Of all the pitchers the Red Sox have faced up until now, I wouldn’t have guessed that Drew Smyly would be the one to make the hitters look silly.
Top Play (WPA): Was there any doubt here about the top play being Kevin Kiermaier’s home run? Leave it to Matt Barnes to hang a curveball in the heart of the plate. Kiermaier jumped all over it and sent it deep into the right field corner. This was right after Robbie Ross, Junichi Tazawa and Craig Kimbrel combined for five scoreless innings while allowing only three baserunners. There was a lot of pressure on the bullpen in this one, and the 10th inning was the limit of what they could take.
Bottom Play (WPA): If Kiermaier’s dinger wasn’t the most disappointing moment of the night, this was: Dustin Pedroia grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the 3rd inning. The Red Sox had the bases loaded and no outs, yet still found a way to not score. Then they didn’t reach base for the next seven innings. That borders on hyperbole, so let’s get even more crazy – the last 22 batters for the Red Sox did not reach first base. And I thought watching a Joe Kelly-pitched game was gonna be the worst part about this.
Key Moment: I know I just made a dig at him, but Joe Kelly getting taken out in the first inning because of an injury was huge in this game. The early diagnosis is a shoulder impingement, which to me sounds like he’s gonna be a out a while, and that means the Sox are going to have their starting pitcher depth tested. Two outs in, and the Red Sox needed their bullpen to get going. To be fair, they did step up for nine whole innings. It’s a shame that the game went 10.
Trend to Watch: Relievers mopping up a potentially huge mess. Heath Hembree was the first man out of the ‘pen when Kelly went down, and despite just getting called up from Pawtucket, Hembree proceeded to hurl 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Robbie Ross then came in, and churned out three more innings of solid work. Those two deserve a lot of praise for 6 1/3 scoreless innings after the starter went down. With the Red Sox needing pitchers, they might send Hembree back down, which sucks for a guy who really kept them in it early on.
Coming Next: Rick Porcello faces off against Chris Archer in what looks like a really lopsided matchup. That means the underdog will win, right? Porcello will go the distance, correct? Let me dream a bit here.
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