Red Sox Recap: Owens Duels Dickey To Stalemate; Jays Win In Extras
The second game of the series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox was a game of inches. A few hits went just foul, a few pitches were just too close not to have an argument, and a few smacks at the plate were just far enough to earn a victory. Unfortunately for the Red Sox and their young prospect-turned-starter Henry Owens, his efforts to outduel the Blue Jays knuckler R.A. Dickey ended in a stalemate, only for the bullpen to cough up the game in an extra frame.
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The Blue Jays started off the game quickly for their starter, as Dickey came into the game winning seven out of his last ten starts, the remainder being solid no-decision performances. Edwin Encarnacion continued his hot streak at the plate, this late in the season, by grounding out to score Ben Revere, to take the early lead in the first inning.
That was all that Owens would give up for the rest of the game. He used fastballs for the majority of the Blue Jays’ lineup in their first at-bats, then switched it up with a ton of off-speed pitches, including a great changeup, that silenced the Blue Jays, at least from the scoreboard.
In the top of the third inning, Jays third baseman, and possible American League MVP, Josh Donaldson hit a towering shot to left field that was originally called foul. The Jays argued that the ball curved around the foul pole; however, as the ball was launched so high up, it felt like there was a mile between the top of the pole and the potential homer, making it inconclusive in the umpire’s review of the play to overturn the call. Donaldson, eventually, walked in the plate appearance, but the Jays couldn’t capitalize.
The Toronto frustration came just after the bottom of the second inning, when Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw, another prospect finding his way into the starting lineup, drove the ball to right field, just clearing the fence for a solo home run to tie the game.
The run proved very important, as the two starting pitchers made quick work of the respective opposing batters. Only in the top of the sixth inning did Owens run into a bit more trouble. With two Jays on base, Jean Machi was sent in to relieve Owens and earned a double play to get out of the inning, unscathed.
The game went on in much the same fashion, when the bullpens took over the late innings. It took the Blue Jays an extra inning to break up the tie.
Once again, Donaldson would find himself in another close call. As Alec Shirkey of MLB.com reported, “Leading off the 10th inning, Donaldson pummeled an 0-1 fastball from Boston reliever Alexi Ogando that bounced off the top edge of the Green Monster and back onto the outfield grass. Unsure if it had cleared the wall, he sprinted around second base and quickly set his sights on third. ‘After I hit it, I realized we are playing at Fenway,’ Donaldson said. ‘I wanted to make sure I was going to be able to get to second, and then I saw the ball hit up and go straight up in the air.'”
The ball’s motion made everyone question whether the ball landed past the fence and bounced back into play or if it only hit the top of the fence. Red Sox Nation waited in anticipation, cringing that a member of Toronto’s Mount Crushmore had won the game with one swing. The umpires came back with their ruling that it stayed in the park. Luckily for the Blue Jays, Donaldson didn’t wait for the call during the play and ran it out for a triple. Troy Tulowitzki cashed him in by drilling a single to left field for the lead. The Blue Jays tacked on three more runs. Chris Colabello singled off of Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts‘ glove into center field to score Dalton Pompey. After reliever Alexi Ogando gave up those runs, he decided, accidentally, to balk, allowing Tulowitzki to score from third base. Ogando then threw a wild pitch, which allowed Colabello to advance to third, before Kevin Pillar could drive him home on a sacrifice fly to left.
Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna came in the bottom of the frame to shut down the Red Sox in a 1-2-3 inning, making the final score 5-1.
- The Red Sox went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left four men on base. The Blue Jays went 2-for-15 and left nine men on base.
- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia made his long-awaited return from a leg injury. He went 1-for-4 with a strikeout in the two-spot in the lineup, recently filled in by third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
- Rusney Castillo pinch-ran for David Ortiz in the ninth inning, but nothing came of it.
- Five out of the nine starting bats for the Red Sox went hitless. Catcher Blake Swihart led the way with three strikeouts.
Owens did very well to match wits against a very tough Blue Jays lineup, whose high-octane offense leads the majors in runs. For a team that seems to be able to score at will, Owens held them to only a single run on three hits, four walks, and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Dickey had three less walks but one more hit than Owens in six innings.
The key to Owens was keeping his off-speed pitches in the strikezone. Out of 95 pitches, 54 were strikes. However, Owens will want to switch up the speeds a bit more within each at-bat the next time he pitches against the Blue Jays, as they were trying to sit on the changeup because they already knew it was coming. Some day, that will burn him.
Machi made a glorious appearance, getting out of the jam for Owens and keeping his team in the game.Tommy Layne
got his one batter out.Noe Ramirez
hit Encarnacion with a pitch, but still kept the Jays off the scoreboard without a hit.Junichi Tazawa
Jr. did the same.
The person who makes this grade so low is Ogando, who deserves lower than an F, if that were possible. He allowed four earned runs on three hits, a walk, a strikeout, a balk, and a wild pitch. Is there any other way that it could have gone wrong for him? Possibly a home run, but he’s allowed plenty of those this season. Variety must have been the order of the day.
The only reason why this isn’t a complete failure is that Shaw actually did score for the Red Sox, putting the team back on even terms against a tough, hot starter like Dickey. The knuckleball was dancing everywhere for the aging pitcher, making it very difficult for the Red Sox to mount any consistent attack. The Red Sox only had four hits, and they weren’t in bunches. They couldn’t even walk more than twice in the game, but they sure could strikeout nine times.
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