April 8, 2018

G9: Red Sox 8, Rays 7

Rays    - 011 111 200 - 7 11  0
Red Sox - 100 010 06x - 8 11  0
The Rays spent most of Sunday afternoon steadily poking and jabbing at the Red Sox, scoring in six straight innings and opening up a 7-2 lead. The Red Sox been stymied all day and had left the bases loaded in the fifth. Now, in the bottom of the eighth, Boston had a runner on second with two outs. Tampa Bay was four outs away from snapping its seven-game losing streak.

A visiting team in that situation, up by five, with two outs in bottom of the eighth, and an opposing runner on second, would be expected to win the game 98.5% of the time. So the Red Sox had a 1.5% chance of a win. Actually, it might have been a little lower than that, because the next batter, Mitch Moreland, was 0-for-12 this season and he fell behind 0-2.

But Moreland doubled off the Wall, and the baserunner, Hanley Ramirez, scored. 7-3. Moreland's hit would be the first of seven straight Boston hits - off Andriese and Alex Colome. Four singles, three doubles, and two wild pitches later, the Red Sox held an improbable 8-7 lead. After Craig Kimbrel quickly set down the Rays in the ninth, the Red Sox had their eighth consecutive victory.

This is the first Red Sox team - ever - to begin a season 8-1.
That is from the New York Post's main webpage.

I'll not dwell long on the first 7.5 innings. Mookie Betts nearly homered to kick off the bottom of the first for the second day in a row. Today's deep drive hit high off the Wall, though not as close to the Monster Seats as Saturday's blast. Betts came around from second and scored on two groundouts. And although the Red Sox scored a run in the fifth, J.D. Martinez ended the inning by striking out with the bases loaded.

Eduardo Rodriguez (3.2-5-3-2-7, 92) struck out the side in the first inning (though he needed 21 pitches) and after allowing a home run to C.J. Cron to lead off the second, fanned the next two Rays. But he was not sharp, throwing 35 pitches to only six batters in the third. After two singles and a walk in the fourth, he was pulled.

As noted, Ramirez opened the home eighth with a hard single to left field. Martinez saw 10 pitches - one of which was wild, allowing Ramirez to take second - but struck out. Brock Holt, who took over for Xander Bogaerts in the top of the seventh (X injured his ankle), popped up to short left-center.

Moreland got his first hit (and RBI) of the season at the most opportune time. Eduardo Nunez smoked a line drive to center that got to Kevin Kiermaier so quickly that Moreland had to stop at third. Rafael Devers took a strike before lining a 93-mph fastball down the left field line for a double. The ball caromed near the side door area and rolled for quite a while before left fielder Mallex Smith arrived and threw it in. Two runs scored. 7-5. The Rays brought in Colome.

Christian Vazquez fouled off three pitches before lining a single to left-center. Devers scored, making it 7-6. Colome's first pitch to Betts caromed off the catcher's foot for a wild pitch; Vazquez went to second. Betts lined a 2-0 pitch into left, beyond the reach of the leaping shortstop. Smith threw home, but the ball lost momentum on its first bounce and was rolling (though quickly) when it reached the plate. Catcher Jean Sucre was getting it into his glove when Vazquez slid past him, his hand brushing the plate. 7-7!

Andrew Benintendi lifted Colome's 1-1 pitch to deep left. Smith went back, but the ball ended up falling safely on the warning track. (Did Smith think it would hit the wall? If he did, he was standing way too close to the wall to field it properly.) Betts scored the go-ahead run.

(The ball is the white blur just to the left of the MIL on the scoreboard.)

Tampa Bay's win expectancy had dropped from 98.5% to 15.1%. Colome fanned Ramirez for the final out. (The two Rays relievers threw 27 pitches between the second and third outs.)

And if that wasn't enjoyable enough ... there was the Orioles/Yankees game in the Bronx. New York scored five times in the first inning, but the Orioles slowly came back and claimed a 7-6 lead in the middle of the seventh. The Yankees quickly tied the game and the teams went into extras. Baltimore scored a run in the top of the twelfth, as Craig Gentry's run-scoring single capped an 11-pitch at-bat.

