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Rays vs. Red Sox, game 1 recap: An awful game between awful teams

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No one deserved to win, but someone had to.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As the battle for the basement of the American League East got under way, it was clear that both teams were ready to compete. "Anything you can do, I can do worse," was the motto on everyone's lips. And after a hard-fought contest, the Rays were victorious, succeeding in scoring fewer runs and giving up more.

That intro isn't really fair to Erasmo Ramirez, who pitched six quality innings, pounding the strike zone aggressively and giving up five hits and two walks (a momentary loss of command that he recovered from), while striking out six Red Sox batters. His three runs in the first inning were unearned, and they were the type of unearned run for which the statistic was created. Let's walk through the comedy of errors that was this game.

After getting a soft groundout to start off the game, Ramirez continued to locate at the bottom of the zone and was rewarded with a weak chopper straight to first baseman Logan Forsythe. The ball came down on the lip of the infield, though, and gave a small bounce when Forsythe was clearly expecting a larger one. It got under his glove and through his legs for an error.

That's okay, shake it off, Erasmo! Your defense will get 'em next time!

Well, next time was a soft grounder from David Ortiz into the shift, that Tim Beckham had lined up but failed to field cleanly. By the time he corralled it, Ortiz had beaten the throw to first.

That's enough to throw a pitcher off his game, and Ramirez walked Napoli on four pitches to load the bases. The first run scored when Alejandro De Aza showed a good piece of hitting and went down to get a low slider, lining it into short right field for a single.

Next, Rusney Castillo grounded softly to shortstop, and Asdrubal Cabrera had no plays anywhere. But wait! Now the Red Sox got their act together, and started to suck! David Ortiz decided that this was really not such an important time to hustle, so he tried to walk home, and Cabrera was able to beat him there for force.

It was a small victory that didn't last, as Blake Swihart hit a bloop into left field to score two runs.

***

Meanwhile, the Red Sox spent the first three innings doing their best to give up runs while the Rays did their best not to score them in bunches. Eduardo Rodriguez was mostly awful. He had real trouble finding the strike zone, and when he did find it, he was hittable.

The Rays loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first on two walks and a single, but Joey Butler hit a perfect double-play grounder. Luckily for the Rays, the Sox executed the turn poorly (some credit to Forsythe and Butler for their hustle) and one run scored (the only run that scored that inning).

The second inning was more of the same. Mikie Mahtook hit a double off the Monster, and was still standing at second with two outs when Brandon Guyer swung wildly at strike three in the dirt. Swihart whiffed on the pickup, though, so Guyer was able to make it safely to first, and Mahtook was able to advance to third despite the strikeout. Next, Steven Souza Jr. hit a chopper toward third base that Josh Rutledge charged aggressively, but his throw pulled Napoli off first base. While it was scored as a hit, it was definitely a play that could have been made. Nevertheless, the Rays took it for their only run of the inning.

In the third inning, the Rays scored with less obvious help from the Red Sox. Asdrubal Cabrera his a sharp grounder back up the middle and off the pitcher for a single. A few batters later, Mahtook brought him home with a line drive into right field to tie the game.

***

Both teams were able to hold the game scoreless through the fifth inning, when the defense for the Rays once more failed to be excellent. Ramirez got Brock Holt to ground to tap it off the end of his bat for a soft roller towards the hole. It was always going to be a difficult play, and Cabrera tried to bare-hand the pickup, but couldn't come up with it cleanly. Holt was given the hit, and I think it's the correct call, but it's also a play Cabrera has made before and he'll make again.

The next batter, Xander Bogaerts, also hit a grounder, this one up the middle on the second-base side. It wasn't super hard-hit, and the double play was probably never going to happen, but the Rays should have been able to at least get the lead runner. Cabrera was in position to receive the throw from Beckham, and was visibly frustrated (h/t BA for noticing) when Beckham failed to give him the scoop and instead took the out at first. It's possible that decision by Beckham mattered, as Holt eventually came around to score on a single from De Aza.

***

The Red Sox replaced their starter in the sixth inning, and Alexi Ogando kept the Rays off the board, but when Robbie Ross came in to pitch the seventh inning, Tampa Bay got the offense going again.

Joey Butler walked on four pitches to lead things off, and two outs later, Mahtook was hit by a pitch. That prompted the Sox to bring in relief ace Junichi Tazawa, and Kevin Cash opted to bring in his long-haired slugger, John Jaso. The move paid off as Jaso pounded a low fastball to the base of the wall in low center field for a two-RBI double (he advanced to third on some poor relay throwing from Boston).

