With the number of games quickly dwindling down in the regular season, the importance of each ratchets up on a young Sox team leading the division in its first year of its contention window. We’re now seeing how they handle the pressure of a division title race, and apparently Angel Hernandez didn’t handle it all that well himself (more on that below).
Adam Engel isn’t afraid of hitting with two strikes. In the 10th, he tripled on a 3-2 pitch to drive James McCann in to put the Sox ahead 2-1. He got robbed of a triple in the 8th on a sliding grab in right-center field. He later came around to score to give the Sox a 3-1 lead.
Jose Abreu padded his RBI total with a solo shot in the 6th. Unfortunately it was his only hit and RBI, and that wasn’t enough on this night.
Reynaldo Lopez hasn’t been all that bad of late. He threw 5 solid innings, only allowing a solo home run in the first inning, as well as 3 hits, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts. The more quality work the Sox can get out of him the better, with starting pitching depth becoming a concern down the stretch.
Garrett Crochet has a very bright future. He topped out at 102 mph on the gun and was routinely in triple digits in his one scoreless inning of work against the top of the Cleveland order. In his three outings (all one inning each), he’s only allowed one hit with three strikeouts, and one hit batter (fortunately for that guy, it was a slider that got away, not a 102 mph heater).
Alex Colome was slated to go out in the 10th to close the game, but he suffered back spasms between the bottom of the 9th and bottom of the 10th, so he couldn’t go in the 10th. Matt Foster and Jose Ruiz were called upon to protect the two run lead, and they were unable to do so. It was Ruiz who served up the game-winning 3-run bomb which clinched Cleveland’s spot in the playoffs.
Luis Robert isn’t just slumping at the plate. He mistimed his jump to catch Francisco Lindor’s fly ball to deep center field, which turned into a double and brought Cleveland within one run. Had that ball been caught, the game ends and the Sox get the win. Hopefully he can get out of his funk quickly, because the playoffs will be here very soon.
There’s no point sugarcoating how bad Angel Hernandez was behind the plate tonight. He was awful, missing several pitches throughout the night, and should have called for an appeal on Robert’s check-swing for strike three in the 10th. Tim Anderson and Ricky Renteria had some words for Hernandez, and both were tossed from the game. The Sox still almost won in spite of how truly awful Hernandez was on this night.
No time to dwell on this one, as Lucas Giolito toes the rubber tomorrow to try to get the Sox back on track toward an AL Central title.