Rusney Castillo and Xander Bogaerts

Game 103: Red Sox 8, White Sox 2

Four innings of awfulness followed by five innings of ridiculousness.

Top Play (WPA): Conforming to the tradition of first innings in this series, Jose Abreu cranked a two-run homer off Steven Wright, good for a .191 WPA and an early 2-0 for Chicago. By no means was it a bad pitch – Wright threw a good knuckleball that scraped the bottom the zone, but Abreu’s freakish strength took that ball from his shins to the Red Sox bullpen. Hanley Ramirez takes the cake for the Red Sox on this one, as his two-out RBI single in the 5th inning knotted the game at two runs apiece.

Bottom Play (WPA): In the most 2015 Red Sox moment of the day, Pablo Sandoval struck out by swinging and missing on a fastball that hit him in the wrist. That was worth -.066 WPA, and you couldn’t help but feel sad for Sandoval, who has taken so much flak this week for his conditioning. He’s currently day-to-day, but you weren’t alone if you assumed he had broken something after getting beaned.

Key Moment: Jackie Bradley Jr. hitting an RBI single off of Chris Sale to push the lead to 4-2. The Sox had sort of thrown JBJ into the fire in his first two games back by having him face Jose Quintana and Chris Sale, but he looked much more composed tonight. Sale is unbelievably tough on lefties, but Bradley stayed on a slider and hit it the other way into left-center field. The hit was the beginning of the swan song for Sale, as Brock Holt tallied another RBI single immediately after to chase the southpaw from the game. It’s promising progress for the outfielder, who needs – and deserves – playing time in the majors after hitting .302/.382/.472 in 318 PA at Pawtucket this year.

Trend to Watch: Outfielders contributing. I’ve already gone over the #turningpoint that Bradley engineered, but both Hanley Ramirez and Rusney Castillo put in work tonight. Hanley’s RBI single evened the score at 2-2 and mercifully didn’t hurt the Sox with bad defense, while Rusney Castillo absolutely destroyed a hanging sinker off Matt Albers to the seats in center field. It wasn’t a cheap one.

He’s got two months to establish himself as Boston’s right fielder for 2016. This is a pretty good sign of things to come.

Coming Next: The Tampa Bay Rays come to town, and the Red Sox will send out Eduardo Rodriguez to face off against Erasmo Ramirez in the first game of a three-game set. Are you ready for some post-trade deadline baseball? Yeah. Me neither.

Photo by Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports Images

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