I don’t even quite know how to describe this series, except to say that it had everything and yet somehow not enough. The Sox finally decided to score a boatload of runs, but it almost fell short as they could’ve easily lost the series to Cleveland due to a colossal lack of timely hitting in game 3. We also had Seby Zavala making history, and Reynaldo Lopez doing some quality work out of the pen. Also Jose Abreu got plunked a shitload of times, and we saw Tony LaRussa “dash” out of the dugout and attempt to fight Roberto Perez, which I’m sure would’ve ended well for him.
Ultimately the end result is the Sox are back to a 9 game lead in the AL Central and pointed in the right direction again after Rick Hahn surprised everyone on Friday afternoon swinging another deal with the Cubs. The 8th and 9th innings are looking pretty dangerous for the Sox pen again.
To the bullets!
NUMBERS DON’T LIE
-What a weird ass game this was. The biggest story came in the 8th inning when James Karinchak had a 2-seam fastball get completely away from him to drill Jose Abreu right behind his left earhole. Jose went down in a heap, and Karinchak looked positively terrified that he had just killed someone. With Jose prone on the ground and Roberto Perez checking on him, TLR came shambling out of the dugout to push Perez away from Abreu for some reason that I think only he understands. Jose was ultimately all right, and as he trotted down to 1st, Karinchak came over to apologize. Being the amazing human being that he is, Jose gave the poor kid a hug and all was well.
-With the bases loaded there was no way Cleveland was intentionally throwing at Abreu, Karinchak’s reaction alone being all the proof you need. I get Tony’s inclination to be pissed off, as that was MY first reaction as well, but I’d rather he made sure Jose was OK first before picking a fight with the only guy on the field wearing armor.
-Yoan Moncada hit his 9th home run of the season in a way that wasn’t a complete Jose Canseco, but it was pretty damn close:
Yoán Moncada just hit a home run that will be on the blooper reel forever pic.twitter.com/SsXESyRDrR
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) July 31, 2021
-Lance Lynn didn’t have his best stuff, but as you’d expect he bulldog’ed his way through the Cleveland lineup to 5 innings, 7 K’s and one walk. That’s our ace, folks.
-The Seby Zavala game is in the books, and his line in it ended with a 4-4, 3 HR 6 RBI night making him the first player EVER in MLB history to have 3 dingers in a game where he hit his first career home run. Hopefully this is enough to end the Zack Collins Experience as the backup catcher, but we shall see.
-Cleveland (the team) hit as many dingers as Zavala (the player), and they all came off pitches from Dallas Keuchel. He’s been bad lately, and time is running out for him to fix his shit.
-For a team that scored 11 runs, you’d think the Sox would have more than 11 hits but you’d be wrong. 5 home runs and some shitty D by Cleveland was how it went down.
-Michael Kopech had a shitty night, not much else to say about it. Not worried about him in the slightest, however. Moving on.
-The Jose Ruiz Experience needs to end, and soon. If Reynaldo Lopez is going to look like he did in relief on Sunday, then it should be his spot going forward.
-Yoan Moncada’s BABIP on the night should be about .900, as he’s had some of the worst luck (other than the weird ass home run in game 1) at the plate that I can remember.
-Solid bullpen work from ReyLo and and Jimmy Lambert here, keeping Cleveland to a single home run by Myles Straw of all people. While Lambert was sent back down after the game, ReyLo is still here and as mentioned above should be getting a better look out of the pen to see if he’s going to be an option going forward.
-The Sox had the bases loaded twice and only managed 1 run and it happened with Jose Abreu getting plunked again. All told, the Sox stranded 13 runners on the afternoon but still managed to pull out the win thanks to…
-One of the most excellent batflips of the season with Brian Goodwin walking off the Guardians in the bottom of the 9th. You just love to see it.
— Tony Clements (@TonyClementsTC) August 1, 2021
-In a preview of things to come, the 7th-9th innings were on total fucking lockdown with Aaron Bummer, Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks combining for 3 innings of 1 hit ball with 4 Ks. This is the bullpen I was promised, and having Bummer looking good in the 7th is gonna be awesome for the 1-3 starters.
Next up is a 3 game set at home again vs Kansas City with a chance to redeem themselves from that shit performance in Missouri last week. Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn currently line up to face the Royals, so as long as the offense can score some runs the team should have every opportunity for a series win. With the lead in the division the Sox have right now, the challenge is going to be staying sharp for games that on the surface look like they don’t matter much.
With the team’s splits favoring playing at home by about a 65% margin, getting home field advantage for the postseason is definitely something to strive for. With the looming return of Luis Robert, and a hopefully fully-groined Eloy Jimenez the Sox offense should have enough punch for the rest of the regular season. Don’t stop now boys.
Let’s Go Sox.