Top Play (WPA): In the top of the second, Joey Butler (who?) hit a two-run homer off of Clay Buchholz, scoring Asdrubal Cabrera (.119). That made it 4-0 Rays. The next two best plays were Evan Longoria’s RBI double in the first (.103) and the David DeJesus RBI single that immediately followed (.087). Are you sensing a pattern yet?
Bottom Play (WPA): In the bottom of the sixth, with two men on and no one out, Pablo Sandoval grounded into a double play, letting Jake Odorizzi off the ropes and all but sealing the deal for the Red Sox. For all the talk of how hot Sandoval’s been lately, he has just six extra-base hits this year.
Key Moment: The key moment in the game was probably Sandoval’s GIDP, which not only rang in as the worst play by WPA but also served as a clear momentum-killer. Even if the Sox were able to push one or two runs in that inning, it would’ve changed the complexion of this one. Instead, they put one more runner on base all night.
The key moment in terms of season importance came in the bottom of the first, when Hanley Ramirez injured his shoulder trying to make a catch in left field. Ramirez’s left shoulder has given him fits before — he’s needed two surgeries on it so far in his career — and the way the last week has gone, it was hard not to expect the worst while awaiting a diagnosis.
The good news: Ramirez’s sprained his shoulder, rather than dislocating it, and a DL stint may not be needed. The bad news: Ramirez was one of the few bright spots of the early season for the Sox, and if this does knock him out for an extended period of time or have a limiting effect on his production, the Sox are in real trouble.
Trends to Watch: The Sox are now in the bottom ten in run differential for the year, boast the league’s second-worst pitching staff by runs allowed and are only eighth in runs scored. There’s a ton of talent here, but right now the arms are failing when the bats get hot and the bats are going cold when the arms are decent enough. Let’s just skip this part.
Coming Next: Rick Porcello, who was masterful in his last start against the Blue Jays, squares off against Drew Smyly tonight. The last time Porcello pitched was the last time the Red Sox recorded a win. Let’s hope that happens again.
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