This was a competitive game until the eighth inning. Steven Wright was very good and the Red Sox made decent contact all night, but Jose Quintana was exceptional and Junichi Tazawa was … not. Now that the Yankees have left town, you can’t win ‘em all.
Top Play (WPA): With Jimmy Rollins on first and one out in the bottom of the first inning, Jose Abreu hit a triple to right-center field (.139 WPA) that Jackie Bradley Jr. misplayed. You read that right. Bradley got a great jump on the ball and tracked it beautifully, per usual, but he then let the ball get by him after it bounced off the wall, which turned a probable scoring play into a definite one. This has been a pattern for JBJ this year; as incredible as he is in space, he needs to read balls off walls better.
The Red Sox’s best play of the night goes to Hanley Ramirez, who launched a solo homer off Quintana in the fifth inning for his second bomb of the season.
Bottom Play (WPA): This honor falls to David Ortiz, who made the brutal mistake of striking out with a runner first and no one out in the seventh inning (-.065). That such an innocuous play registers as the worst of the night should illustrate the trouble the Red Sox had getting runners on base all day. So should the fact that they only recorded four hits.
Key Moment: The entire bottom of the eighth, really, but the one key here was Abreu’s two-RBI double on a pitch that nearly hit him in the knee. Seriously. Tazawa was awful in this game, missing all over the place and throwing the ball into the ground, but the pitch Abreu smoked into left field wasn’t bad. Just a case of a great hitter doing a great job of hitting.
Trend to Watch: Well there weren’t any particularly enlightening trends in this one, so let’s focus on the good: Carson Smith is back! Smith was dominant in his one inning of work, getting a groundout on his second pitch and later striking out Austin Jackson. So far so good for the man who should make a big impact in Boston’s bullpen.
Also … Steven Wright is good.
Coming Next: The Red Sox send Clay Buchholz to the mound against Carlos Rodon, thanks to Chicago’s recent DFAing of John Danks. Buchholz has been pretty bad this season, but the saving grace here is he’s so volatile that you never know when he’ll turn in a good start!
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