Three out of four has to be considered a complete success for the Sox, especially when you include the fact that Baltimore just took 2 of 3 from Cleveland. The Orioles pummeled the Indians pitching, dropping 25 runs on them in 3 games as the Tribe has now lost 5 of their last 10, stretching the Sox lead over them to a season high 4 games.
The door is open for the Sox to run away with the division, and this series was a solid intro to that. The starters had an excellent weekend, where even the lone loser in Giolito still went 7 innings and struck out 9. The Sox hitters took advantage of every mistake the Tigers D made, and the new unis even gave TLR some sick drip. Solid work all around.
In an added bonus, the Twins tailspin continues to be one of the best storylines of the season, as even Ozzie Guillen started in on them during the pregame show on Sunday. It’s glorious, and you can hook every Minnesota loss directly into my veins. Anyway, back to talking about a good team that’s well above .500
TO THE BULLETS!
Numbers Don’t Lie
-Lance Lynn has been as advertised so far this season. How good has he been? Well the one run he allowed in this game actually raised his ERA. He went a strong 6 innings in a mere 89 pitches while striking out 6 Tigers en route to his team-leading 7th win of the season. There isn’t much more you can say about his performance so far, other than it’s been exactly what we all hoped for.
-The Sox hitters smoked 4 solo home runs in this game (Moncada, Grandal, Anderson and Jake the Snake Lamb), providing all the offense that Lynn would need. Seeing Grandal and Moncada go yard in particular warms my cold, dark heart. Grandal seems to finally be rounding into form after dealing with a bum knee all throughout spring training. His dinger went almost 460 feet with an exit velo of 110 mph. Very nice.
-Home plate umpire Will Little had himself a shitty game Thursday night, which ultimately led to Lucas Giolito being tossed after jawing at his terrible strike zone from the dugout. Apparently Little told Gio to go look at the zone himself, which he did, and returned to tell Little that upon further review it still fucking sucked.
-After Gio got tossed, LaRussa managed to piss everyone off AGAIN with his terrible postgame comments. I sorta get where he was going with this, but I would’ve much rather him said something along the lines of “I appreciate his passion in sticking up for his teammates” instead of what he actually said:
-Evan Marshall, Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks combined for 3 innings of 1 hit ball in a preview of what we all thought the bullpen was going to be like at the beginning of the year. Sadly, it didn’t last too long.
-This game started out pretty ooky for the Sox, as Spencer Turnbull came out firing bullets for the first 5 innings, only making one mistake to Yasmani Grandal that he smoked into the seats for a dinger. Otherwise he was fairly unhittable until the 5th, where something in his elbow went TWANG and he was forced out of the game. It was then that the wheels fell off for the Tigers D, allowing 5 runs in the 5th, only 2 of which were earned. The Sox took advantage, however, and jumped out to a 7-2 lead.
-That lead didn’t last, as mentioned above Codi Heuer and Evan Marshall absolutely did not have their A, B, C or D stuff that night. Heuer walked 2 and gave up a hit, all of which came around to score when Marshall relieved him and promptly gave up 2 home runs that gave the Tigers the lead. Both guys had been pitching fairly stellar of late, so I’m inclined to call this more of a hiccup than a trend.
-Grandal was able to tie the game in the 8th with his 2nd home run of the night and 3rd of the series with an opposite field pop off of Rony Garcia. The eyeballs on this guy were never in doubt, but the power behind the swing now is something else.
-A struggling Yermin Mercedes was able to walk the game off in the 9th after Jose Cisneros walked Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu smoked a single, sending Yoan to 3rd. Yermin immediately went into 2 strike mode and fought off an inside slider into short left field for the winner. Fingers crossed this is just what he needs to get going here on out.
-On a hot, windy day at the Down Arrow, Lucas Giolito only made 3 bad pitches. Unfortunately for him, all 3 of them ended up in the OF seats, giving the Tigers all the offense that they’d need to win the game. He still went 7 innings, striking out 9 and probably deserved a better fate than the L, but such is baseball.
-Tarik Skubal looked the best he had the entire season, as you could see why the Tigers took him in the 2018 draft. He kept the Sox hitters completely off balance, striking out 11 in 5 innings. His slider had nasty cut to it, and the movement on his 4 seam fastball was pretty damn impressive. Thankfully, with him striking out so many Sox he was pulled after 5 innings and 103 pitches.
-The Sox jumped all over his replacement Derek Holland, with 3 hits (including a 2-run double by Jake the Snake) and a walk. Sadly, this is where things got stupid. LaRussa decided he wanted to fire up the Old Timey Managin’ Machine, and had Danny Mendick try and bunt the tying and winning runs over to 2nd and 3rd. In a galaxy brain move, Mendick decided he would bunt the ball down the 1st base line, where Jonathan Schoop was able to field it and fire the ball over to 3rd for the force out. Giving away outs to a guy who has never been able to get them against the Sox on his own is just fucking dumb, and I doubt this is the last time we will talk about it. Sadly.
-After the fucked up 6th inning, the Sox were only able to muster 1 more hit the rest of the game so they didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory. Jose Abreu had multiple chances to smoke fastballs sitting middle middle and was late on them. His day off Sunday was not really a shock.
-Facing the team he’s dominated more than any other, Dylan Cease returned to form by pitching a VERY strong 7 innings and striking out 10 and only walking 1. His curveball looked simply unhittable, dropping right off the table and making Tigers hitters flail around at the ball. I get that it’s just the Tigers, but there was a lot to like about this start. His next one should bring a much stiffer test in the Tampa Bay Rays, and I’m very excited to see how he handles their very patient hitters.
-All the Sox offense happened in the top of the 2nd, with Adam Eaton tripling into the corner to start things off. Andrew Vaughn smoked a single into left to drive him in, then moving to 3rd on a Nick Madrigal double in the gap. Timmy brought both them in with a bloop single to center, and with that the offense was done for the day. Good enough, indeed.
-Aaron Bummer looked sharp taking over for Dylan Cease in the 8th, striking out 2 and generating a weak ground for the other out. More please.
-Liam Hendriks faced little opposition in the 9th, going 1-2-3 with 2 strikeouts. He’s locked in right now, with the only downside being with more people in the stands I can’t hear him scream FUCK anymore.
-The win today moved Tony LaRussa into 2nd place all time for wins in the league. I give TLR a lot of shit because he’s an out of touch crank who doesn’t support his players in the media, but this is a cool milestone for him and the league and in this moment, I have to give him his due. Congrats to him.
Next up is a series against the offensive Death Star known as the Toronto Blue Jays. They lead the league in OPS, and their bullpen is what we thought the Sox one would be, and that’s with them losing their closer (Kirby Yates) to TJ surgery before spring training ended. With the Sox merely .500 against winning teams, this coming week will be a solid yardage marker to see where they truly stand among the AL Elite. Get it done.