The Stars come into the series 3-1 while the Speakers are eager to take the field following their 2016 title run that fell flat in the finals.
Game 1 – Bartolo Colon suffers an inauspicious debut for the Speakers, hemorrhaging through 5 IP. The Stars pound “Big Sexy” for 14 hits (including 4 HRs) and 9 ER, resulting in a 16.19 ERA.
The Stars go deep three times in the 3rd inning alone. Wilson Ramos, Eduardo Nunez and Dustin Pedroia all slug solos.
The Speakers treat Steven Wright just as rudely with five consecutive hits to start the 3rd leading to 5 ER. Jared Hughes doesn’t provide much relief as Mookie Betts tags him for a 4th inning grand slam. After 5, we’re tied at 9-9 — not what Speakers management wants to see in Game 1 of a season forecasting a thin bullpen.
After a scoreless 6th (the only scoreless inning of the game), the Stars continue their barrage. Matt Carpenter leads off the 7th with a solo shot. Yasmani Tomas comes off the bench later in the inning to stroke a 3-run bomb.
Pedroia adds icing with a 2-run homer in the 8th, his second of the game. Betts provides his second HR to lead off the 9th and result in an exhausting 15-10 final.
Pitchers were hiding in their respective pens, because no arm was safe in this one. The Stars collect 24 hits, including 4 doubles, a triple and 7 home runs!
W – Heath Hembree; L – Joe Blanton (0-1)
Game 2 – Both managers look for starters to go deep. Anthony Desclafani gives the Stars 6 IP; Jake Arrieta goes the distance in a tight affair.
Roughned Odor, relegated to DH duty and batting 9th, starts the scoring with a 2nd inning, 2-out 3-run home run after Buster Posey was plunked.
Ramos puts the Stars on the board in the 5th with a 2-run shot, his second of the series. The score remains 3-2 to the bottom of the 8th.
Betts singles (0) with 1 out. Anthony Rizzo slaps a hit-and-run RBI single (5). Kris Bryant walks. AJ Ramos takes the hill to face Carlos Gonzalez, who doubles to score Rizzo. Manny Machado singles home Bryant. Ian Kinsler lifts a sac fly to center to complete a 4-run inning and 7-2 final.
Arrieta doesn’t allow a base runner after Ramos’ HR (15 straight outs, only 4 of which were hit numbers). He allows only 4 hits and saves the Speaker pen.
W – Arrieta (1-0); L – Desclafani
Game 3 – Both offenses must still be hung over from the opener. Both Jeremy Hellickson (in his Speakers’ debut) and John Lackey hold their opponents scoreless through 8 IP!
With just 4 hits and only one runner to 3rd base through 8, the Speakers get a Rizzo double to start the 9th against Marc Rzepczynski. Rajai Davis pinch runs. Bryant walks. Yoenis Cespedes is announced to pinch hit, so in comes Hughes. Cespedes hits a sharp grounder to Carpenter at 1st who turns a swift 3-6-3 DP. With 2 outs and Davis at 3rd, Machado lines a clutch double to finally break the scoreless tie.
Hellickson, having faced only 27 batters through 8, allowed just a pair of singles and 2 walks. No Stars greeted the 3rd base coach. At the top of the order, Aledmys Diaz whiffs, Jarrod Dyson lifts a pop to Betts in center, and Ryan Schimpf K’s for the 3rd time today to end a classic 1-0 shutout.
W – Hellickson (1-0); L – Rzepczysnki
Game 4 – Carlos Martinez and Brandon Finnegan square off in the finale. A Bryant single accounts for the only hit for either side through 3.
Posey’s 2-out RBI single in the 4th gives the Speakers a 1-0 lead. The Stars get 2 on base in the bottom half, but still cannot reach 3rd base.
Betts (11) singles to start the 5th. Bryant doubles to set up a Cespedes RBI ground out and Machado sac fly. With a 3-0 lead, Manny goes yard after a Cespedes base on balls in the 7th.
4 more in the 9th, including the return of Anthony Rendon (4-4, D, 3-run HR, BB, 3-RBI, R), opens a 9-0 advantage. Meanwhile, Martinez concedes 2 doubles and a pair of walks through 8.
The Stars finally dent the scoreboard in the 9th on Pedroia’s 3rd long ball of the series and Ramos’ RBI grounder. The 20 inning scoreless drought ends, but sadly in a 9-2 loss.
W – C. Martinez (1-0); L – Finnegan