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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Boston Sports Fans Turn Their Lonely Eyes to Red Sox & Betts Delivers His 1st Career Walk-Off Hit

The Celtics are done for the season after getting swept by the Cavaliers yesterday and the Bruins have been long gone for weeks so now, locally all we have left until August (when Patriots training camp and preseason begins) is the Red Sox. That is unless you count the Revolution (MLS), Cannons (MLL) and/or Breakers (women's professional soccer) which I'm pretty sure that you do not.

Boston (11-9 overall, 5-3 home) took advantage of this added attention with a thrilling 6-5 win at Fenway Park on Monday night vs. Toronto (9-11 overall, 4-6 away) to open a nine-game homestand vs. AL East foes (Blue Jays, Yankees, Rays). Mookie Betts (3 for 4 with 2 runs, 2B & BB) came through with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth that scored Xander Bogaerts. It was particularly memorable for the rookie since it was his first walk-off hit in MLB.

It was a weird game from the start, as it was supposed to start at 6:10 p.m. (a nice new feature on weekdays in chilly April) but was delayed 33 minutes by rain. Then Toronto scored three runs in the first off Joe Kelly (6 innings, 5 earned runs, 5 hits, career-high 10 strikeouts, 3 walks) on an RBI single by Devon Travis (2 runs) and two-run double by Russell Martin.

Boston chipped away at the lead (and Aaron Sanchez) beginning with a two-run single by Pablo Sandoval in the bottom of the first. The Blue Jays built their lead back up to three with Travis' solo homer in the third and an RBI single by Kevin Pillar in the fourth. Sandoval hadn't hit a home run in a Red Sox uniform before yesterday's blowout loss in Baltimore but he made it two in two games with a line drive that got over the fence in right in the fourth, cutting it to 5-3.

Betts scored in the fifth after Sanchez made a throwing error, something which has been happening non-stop to the benefit of Boston so far this season. Other than everyone overrating the Blue Jays seemingly for the past decade, another staple of playing MLB's lone Canadian club is that their bullpen is always a complete joke. The Red Sox tied it in the eighth on Hanley Ramirez's sacrifice fly that scored Betts.

So far, Boston's pitching rotation has been even worse than we could have imagined. They are going nowhere with this sorry group of starters but on the other hand, their lineup is lethal and should keep them in most games. Oh and the bullpen is a mess too although Alexi Ogando pitched two scoreless innings of relief and Koji Uehara (2-1) had a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts (two nights after looking like toast when he gave up a walk-off homer to the Orioles).

The best thing you can say about this flawed squad is that they are certainly interesting so much like a car crash, we probably won't be able to turn away from these crazy games. Haha when you can't pitch and give up runs like a beer league softball team, who doesn't want to tune in to that? Maybe spring will appear as well, haha who knows? Tomorrow night (6:10, NESN) Clay Buchholz (1-2) faces Drew Hutchison (2-0). That has 10-8 written all over it, bring your glove if you are going to the game, you might catch a home run.

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