Well, that was a tough series. The Red Sox finish a disappointing homestand by getting swept for the first time in 2016.
Top Play (WPA)
No surprise here, as the top play was the go-ahead home run (+.408) from Miguel Cabrera in the top of the ninth. There is a lot to dissect on this play, but let’s not lose sight of the most important aspect: Cabrera is a monster. Not many players can inject the kind of fear into an opponent every time they come to the plate, but he is one of them. He took an inside fastball — albeit one from the soft-tossing Brad Ziegler — and launched it out to the opposite field. That’s not fair.
With that being said, the ball probably should’ve been caught. It just barely left the yard, hitting the top of the short wall in right field. Mookie Betts makes those catches all the time, and had every chance to do it again on Wednesday. Instead, the sun wreaked havoc on Betts’ eyes, and the right fielder completely lost the ball for a split second. That was enough to send him slightly off track and leave him flailing for the fast-dropping ball. At night, that ball is probably caught. Them’s the breaks.
Bottom Play (WPA)
Full disclosure: This play involves Betts in a negative light as well. It wasn’t the best game for him, but he did contribute the game-tying triple in the bottom half of the eighth that had a decent chance of turning into an inside-the-park home run. That has nothing to do with the bottom play, but I didn’t want to bury Betts too much.
The truth is, Boston didn’t have many chances in this game with AL Rookie of the Year favorite Michael Fulmer cruising through most of the contest. They did get a leadoff base runner in the sixth, though, after Brock Holt started the frame with a single. Betts could’ve extended the rally, giving Boston some much-needed life. Instead, he promptly grounded into a 6-4-3 double play (-.120). That was the team’s fourth inning in which only three batters came to the plate of the last five frames.
Eduardo Rodriguez was…fine?
Ideally, Rodriguez would develop into the front-line arm that many wanted him to be and he’d be able to keep them ahead in games when the opposing pitcher has it going as well. That’s not who he is, though, as there will be some flaws in every game. Still, he showed off some solid stuff in this one, striking out six batters in 5.1 innings, five coming on the fastball and one on the slider. However, he also lost his control in the third — an inning in which Detroit plated two runs — and had some spotty command overall. The box score will show that he was singled to death, with just two extra base hits out of nine total hits, but many of those singles were ripped. They either went hard off the wall or were directly at fielders. Still, Rodriguez gave you exactly what you want out of his spot in the rotation overall, the offense just couldn’t hold up its part of the bargain.
The Bullpen was…fine?
The story should’ve been that the bullpen was more than fine. Matt Barnes and Clay Buchholz did their job in middle relief, throwing 2.2 scoreless innings with just one base runner allowed. Brad Ziegler, who is arguably the only truly trustworthy arm in the ‘pen right now, gave up the aforementioned home run to Cabrera. Still, this was a relatively encouraging day for a bullpen that needed one.
Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez are Good
The Tigers relied on the middle of their order on Wednesday, and it paid off. Cabrera and Martinez came up to the plate a combined ten times and reached base nine times. God damn.
Well, here comes the road trip we’ve all been dreading. It’s going to be a long trip, with 11 west coast games coming up and exactly zero days off in between. They get started right away on Thursday night in Los Angeles to take on the Angels. David Price looks to turn things around on another coast as the Red Sox offense looks to get back to its high-powered self against Jered Weaver. First pitch comes at 10:05 ET because the Pacific Time Zone is dumb.
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