A foul tip or not a foul tip?
It’s hard to pin the entirety of a 9-1 rout on one play or even one pitch, but this is one of those rare games you could have a good argument. In the blink of an eye Red Sox CF Mookie Betts got one of the strangest second chances I’ve ever seen and promptly put a very shaky Trevor Bauer on the mat for good.
Let’s start this recap with Bauer. He wasn’t very good. He hasn’t been very good in his last three starts. Today he lasted just 1.2 innings and gave up 5 ER on 6 hits, basically putting the game away before it ever really got started. I’m not going to sit here and try to defend his performance as anything better than subpar, but personally, I think the game shouldn’t have been broken open so decisively so early.
In the first inning, Bauer allowed a run on what was a near-miss HR by David Ortiz, but he escaped having given up just that. In the second, things were even shakier. Pablo Sandoval hit a Fenway Single down the left field line (he hit it hard but it is Fenway and he IS Pablo Sandoval), then Travis Shaw followed with a solid single to center. Rusney Castillo hit into a fielder’s choice that eliminated the lead runner, but a poor throw by Mike Aviles ended up out of play and Bauer was faced with 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out.
Bauer then walked Blake Swihart to load the bases, but struck out Mookie Betts to get a crucial second out and perhaps get out of the inning unscathed.
But wait — not so fast!
The first base umpire determined that Betts foul-tipped the ball, so he was given new life and, sure enough, he laced a double into LF to clear the bases a few pitches later. From my angle (the STO angle), it didn’t look like he got anywhere near the baseball. It may have been a good call, but it was highly questionable at best. A single and a strikeout later, and Bauer was in the showers, probably trying to go to his Happy Place.
It turns out it didn’t really matter what happened between Bauer and Betts, however, because the Indians offense was completely lifeless all night. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez mystified the Indians through 8 innings, with the only run coming on a line drive home run by Michael Brantley in the 7th inning. I kind of joked about this eventuality in my game thread post, but anyone who has followed the team this season knows I wasn’t REALLY joking and was prepared for this kind of performance from the offense.
But I won’t pile on tonight. The Indians got a bit unlucky, but they probably wouldn’t have won, anyway. Even if he escaped the third, Bauer was not pitching well enough to reliably hold the Red Sox to 1 run. The offense didn’t do enough to win.
It happens, but man, it’s just not fun to watch when it does.