Rays - 000 000 000 - 0 8 1 Red Sox - 000 001 01x - 2 5 1
Betts's first home run - an 0-1 shot into the Monster seats leading off the sixth inning - ended Drew Smyly's bid for a no-hitter.
Through the first five innings, Boston did hit the ball hard. David Ortiz clubbed a ball deep into the triangle to begin the fourth inning that center fielder Kevin Kiermaier caught near the 420 sign; NESN erred by missing the catch completely, as viewers were shown the first ten rows of bleachers where it thought the ball was landing. Blake Swihart smoked a liner than shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera dove to his left to snare neat the dirt, ending the fifth inning.
Betts homered for the second time leading off the eighth, hammering reliever Ernesto Feieri's first pitch into the Monster seats in left-center. Betts is the youngest Red Sox player (22 years, 210 days) to hit two home runs in a game since Jim Rice did it in Game 1 of a July 2, 1975 doubleheader (he also hit two on April 18, 1975). As it happened, the Red Sox were honouring the '75 Sox tonight and the players wore 1975-style uniforms and caps.
It was the first time the Red Sox won a 2-0 game on a pair of solo home runs by the same player since June 23, 1940 (Jim Tabor was the dongman that day). ... Betts is also the youngest Red Sox leadoff hitter with a multi-homer game since Bobby Doerr went deep twice on August 1, 1939.
Betts also made a quick and strong throw from center to double off Evan Longoria at second base in the fourth inning.
Porcello pitched only one perfect inning (the 7th), but, as they say, he "scattered" eight hits. Tampa Bay put its leadoff batter on base in the first, second, and fourth innings - but no Rays baserunner got further than second during the entire game. Alexi Ogando pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Koji Uehara had no trouble retiring the Rays in order in the ninth.
Betts, CFSome interesting - though possibly pre-mature - thoughts from OTM's Ben Buchanan:
The Red Sox have needed fixing since Day 1. ...I find myself agreeing with commenter Toocoolfool:
The problem is that just about everyone that could miss seems to be missing right now, to say nothing of a good few whose performances were never in doubt. The Red Sox are 12-14 through 26 games of the season, and frankly, they're lucky to be that. With even the slightest defensive competence from their first few opponents, it's easy to imagine 10-16 or 9-17. ...
The Red Sox can't afford to put off the wholesale changes much longer. It's time to start pulling the triggers where they're available. That means Rusney Castillo in right field, and getting Jackie Bradley Jr. back in the mix if Hanley Ramirez is down. It means Eduardo Rodriguez in the rotation. It might well mean Allen Craig or Daniel Nava at first base just to see if one of them can get it going when given the opportunities that Mike Napoli has had. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But in a week, or two at most. The Red Sox can't afford to wait until the trade deadline, because they need to know if their parts are worth building around in the first place.
I think the goal this year was to just "trend water" and be a .500ish team. The Redsox are trying to build a team for the long run. Its why they wont trade Betts, Swihart, Bogaerts or any blue chip prospects. Its why they gave Moncada and Castillo loads of money despite not even playing an inning in A ball. Its why they gave Porcello 20 mil, even if hes not a 20mil aav pitcher. They are valuing youth and are trying to build "The next great Redsox team" filled with players in their 20s capable of making the playoffs every year for a decade.However, I also believe this is better than a .500 team.