Brock Holt

Game 14 Recap: Red Sox 1, Rays 0

The Red Sox started Wade Miley and beat the Rays, who started Chris Archer. That’s a very good thing.

Top Play (WPA): The top play of the game by WPA actually came in the bottom of the ninth inning when Logan Forsythe singled (.132) to lead off against Koji Uehara in a 1-0 game. This was not a very exciting top play, as the bottom play below will emphasize.

The second-best play by WPA was Dustin Pedroia’s fielder’s choice (.071) in the top of the third inning, which would result in the lone run of the game thanks to a hard slide at second base by Mookie Betts, which prevented a double play. The Sox seem to be developing a bit of a reputation as a hard-sliding bunch, but Betts’ slide was clean and served its purpose, knocking Ryan Brett off-balance enough to have his throw sail past Forsythe at first base. When the throw went ride, Ryan Hanigan scored after singling earlier in the inning.

Yes, this game was basically won on the back of a nice slide by Betts and on a Hanigan single, because baseball.


Bottom Play (WPA): Remember that top play from Forsythe above? Old nemesis Evan Longoria immediately followed with a chance to kill the Red Sox for the umpteenth time in his career. But, a steady diet of splitters from Uehara got the job done, and Longoria grounded into 6-4-3 double play (-.266) that effectively ended the Rays’ mini-rally.

It’s somewhat jarring to see Longoria fail to come through in a big situation against Boston, but the good type of jarring, like when you realize that you’ve actually won something at a raffle or you actually talk a cop out of a speeding ticket or Hanley Ramirez actually catches a ball in the outfield.


Key Moment: There were a few super close calls in this game that went the Red Sox’s way, chief among them a play in the bottom of the sixth when Steven Souza hit into a fielder’s choice. Souza grounded to lazily to Sandoval, who made the gutsy call to get the force out at second base, where it appeared as though Brandon Guyer may have been safe. Kevin Cash challenged the call, and most people thought he’d win … but he didn’t, and the end result of the play was a WPA drop of -.049.

Was Guyer really out? Yes, because the umpire said so, but judge for yourself:

Still, the Rays are bad and dumb and mean, and we can chalk this up to good Karma for having discovered and nurtured Brock Holt.


Trend to Watch: Is there anything Holt can’t do? Sure, he went 0-4, but Holt played some dazzling defense at shortstop last night, looking better at the position than I ever recall seeing him. Holt’s impressed enough in the early going that it won’t be shocking to see him get three starts a week, being used as the type of super-sub we really haven’t seen since Ben Zobrist was The Next Ben Zobrist. Given the injury histories of guys like Mike Napoli, Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Allen Craig and Shane Victorino, Holt’s ability to play everywhere and let John Farrell rest the aforementioned veterans is truly valuable.

On another note, as Peter Abraham espoused on Twitter after the game, there’s only been one starter who’s recorded a quality start against the Red Sox this season. That’s pretty incredible, and it speaks volumes to just how good Boston’s offense has been. Archer had filthy stuff last night, but by working the count and making just enough contact and running the bases well, the Sox were able to get him off the mound by the sixth inning. That bodes quite well for how they’ll handle good starters moving forward.

Also, the only quality start vs. the Sox belongs to Aaron Harang, because baseball.

Also, Miley is going pick off 154 batters this year. Probably not. But maybe.


Coming Next: Joe Kelly will toe the rubber against Nate Karns tomorrow, in a battle of two hard-throwing right-handers who don’t always know where the ball is going. One would assume Xander Bogaerts will be back in the lineup, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see Holt work his way into the outfield.

Boston did use four relievers on Tuesday night, so a long performance from Kelly would be great, but given that no reliever faced more than three batters, it’s not a big deal either way. Unless Kelly lasts, like, three innings, in which case it will be a big deal.

The Sox and Rays square off at 7:10 pm EST tomorrow, which is notable because it will mark the second day in a row the Red Sox will have started at a normal baseball time. They’ll do so again on Wednesday before enjoying an off day on Thursday.

Photo by Kelly O’Connor,


Related Articles

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username