Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox and their fans received terrible news about their manager John Farrell, whom is leaving the team because he has been diagnosed with lymphoma. That night against the Seattle Mariners, the Red Sox didn’t look like a team that was in last place in the American League East; they looked like a team possessed, with the strength and skill of a champion baseball squad coursing through their veins. They made a statement with their play for their fallen leader. The statement was a 21-hit salute to Farrell, letting him know that they respect him and wish him well.
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"“Our leader, our friend, our manager shared some pretty devastating news with us today. We hit just about every emotion you possibly can. That was capped off by a lot of excitement in the dugout. These guys did that for John. They went out there and fought hard, played hard and played with a ton of energy for John today.”"
The news hit everyone deeply. It would have been very hard to question the team if they had decided not to care about a baseball game last night. Life finds a way to humble us all into remembering that it’s just a game, and that friendship and family are always going to be more important. However, the players showed their respect for Farrell with a passionate display on the field, the likes of which the Mariners were not quite ready to handle.
Aug 14, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcherJoe Kelly
(56) pitches during the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
In front of over 37 600 people in Boston’s Fenway Park, the Red Sox opened the first game of the series by sending pitcher Joe Kelly to start on the mound against the Mariners’ starter Mike Montgomery. Seattle’s lefty had a 3.25 ERA coming into last night’s game, giving up a combined four runs in his previous two starts, so there was not much of a hint that the aerial assault from Boston’s bats would take place as it did. Kelly had been inconsistent, posting a 2-2 record with a 5.96 ERA in his last five appearances. However, Kelly would seem more like a dominant figure on the bump for the evening.
At least, after the top of the first inning.
With one out, Seattle’s Kyle Seager belted a solo home run over the fence in right center field. The mental breakdown that has plagued Kelly after opposing teams have scored upon him in other matches seemed to have come back, once again, as he walked two more batters before a coach’s visit on the mound was required to settle him down. Fortunately for Kelly and the Red Sox, he forced a groundout from Jesus Montero to end the threat.
The homer would be the only run that the Mariners would score.
In the bottom of the first, the Red Sox bats came alive. The face of the franchise and designated hitter David Ortiz hit a double, his 21st of the season, to right field to score Xander Bogaerts. Red Sox right fielder Rusney Castillo followed that up with a home run to right center field, putting the lead to 3-1.
The offence continued in the bottom of the third inning, as third baseman Pablo Sandoval doubled to center field to score Ortiz and Castillo. First baseman Travis Shaw was the next batter, and he crushed a home run of his own in the same direction as the other two, making the score 7-1. Two singles after that, and Montgomery was knocked out of the game.
David Rollins came into the game in relief that didn’t seem like it would come. With two out, Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt smacked a triple to deep center field, cashing in Ryan Hanigan and Jackie Bradley Jr. for a 9-1 lead.
Aug 14, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw (47) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The hits just kept on coming in the bottom of the fifth inning, as newly-returned center fielder Mookie Betts showed no symptoms of the concussion he suffered weeks ago as he hit his seventh triple of the season to center field. The play scored Hanigan. Holt followed that up with a ground-ruled double down the right-field line to score Betts for an 11-1 lead.
Doubles seemed to be the Red Sox’s weapon of choice to score runs, last night. Sandoval drilled another double to left field to score Alejandro De Aza in the bottom of the sixth. Bradley hit his first double, ground-ruled, down the right-field line to return Sandoval’s favor. De Aza hit a double of his own, in the bottom of the seventh inning, into deep center field to score Ortiz.
Shaw capped the barrage with his second home run of the night, destroyed into the right-field bleachers in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Red Sox scored 15 runs in total, giving Kelly a huge lead that he never needed. Although, it was probably much more comforting to work with it.
It was almost a flawless victory. Farrell would likely say that he would take the win even if it was ugly or close, but it must have made him smile at least a bit. His boys went out there and played their hearts out. They gave him pride and a reminder that they will continue fighting for him while he fights his own battle.
- Betts had a call overturned against him in the bottom of the first, after he was called safe on a close play at first base. However, he still made the highlight reels on last night’s sports news broadcasts by crashing into the Green Monster for a sensational catch. Hopefully concussion symptoms don’t return for him.
- Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez remained out of the lineup with a sore left foot.
- De Aza replaced Castillo, playing left field while Bradley was moved to right field, in the top of the fifth inning. Castillo left the game with a bruise to his left foot from fouling off a pitch.
- Every starting player for the Red Sox lineup earned multiple hits, except Bogaerts. However, his walk helped him contribute a run to the cause.
- Sandoval went 3-for-5 at the plate, with three RBIs and two runs scored. Holt went 2-for-6 for his three RBIs.
- Bradley went 3-for-5, earning an RBI and raising his batting average to .203.
- Ortiz was setting the table more than he was cashing people in, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and three runs scored.
It was only for six innings,; however, as Kelly has often not even seen what that inning looks like in one of his starts, he must have been pleased with the performance. He threw 106 pitches, 65 for strikes, that forced three groundouts, five flyouts, and six strikeouts. Kelly allowed just one run on four hits and two walks.
His grade would have been better if he could have avoided the almost-meltdown of the first inning. Yet, he recovered. For that, he deserves the praise.
For three innings, the bullpen pair were almost flawless. They gave up a combined three hits, but no runs resulted. Each had a strikeout with no walks. That’s how you hold for your starter. If we barely knew you were in the game, it means that you did your job as relievers. If we hear your name a lot, it means that something’s gone wrong. Not last night.
It’s not every night that the struggling Red Sox score 15 runs. At least not this season. An intangible like Farrell’s news must have been coursing through the lineup’s hearts, as each batter seemed impervious to the Mariners’ pitching staff. Especially Shaw, who Farrell and the Red Sox have taken a chance on being the replacement forMike Napoli
. Shaw’s defense has been solid in recent games, but he also went 3-for-5 last night, hitting two home runs and three RBIs. Every batter showed why they were originally ranked as one of the most potentially-explosive offences in the majors, and they even did it without Ramirez in the lineup. A great send-off for their manager.
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