Justin Masterson

Game 77 Recap: Red Sox 5, Rays 3

Justin Masterson beat Chris Archer. Seriously, one of the worst pitchers in the American League took on one of the best pitchers in the American League on Sunday. The former proved victorious. That’s why we love the game.

Top Play (WPA): This game’s three top plays are represented by Boston’s three homeruns: Pablo Sandoval’s solo shot in the second (.121), David Ortiz’s two-run blast in the fourth (.119) and Alejandro De Aza’s solo bomb in the second (.111). Hitting three homers against one of the game’s best pitchers is no small feat, and it was impressive to see Boston’s hitters capitalize on the few mistakes Archer made at several points.

Worst Play (WPA): There was no singular truly terrible moment for either team in this game. Steven Souza’s strikeout in the bottom of the eight (-.064) gets “top” honors here, but there were five additional plays all within .020 WARP. What’s interesting to note is that the bottom 17 — yes, 17 — plays all belonged to Tampa. That’s a bad day at the office.

Key Moment: The homers were great, and you can argue that Ortiz’s bomb deserves the nod here. But for my money, the key moment in this game came in the bottom of the eighth, when Deven Marrero made a very Dustin Pedroia-esque play to rob Brendan Guyer of a base hit that probably would’ve scored a run. Marrero’s bat clearly isn’t ready for the majors, per his MiLB numbers, but he’s lauded for his glove and here we got to see why. This is all the more impressive when you consider that Marrero has very little experience at the keystone.

Trend to Watch: Justin Masterson was … good? This certainly isn’t a “trend” yet, and the Rays don’t have a great offense, but Masterson struck out six in five innings, scattering five hits without giving up any free passes. Should we be optimistic this will continue? No. But for one night, at least, the much-maligned decision to replace Joe Kelly with Masterson and not Steven Wright or Brian Johnson looks quite justified.

Jerry Remy learning he pronounces things weird is also a key trend.

Last trend: I’m an idiot.

Coming Next: Boston heads up North to take on the Blue Jays in a four-game series that could go a long way toward determining if they buy or sell at the deadline. The Jays have a terrific offense and are, for my money, the scariest team in the division. If Boston takes three out of four, it’s entirely possible they’d “only” be seven or so games out of first. If they tie, lose the series or get swept, well, take a long last look at Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and potentially Koji Uehara and Clay Buchholz.

The good news is Boston’s four best pitchers are toeing the rubber, and yes this is sarcastic.

Photo by Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images

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