David Price pitches like an ace again, the offense opens up. The Red Sox finish a key stretch with a 6-3 record and sole possession of first place.
Top Play (WPA)
It was always kind of weird that Yoan Moncada was handed the everyday third base job so quickly. Sure, Travis Shaw had been struggling mightily for an extended stretch, but Moncada looked raw at the plate against minor-league pitching and was far from a sure thing in the majors. Sure enough, he struggled so badly that Shaw got another chance after just a few games. He took full advantage in his first opportunity, smacking a go-ahead two-run home run deep into the right field seats (+.229) giving the Red Sox their first lead of the game.
Bottom Play (WPA)
The Bottom Play of Wednesday’s game is brought to you by National League Baseball, the preferred brand of baseball of senior citizens everywhere. After yet another go-ahead RBI by Shaw in the fourth, the Red Sox had runners on first and second with just one out. In other words, they had a prime chance to extend their lead even more. Unfortunately, David Price had to hit. In some unfathomably smart strategizing that you only see in the NL, John Farrell had his hitter who literally can’t hit square to bunt. Unbelievably, that didn’t work, and Price ended up striking out (-.042.). Get the National League right the hell outta here imo.
The bottom play for the Padres also came in the fourth when Yangervis Solarte lined out (-.037) with a runner on second base and a chance to give San Diego the lead.
David Price Looked Good, Again
The Red Sox always needed David Price to be great if they were going to make noise late into the season and he is turning things around. Sure, this game came against a bad offense in a great pitcher’s park, but he certainly passed the eye test. His changeup was fantastic, and he was able to locate his fastball for most of the night. He did have a few stretches where he was giving up hits in bunches but many of them were ground balls that found holes. Even when he was giving up hard contact, he was able to work out of innings without allowing too much damage. The Red Sox will need more of this Price as they get set to play these important series down the stretch.
Hanley Ramirez Cannot Be Stopped
Hanley Ramirez continued his red-hot second half on Wednesday, although the box score will not do it justice. He did have one solo home run, and that on its own is worth noting given how much power he’s shown lately. However, he also hit two bombs to center field that were caught just short of the wall. Another combined six feet and he’d have had a three-home run night.
Koji is Back
The Red Sox long search for an eighth inning man might be coming to an end. Koji Uehara finished his long stint on the disabled list, making his first appearance since July. He threw a quick, stress-free 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. Again, this is not the most strenuous test and it’s far from guaranteed that he’s fully back, but this was an encouraging sign from a spot where the team desperately needed it.
Don’t Boo Brock Holt
Padres fans wanted to see David Ortiz. Instead, they got to see All Star Brock Holt. They booed the mustachioed utility man, and he made them pay with a home run. Don’t boo All-Stars.
The Red Sox could’ve done more in that nine-game stretch against subpar competition, but they did enough to get them into first place all by themselves. Now begins the real test. Their tough stretch to end the season begins on Friday in Toronto with Rick Porcello taking on Marco Estrada. First pitch is at 7:07.