Since I have started writing for BP Boston I’ve done three prior game recaps—all losses. Today was my fourth recap and I am yet again out of luck, bringing my total to 0-4. This may be the most decisive loss that I have covered so far but it was far from the most painful. Nearly all of the damage that was needed for a victory was done very early on in the contest, as the young, left-handed Henry Owens was blown up for seven earned runs. There was never any real hope in this one since I knew the game was over by the end of the second inning. This was a good old-fashioned mercy killing.
Top Play (WPA): The action started early in this contest with Greg Bird giving the Yankees a lead that they would hang on to for the remainder of the game. With Chase Headley on base in the second inning, Bird cleaned out an inside fastball from Owens and deposited it into the right field box for the game’s top play (.193). Bird has yet to show a ton of power since coming up and came into the game with an ISO of just .136, but his third big league home run left no doubt. The pop is legit here with Bird and although it may take a few years for it to play up, make no doubt about it: the power will play.
Boston’s top play came in the first inning when David Ortiz laced a hard-hit double that looked like it had a chance of leaving the park. Mookie Betts would score and give the Sox their lone lead of the game and the second best play by WPA. (.105)
Bottom Play (WPA): The bottom play of the game also comes to us from early on in the contest and was delivered by Pablo Sandoval. With Betts on second in the first inning and the game knotted at 0-0, Sandoval grounded to short and was put away by Didi Gregorius for the game’s first out (-.041).
Key Moment: The key moment of the game really did belong to Bird with his go ahead two-run shot in the second. However, it was Owens totally unravelling in the second inning that truly did the Sox in. Following the Bird homer the next batter, John Ryan Murphy, took Owens deep again. Owens walked two batters and allowed several more hits before turning the ball over to Ryan Cook.
Cook looked every bit the reclamation project that the A’s couldn’t fix and promptly allowed a two-run-shot to Carlos Beltran. Even though the Sox made a bit of a run late in the game against the weak underbelly of the Yankees bullpen, the result of the game was never in doubt. Owens and Cook were charged for 11 combined runs, which was more than the Yankees needed to secure the victory.
Trend to Watch: Aside from the awful pitching performance that plagued the Sox this Wednesday afternoon, the eight runs that they put up helped build my confidence in the strides being made by the offense. Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to hit well and Xander Bogaerts smashed his fifth home run of the year, off of Tanaka in the sixth inning.
There were also no errors by either side and I enjoyed watching the “BBC” outfield in action. Bradley even spent some time in center field later in the game as Allen Craig came in to take over right field and Betts went to the bench. The Sox should have one of the best defensive outfields in the game going forward.
Coming Next: The Sox will have much needed day off today before welcoming the lowly Philadelphia Phillies to historic Fenway Park. After dropping two of three from the Yankees, the Sox will be expected to take care of business against a depleted Philly team. It’s never too late to go for the late-season meaningless sweep. There is no better time to start experimenting with their lineup changes than in these games that have very little meaning.
Photo by Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports Images