Yeaaaaaaaah, that was fan interference. It was. But if there’s any team right now that could use a break, it’s the Boston Red Sox. Also, I’ll take this as a makeup call for Ron Kulpa costing the Red Sox a game in May.
The Red Sox finally got Brock Holt back in the series opener against the Angels after suffering a concussion, which also marks the start of their nine-game home stand before heading into the All Star break. It may not seem like a big deal that Holt is back, but the Red Sox are 25-11 in games that Holt plays, and 18-25 when he doesn’t. People forget that. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI and an outfield assist in his first time back in Boston’s lineup since May 18.
This has happened on several occasions this year, where the Red Sox have won a game, and yet John Farrell still finds a way(s) to piss me off. This game was started by Steven Wright, the best starter in Boston’s rotation this year and it’s not even close. Wright came into Friday night’s game with a 2.18 ERA, and he exited the game with a 2.42 ERA. Can I blame Farrell for that? I want to blame Farrell for that. Here’s my attempt.
Last night was only the second time that Wright has allowed more than three earned runs in a start all season. The first time was back on May 13 when he allowed five earned runs to the Astros in a downpour. Wright was cruising along, putting up five scoreless innings until we got to the sixth, and it started raining pretty heavily, much like it did in that May 13 start.
Rain starts to fall, and whaddaya know? Wright can’t throw his knuckleball anymore. Top of the sixth opens with Albert Pujols doubling on an 86 MPH fastball, Wright hits the next guy with a fastball, walks the batter after that, and then gives up a grand slam to CJ Cron on an 86 MPH fastball. By the way, this was Matt Barnes in the bullpen before the at-bat to Cron started. Looks to me like he was ready to come into the game to face Cron.
Beyond that, if we already knew that Wright can’t throw his knuckleball in the rain, then what the fuck are we doing here? Not only did we have that start against Houston to go on, but you’re watching this guy fall apart, and unable to throw his knuckleball the second that it starts raining. Wright had a shutout going, which is par for the course for him this season, and we’re just going to stand there and let him welcome the Angels right back into the game? You really can’t even blame Wright for those four runs. That’s just your manager being incompetent.
It wasn’t until after Wright gave up the grand slam that Farrell decided that it was a pretty good time to come out and get his starter, who can’t pitch in the rain, out of a game in which it was raining. Barnes was able to get the next three outs consecutively. And for those who will inevitably say to stop making excuses for Wright, they called for the tarp immediately after Barnes finished that inning. It was raining that hard, and we’re talking about a pitcher who throws his best/only pitch with his fingertips.
Lucky for Farrell, the Red Sox ended up holding on to win the game, but it’s stuff like that that you still have to point out even in victory because it’s so dumbfounding. Things got a little dicey in the top of the ninth inning when Craig Kimbrel walked Mike Trout to start the frame. Kimbrel retired the next two batters, but then that’s when Daniel Nava hit that ball down the right field line that should’ve been ruled fan interference. The umpires ruled the other way in favor of the Red Sox, and Trout was held at third base on a ground rule double, preventing the Angels from tying the game. Kimbrel, of course, got Cron to ground out to end it, and Travis Shaw pointed to the fan in the stands for saving the game for the Red Sox.
Also, pretty cool moment here when David Ortiz passed Ted Williams on the all-time home run list, and also collected his 2,000th hit with the Red Sox all in the same at-bat. If Ortiz can collect 99 more hits from this point forward, he will pass Bobby Doerr (2,042) and Wade Boggs (2,098) on the Red Sox all-time hit list, to move into fifth place in team history. If he sticks with his retirement plan at the end of 2016, then Dwight Evans (2,373), Jim Rice (2,452), Ted Williams (2,654), and Carl Yastrzemski (3,419) are all out of reach.
PS – The John Farrell “best/great stuff” joke is dead. He’s finally caught on, and now he’s trying to reverse troll. Not on my watch. I know you know now.
Final score: Red Sox 5, Angels 4