March 30, 2018

G2: Red Sox 1, Rays 0

Red Sox - 000 000 100 - 1  7  0
Rays    - 000 000 000 - 0  4  0 
David Price (7-4-0-0-5) had thrown only 76 pitches through seven innings and the Rays were sending up their 7-8-9 hitters in the bottom of the eighth. Considering what happened yesterday and with the Red Sox holding a slim 1-0 lead, I would have thought Price would be given another inning. And that is certainly what I wanted to see.

But manager Alex Cora went to the bullpen and Matt Barnes was on the mound. Barnes struck out the first batter, but walked pinch-hitter Denard Span (after getting ahead 0-2). Joey Wendle, another pinch-hitter, smoked a line drive that (whew!) went directly to third baseman Rafael Devers. Matt Duffy then took two balls before popping up to first. Craig Kimbrel, who struck out 23 of the 28 Rays he faced last season, set down the side on strikes in the ninth.

The game's lone run came when Xander Bogaerts led off the seventh with a double against Chaz Roe. Jose Alvarado relieved Roe and Rafael Devers grounded a single up the middle to bring Bogaerts home. X, who had two doubles yesterday, collected two more tonight. It is extremely encouraging to see Bogaerts hitting the ball in the air right away. Eduardo Nunez beat out an infield single to first - and banged his right knee during a head-first slide into the bag - but a prolonged rally was scuttled when Jackie Bradley grounded into a double play.

Price was the star of the game, retiring the first 10 batters on 31 pitches (of which only nine were balls) and allowing only one Tampa Bay runner past first base. He allowed two singles in the fourth, one of which was an infield hit. A leadoff single in the fifth was shrugged off with a fielder's choice and a double play. Price said during spring training how astounded and happy he was that all of his pitches were sharp so soon and that was certainly the case tonight.

The Red Sox's starting pitchers have thrown 13 shutout innings (Sale 6, Price 7) to begin the year. The last time Boston's starting pitchers did not allow a run in the season's first two games was in 1940. On April 16, facing the Senators in Washington, Lefty Grove pitched a two-hit shutout, winning 1-0. (Grove also had two hits himself.) After an off-day, Jim Bagby went the distance in a 7-0 win.

(Looking through the 1940 schedule, this game would have been fun to see!)
David Price / Blake Snell
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Ramirez, 1B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Nunez, 2B
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C
After a "pathetic" performance* (Joe Kelly's words) on Opening Day, the Red Sox return to the Trop, hoping to have (and give their fans) a more enjoyable day.

Eduardo Nunez is the first Red Sox player to hit an inside-the-park home run on Opening Day since Carl Yastrzemski did it on April 10, 1968, in Detroit. Yaz's ITPHR came with two outs in the top of the ninth and was his second home run of the game. It was also the third and last ITPHR of his career.

Also: Shohei Ohtani was the Angels' DH on Opening Day, batting eighth. He got his first major league hit on the first pitch he saw, singling in the second inning. Ohtani makes his mound debut on Sunday.

*: But most certainly not as pathetic as John Sterling's newest HR call. ("This one is so different. I don't know if anyone will get it.") Even if they get it, they don't want it. Jesus, O'Brien is vintage Vin Scully compared to this guy.


allan said...

Just settle the fuck down, okay?

allan said...

On the cover of today's Post: "Buy your World Series tix now"

(The schadenfreude is coming. Oh, yes. It's gonna crash into these fuckers hard.)

allan said...

Cafardo seriously asked, in a tweet, re yesterday's game: "Was this the lowpoint for Sox bullpen?"

Considering it was Game #1, I'm going to go out on a limb and say, YES, it was the lowest point of the season. And, yet, it was also the highest. ... Because it is the ONLY fucking data point!