The thing about constantly facing AL East rivals is that it is both great and terrible. Terrible because sometimes you want a little diversity in your schedule, but great because in September when you’re five games out from the top of the division it can be exceptionally helpful to crush some divisional rivals.
The Red Sox are functionally the filling in an AL East sandwich as the Rays saw the Yankees last weekend and will see them again this weekend again.
The Rays were featuring a bullpen game against old friend Rich Hill who was on the mound for the Sox. Top of the first (hey remember that Tommy Pham is with the Red Sox now? I managed to forget that), Chargois had a 1-2-3. The Rays started hot in the bottom of the first, wasting no time getting on board. Diaz doubled, then Margot singled. An Arozarena home run then put the Rays up 3-0. Ramirez walked, but then they fell into three outs in a row.
Top of the second, and the Sox weren’t content to go scoreless, with two outs Arroyo singled, then a Casas home run gave the Red Sox two. Chang singled to start off the bottom of the inning, but ultimately the inning ended with a double play and no runs.
McGuire singled for the Sox in the top of the third, but a Pham fielder’s choice eliminated him, and no runs would ultimately score. Bottom of three, Margot bunted to get on board, then Arozarena doubled. A Ramirez single socred Margot and Arozarena, but Ramirez was out trying to stretch his single into a double. Mejia got a two-out single, then Bethancourt singled, but the inning ended with no extra runs, however the Rays were up 5-2.
The only baserunner for either team in the fourth was Trevor Story with a walk, and in the fifth inning both teams went 1-2-3.
Top of the sixth and Verdugo lead off with a single, but was eliminated by a pretty darned sweet double play. Onto the bottom of the sixth and the Rays were like, “hey you know what’s fun? home runs.” Bethancourt hit a one-out solo shot to left, and as soon as he was back in the dugout Chang hit one of his own. Diaz reached on a hit-by-pitch, but the Rays would need to settle for two runs, and the score was now 7-2.
FYI throughout this we’ve seen Chargois, Cleavinger, Faucher, and Raley pitch but with a bullpen game I’m not going to keep updating it inning by inning. Raley had a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, and then we were back to scoring runs. Arozarena doubled, then advanced to third on a wild pitch from Danish. Then a Mejia double scored Randy. 8-2.
Top of the eighth and things got a bit rocky for the newest pitcher of the game, Beeks. McGuire got a one-out walk, then Pham hit a two-run homer. It was more fun to watch him do that in a Rays uniform. Verdugo singled, but was eliminated by a fielder’s choice. No additional runs scored, but the Rays were sure happy for those extra runs. Chang walked to start off the bottom of the inning (big night for him), but a strikeout and double play ended the inning.
Adam was in for the ninth, hoping to close things out for the Rays, and that’s exactly what he did.
Final: Rays 8, Red Sox 4