Red Sox: Mitch Moreland becomes latest walk-off hero
By Sean Penney
Mitch Moreland’s clutch home run against the Chicago White Sox gave the Boston Red Sox another walk-off win in extra innings.
There may not be a more exciting play in sports than the walk-off, where an intensely tight content abruptly ends with one swing of the bat. The Boston Red Sox are nothing if not dramatic, treating the Fenway faithful to their fare share of these memorable moments.
Seven of Boston’s last 15 games at Fenway have ended in a walk-off, including two of the last three. Fans had yet to finish celebrating the three-run sky scraping shot to center from Christian Vazquez that sealed Tuesday’s win over the Cleveland Indians before the Red Sox came through with another dramatic victory.
The latest heroics come from Mitch Moreland, who delivered an opposite field solo shot into the Monster seats with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Moreland tossed his helmet aside after rounding third base, preparing for the mosh pit of teammates awaiting at home plate that is quickly becoming the new win, dance, repeat. Given how often these walk-off wins keeping happening, why keep the celebration only to the outfielders? The home run gave Boston their eighth walk-off of the season, five more than they had in 2016.
With the left-handed Carlos Rodon getting the start for Chicago, Morleand had started the game on the bench. He took over at first base in the top of the 10th inning for Hanley Ramirez, who was forced to exit early after aggravating his sore oblique on a swing earlier in the game. While the Red Sox are keeping their fingers crossed that the injury doesn’t cost Ramirez much time, they were oddly fortunate that it allowed Moreland to enter the game when he did.
This season Moreland is hitting a mere .231 against left-handed pitching, which has pushed him into a platoon role at first base. Normally he wouldn’t have been sent to the plate late in a tie game against a lefty, but with Ramirez out the Red Sox had no choice. Moreland stayed in to face Aaron Bummer and the move paid off, as he took him deep for his first homer of the season against a lefty.
This was Moreland’s third career walk-off home run and first as a member of the Red Sox.
The win was John Farrell‘s 400th as manager of the Red Sox, which happened to occur on his 55th birthday. Only seven other managers in franchise history have led the club to 400+ wins.
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The Red Sox are now 10-3 in extra-inning games this season, giving them the most extra-innings victories in the American League. While these close games may not be great for our blood pressure and often force us to stay up later than we’d hoped to, Red Sox fans can at least be comforted knowing that the wait has typically been worthwhile.