Red Sox 7, Tigers 3: Bostonians bash Bengals

Bless You Boys

Thursday night’s stellar pitching performance from the Tiger staff, as it turned out, did not carry through to Friday night’s game, as Detroit dropped the second matchup of a four-game weekend series in Boston 7-3.

Making the start for the Tigers was Kenta Maeda, his ninth of the season. He was on the IL for a couple of weeks with a viral infection that got the best of him, but in his first start back, last Friday at home against the Blue Jays, he tossed five shutout innings, didn’t walk anyone, and scattered four hits. That’s the “Dr. Kenta Jekyll” version of him: five or six innings, few runs, few walks if any. However, “Maeda Hyde” is much scarier, and shows up from time to time: walk everyone, give up a bunch of home runs, get knocked out early.

Tanner Houck (think “house” but change that last phoneme) made his twelfth start for Boston and to say he’s been sensational is a giant understatement, especially when you look at what a clunker of a 2023 he had. He’d given up exactly one home run this year (on April 12, to Taylor Ward of the Angels) coming into tonight, and he’ll routinely pitch deep into games. He typically doesn’t strike out a whole lot of guys, but he doesn’t walk many and he gets a ton of ground balls. (You’ll find that a ground ball home run is a pretty rare thing in the major leagues. Little League, maybe not.)

With one out in the first, Riley Greene singled to centre, then stole second as Matt Vierling struck out. That steal would be pivotal, as Gio Urshela followed with a single to right, and Greene beat the throw home (upon review) for a 1-0 Detroit lead.

Early on, the Tigers were definitely getting Dr. Kenta Jekyll: his splitter was nicely setting up his fastball, and he struck out four in the first three innings… but he had walked a pair of hitters to that point, so Maeda Hyde was definitely peeking-out from the slightly-ajar closet door.

Then, in the bottom of the fourth, things fell apart as Hyde jumped out into the room: a pair of doubles evened the score at 1 and, with two outs, a three-run home run from bottom-of-the-order Ceddanne Rafaela put Boston up 4-1.

A pair of fifth-inning doubles finally finished-off Maeda as the Socks took a 5-1 lead. Joey Wentz came on for the final out of the fifth and carried on into the sixth, whereupon Rafaela walloped another home run to push the lead to 7-1.

Meanwhile, Houck wasn’t perfect but boy-howdy was he limiting hard contact and commanding his pitches well. There were mini-threats here and there, but after the first inning he didn’t really give Detroit a lot to work with.

Colt Keith narrowed the gap to 7-3 as he hammered a fastball into the right-centerfield bullpen, scoring Vierling as well. It was Keith’s second home run of the year, which is nice; he’s been stinging the ball all season.

In the ninth the Tigers mounted another little threat with a two-out single and double, forcing the Red Stockings to get Kenley Jansen up in the bullpen. Alas, Greene struck out to end the game and the Tigers would have to just go get ‘em on Saturday.

Box Score: Boston 7, Detroit 3

Well, shoot.

Looks like we won’t have any Kerry Bombs for a while.

I’m no doctor, but a fracture sounds a heck of a lot worse than just inflammation.

Numbers and Whatnot

  • Coming into tonight’s game, Maeda’s won-loss record was 2-1. Houck’s won-loss record: 4-5. Maeda has the better record, hooray!
  • Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to entirely toss “pitcher wins” out the window. But they need to be viewed in a much different context than, heck, even ten years ago.
  • Donald Lytle was born on this day in 1938. You may not know him by that name, although you’re probably familiar with his best-known song: a cover of “Take This Job and Shove It,” recorded under the name Johnny Paycheck. Everyone who’s had a lousy job has, at the very least, contemplated playing this on a giant boombox as they walk out the door one final time.

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