Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1
BOSTON, August 8th – The Boston Red Sox nearly escaped Saturday night with their second win-streak of the season, but the offense left too many men on base and the bullpen could only fend off the Toronto Blue Jays lineup for so long before they broke through. The Red Sox offense continued their lackluster campaign as they weren’t able to string together enough hits to provide any sort of insurance for the pitching staff.
Godley Shuts Out Blue Jays Through Four
The Red Sox staff put together one of their strongest nights to this point in the season. Zack Godley got the start and went four full innings allowing three hits, walking two, and kept the Blue Jays scoreless. Although Godley kept the Blue Jays off the board it wasn’t the prettiest sight to see. In the third inning, things got interesting as the righty walked two and recorded a wild pitch. At points throughout the inning, Godley couldn’t get the ball under control and he kept Christian Vazquez guessing as nobody had any idea where the next pitch may end up. He was bailed out by a Rowdy Tellez miscue on first base for the second out of the inning.
Toronto Finally Breaks the Seal in the Seventh
Josh Osich and Phillips Valdez put together a pair of solid innings out of the bullpen before Ron Roenicke called on Heath Hembree for the seventh. Hembree has been one of the more consistent options so far this season but simply didn’t have it on Saturday night. He only lasted two-thirds of an inning, gave up two hits, two walks, and let in the tying run. The game-shifting hit came by way of a Bo Bichette double. Bichette hit a rocket to the dead-center field fence, clearing the head of Jackie Bradley Jr. Randall Grichuk scored on the double, and Travis Shaw followed with a walk. Ryan Brasier came in to clean up the mess and escape the seventh with only one run across.
Marcus Walden came on in the eighth to try and keep the game tied. Walden walked Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to start the inning. Two batters later Grichuk advanced Gurriel to third on a single to right field. On the next pitch, Rowdy Tellez grounded to Jose Peraza at second base and there was nothing that could keep Gurriel from scoring to take the lead. The 2-1 score held up the rest of the way as Toronto stole game two of the three-game series.
Red Sox Bats Go Silent
The Red Sox offense broke through once in the second inning but faltered from that point on. Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland each walked to start the inning. Christian Vazquez followed by stinging a ground ball up the middle to get Bogaerts around for the first run of the game.
From that point forward the team left four runners in scoring position with two outs. They presented themselves with opportunities all night but the offense went missing, just as it has for much of the season.
Benintendi Benched in the Fourth
Roenicke opted to give Andrew Benintendi and his .061 batting average the start in game two. Kevin Pillar — batting .342 heading into Saturday — was on the bench to start the night. Roenicke did eventually pinch-hit Benintendi in the fourth inning in favor of Pillar, but the fact that it’s taken this long for a move like that is mildly concerning in regards to the manger.
Roenicke went into detail after the game about his reluctance to make that move; even going as far as to say that in a 162-game season he probably doesn’t make that switch.
“It’s tough, and I still didn’t like it. I know it worked out where Pillar got two at-bats and played great defense. He threw a guy out and made a great play at the wall, but I still didn’t like it,” explained Roenicke.
Whether the manager has Chaim Bloom and the front office in his ear, or he’s filling out the lineup card on his own, the decision to start Benintendi over one of the hottest hitters in a struggling lineup is inexcusable. The Red Sox sit two games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second playoff spot in the division. It may not be the cleanest product, but the Red Sox do have a shot at the postseason. They are now nearly a quarter of the way through their season and the best players need to be playing on a nightly basis whether they drafted them in the first round or not.
Roenicke talking about pinch-hitting for Benintendi in the fourth inning … pic.twitter.com/8HluvMGOs4
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) August 9, 2020
Series Finale Sunday 1:35 ET
Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 3.94) will look to give the Red Sox the series win when he takes the hill at 1:35 ET Sunday afternoon. Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 5.91) gets the nod for the Blue Jays as he looks to improve upon his lasting outing where he gave up six runs.
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