Boston Red Sox – Oakland Athletics Series Recap

Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts Celebrate at home plate

The Red Sox took two out of three games from the last place Oakland Athletics this week. With their afternoon victory early today, their AL East lead is still three games over the New York Yankees. A Yankee victory tonight over Baltimore has kept the deficit where it was yesterday. The magic number now sits at 14 to win the AL East.

GAME 1

Mookie Betts hit like the AL MVP he was last year (he should have won the award, in my opinion) blasting two home runs and an RBI triple to lead the Red Sox to an 11-1 victory Tuesday night. Eduardo Rodriguez took his comfortable lead and ran with it cruising to his fifth victory of the season.

Another Early Deficit

I do not know what has been more of an Achilles’ heel for the Sox this year. Rick Porcello’s inconsistency, or getting down early? Jed Lowrie doubled to deep center in the first inning, scoring Chad Pinder, who walked right before him. Lowrie’s double would end up to be the only hit E-Rod would allow.

Not so Fast

In the bottom of the 2nd, the Red Sox were able to erase that early deficit in a big way. Sam Travis reached second on a single and an error, Xander Bogaerts singled him home to tie the game at one. After a Devers single, Vazquez hit Boston’s fourth straight one-bagger to plate Bogey and give the Sox the lead for good. Next, Pedroia singled to score Devers, making it 3-1. Betts would cap off the inning with a scorching triple to the Sox bullpen wall, plating Vasky and Pedey, pushing the lead to 5-1.

In the fourth, Betts would chase Oakland starter Sean Manea out of the game. With Pedroia on first after his third hit of the night, Betts took Manea 434-feet deep to left, making it a 7-1. Mookie’s 20th HR of the season ended the right-hander’s night. Manea finished the night with 3.2 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, and 4 SO.

You BETTS believe he’s not done

After back-to-back RBI doubles in the 5th from Vazquez and Jackie Bradley Jr. made the score 9-1, Mookie Betts came to do more damage the next inning. The unfortunate reliever was Raul Alacantra. Betts put one over the monster to end the scoring for the night at 11-1.

Betts has not repeated his 2nd place MVP campaign from last season, but he is an integral part of the Sox and can win games single-handedly.

Brandon Workman, Carson Smith, and Austin Maddox put up zeros the last three innings as they closed out the Red Sox victory.

GAME 2

A rough start from a sizzling Doug Fister made all the difference as the Athletics to use four first inning runs to take down the Red Sox Wednesday night.

Early Deficit

The Red Sox again got in an early hole again, but this one was too deep to climb out of. Fister, who had been on a roll. Got roughed up early and often. Jed Lowrie got it going again with a triple to right, scoring Marcus Semien. Next, Khris Davis plated Lowrie with an infield single. Still not done, Matt Olson went deep to right to give Oakland a 4-0 1st inning lead.

All Oakland

In the bottom of the first, Mookie notched another RBI plating Dustin Pedroia on a ground out.

Fister’s troubles continued in the 3rd inning. Lowrie continued his torrid pace with an RBO double scoring Matt Joyce. After Lowrie moved to third, a Chad Pinder ground out scored Lowrie, extending Oakland’s lead to 6-1.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Andrew Benintendi doubled to center scoring Xander Bogaerts, cutting the lead to 6-2.

Two different Pitching Performances

The hot Doug Fister finished the fourth, and his game, with a flurry. Fister ended the game allowing six earned runs, six hits, and one home run in just four innings of work.

Oakland starter Jharel Cotton earned his 8th victory while only going five innings. He used the early lead to coast. Cotton allowed as many hits as Fister, but was able to keep runners on the bases. After allowing three runs, the last from a Jackie Bradley Jr. home run, Oakland’s bullpen was able to hold the lead.

Oakland used six different relievers (Hendriks, Coulombe, Dull, Hatcher, Treinen) to finish the game. The Sox were able to get runners in scoring position in three of those innings, but could not bring them home.

GAME 3

With a day game before a nine game road trip, the Red Sox were able to pull away in the 6th and 7th innings en route to a 6-2 victory.

Pitching Duel

Red Sox number two ace Drew Pomeranz earned his 16th win of the season. Big Smooth kept his strong season rolling going six innings and allowing just one run on five hits.

Athletics starter Daniel Gossett had almost as good of a performance. Gossett pitched 5.1 innings allowing three runs on five hits. Both pitchers put up clean sheets through four innings until both offenses got started in the fifth.

Offense Gets Rolling

Oakland got the lead first again in the fifth with a Josh Phegly sacrifice fly to take a 1-0 lead. The Red Sox were not going to let that lead stay this time.

In the bottom of the frame, Christian Vazquez launched a home run to left center field to tie the game at one. In the sixth inning, the Sox kept rolling. Following a Pedroia double, Andrew Benintendi doubled himself to score Pedey. The second Red Sox run of the day would chase Gossett, ending his day.

However, the Sox were not done. Mitchy two-bags jumped in on the double fun with a two-bagger off the Monster, scoring Benintendi.

INSURANCE

With a 3-1 lead, the Red Sox put their foot down in the 7th inning. With one outs and the bases loaded, Dustin Pedroia hit a sac fly to score Rafael Devers. Then, guess who? Andrew Benintendi singled to drive in Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts, giving Boston a comfortable 6-1 lead.

A late A’s home run ended the scoring for the day at 6-2.

Benny’s Big Day

Most likely the AL Rookie of the Year runner-up, Andrew Benintendi paced the offense going 3-for-4 with three RBI this afternoon. Benintendi, who already has playoff experience, will be a very integral part of a potential AL pennant run.

UP NEXT

The Red Sox head down to St. Petersburg, Florida to begin their last road trip of the regular season. The trip will end next weekend with three inter-league games against the lowly Cincinnati Reds. With the magic number at 14, it is unlikely the Sox can clinch the East on the road, but boy it would be great if they could.

Friday Night, Chris Sale (16-7) duels with Rays starter Matt Andreise (5-3). In their last match-up just five days ago, Sale dominated en route to a 9-0 Red Sox victory.

$217 Million Bullpen Man

The Red Sox activated their big 2015 off-season signing David Price. John Farrell said that Price will take a bullpen role for at least the remainder of the regular season. Price was used out of the bullpen nine years ago in the 2008 playoffs. The then 23-year-old went 5.2 innings and allowed just one earned run helping his team reach the World Series.

It may not be a bad idea for Price to stay in the bullpen come postseason. In nine career playoff starts, Price is 0-8 with a 5.74 ERA, including a bad performance in Game 2 of last season’s ALDS, a Sox loss to the Indians.

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