Trade deadline day was overwhelming, as I feel like most Tuesdays have been lately. Though, while most trade deadlines have been emotional because we’ve had to say goodbye to beloved members of the team, sometimes in favor in pieces that bring us closer to being a complete team, Chaim Bloom has again played it safe and non-committal at the deadline, acquiring just a fringe major-league infielder in Luis Urias, albeit one with a 20 home-run season in 2021. This came at the price of High-A pitching prospect Bradley Blalock, a 22-year old with a propensity for strikeouts and mid-90’s fastball, who’s also adding a nasty sinker to his repertoire who I’ve grown fond of this season.
Nevertheless, if “work smarter not harder” as a philosophy has one subscriber, it’s Chaim Bloom, but he forgets that he often outsmarts himself with this logic and comes out behind, as evidenced by the multiple players who’ve gone onto greener pastures in their statline shortly after departing Boston. This “aw shucks, we stayed quiet for you guys!” act has gotten entirely too old for a team contending for a playoff spot against all odds this season, and it felt like an evasion that management and talking heads points towards the injured help on the way back as the team’s major acquisitions in the hunt. Great, I’ll remember that after the three openers in six days in the interim. But anyhow, there was baseball played tonight against the Seattle Mariners, who took a selling stance in this deadline. And it’s Bello Day! Let’s get to that.
In the first inning, it seemed like not even the allure of it being Bello Day could save the bad taste in my mouth, as Brayan quickly allowed two men on and Jarren Duran had a weird motion on the throw from a Eugenio Suarez drive that ended up going down as an error and scored J.P. Crawford. Somehow, Bello got out of the inning with just the one run allowed, and looked like Brayan Bello again after a shaky last couple of starts.
On Seattle’s mound, Bryce Miller was getting out of innings efficiently as well.... until the fourth inning. Masataka Yoshida started it off with a double, perhaps signaling the beginning of the end of this slump. Devers took a walk, and Adam Duvall was drilled in the previously injured wrist by a Miller inside ball, but stayed in the game. Two batters later, Christian Arroyo drilled a ground rule double that jolted into the stands to score two. And Reese McGuire, finally back after an injury stint that felt ten times as long, drove Duvall in on a sac fly. Yu Chang struck out, as is becoming commonplace. I’ll skip my second “would be nice to get some movement at the deadline!” quip of this article following the Duvall injury scare and subsequent Chang poor at-bat to praise Bello for getting out of innings just as quickly as Miller, and with less scoring. Jarren Duran created a double out of a ball that would be a single from probably any other batter I’ve ever watched, and Verdugo smacked a ball into the stands as if to reward that speed, and all of a sudden, the score was 5-1.
How many people in your entire life have you ever seen turn this routine base hit into a double? pic.twitter.com/FZJB8oMrai— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) August 2, 2023
Bello’s night wasn’t all roses, as Suarez again got to him for a two-run shot with two outs in the 5th to make it 5-3, directly following two strikeouts. All Reese McGuire did in response in the top of the sixth was hit his first home run of the year and end Bryce Miller’s night after 5 2⁄3 innings and six runs. Welcome back, Reese!
Seattle proved that two could play at that game, as Bello’s pitches started to be easier to read and he was tagged for two consecutive doubles to drive Dominic Canzone home for his first run as a Mariner, making the score 6-4 and driving this back into the “another consecutive shaky Bello start” category, and returning the bad taste to my mouth. Luckily, after France advanced to third, Jarren Duran continued his redemption arc from his earlier error, sliding for a web gem on a weakly hit fly to end the inning and keep Bello in line for the win heading into the seventh.
Chris Martin had a mostly quiet seventh, and Josh Winckowski was working along towards a quiet eighth before Triston Casas had a sloppy throw to catch a runner advancing to third that skipped past Rafael Devers, for the Red Sox’s second error of the night. Winkowski, though, skillfully got out of the jam.
A quiet Sox half-frame later, and Kenley Jansen was in for the save. He did not disappoint. The Red Sox snap a 3-game losing streak to tie the series before tomorrow’s afternoon rubber game, and wash away some of the dismay we feel from the silent trade deadline. Luckily, the product that takes the field, albeit extremely streaky, finds ways to win even on weak nights. They better be good, because, with the exception of some guys who will be moved due to these acquisitions, uh, I mean players returning from injury, they’re who we have for the rest of the season, no matter how the remainder ends up. Excited?
Jarren Duran: 1-5, 1 RBI, 1 E, but sound defense throughout, error notwithstanding
Alex Verdugo: 1-4, RBI, HR, BB, K
Reese McGuire: 1-2, 2 RBI, HR
Yu Chang: 1-4, 2 K, rough defense
Rafael Devers: 0-3, 1 R, BB, 2 K
Brayan Bello: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
Play of the Game:
While WPA would suggest it was Arroyo’s double to score two, a lead change the Red Sox never looked back from, I have to go with Duran’s single-double here. This is a player that, time and time again, creates extra bases and run opportunities, and this is a perfect example, from the pure speed to how clean he cut that corner rounding first. Exemplary base running from a player truly on another level this season.