Saturday night’s Game 1 of the 2018 ALCS saw a long-winded affair with plenty of stoppages. The Boston Red Sox pitchers gave up a total of ten base-on-balls, with three hit batters, on the way to a 7-2 series-opening loss at Fenway.
An odd outing
From the get-go, this was an unusual ball game. Chris Sale‘s stuff wasn’t his best, which is very unusual for the ace and Cy Young award contender. Sale pitched four innings, and for the majority, didn’t look like the player we know he is. Sale gave up the first two runs, both earned. But a passed ball on third baseman Eduardo Nunez, was the cause of this. This helped the Houston Astros get out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
The game remained 2-0 until Boston’s half of the fifth where a relapse from former MVP, Justin Verlander, gifted the Red Sox two runs. Mitch Moreland came in to pinch hit for catcher Sandy Leon, an at-bat which resulted in Moreland scoring from a bases-loaded walk. Jackie Bradley Jr. then scored on a wild pitch, tying the game at two runs apiece. Houston picked up another run in the sixth inning, after the Red Sox tied it up, with an RBI single from Carlos Correa.
This game had a lot of talking points. Unusual outings from both Sale and Verlander, Alex Cora getting ejected for arguing a ball-called-strike, plenty of batters and pitchers stepping out and off, and to top it all off umpire Joe West was hit by a throw from Christian Vazquez, which looked to be heading into center field. Perhaps, a break in a game which they needed it badly. However, it wasn’t to be for Boston in Game 1. The Astros made the victory even more emphatic in the ninth inning. They recorded four more runs, a Josh Reddick homer to right-center field, where he is familiar with from his time in Boston. And to end it, Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run bomb to make it 7-2.
The Red Sox will need David Price to be the best version of himself in Sunday’s Game 2. Boston will desperately need to even it up as the series moves on to Houston for the following three games.
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