If there are any mentions of Joe Kelly’s stuff or its quality in the recap tomorrow, know that it was added by the editor.
— Matt Collins (@RedSox_Thoughts) August 25, 2015
Even Jean Machi couldn’t blow this one. Break up the Red Sox
Top Play (WPA): No surprises here. The top play in this game was the three-run home run that Rusney Castillo blasted to center field (.283), putting the Red Sox up by two. It was yet another encouraging sign from the Cuban outfielder, who has been raking this month while getting consistent playing time.
Bottom Play (WPA): The bottom play came when the White Sox couldn’t finish off their comeback attempt off the immortal Jean Machi. After closing the gap to two, Alexei Ramirez came up with men on the corners and hit a fielder’s choice to third, scoring Avisail Garcia (-.116). Then, Carlos Sanchez hit a fly ball in foul territory, but there was enough room for Jackie Bradley to make the catch and finish end the game (-.098). If we’re being honest, the Machi deserved to blow that save.
Key Moment: Castillo’s home run in the second was probably the key moment if we’re being honest, but that’s boring. So instead, we’ll call Castillo’s other big hit the key moment. With the Red Sox still up by the same 3-1 margin in the 5th, Castillo ripped a two-run double that put Boston up by four. Of course, he ended up sliding past second base and was tagged out, ending the inning, but the damage was done. Given how poor the Red Sox bullpen is, every run counts, as we saw later in he game.
Trends to Watch: First and foremost: Castillo is out of control right now. We’re still dealing with a small sample, so it’s too early to pencil him in for strong production in 2016, but he’s looking the part. He’s raw and makes boneheaded plays, but we’re finally seeing why the Red Sox were willing to pay so much money for him last year.
Also on fire: Joe Kelly. He’s been spectacular over his last four starts, pitching to a 1.85 ERA in 24.1 innings. The strikeouts aren’t there, but that may be a good thing. He’s inducing ground balls, and mixing up his pitches much more often. I’ll need to see a lot more out of him to be confident in him as a starter moving forward, but this is certainly a good start. [Definitely Matt’s writing and not an editor’s note: Joe Kelly has great stuff.]
It’s not all good though. The bullpen is still a dumpster fire. Robbie Ross came on in the eighth and pitched very well recording two outs. That’s part of the problem, though. Ross should not be pitching in the eighth inning of close games. Then, Jean Machi – JEAN MACHI – came in for the save, and did his best to blow it. Boston held on to the lead, but this bullpen is still A Problem.
Coming Next: The Red Sox continue their series in Chicago tonight with Wade Miley taking on Jose Quintana. The three-game set ends on Wednesday before the Sox travel to New York to take on the red-hot Mets, where they’ll be forced to play by dumb/bad/terrible/unholy NL rules.
Photo by Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports Images