The Boston Red Sox saw the run that defeated them, last night, cross the plate in the first inning, but the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t stop there. In front of just over 30 400 fans in the Rogers Centre, in Toronto, the Blue Jays peppered the Red Sox with base hits, while scoring another six runs to win the ballgame.
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The game started with Toronto sending out young pitching star Aaron Sanchez against the Red Sox starter Wade Miley. Boston’s lefty had given up 9 runs in his last two starts, before last night’s venture, and it was expected that Miley would be in tough against the Blue Jays’ righty. Sanchez had lasted past the fifth inning in his last four starts, while Miley could not say the same.
Miley and the Red Sox did show consistency, in the first game of this series, but not the kind that Red Sox Nation wanted to see.
In the bottom of the very first inning, the game was taken by Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson and his massive drive to left center field, clearing the fence to victory. In the bottom of the second inning, Toronto’s newest first baseman Chris Colabello continued his hot, quick start by driving a solo home run to right center field, giving the Blue Jays an insurance run. The onslaught came much slower, though.
All was quiet for another four innings. Batters for both teams came up and, often, sat back down, as both pitchers seemed to have settled down. Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Blue Jays Danny Valencia smacked a single to center field that scored Edwin Encarnacion. Kevin Pillar got into the scoring by flying into a double-play which cashed in Russell Martin.
After getting out of the inning, Miley’s night was over. He pitched six full innings, giving up four runs on eight hits, with a walk and eight strikeouts. Alexi Ogando relieved Miley to start the seventh inning.
Anyone notice that there has been, consistently, no mention of the Red Sox bats or anything incredible that Sanchez has done? That’s because there is nothing to report. Sanchez was methodically mowing down Red Sox batters, as the game progressed. A lead-off walk to Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw and a single to center fielder Mookie Betts ended Sanchez’s night in the top of the eighth inning, being relieved by Aaron Loup. However, Dustin Pedroia‘s pop-out, and Pablo Sandoval and Mike Napoli‘s strikeouts ended any threat that the Red Sox would make a mark on the scoreboard.
To add insult to injury, Robbie Ross was sent in to relieve Ogando, with terrible results for the Red Sox. Encarnacion singled to score Jose Bautista and Ezequiel Carrera‘s soft single to left field scored Encarnacion and Martin. The Blue Jays forced Ross to be banished into the dugout, being replaced by Craig Breslow. The move was for not, as the Red Sox did nothing to come back into the game, as the night faded into the evening.
- Betts and Pedroia were the only two Red Sox to get a hit. The team only recorded those two hits for the entire game, with rarely having any chance of threatening the Blue Jays.
- Sanchez gave up five walks, while striking out three batters. It was not like Sanchez imposed his will on the Red Sox batters, trying to get the outs himself. However, Boston’s bats allowed Toronto’s defense to take them out of the game, completely. The Red Sox grounded out eleven times, while flying out five times.
- Ogando seemed to do very well in his only inning of the game, even striking out a batter. For Ross to relieve Ogando could mean that they want to keep him fresh, in case other starters will need the bullpen to save them.
You read that correctly; he didn’t fail. Miley didn’t even get a ‘D’. So much of our sports analysis deals with winning, which Miley didn’t do. Yet, with the Red Sox starters, we need to look at baby steps.
Miley lasted over five innings. Miley only gave up two runs through those five innings. If those two pitching mistakes were eliminated, two Blue Jays do not smash solo home runs. If you take those two runs off of the board, Miley could stay in the game, after giving up the other two runs in the sixth inning. He gets the ‘C’ because ifs and buts are lovely to think about when you land in the loser’s circle.
The only reason why this grade is not an ‘A+’ is because of Robbie Ross’ difficulty in the eighth inning. Both Ogando and Breslow made quick work of the Blue Jays batters, with a combined three strikeouts and no walks. The only possibility that makes sense for Ogando being pulled is because they wanted him to be fresh for if the rest of the starters have the same difficulty in games that are close. However, the Red Sox bats have to start pulling their weight if they are going to make the games close in the first place. This game was over in the first inning, making the bullpen superfluous.
Expected to be one of the most potent offenses in the majors, the Boston Red Sox put up just two hits, last night. Even though they earned five walks against the Blue Jays starter, they could do nothing threatening with them.
Seven runners, in total, were left on base. Each of them were in scoring position, three of them being with two outs. That means four other runners could have been cashed in by a sacrifice fly or some other result. An out could have been recorded and a Red Sox runner could have still crossed the plate. Instead, nobody came in. Seems like selfish plate strategy, trying to get the big hit instead of manufacturing a run. When a team is desperate to get back in the game, you have to wonder what’s going through the batters’ minds. They need a win, not a home run. The glory comes through victory, while the long ball is icing on the cake.
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