Tonight's win, which completed the Rays' first doublerheader sweep at Fenway in seven tries, is the type of game we haven't seen from the team too often this season. They've blown their share of leads, but it's been rare to see them rally for a victory.
Things were going well entering the fifth inning. The team was leading 2-0, Chris Archer was cruising, having thrown just 52 pitches. Then the wheels came off all at once. He'd walked only five batters all season yet walked three, hit a batter to bring in a run, and threw a wild pitch. As if that wasn't bad enough he then allowed back to back singles with two outs to give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead.
The lack of control is showcased in the strikezone plot below.
He missed all over the board to left handed hitters that inning and high and inside to right handed hitters. Walks always were, and still are, the biggest concern with him. Here's hoping he can learn from what he did wrong here and not let such an implosion happen again.
Thanks to an error by the Red Sox infield on an Evan Longoria pop-up, there was a man on base for Sean Rodriguez's monster blast into the light tower in left field in the sixth inning, bringing the Rays within one. Rodriguez came up huge again, this time in the eighth inning, doubling off the Green Monster with two outs. The hit was especially big considering it came off a right handed pitcher, something Rodriguez doesn't see a lot of. Surprisingly, the Red Sox allowed the right handed Junichi Tazawa to face James Loney when they had three southpaws in their bullpen. Loney made them pay by fisting a ball into left field, tying the game.
Then the Rays did what has seemed impossible to do over the past calendar year, score a run off of Koji Uehara. Yunel Escobar lead off the inning with a blast over the wall in left, giving the Rays the extra run they needed. Grant Balfour closed out his second game of the day, but not before making it interesting again. He allowed a leadoff double and walked a batter, but came up with two huge strikeouts to finish it off.
-Let's talk about the performance of the bullpen today. Thanks to the starting pitching being injured and not going deep into games, the Rays ‘pen hasn't been as good as we've come to expect. Except today. In each game the bullpen pitched 4.1 innings without allowing an earned run, with Jake McGee and Balfour appearing in both.
-Sean Rodriguez now has eight hits on the season in 37 plate appearances, but seven have gone for extra bases.