And frankly, they played like the third-worst team in the Majors tonight.
Things got off to a slow start for the Rays (like they always do). A quick 1-2-3 first inning, followed by missed opportunities in the second and third innings as the Rays left three runners on base and two in scoring position.
Tonight's starter, Jake Odorizzi, looked sharp early on. He tallied four strikeouts in the first two innings and seemed to have his good stuff going tonight until he hit Mike Carp. After the hit-by-pitch, it looked like whatever nail issue Odorizzi was dealing with earlier this week flared up. He practically never threw his curveball the rest of the outing.
No curveball for Odorizzi means he just became way easier to hit. The Red Sox took advantage in the third or fourth innings, waiting for Odorizzi to miss his spot while he kept pumping fastballs. In fact, Odorizzi only threw two curveballs all game. He relied heavily on the fastball as 73 of his 84 pitches was either a fastball or splitter.
Carp added another run on a sacrifice fly later in the inning. Then a safety squeeze by Herrera, followed by an A.J. Pierzynski RBI single extended the lead to 5-0. Thanks to a 41-pitch third inning, Odorizzi was forced out after the fifth run came in to score, finishing his night at 3.1 innings pitch, five earned runs, six hits allowed, six strikeouts and one walk.
The Red Sox added two more in the fifth inning on a home run by Jackie Bradley Jr. off of Cesar Ramos.
The lone highlight offensively for the Rays came when recently called up Kevin Kiermaier hit a deep flyball to LFC. Unfortunately, the ball hit right off of Bradley Jr.'s face as he attempted to catch the ball at the Green Monster. Bradley fell to the ground and did not get up, allowing Kiermaier to jet around the bases and pick up an inside-the-park home run. Thankfully, Bradley Jr. was able to remain in the game and was okay.
Kiermaier continues to provide a spark to the team. Although the Rays didn't do much tonight, you get the feeling Kiermaier provides some much needed energy to a team that looks like The Walking Dead up at the plate. He's a future everyday player for the Rays, but it will be interesting to see if Kiermaier earns more playing time over these next few weeks. There isn't much he hasn't done right so far in the Majors this year, which could lead to a more permanent position on the team sooner rather than later.
The Rays will look to right the ship tomorrow afternoon as Erik Bedard takes the mound against Jon Lester. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m.