The Houston Astros’ first visit to Fenway Park got off to an explosive start on offense and they seemed destined to sweep the Red Sox on their home turf. However, baseball has a funny way of surprising its fans and the series finale proved once again why baseball is arguably the most unpredictable sport in our country. Any team can win on any given day and boy were we in for a treat.
Unfortunately, the first two games left me shaking my head in disgust. Houston’s offense outscored Boston’s 15-4 and out-hit them 28-10. The Astros scored the first six runs of this series just two innings in. Alex Cora could not have been happy to see 10 runners left on base and for his offense to go a miserable 1 for 22 with runners in scoring position. Boston’s offense needed to wake up and fast.
Wild Thursday Night Game
In the series finale, it seemed like Boston’s pitching would be their downfall, but this time the offense came to play and the runs came in bunches. This game was a back and forth battle that featured six lead changes and five ties, which is mind-blowing when you think about it. I kept thinking that this game might last five or six hours the way it was shaping up, but then the Sox offense put the finishing touches on a 12-8 victory over the course of two innings.
Trailing 7-4 in the bottom of the fifth, Boston’s offense needed a rally to respond to Houston’s four-run top of the fifth that knocked out ace Eduardo Rodríguez. In stepped Christian Arroyo, who launched an 82 MPH slider into the monster seats to tie the game. The Astros responded an inning later with a solo home run from José Altuve, but the bottom of the sixth is where the game became even crazier than before.
I want to personally thank the Astros defense for gift wrapping the Sox with their defensive mishaps. Both Kyle Tucker and Carlos Correa dropped popups in the right field to load the bases and the Red Sox took full advantage. JD Martinez kicked things off with a sac fly to tie the game at 8 apiece. Christian Vazquez was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Christian Arroyo stepped up next and walked in a run to make extend the lead to 10-8. One batter later, Bobby Dalbec capped the scoring with a 2-run wall-ball double off the green monster, and just like that the Sox scored eight runs in two innings. The final score stood at 12-8, but I could not believe the insanity I just witnessed.
Red Sox Face Blue Jays Next
Moving forward, the Red Sox will need more offense similar to last night’s performance to keep with a powerful Toronto Blue Jays lineup led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. While going 5 for 14 with runners in scoring position isn’t pretty, it is better than what happened in the first two games against Houston. They will get their first crack at this later tonight when Garrett Richards faces Ross Stripling in the series opener at Fenway. It will be important for at least two or three of Boston’s starters this weekend to pitch at least 6 innings to not tax their bullpen. Only Nathan Evoldi pitched into the sixth inning against the Astros and that type of pitching is not conducive to long-term success. Just ask the 2019 or 2020 Red Sox teams how that worked out for them.
This will be the start of a four-game series and I look forward to my first game at Fenway since 2019 in Monday’s series finale. Meanwhile, the Astros will look to continue their offensive mastery when they visit the last-place Minnesota Twins later tonight for a three-game set at Target Field. Who’s pitching staff will bounce back? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or on the CruelFan Facebook page!
By: Whitney Dowds CruelFan.com