The good. Chris Sale struck out nine batters Wednesday night. He retired the last seven batters he faced, including strikeouts of the last two. He topped out at 96 MPH on his fastball multiple times in his outing. If stretching out to 80 pitches was the goal, he certainly did so. The bad. Giving up four runs on six hits certainly isn’t ideal, going down 3-0 in two innings doesn’t give a team with (mostly) cold bats a shot to win. No ugly here, nothing was too crazy on Sale’s part today against a tough Astros team.
Chris Sale's 8th and 9th Ks.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 24, 2023
Thru 5. pic.twitter.com/NaEeTTu8nG
The good. The bullpen came in supremely clutch, only giving up one garbage-time run in the 10th inning. Garrett Whitlock tossed two solid frames and made one of the best defensive plays of the season by any Red Sox so far. Chris Martin worked himself out of a jam. Nick Pivetta is Nicky Nails when he comes out of the bullpen. The bad. Josh Wickowski came thisssss close to blowing this game. Having the bases loaded and only one out in the 10th would make most pitchers quake in their boots but Winckowski hung in there to get Mauricio Dubon to strike out and Corey Julks to ground out. The ugly. Kenley Jansen left the game with right hamstring tightness after three pitches. If he’s out long-term, that’s a massive loss for the pen. Hopefully he’s not needed for a little bit.
A little more ugly. The Red Sox aren’t hitting the ball hard much this series. Like to a very detrimental degree.
The Red Sox have 26 weakly-hit pop outs/fly balls this series.— Julian McWilliams (@byJulianMack) August 24, 2023
That frankly doesn’t take into account most of the game on Wednesday. The bad. Yoshida’s batting average is down to .294. It was well into the .300s for most of the season. This skid is really detrimental for the balance of the Red Sox lineup. The good. Adam Duvall continues to be a beast (when he makes contact with the ball). Homers in three straight games now, including the go-ahead, three-run tank in the 10th inning.
Honestly, this game took the wind out of me. The rockin’ roller coaster of the WPA chart below really says it all.
The implications of this game are massive. When every win counts, especially against teams like the Astros who you’re fighting for a Wild Card spot with, it doesn’t matter how you get them. Hopefully, this sparks a good streak to keep the season alive. Still feels good to play meaningful baseball in August.
Adam Duvall (2-for-4, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 1 BB, .426 WPA)
Turner passing the Captain Clutch baton to Duvall tonight! When his swing is on time and he gets hits in the air, he pounds baseballs. This is more of the Adam Duvall I expected in the lineup all season.
Garrett Whitlock (2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, .161 WPA)
Defensive prowess aside, it was great to see Whitlock work himself out of jams and pitch effectively. 25 total pitches, 20 strikes. I’ll take that.
Nick Pivetta (0.2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K, .078 WPA)
Coming in out of the blue when your All-Star closer leaves with an injury? No problem. Pivetta is a bullpen wizard. Ball don’t lie.
Rafael Devers (0-for-5, 1 K, -.152 WPA)
I wrote at-length Wednesday morning about the possibility of Devers becoming a full-time DH and abandoning the field. No errors tonight, but his bat certainly didn’t contribute.
Wilyer Abreu (0-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 K, -.094 WPA)
It’s alright. Adjusting to the big league game takes time, and it’s hard not knowing how long you’ll be up for and trying to make an impact. Cora’s already impressed with how hard he’s swinging. It just didn’t line up tonight.
Masataka Yoshida (0-for-1, 1 K, -.058 WPA)
See my Masa concerns above.
Play of the Game
C’mon. It’s Duuuuuvallllllll.
Who was the Red Sox’s Player of the Game in their 7-5 win over the Astros on 8/23/2023?
This poll is closed
Other (answer in the comments)