Jeffrey Springs was activated from the Family Medical Emergency List to start tonight’s game. Springs has put together an impressive season since transitioning to the starting rotation. With 60 innings pitched on the season, Springs has a 2.25 ERA (3.33 FIP, 3.11 xFIP). To make room on the active roster, Josh Fleming was optioned to AAA Durham. There will be more roster movement this week, as the Rays also claimed infielder Yu Chang off waivers from Cleveland. He has no options remaining and will need to join the active roster.
Springs went up against another hot starter, Nick Pivetta. In his series preview, JT Morgan breaks down the numbers that explain why Pivetta has been Boston’s best starting pitcher this year.
It took the Rays little time to get the offense going, after being shut out by the Red Sox a little more than a day ago. In the top of the first, Yandy Díaz hit a lead-off double off the Green Monster, his first of two in the game. That was followed by an Isaac Paredes single and a Wander Franco walk to load the bases. And with one out, Kevin Kermaier cleared them with a double to center field.
J.D. Martinez reached base in the bottom half with a double off the Monster with an xBA of .010, meaning the way the ball was hit only results in a hit 1% of the time.
Then, what seemed like a comfortable summer night in Boston, Massachussetts was quickly turned back into a ballgame when Xander Bogaerts launched a two-run homer over the center field wall in the bottom of the first.
Trevor Story made it 3-3 with a solo home run on a low and away changeup that he had no business smashing over the Monster. Springs had great command of his changeup as per usual, but was punished in his outing with some terrible BABIP luck and some once-in-a-lifetime hits from the Boston lineup. Springs’ final line: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO.
Both teams were held scoreless then through the fifth inning, but in the top of the sixth, the Rays took a lead they would never give back. Kevin Kiermaier drove in Wander Franco on a force out to make it 4-3, a Taylor Walls sac fly brought it one more, and an RBI single from René Pinto finally drove Pivetta out of the game. His final line: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO. The inning ended with the Rays leading 7-3.
Isaac Paredes added to that lead to make it 8-3 when he singled home Wander Franco in the top of the seventh. Shawn Armstrong was tasked with the bottom half, and gave up one run to make it 8-4. Rain began in the late innings, and in the eighth and ninth it looked like the game would not be played to completion. Colin Poche was able to maintain the four-run lead in the eigth, before turning it over to Jason Adam.
The Red Sox managed to lead the bases, and in scary fashion, when a fastball slipped out of Adam’s rain-drenched hand and hit Christian Vazquez in the helmet to load the bases with two outs, bringing up the tying run in Trevor Story. Story already showed earlier in the game he can hit home runs in the unlikeliest of moments, but lightning didn’t strike twice as he popped up into the stormy sky. Wander Franco made the play for the final out.
Yandy Díaz went 3-4 with two doubles and Kevin Kiermaier tallied four runs batted in. Brooks Raley also impressed, striking out the side in order in the sixth. With the series tied at one, the two teams will play a rubber match on Wednesday evening. Corey Kluber will face Red Sox rookie Brayan Bello, who will be making his MLB debut. Brello is a 6’1”, 23-year-old right-hander who is ranked as the number eight Red Sox prospect according to Fangraphs. He has 51.1 innings pitched at AAA this season, with a 2.81 ERA.