Steven Wright

Game 11 Recap: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 3

Steven Wright was great. Aaron Sanchez was better. The Red Sox tried to rally late, but John Farrell made life harder than it needed to be all game long. The result was as expected.

Top Play (WPA): With one out in the top of the seventh inning, Josh Donaldson doubled off of Noe Ramirez (.135), driving in Ryan Goins to push the score to 5-1. A Jose Bautista homer in the fifth counted as Toronto’s second-best play of the day (.098), while RBI singles by Chris Colabello in the first (.094) and Edwin Encarnacion in the seventh (.083) also helped solidify this one for Toronto.

Boston’s best play came courtesy of Mookie Betts, who singled home Marco Hernandez with two outs in the fifth (.106). That run scored was part of a really nice MLB debut for Hernandez, who got on base twice, stole a base, took another base on an error and looked competent in the field. If only he was dressed appropriately for the weather

Bottom Play (WPA): In the bottom of the ninth inning, John Farrell inexplicably let Chris Young face Roberto Osuna. Young had a good at-bat, but, as expected, he eventually struck out for the worst WPA play of the day (-.049). Other damaging plays include a Hanley Ramirez strikeout in the fourth, an Ortiz fly-out in the sixth and a Shaw fly-out in the fourth.

There’s not much to see here. That will happen when you’re held hitless until the fifth and only record four hits all day.

Key Moment: Hanley Ramirez led off the bottom of the ninth with a bloop single, and Travis Shaw followed that up with a two-run homer into the bullpens, his first bomb of the year.

Then the Young strikeout happened. Osuna is a good closer, and the odds that the Red Sox would be able to score another two-plus runs wouldn’t be good no matter who’s batting. But that Farrell would let Young and later Ryan Hanigan bat for themselves with Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia sitting on the bench is … troubling. There were whispers that Holt might be sick, but in his post-game presser, Farrell simply said he wanted Young to get the at-bats, which is a pretty weak line of reasoning that late in the game.

Trends to Watch: It’s always easy to second-guess a manager when his moves don’t work out, but Farrell made a few decisions yesterday that were questionable from the get-go. For one, there was starting Young — who absolutely, positively can’t hit RHP — over Holt. Yes, Young has barely played this year and you can’t sit him forever, but the Red Sox are facing a lefty today and tomorrow. One more game wouldn’t have killed him.

Next, there’s bringing Noe Ramirez into a one-run game with a runner on to face the heart of Toronto’s order in the sixth. Ramirez is either the worst or second-worst arm in Boston’s bullpen (I’m looking at you, Robbie Ross) and while the sixth inning is a bit early to bring in your big guns, going to Ramirez shows a lack of understanding of leverage on Farrell’s part.

If you want a good trend to cling to, how about Steven Wright? The knuckleballer hurled his second consecutive quality start against one of the best lineups in baseball and continues to serve as Boston’s most underrated pitcher. He’s not someone you count on every five days in an ideal work, but at this point, it’s reasonable to prefer him to Joe Kelly when Eduardo Rodriguez returns.

Coming Next: Clay Buchholz and J.A. Happ will face off in the final game of this series tomorrow morning. Sounds like a high-scoring matchup to me, which means the Red Sox will lose 1-0. Hopefully someone will teach Farrell about pinch-hitting and bullpen usage between now and 11 a.m.!

Photo by Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

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