For a team that’s this good, they sure find the worst ways to lose.
Top Play (WPA)
Drew Pomeranz pitched well, but the second run he gave up turned out to be the clincher. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Mikie Mahtook (one of the most Rays names ever) hit a go-ahead RBI double to left, and that could’ve kept Steven Souza from scoring, but Xander Bogaerts couldn’t get the ball out of his glove for a timely throw home. That two-bagger was worth .212 WPA, the best play of the game by nearly 50 points.
Bottom Play (WPA)
Xander’s day was about to get worse. After Dustin Pedroia singled to lead off the top of the 8th, Bogaerts – on the first pitch of the at-bat, no less – grounded into a -.177 WPA double play. It seems like we think Xander is out of a slump every other game, but he’s still playing a hell of a lot worse than he was earlier this season, regardless of how up and down his last few games have been.
The entire top of the 8th inning. Bogaerts’ GIDP might’ve been the worst thing in the frame, but Mookie Betts didn’t help much either. He smoked one into the left field corner, but it was hit so hard that Mikie Mahtook had the ball before Betts rounded first. Betts got over-aggressive going for second base, and…well, you can probably guess what happened next. Bad aggressive baseball all around.
Trend to Watch
Drew Pomeranz pitched well! 6+ innings and 11 strikeouts is very solid. He’s really starting to round into form. If it wasn’t for a rain-shortened start in Detroit, we’d probably be looking at three straight starts of 6 IP or more with 2 runs or less allowed.
Look, I know the main thing here was the Red Sox not scoring with the bases loaded. It sucks, and it’s incredibly frustrating to watch. It’s also random variance. The Red Sox have a .286/.369/.491 slash with runners in scoring position, and out of the 1,337 plate appearances with RISP, only 126 of them are with the bases loaded. You want them to do better, sure, but what can they do? It’s just bad luck. They’re doing pretty well even with that problem, as agonizing as it is.
The Red Sox return home to face the Kansas City Royals, and the homecoming will bring with it the return of Steven Wright, as he’ll face off against Ian Kennedy and the lights-out KC bullpen.
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