***

With Kevin Jepsen traded, the late inning relief situation becomes more difficult for Kevin Cash. He played it right today, though. Rather than let the Sox lineup face Erasmo once more he went to the 'pen. And with the top of the order coming up, he went to his best reliever, Jake McGee. It was a plan fit for a mouse or a man, but you know how the saying goes.

It started well. McGee struck out Holt looking with an 0-2 curve on the outside corner. A good charging play from Longoria got Bogaerts out on a soft grounder. But then David Ortiz did his thing, fouling seven fastballs off, taking three curves for balls, and eventually taking ball four on a fastball yanked into the dirt.

McGee got to two strikes on Napoli, but then couldn't put him away either. Eventually, Napoli caught up to a high 96 mph fastball to put the Sox up two. Game blown. Pretty damn good hitting. Shucks.

Some other notes:

  • Tim Beckham made another throwing error from second base, but the runner was erased on a double play.
  • Evan Longoria reached base four times.
  • De Aza struck out swinging on McGee's curve.
Roll Call Info
Total comments 273
Total commenters 28
Commenter list Adam Sanford, BravesRays, Brickhaus, CSG BBR, Darby Robinson, Dome Biscuit, Drew Laing, Hatfield, Ian Malinowski, JRTW612, Kevin Antonevich, Mr.Jenkins, MrWizzle21, Rays1118, RazeTheRoof, Salizar77, dacnole, dirtyarcade, essenpee, kfharlock, killa3312, mattc286, nomo.red.evil, sirthomas813, tampa_edski, the dobber, thedudeofdudes, youcancallmeRayRay
Story URLs
# Recs Commenter Comment Link
10 Adam Sanford The Rays may not have acquired a big name, but at least they're not Boston
4 Hatfield I meant the team.
4 the dobber Because it's a shitty city. The fact that you disagree is a sure indication that you're a child.
4 Hatfield Dibs
3 CSG BBR Mr. Pee, don't let anyone deprive you of the joy...
3 Hatfield I was very dismayed to log in to see banime.
2 MrWizzle21 I highly doubt that you do
2 MrWizzle21 Eduardo Rodriguez?
2 Darby Robinson Way to go Jaso!! Party it up like it's burning man!!
2 Rays1118 ridiculous a fucking pitch over his damn head gets front row's in the monster. fuck boston
2 nomo.red.evil seriously, fuck Boston
2 nomo.red.evil Shift-A
2 CSG BBR Heritage. Not hate...
2 the dobber Fuck Boston. Go Rays!
2 thedudeofdudes Yes talking about how to eat chicken strips sure takes a lot of smart people.
2 the dobber But seriously, fuck Boston. Three comments worth isn't enough. I'm not sure a thousand would be enough.
2 Hatfield Banned for Poketalk.
2 Ian Malinowski Pretty sure both teams will manage to lose this game.
2 CSG BBR Just some good ol' boys longing for the days when you could hate on Boston without repercussions
2 the dobber I don't think it's possible to properly describe how much I hate the Boston Red Sox.
1 Hatfield I'm watching the Ronda Rousey weigh-in for tomorrow night's fight.
1 thedudeofdudes A person with no taste?
1 youcancallmeRayRay Wait, didn't you quit baseball?
1 Hatfield Ohhhhhh Dome Biscuit is in here??
1 thedudeofdudes Oh no, what are the GDT's going to do?
1 nomo.red.evil Schmoo?
1 JRTW612 Sometimes he even calls him "Silverfuck," or even, wait for it... "Silverspoon."
1 MrWizzle21 SUP BITCHES?
1 Hatfield Hi guys!
1 Hatfield Bucket list.
1 Hatfield There are mods here??
1 Mr.Jenkins Based on your posting skills here, I don't think you'd last longer than a day or two.
1 CSG BBR Fuck BOSTON!!!
1 Ian Malinowski Okay, good swing.
1 Rays1118 WELL FUCK YOU AS WELL!
1 CSG BBR Even the Boston groundskeepers suck...
1 essenpee Nice hustle by Butler
1 Rays1118 oh and Fuck Boston!
1 sirthomas813 FUCK BOSTON
1 dirtyarcade Yo, what the hell is happening in this game? So terrible. also...
1 JRTW612 Don Orsillo wondering why Jaso didn't just stay in to catch after pinch hitting for Casali
1 killa3312 Ortiz is fucking annoying
1 mattc286 Leave the defending of racists and human trash to the ACLU
1 Rays1118 Mahtook is an on base machine!
1 JRTW612 I'm still furious that this team isn't winning because of that first inning bullshit
1 Rays1118 way to be pessimistic
1 essenpee this should be where you need to use the get unbanned card if you ever want to post again.