One day after some of us were feeling something big, the Red Sox offense broke out against Phil Hughes in the first game of a doubleheader.
Top Play (WPA): In the bottom of the first inning — yes, the Red Sox scored in the bottom of the first — David Ortiz doubled home Dustin Pedroia on a 91 mph fastball from Phil Hughes (WPA: + 0.116). This would become a pattern, largely for the reason that “a 91 mph fastball from Phil Hughes” is redundant. Another pattern? Big hits for Ortiz. He had two doubles and was robbed of an RBI single when he blistered a low line drive right up the middle and into the shift.
Bottom Play (WPA): It was bound to happen. Sooner or later, Eduardo Rodriguez would give up a run. It would come on a 1-1 95 mph fastball that Rodriguez tucked just over the monster and inside the left-field foul pole (WPA – 0.120). That would be the only damage done on the day. Through two starts, Rodriguez has been like water to a group of fans that has unexpectedly found itself cooking to death on the Fury Road. We’ve gone down the standings, now it’s time to fill up, turn around, and go back up.
Key Moment: June 24, 1986, was a big moment in the fall of the Southern Democrats. A squabble over Alabama’s Open Primary rules in the Democratic primary for the gubernatorial election led many people to do something unthinkable in Alabama: vote for a Republican. When H. Guy Hunt won the general election as the Republican candidate he became the first GOP governor of Alabama in 113 years.
June 24, 1986, is also the day Phil Hughes was born, and Hughes was what the Red Sox needed today.
Also, Mike Napoli Doing Mike Napoli Things:
Trend to Watch: Jerry Remy sure noticed it — the Red Sox are all over the basepaths these days. They’re stealing bases and employing a relative ton of hit-and-runs. One of those chances backfired in this game in the bottom of the third, when Pedroia led off the inning with a single and took off on a 2-2 pitch that Mookie Betts missed entirely. He stepped in front of Kurt Suzuki, blocking his throw to second, and was called out for batter’s interference without dispute.
The trend was nonetheless conspicuous enough that Remy said it must have been the most the Red Sox had ever run in a game. Ever.
Coming next: Game two! It’ll be a pair of 5+ ERA guys as Trevor May faces off against Rick Porcello. There’s probably a bunch to say about it but the time between doubleheaders is sweet and to be enjoy outdoors. Go catch a few rays, and we’ll see you back here for the nightcap.
Photo by Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports Images