Wow. Been a while since we’ve been ambushed like this. Not sure if it was great Boston scouting, or if Springs was tipping, or maybe ... well, it’s Alex Cora’s team. You can fill in the blanks. In any case, the result was an unsatisfying 5-1 loss.
Everything you need to know about this game happened in the bottom of the first inning, when the Red Sox hung a four spot on Jeffrey Springs, and more significantly, did it like they knew what was coming. Pham led off and smoked a single to left. Verdugo followed with a double off the wall in left center. A long single off the monster by Martinez scored both runners.
2-0 Red Sox.
An infield single, a walk, and single by Dalbec on an 0-2 changeup that was well off the plate plated two more runs.
4-0 Red Sox, and that, for all intents and purposes, was the ball game.
Springs settled down (or got de-tipping lessons?) after that, and pitched pretty well. He did give up a fourth inning solo homer to Enrique Hernandez, but that was pretty much it. He went six innings, gave up eighth hits, walked one, and struck out eight. And he saved the bullpen. Yay moral victories!
The bigger problem today was the Rays utter inability to do anything against Rich Hill. Dick Mountain had his best stuff today, and his pacing (he pitched like he had to go to the bathroom) rattled the Rays hitters. They did manage to slow him down some, and Doug Eddings did a nice job of granting time even after Hill had started his motion, but the Rays never really found a groove against Hill. They managed just two infield singles (third inning by Yu Chang and fourth inning by Randy Arozarena, who also stole second), one big boy single to center (seventh inning by Paredes), and one walk (fifth inning by Yu Chang). Meanwhile, Hill kept the Rays off balance, striking out 11 in his seven innings of work.
There were a few bright spots for the Rays. In the fourth, Tommy Pham attempted to steal second after collecting a two out single. He got a great jump, but Bethancourt made an incredible throw, strong and on target to nail Pham on a bang-bang play at second.
The second bright spot was New Guy, Garrett Cleavinger, just up from Durham. He showed that his strong showing with the Bulls was not all smoke and mirrors. In his two perfect innings, he flashed very good stuff, with the heater sitting at 96 and topping out at 98, and the slider showing good movement. He struck out three over his two innings, fanning Dalbec and Pham in the seventh, then maintained his velo and moxie in the eighth while striking out J.D. Martinez.
The final bright spot was, we didn’t get shut out!
Jeurys Familia took over for Hill in the eighth, and it didn’t look very sharp. Walls greeted the former Met by tattooing one toward the right field corner, only to be robbed by a diving Verdugo.
With two outs, Diaz singled to right, followed by a single to center by Margot, putting runners on the corners for Arozarena. Randy slapped a single through the right side, scoring Diaz and pushing Margot to third.
5-1! We’re on the board!
Sadly, that was it. Cora took the ball from Familia, and gave it to Ryan Thompson wannabe John Schreiber to face Hittin’ Harold. Unfortunately, Ramirez could only manage a high chopper back to the mound that Schreiber was able to corral and fire to first to get the hustling Ramirez.
Schreiber stayed on the ninth and gave up a one out walk to pinch hitter David Peralta. Peralta then advanced to second on a passed ball, but was stranded when Choi struck out and Walls grounded to second.
The Rays will try to salvage one tomorrow at 1:35 PM when Corey Kluber squares off against Nick Pivetta.