Wasn’t much to be frustrated about in this one, which – considering their recent play – is very much a good thing.
Top Play (WPA)
Jackie Bradley Jr. earns this honor, as his RBI double in the fifth inning gave the Red Sox some much-needed breathing room. That two-bagger was worth .138 WPA, and after the inning Rick Porcello just had, the Red Sox needed that run badly. A fair amount of credit should go to Hanley Ramirez here, as he was standing on first base when JBJ knocked that baseball into the right field corner. Hanley Hustle and all that, y’know.
Bottom Play (WPA)
This one belongs to Logan Forsythe, as his pop-out in the fourth inning with one out and the bases loaded got tagged with a -.102 WPA. For most of the inning, Rick Porcello couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat, and the Rays were taking all the way. Once he got an out, however, they started hacking more. After striking out Hank Conger, Forsythe came up swinging. He popped out weakly to Mookie Betts. All things considered, it was a miracle the Red Sox came out of that inning relatively unscathed.
We’re going back to the bottom of the fourth inning here. As was previously stated, Porcello had no inkling of control to start out, but he buckled down to strand three baserunners after he walked in a run. Porcello had been cruising up until that point, but once he lost his control, everyone feared the worst. John Farrell even had Matt Barnes warming up. Then he struck out Conger, got weak contact out of Forsythe, and blew a two-seamer past Brad Miller to end it. The Red Sox scored again in the next inning, and Porcello proceeded to hurl two more perfect innings. Crisis averted.
Trend To Watch
Is Travis Shaw back? The third baseman broke out in a big way, cranking out a 450-foot homer on his way to going 3-for-5 with five RBIs. Shaw had only one hit since last Thursday, as he had a hell of a time trying to hit anything in Texas. This time, he looked more locked in, even though he’s still flailing at the occasional high fastball here and there. We might see him break out of his month-long slump soon.
The Red Sox play in the rubber match agains the Rays, as two southpaws will take the mound. David Price will start for the Sox, while Matt Moore toes the rubber for the Rays. Expect copious amounts of strikeouts and homers.
Photo by Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images