And it worked! For a little while, anyway, as Wincowski retired Guerrero.
But there’s risk in removing a starter so early, of course. And it today’s case, that risk was amplified by the fact that both Chris Martin and Nick Pivetta were apparently unavailable, the former having pitched in back-to-back games and the latter on only two-days rest following an extended 3.1 inning stint. So Cora tried to ride Wincowski all the way into the ninth. And that. . . didn’t work.
Wincowski fell apart in the eighth, walking two and surrounding a single and a homer, forcing Kenley Jansen to enter the game early in order to retire Cavan Biggio, the Eric Trump of the Jays’ trio of baseball sons. Maybe that extra third of an inning of work really affected Jansen, or maybe it was just a shaky outing, but the Jays hit him hard again in the ninth and looked poised for a raucous comeback win.
But thanks to Bo Bichette’s decision to Kit Keller the third base coach’s stop sign following a Vlad Guerrero single, the Sox escaped with a wild win. No need to keep you in suspense about the play of the game in this one. Here it is:
Three Studs (And A Bonus)
Rafael Devers: 3-5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R
Justin Turner: 3-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R
Kutter Crawford: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 HR, 2 BB, 5 K
Alex Verdugo: He went 0-4 with two strikeouts. But when you end the game by gunning down a dude at the plate, you’re a certified stud.
Josh Wincowski: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, E, 3 BB, 4 K, HR
Adam Duvall: 0-5, 4 K
Right Lower Leg Contusions: Masataka Yoshida, who had 2 hits today following a 3-hit performance last night, was drilled in the knee by a 102 MPH fastball in the 7th. He finished his at-bat was subsequently removed. It would be awful if he misses any significant time just as he’s getting hot again.
Who was the Red Sox Player Of The Game?
This poll is closed