Orioles reliever Brad Brach walked the first two batters (bbcbb & bsbbb) in the bottom of the inning and mishandled a bunt for an error, giving the Yankees a bases-loaded-no-outs situation, with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton coming up. ... Clearly, Brach's goose was cooked.

However, he got a called strike on Judge before the Face Of Baseball tapped back to the mound. Brach calmly threw home and the Orioles turned a 1-2-5 double play. Down to its last out, New York still had the potential tying run at second and the potential winning run at first. But Stanton was not a worthy adversary. The at-bat went: foul, ball, called, swinging - and the Yankees lost. (Stanton finished the day 0-for-7, with 5 strikeouts.)
Andrew Kittredge / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Benintendi, CF
Ramirez, DH
Martinez, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Nunez, 2B
Devers, 3B
Vazquez, C
Could the awesome Red Sox rotation get even better? Eduardo Rodriguez, who had right knee surgery last season, makes his first start of the season.

Also: Drew Pomeranz (DL, strained flexor tendon) makes a rehab start for Pawtucket today. If all goes well, he will join the Red Sox at the end of next week.
Best Record In First Eight Games As Red Sox Manager
Joe Morgan   1988   8-0*
Ed Barrow    1918   7-1
Alex Cora    2018   7-1
*: Unlike Barrow and Cora, Morgan took over the team in mid-season (July 15). He won his first 12 games and 19 of his first 20.


PK said...

I just need to vent a little about Tim Neverett’s crusade against the Ray’s “bullpen day”. He is adamant it’s a bad thing and will harp on that point multiple times a game. Just give it a rest, guy.

allan said...

Vent away!

Jake of All Trades said...

On “bullpen day” the Red Sox used more pitchers than the Rays did.

Gregory Lynn said...

I believe today's events warrant a Schadenfreude post in the morning.

allan said...

First AL team to start 8-1 since the 2003 MFY.

allan said...

I believe today's events warrant a Schadenfreude post in the morning.

The NY papers are already cooperating.

Jere said...

"I just need to vent a little about Tim Neverett’s crusade against the Ray’s “bullpen day”. "

I just need to vent a lot about how Tim Neverett is possibly the worst baseball radio announcer I've ever heard. I honestly don't think he realizes we can't see what he sees. On most calls, a la Charley Steiner, we can tell by his silence and the crowd's reaction that SOMETHING must have happened, we just don't know what. When he finally describes it, it's often wrong. (My favorite was when he described an opposing team's uniform, and got THAT wrong, I found out, when flipping the game on TV later.) Today's example of a "Never-rite" call is as follows: "Swing! CHECK swing!..." Let me jump in here. At this point I don't know the result of the play yet, and that's fine, he's just a little confused, but I am relatively sure that this ball is in the catcher's glove. Back to Tim's call: "And it's in for a base hit!" ???! So while the ball was going into the outfield, he was correcting his original "swing" to make sure we knew it was actually a CHECK swing, instead of telling the audience that the ball had been, in fact, HIT by the batter, and runners were going around the bases. (The bonus here is that this "base hit" turned out to be a double!) So it went from a swing to a non-swing to a batted ball which went from a single to a double.

I guess the all-time classic was when, on a play at the plate, he yelled "OUT!" when the guy was really safe, but then just went right on talking about the runner and how he was safe. No excuse here, he just happened to confuse one very important baseball word with its opposite. Whoops!

Paul Hickman said...

Perhaps we should call these days Schadenfreude Specials ?

They are some of the best days as Fans ........

Sox get out of the grave & amusingly the MFY unexpectedly trip & fall in with a thud !

PK said...


Sure the Sox came back from 5 down in the 8th, but the most remarkable thing that happened in the game was caught at about 30 seconds into the clip above when Devers, who is absent mindedly eating sunflower seed and has his eyes glued on the field, and Vasquez connect for an out of nowhere no look low five in the dugout.