“It’s gotta be the hair, Cotton. Feathered and lethal! You just don’t see it nowadays!”
Top Play (WPA)
You’d think it would be from the dude with the gorgeous flow, but nope. It’s the error that started it all. The first time Sandy Leon hit a grounder to Chris Davis, a rally was killed. The second time, a rally was started. That miscue was worth .292 WPA, which beat out what Benintendi did next by 50 points. You could say this was redemption for Leon, but he really didn’t do much. Davis did all the heavy lifting here.
Bottom Play (WPA)
Wouldn’t you know it, it’s that double play Leon grounded into. Ubaldo Jimenez had started to be a little bit wild – missing pitches, fastballs getting away from him, pretty much the stuff that makes your stomach sink when you see your pitcher doing it. The ball was hit solidly, and if Davis was any closer to the line than that, that probably scores two, and keeps it from being a -.190 WPA play. Just some bad luck for Sandy in that one and a good play by Davis, that’s all.
You already know.
Remember back in 2008, when it seemed like the Tampa Bay Rays would capitalize and score on every mistake? That’s what the Red Sox are doing right now, and man, does it feel good to watch someone else on the receiving end of that.
Trends to Watch
1. Clay Buchholz’s $13.5M option is most likely going to be picked up. No way the Red Sox are going to let some team like the Pirates get him and turn him into a Cy Young contender. Neither DRA or FIP really like him, but good things happen when you stop allowing 1.9 HR per nine innings. Out of his last six starts (which includes this one), he’s allowed only one run in four of them. Zombie Clay is the best Clay.
2. We all love Sandy Leon, but man, his September has been abysmal. He’s slashing .237/.292/.288 this month, and there’s not a lot of reassuring things that could be said. It’s just BABIP regression, plain and simple. The hits aren’t falling in like they used to. This might be the end of Sandy Leon, Baseball Deity, but he’s probably earned himself a spot on this roster come 2017.
3. The Red Sox are really loving the hit-a-flashy-homer-in-a-big-situation play. You have Hanley Ramirez’s two timely blasts on Sunday, then Betts’ eighth homer at Camden Yards this season in Monday’s game, followed by Ortiz’s three-run shot on Tuesday, and finally Benintendi’s dinger yesterday. This is not me complaining – this is me in awe of how it’s just like clockwork to these guys.
The Red Sox go for a second straight sweep of a four-game series. The Red Sox will counter the Orioles’ Chris Tillman by sending out David Price, who has thrown 14 innings of three-run ball with zero walks and 13 strikeouts in his last two starts against Baltimore. Magic number: 6
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