Sleepy Sox — Sox 9th Inning Surge Falls Short
Toronto Blue Jays 5, Boston Red Sox 4
WP: Marco Estrada (4–2)
LP: Eduardo Rodriguez (1–1)
The Red Sox offense struggled all day.
To say that would be an understatement.
After Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia drew back to back walks to get the game started in the bottom of the first, MLB average and hit leader Xander Bogaerts dug into the batters box. After taking a first pitch strike against Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada, Bogaerts decided to drop down a bunt. The ball quickly rolled back to Estrada as he turned and threw Betts out at third. Wether manager John Farrell called for the bunt or if Xander decided to do it on his own, the move was immediately questioned and changed the mood of the game.
The next hitter, David Ortiz, ripped a hard line drive over the head of Blue Jays’ center fielder Kevin Pillar. Pillar, a gold glove candidate, made a nice on the run catch to retire the big lefty. Estrada struck out Travis Shaw to end the inning.
Today was not so much about the Red Sox offense, but more so about Blue Jays pitching. Estrada came into the game with an ERA of 2.43 and lowered his ERA to 2.41 when he exited the game in the 9th inning. Before the eight year man out of Long Beach State threw his last pitch, he had already cemented himself as Toronto’s ace.
Estrada did this by no-hitting the Red Sox through 7.1 innings. He used his tremendous change up to catch hitters off balance and spotted his fastball on the corners of the plate to freeze Red Sox batters. The 32 year old had retired 19 batters in a row before Chris Young ended his no hitter and shutout bid by taking a first pitch fastball over the monster for his 4th home run of the year.
Estrada went 8+ innings giving up only 2 hits and 1 earned run while gaining his 4th win of the season. Estrada is 4th in the AL in ERA.
Eduardo Rodriguez was one dimensional for the entirety of the afternoon. Featuring his fastball on 82 of his 99 pitches, Rodriguez struggled out of the gate today.
Rodriguez gave up a leadoff home run to slugger Jose Bautista to start the game. All four of Toronto’s hits in the game were home runs off of E-Rod.
Rodriguez struggled to command his pitches today — throwing only 56% of them for strikes. He also walked 3 and struck out 0 while picking up his first loss of the season (1–1).
Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Sox were down 5–1. After Pedroia got things started with a leadoff double (and increased his hit streak to 13 games), Blue Jays manager John Gibbons went to his closer Roberto Osuna. Osuna got Bogaerts to pop out to second for the first out of the inning. Ortiz then came to the plate and extended his hit streak to 13 games when he pulled an Osuna fastball down the line for his 26th double of the year. The Red Sox trailed 5–2 with one out.
Boston third baseman Travis Shaw then struck out for the second time today with runners in scoring position. With two outs and down three runs, the Sox seemed to be depleted.
Slumping Hanley Ramirez worked a 2–1 count and proceeded to unload on the next pitch. He hit the base of the center field wall and cruised into second for an RBI double. The Red Sox now trailed 5–3 with two outs.
Enter Jackie Bradley Jr. After falling behind in the count 0–2, Bradley turned on a 2–2 fastball and singled to right field to drive in Ramirez from second. The Red Sox now had the go-ahead run at the plate.
Young, who homered in the previous inning, ripped a first pitch fastball into left field for his second hit of the day. With runners on first and second, Farrell turned to pinch-hitter Marco Hernandez.
With the Fenway Faithful loud and on their feet, Hernandez swung through a 3–2 fastball to end the game. The Red Sox valiant comeback attempted fell 180 feet short.
Surprisingly, Josh Rutledge was not the man Farrell turned to in the ninth to pinch-hit for Christian Vazquez. Rutledge is 3 for 7 in pinch-hitting situations this season with 2 doubles and a walk. Hernandez, who was the man Farrell chose, is 1 for 6 with 3 strikeouts in pinch-hitting situations.
One explanation for Farrell’s decision could be that Farrell favored the lefty facing the right hand Osuna, rather than the right hander Rutledge. If this was his reasoning, it is worth mentioning lefties are only hitting .003 better than right handers vs. Osuna. Whatever the reasoning behind the move was, it is easy to argue that Rutledge should have gotten the nod from the fourth year Boston manager.
The Red Sox will travel to the Bay to face the first place San Fransisco Giants in a two game interleague battle starting Tuesday night. First pitch will be at 7:15 PT as Rick Porcello looks to earn his eighth win of the season.
Fun Fact of the Day:
Before Jackie Bradley Jr. and Chris Young’s singles in the ninth, all previous eight hits in the game went for extra-bases (5 HRs, 3 doubles).