(Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Oct. 27, 2018 – Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America))
The Tigers did not bring out their best sharpest tool in their shed when putting LHP Ryan Carpenter on the mound. His Major League ERA for the year was 8.82 through 32.2 innings entering the game. He also had a 7.10 FIP and a 46.3% hard-hit rate, which was in the bottom 5% of the league.
Red Sox Offense Hops on Carpenter Early
These stats made a lot of sense when Mookie Betts slapped a double in the first plate appearance of the game. After Rafael Devers hit a grounder to the right side to move Betts to third, Xander Bogaerts hit a ground ball with the infield back to score the run. Carpenter got through the second inning unscathed, but faced trouble with the top of the lineup again in the third. Mookie Betts hit a single up the middle, and then Rafael Devers hit a first-pitch slider the other way and over the wall for a two-run homer to make it 3-0.
Eduardo Rodriguez Has Easy-To-Watch Performance
I say that it was easy to watch because it is usually a grueling experience to watch Eduardo Rodriguez pitch. He is in the top 22% in most pitches per plate appearance among qualifying pitchers, and he is also not great at preventing baserunners. That was not the case on Friday night. He allowed one run on four hits and one walk through five innings, only throwing 76 pitches. His strong outing was cut short by a rain delay that lasted more than two hours.
Both Offenses Come Out Hot After Rain Delay
At about 10:50 PM ET, play resumed, and the Tigers pitching did not get better. The first batter after the rain delay, Christian Vazquez, roped a double to start the sixth inning. The next batter, Michael Chavis, hit a single to left, moving him to third. Then, the batter after that, Jackie Bradley Jr., hit an opposite-field double that drove in Vazquez and put runners on second and third with no outs. After Eduardo Nunez‘s groundout, Sandy Leon hit a sharp ground ball through the third baseman’s legs to drive in a run. It was ruled an error, but it should be noted that Leon hit the ball with an exit velocity of 97.0 MPH. Next, to score the last run of the inning for the Red Sox, Mookie Betts hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.
However, in the bottom half of the inning, the same way that the sun rises and Earth spins on its axis, the Red Sox bullpen gave up some runs. Marcus Walden retired the first hitter, but then walked a batter and gave up two singles, scoring a run. The runners were able to get to second and third when Mookie Betts bobbled the ball on a transfer. Then the next batter, Harold Castro hit a line drive to center field. Jackie Bradley Jr. came in on the ball, and it hit him on the palm of the glove and fell out. This resulted in an error and two runs scoring, making it 6-4.
Ryan Brasier was then brought in. He got his first batter to pop out, then gave up a single that brought in the runner from second. It was now a one-run game in what should have been an easy stroll in Comerica Park.
Top of the Lineup Opens the Game Up
No runs crossed the plate in the seventh, and then the Red Sox got back to the top of the lineup. Mookie Betts got his third hit of the day on a single, then Rafael Devers walked. The next batter, Xander Bogaerts, took a ball that caught a lot of plate, and sent it 441 feet to give the Red Sox a four-run cushion.
Matt Barnes had himself a scoreless eighth inning, and Heath Hembree came in for the ninth in his first appearance since coming off the injured list. The first batter he faced hit a home run off of him, but Hembree went 1-2-3 with two strikeouts after that. The Red Sox won the game, 9-6, at 12:36 AM ET, pushing them to six games above .500.