This might be the day the Red Sox’s season ended. It started so hopefully: Sale Day! Ceddanne Rafaela! But by halfway through, with Alex Cora seemingly preoccupied, Kyle Barraclough had perhaps the team’s most ignominious and tortuous reliever appearance of the season, handing the game to the Astros, which they’d eventually win 13-5 and more or less put the Sox to sleep for the year.
Everything started fantastically, however, as the Sox plated two on a Triston Casas double in the bottom of the second:
We love a 2-0 game, don’t we folks? But what about a 2-1 game? We love it less? Well, sadly José Abreu made us face that very reality by hitting it extremely, extremely far:
GO GET THAT JOSE ABREU BOOMBAH OUT OF THE HARBAR pic.twitter.com/CFSNtm0eME— Apollo Dez (@ApolloDez1) August 28, 2023
We’re booing, you’re booing, everyone is booing. Sale survived some more hit balls to make it 2-1 heading to the bottom of the second.
Julio Urias singled with one out but that was the extent of the excitement, unless you count Justin Turner’s warning-track fly, which I don’t, so that was that until the third.
José Altuve, who everyone hates, led off the third with a double off the monster. Alex Bregman then struck out, which everybody loved because he is not loveable. Yordan Alvarez, who had never made an out against Sale (seems bad), then singled to tie it at 2.
The third went really well and Connor Wong had runners at the corners with two outs, at which point Javier walked him to load the bases for Urías... and again, Alvarez made a great catch at the base of the monster, largely because he’s like nine feet tall, and the game remained tied.
Chas McCormick led off the fourth with a single but Yainer Díaz hit a scorcher to Trevor Story who managed the double play. The Sox went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning, then Altuve pushed himself to 3-3 with a single to lead off the fifth. After a scarcely precedented third Alex Bregman strikeout, Alvarez improved to 6-6 (!) lifetime against Sale to put runners at the corners. He’s just insanely good. Sale then came back from 3-1 to fan Kyle Tucker, only to be rewarded with Abreu again... and Sale threw a wild pitch to bring Altuve home and give the Astros a 3-1 lead. The next pitch was another wild pitch, and Alvarez went to third. Sale walked Abreu on a full count and was lifted for Kyle Barraclaugh who, thankfully, ended the inning.
Two batters later, the Sox were back in the lead, 4-3, thanks to Adam Duvall:
pic.twitter.com/nH6efyUzqW— MLB Updates (@MLBNews1234) August 29, 2023
Adam Duvall hits a 2-run shot (17) to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.
Javier tried to make things worse, running his walk count to six and leaving with two men on, but Kendall Graveman — incredible spoonerism in Grendel Caveman — wrecked the Sox’s shit to make it 4-3 heading to the sixth.
Barraclough started the sixth with two walks but Martin Maldonado, thankfully, popped out to right to ease the tension. But only temporarily, because Altuve made it a 4-4 night and a 5-4 game with a game-changing triple:
JOSE ALTUVE THE FACE OF THE FRANCHISE pic.twitter.com/3twytlnmtn— Apollo Dez (@ApolloDez1) August 29, 2023
Was that bad? Well, it wasn’t nearly as bad as this:
Yordan Alvarez knows how to hit those soul crushing bombs pic.twitter.com/QQiSx9nv0y— Barstool Baseball (@StoolBaseball) August 29, 2023
His first homer in 69 at-bats. Is it nice? Hard to say. But it was 8-4 and no was was warming behind Barraclough. The white flag was out. Barraclough eventually hit two players in the inning while walking four and... no one was warming up. Diaz then got an RBI single which actually hit first base and no one was there and it was 9-4 and I cannot express to you how bad this was.
The Sox went meekly and then the Astros loaded the bases — against Barraclough! He was still in! — and Abreu singled to make it 10-4. Chas McCormick had a sac fly to make it 11-4. Then the Sox ended the inning. It was all very sad. I daresay more sad days are ahead after this one, sadly. This seemed for all the world like Cora begging out, and I can’t blame him.
Altuve hit a homer in the eighth to give him the cycle:
JOSE ALTUVE WAY OVER THE GREEN MONSTER FOR HIS FIRST CAREER CYCLE!!— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) August 29, 2023
Alvarez walked to reach base for the sixth time before he was lifted and the inning mercifully ended. Sox legend Mauricio Dubón replaced Altuve in the bottom of the eighth just to drive home how depressing this all was.
But. BUT! Ceddanne Rafaela hit his first ever pitch for a single. That was fine. He got doubled off, though, and in the bottom of the ninth the Sox scored before Urías ended it to make it 13-5.