Red Sox 1, White Sox 3: Laugh not to cry

This team is fair brutal watch. They got another phenomenal start on Saturday, this time from Nick Pivetta, who desperately needed a day like this. He pitched six shutout innings and the bullpen threw a few scoreless frames behind him. Unfortunately, the offense is still in hibernation and only scored one point, leaving the door open for Chicago. Sure enough, Hansel Robles missed the save in the ninth and then Bobby Dalbec and Trevor Story combined to give an excellent chance to come out on top in the bottom half. As everyone expected after that, Matt Barnes gave up several runs in the 10th, and that was it. This team can’t get out of its own way.

More robust game notes below.

At the start of the NESN show on Saturday, Dennis Eckersley mentioned that it was some sort of pitching day at Fenway, noting the strong wind blowing directly from the outfield. This wind would certainly prove to hold and knock down balls throughout this game, and even lend itself to pitching. That doesn’t take away from the work done by Nick Pivetta and Dylan Cease, who each had some good tricks in this one and knocked their opponents off balance.

For Pivetta, it was a welcome sight given how difficult the start of his 2022 season has been so far. He looked like he was taking a step in the right direction on his last outing, not taking a walk for the first time this year. This time he still had that same control, and he was able to pair it with the sharpest stuff I can remember seeing from him to start this year. His slider in particular was nails, and he kept the White Sox off the board for the first five innings.

He had a few issues throughout the game, to be honest, although it wasn’t always his fault. In the first, Tim Anderson got into position to score on a single and a steal, the latter of which was well-timed on a slow curveball. He was stuck. In the third, the wind kicked in when Leury García hit what looked like a routine fly ball to left field but instead died just past the infield. Alex Verdugo had to change course and sprint, and missed a dive attempt. Chicago had two runners in the heat, but they were again blocked.

Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

But things weren’t much better on the other side, with Cease being one of the hottest pitchers in the game and looking a lot of role in this game. The mustachioed right-hander let the runners take the turns in the first inning with a pair of singles, but Verdugo couldn’t get the last hit they needed and left the runners there. It was the team’s best early chance, with frustration really mounting in the third after Trevor Story was taken out for the second time. He fell on boundary calls, but the zone was big all day and frankly, he needs to swing, especially in the second at bat. Alex Cora disagreed and was eventually thrown out for arguing over balls and strikes.

Boston would have its next chance in the bottom half of the fifth after Franchy Cordero had a one-out single and Story tied, putting two with one for the heart out of the order. Rafael Devers made the pass, hitting a Monster double to bring Cordero home and leave two in scoring position for Xander Bogaerts, still with one out. Bogaerts put the ball in play, but it was a grounder with the infield, and Boston made the contact play, which meant Story broke for the plate on contact. This is a piece that I personally have despise, and he was downed for the second out. JD Martinez hit in the next at-bat, and the Red Sox settled for a 1-0 lead.

Pivetta then came back for the sixth, finally pitching with a lead, but immediately gave up a single. A few weeks ago it seemed like it snowballed, but on Saturday he managed to weigh in, ending the inning on a huge strikeout to end nine pitches at bat, keeping the Red Sox ahead by a point.

Chicago White Sox vs. Boston Red Sox

Ryan Brasier
Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

It would be the end of the day for Pivetta, who went through six strong shutout innings, and Ryan Brasier got the first call from the bullpen to protect the 1-0 lead. After retiring the first two batters, there was potential for trouble when Leury García hit a single and then stole the second with the ball entering center field. Luckily, García slid around base and had to stay second, and Brasier eventually came out of the inning with a ground ball to keep the lead in hand.

After a second straight 1-2-3 inning, it was still a one-run game and the Red Sox turned to John Schreiber to protect the lead with the meat of Chicago’s order to come. It looked good at first with two quick takedowns, but he just had bad luck. First, Luis Robert hit low ground in Devers at third base, then José Abreu reached when Trevor Story failed to play to his left in the quarter, being charged with an error. It was the end of the day for Schreiber, with Matt Strahm trying to finish the run. He did the job, inducing a ground ball to block runners.

The attack again failed to provide insurance, leaving a one-point lead to be protected by Hansel Robles. It didn’t go well. The right-hander walked the first batter he faced, even with some sort of mixed gift call, before giving up a double to put a pair in scoring position, still without anyone. García followed that up with a line to right field for a sacrifice fly, and we were all tied. Luckily, he limited them to just one point, but now the offense had to score again to claim victory.

They had their chance in the ninth, with Jackie Bradley Jr. starting a rally with a one-out single, which was followed by a brace from Christian Vázquez, putting a pair in scoring position for Bobby Dalbec. He couldn’t, cutting his gaze to leave everything to Story. Instead, he swung on the first pitch he saw and blew it, wasting a chance to win and sending the game to extras.

Matt Barnes entered for 10th, coming off what Chaim Bloom called his best outing since the first half of last season. He didn’t pick up where he left off. Instead, he immediately gave up two straight doubles and the White Sox had a 3-1 lead after the first half of the 10th. You’ll be shocked to learn that the Red Sox went down in order in the bottom half, and that’s it. Another agonizing loss for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox now face a fifth straight loss and a straight-to-the-eye sweep if they can’t recover on Sunday. They’ll have their hottest pitcher in Michael Wacha on the mound, and the White Sox will counter with an icy Dallas Keuchel. The first pitch is set for 11:30 a.m. ET.


Courtesy of FanGraphs

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