April 1, 2018

G4: Red Sox 2, Rays 1

Red Sox - 000 011 000 - 2  6  0
Rays    - 010 000 000 - 1  8  1
It was far from the smoothest save you'll ever see, but Joe Kelly nailed down the Red Sox's third consecutive one-run victory, striking out Denard Span with the potential tying run at third and the potential winning run on first. It was the first save of Kelly's seven-year career.

Kelly retired the first two hitters on a popup and a strikeout, but Mallex Smith singled to right and went to third (because he was running on the pitch) when Adeiny Hechavarria lined a single to center. Kelly fell behind Span 2-1 before coming back with a full-count changup in the dirt. Span must have been overanxious because he swung wildly over it.

The Red Sox (3-1) sit alone atop the AL East because the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 7-4. New York led 4-1 at the stretch, but Justin Smoak hit a two-run homer in the seventh and a grand slam in the eighth.

Brad Miller gave the Rays a 1-0 lead with a solo homer off Hector Velazquez (5.2-5-1-1-5, 79) in the second. Boston tied the game in the fifth. Mookie Betts singled and Rafael Devers walked. J.D. Martinez's single to left scored Betts.

In the following inning, Jackie Bradley led off with a single. After an out, Brock Holt walked and Betts was hit by a pitch. Devers singled to right, scoring Bradley. Holt also tried to score on the hit, but was thrown out at the plate.

In addition to scoring a run apiece, Betts and Bradley both stole a base. Betts had two hits and Bradley singled and walked. ... Xander Bogaerts went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
Hector Velazquez / Jake Faria
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vazquez, C
Bradley, CF
Swihart, DH
Holt, 2B
I heard Red Sox radio announcers Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett say that the Rays have gone to a four-man pitching rotation this season. This is not true. Manager Kevin Cash still has five rotation spots, but because he has only four carved-in-stone starters at the moment, he's using several "bullpen guys" in one of those spots. Cash's decision does not mean that fifth rotation spot does not exist. Guys like Chris Archer and Blake Snell are still starting once every five games - just like always. If Tampa Bay was using an actual four-man rotation, they would start every fourth game.

These are the only seasons in which the Red Sox allowed four or fewer hits in consecutive games to begin a season:

April 12 - 4 hits allowed in 2-1 win over Athletics (Babe Ruth, Rube Foster)
April 13 - 4 hits allowed in 8-2 win over Athletics (Ernie Shore, Herb Pennock)
April 14 - 4 hits allowed in 2-1 win over Athletics (Rube Foster)
Allowed 8 hits in next game

April 15 - 4 hits allowed in 7-1 win over Athletics (Babe Ruth)
April 16 - 1 hit allowed in 1-0 win over Athletics (Carl Mays)
Allowed 9 hits in next game

March 29 - 4 hits allowed in 6-4 loss to Rays (Chris Sale, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Carson Smith)
March 30 - 4 hits allowed in 1-0 win over Rays (David Price, Matt Barnes, Craig Kimbrel)
Allowed 8 hits in next game

MFY Notes:
Only one major league batter has already grounded into three double plays this season: Aaron "Face of Baseball" Judge. (The entire Red Sox team has grounded into two.)

Dellin Betances melted down ("yet again") and the MFY lost to Toronto 5-3. Kevin Pillar became the first player in 90 years to steal second, third, and home in the same inning against the Yankees.

The Yankees have seen four (!) outfielders go on the disabled list in the first three games of the season.
Shohei Ohtani makes his pitching debut for the Angels today. He will be the first player to start as a non-pitcher on Opening Day and then start as a pitcher within his team's first 10 games since Babe Ruth did it with the 1919 Red Sox (LF on Opening Day, P in G8).

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