That game went from fun to terrible in record-setting speed.
Top Play (WPA)
I’ll give you one guess on what the top play for this one was. Ready? This is gonna be a shock. The top play of the game came in the bottom of the eighth when Robinson Cano hit a no-doubt home run (+0.634) to give Seattle the 5-4 lead. If you didn’t guess that one, you should be embarrassed. It was Fernando Abad’s first chance to make his mark for the Red Sox, coming in for a big situation against one of the better left-handed bats in the game. He started off the at bat with a couple of nice breaking balls, but ultimately threw one bad one inside to Cano. This is far from damning for Abad’s future, of course, but it’s as bad of a start to his Red Sox career as one could imagine.
Bottom Play (WPA)
Seattle actually had the worst play in this game, too, and it came one at bat before that Cano home run. Immediately prior, Seth Smith came up with two on and no outs and Matt Barnes entered the game. It seemed like a perfect situation for a ground baller like Brad Ziegler, but Barnes did come through by striking out Smith (-0.110).
The worst play for the losing Red Sox came in the bottom of the ninth. After Travis Shaw drew a one-out walk, Sandy Leon came up with his team down a run. Instead of providing a bit of Sandy Leon magic, he struck out (-0.087) and forced Andrew Benintendi into a pressure-filled two-out at bat.
David Price Was Great…Until He Wasn’t
For the majority of Tuesday night’s game, Price was dominant. It looked as if he was going to carry over his last start against the Angels and continue his strong run. He threw seven shutout innings to start the game with five strikeouts without issuing a walk. There was some hard contact here and there, but it was an undoubtedly impressive outing no matter how you slice it. And then the eighth inning started. First, Mike Zunino took him deep, which was kind of shocking but also just one bad pitch. Then, Leonys Martin singled. Hmmm. Then, Luis Sardinas hit another single. Uhhhh. Finally, Guillermo Heredia hit an RBI single, and the wheels were officially off. That was the end of Price’s night, and a dominant start turned into a forgettable one in about three minutes.
Andrew Benintendi Made His Debut
He didn’t get the start, but the new big thing in town did get his first taste of major-league action by pinch hitting in the seventh. He would ground out to second in his first at bat. He did get another crack at things, though. Benintendi came up with two outs and a runner on in the ninth, facing Edwin Diaz. The same Edwin Diaz who came into the game with 49 strikeouts in 25 innings. Seems reasonable. Benintendi added to that strikeout total. Better things are sure to come, but man it would have been cool to see him come through in that spot.
John Farrell Will Be Second-Guessed
Boston’s manager has never had the strongest reputation for bullpen management, and much of it is deserved. He’ll be hearing about this game for a little while. On the one hand, the pitchers obviously need to execute better. Price needs to not implode like that. Abad needs to make a better pitch to Cano. On the other hand, perhaps Farrell should’ve had someone up at the start of that eighth inning so Price wouldn’t have to face so many batters. Perhaps Ziegler should’ve been brought in at some point to induce a double play. I won’t kill Farrell for this one. At the same time, I — the guy sitting in the bed of his studio apartment watching Always Sunny for the 1000th time — probably would’ve done things differently.
And then there’s this
Hanley Ramirez jammed his left wrist going into the clubhouse postgame. Going for a precautionary test.
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) August 3, 2016
(Ramirez slipped on a staircase and grabbed the railing, hurting his wrist, Farrell said.)
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) August 3, 2016
Because of course.
The Red Sox look to get back on track with another late game against the Mariners. The good news is Rick Porcello takes the hill, and Boston has a 187-2 record in games he starts this year. The bad news is Hisashi Iwakuma starts for Seattle, and he’s pretty good himself. First pitch is at 10:10 ET, because everything is bad and also dumb.