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Red Sox: 8, Dodgers: 5; At Last

I am currently terrified to write this game recap right now, as the Red Sox lead by two in the top of the eighth. You all know the terrible curse that I seem to bring to all game recaps I put my hands on. Oh cool, after I wrote that sentence Garrett Whitlock just loaded the bases with only one out.

I guess I should indeed recap how we got to this point in the first place, though.

  • In a back-and-forth game, James Paxton opened the game with a bit of a struggle, giving up one run and allowing three baserunners in the first.
  • Luckily for Paxton and the Sox, Alex Verdugo decided to become the first Boston player to hit a leadoff home run in three consecutive games in *history,* which tied the game on Julio Urias’ second pitch.
  • Paxton calmed down and both teams struggled to get into any sort of offensive groove, but the Dodgers still took a 2-1 lead with a couple of walks and a groundout in the top of the fourth.
  • Rafael Devers made a fantastic play, throwing across the diamond off one knee to nab Mookie Betts at first.
  • Once again, Boston did not remain down for long, as Justin Turner, the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the fourth, hit his own solo shot over the Monster (haha) to tie the game once again.
  • Max Muncy took this personally and hit a two-run homer of his own to give the Dodgers a more comfortable lead. This would force Paxton from the game, leaving his final line at 4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 4 K.
  • Pablo Reyes was removed from the game due to left elbow pain in the top of the sixth which prompted a defensive merry-go-round that shifted Devers to shortstop, Luis Urías to third, and Connor Wong to second base with Reese McGuire replacing Reyes in the lineup and moving to catcher. Luckily, everyone held their own for an inning and things returned to normal.
  • The defensive switcharoo seemed to prompt something within Boston’s offense on the other side of the ball, as Turner doubled and Rob Refsnyder stung a single into left field which made Adam Duvall’s 15th-round tripper of the season a three-run home run to regain the lead. Trevor Story kept the inning going with a walk and stolen base, before scoring on a single by McGuire, making the score 6-4.
  • Turner’s second RBI of the game drove in Wong after he walked and stole second base, before advancing to third on a throwing error by Dodgers pitcher Gus Varland.
  • An eventful eighth inning got Betts his first RBI of the series, before Whitlock loaded the bases, which ended up with Muncy and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts being ejected from the game arguing a strike three call that ended the scoring threat.
  • In response perhaps, Devers got drilled just above the wrist as the leadoff batter in the bottom of the eighth, and then scored after a double by Duvall and a fielding error by our good friend Betts who was made to move to second base following Muncy’s ejection.
  • Up 8-5 after eight innings, Boston did its best to frighten fans and nearly give away the game. Luckily, it ended in the predictably fairytale matchup of Betts up with the bases loaded and two outs in the inning.

Finally, my curse has not followed, and the Red Sox have won a competitive, close baseball game. Everybody cheer!

Here’s how WPA saw it:

I actually enjoyed my time watching this Red Sox game. What a fantastic change of pace from the usual outcomes of this season!

Three “Studs”

Boston boasted some great production from two key players today while also getting some input from the entire lineup.

Adam Duvall (+.277), 2-4, 3 RBI, HR

Duvall continued his insane hot streak outside of the Astros matchup, which helped the Red Sox get their first win of the series against the Dodgers. His go-ahead three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth was the WPA Play of the Game and was a big turning point for Boston.

Justin Turner (+.222), 3-4, 2 RBI, HR

Turner continues to deliver in big situations, whether it be with men on or not, and two of his three hits today were tying or lead-extending RBI. As it goes with former Red Sox vs. former Dodgers in this matchup, it seems like the current Red Sox, former Dodgers squad is definitely winning.

Rob Refsnyder (+.144 WPA), 2-4, R

Refsnyder didn’t have any RBI in the game, but his single to turn Duvall’s home run into a three-run shot proved necessary at the end of the game.

Three Duds

This game was very back-and-forth, hence the presence of a few standout duds, but it really was a positive game for the whole team overall.

James Paxton (-.226 WPA), 4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 4 K

Paxton once again struggled to find consistency in the second half, failing to even complete five innings for a Sox bullpen that has been recently and frequently overworked. But I’ll take a 4 ER line if Boston still finds a way to win the game.

Rafael Devers (-.139 WPA), 0-3, R, K

Devers is fine, no need to overreact. He dazzled defensively and had some nice baserunning after reaching base on a hit by pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Luis Urías (-.126 WPA), 0-4, RBI, 2 K

Urías has been rather up-and-down all season, but specifically since joining Boston’s squad. I can’t be too mad at him though after hitting that glorious grand slam off of Gerrit Cole.

WPA Play of the Game

Duvall is the definition of scorching hot right now, so of course his three-run home run, punctuating a four-homer game on a quiet Saturday afternoon is the WPA Play of the Game