Once again, the Red Sox offense fails to take advantage of any promising situations. At least we have #Ed.
Top Play (WPA): Oddly enough, the Red Sox had the top play of last night’s game. Trailing 1-0 heading in the eighth, after Dustin Pedroia led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch that nearly took his head off, Brock Holt drew a walk of his own (.133). Boston had two runners on with nobody out, and looked poised to at least tie the game up. Of course they couldn’t come through, but more on that in a minute.
The only run of the game came on a wild pitch from Matt Barnes (.055) that allowed Steve Pearce to score. It was a frustrating moment, especially after Eduardo Rodriguez had pitched so well all game. However, Baltimore only scored that one run in an inning that could’ve ended much worse for the Red Sox.
Bottom Play (WPA): Here, we go back to that fateful eighth inning. After Holt walked, Castillo came up to the plate after entering the game for an injured Hanley Ramirez earlier in the contest. He tried to drop down a sacrifice bunt, but didn’t push it out far enough. Matt Wieters was able to come up with it and gun down Pedroia at third (-.127). Zach Britton then came in and struck out David Ortiz (-.105) and Mike Napoli (-.102), ending a golden chance for Boston’s lineup.
Key Moment: The clear winner here is that bunt by Castillo. It was a controversial decision that John Farrell will definitely catch a lot of flack for. Much of it is warranted, as Boston had Baltimore on the ropes and a hit by Castillo would’ve given the Red Sox a golden chance at taking the lead. With that being said, Farrell was justified in playing for one run considering how inept this offense has been. Castillo simply needs to lay down a better bunt than he did and give Ortiz two runners in scoring position. It’s fair to criticize Farrell’s decision here, but Castillo failing to execute the play was at least as much to blame as the decision itself.
Trends to Watch: I’m going to need to save this paragraph so I can copy and paste it whenever I do these recaps. Once again, the Red Sox offense had multiple innings in which they should’ve scored at least once, but failed to come through in big spots. The lineup went 0-8 with runners in scoring position tonight.
On a more positive note, this Eduardo Rodriguez guy can stick around. Although he wasn’t quite as dominant as his first couple of starts, last night may have been even more encouraging. In a game in which he clearly did not have his best stuff, he was able to work out of multiple jams by getting strikeouts in big moments. Five of his seven Ks came immediately after allowing a base runner.
Back to bad news. As mentioned above, Hanley Ramirez was taken out of the game in third inning. After fouling a ball squarely off the side of his knee, he fell right to the ground in clear pain. Although he finished the at bat, his knee was clearly bothering him and he was taken out for a pinch runner after drawing a walk. The team is calling it a knee contusion, and it shouldn’t keep him out long. However, it’s something to monitor.
Coming Next: The Red Sox will look to get back some of their momentum from last weekend tonight with the second game of the series in Baltimore. They’ll be sending Rick Porcello to the mound to face off against Wei-Yin Chen. Home runs have hurt Porcello this year, and he’s facing a lineup that can hit plenty in a hitter-friendly park. Chen, meanwhile, has looked good with a 3.18 ERA, although his 4.43 FIP tells a different story. The series wraps up Thursday with Wade Miley taking on Chris Tillman.
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