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Red Sox 2, Rays 1: Mookie does the Carlton

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox’ win streak is at nine after a tight 2-1 win over the Rays, and oh my God did Mookie Betts just do the Carlton?

I...I...I don’t know how to move on from this.

Right, baseball.


Betts earned the right to dance with a cool 3-for-4 night, though neither he nor the rest of the outfield really factored in the decision offensively. It was one of those wasteful games for the Sox at the plate, with fourteen baserunners somehow turning into only two runs, both coming in the first when David Ortiz managed to hit that last catwalk past the wall. It was majestic, if not so majestic as Mookie.

Given the one run, you might think Drew Pomeranz proved himself and seized control of that fourth spot in the playoff rotation, but that’s not really the case. As with Buchholz in his last outing, Pomeranz was a bit touch-and-go. There was a fair deal of hard contact (including the Mikie Mahtook homer that gave the Rays their only run) on fastballs that were neither particularly fast nor particularly sharp, which seems somewhat indicative of Pomeranz being low on reserves this late in the year.

That being said, Pomeranz did have his curveball working, and as with Buchholz, was able to keep things under control and ultimately earn the win. It’s the sort of start which leaves that final spot unsettled. The Sox pulling Pomeranz after five could as easily be an indication that they want to keep his workload low in hopes of getting him as fresh as possible for the playoffs, or an indication that they don’t think he’s capable of going deep into games anymore. It’s all up to interpretation, but with 12 innings pitched and two earned runs between the two this last time through the rotation, at least it’s clear they’ve got a chance at getting a positive start no matter who ultimately makes it.

With Pomeranz out early, the Sox needed four innings from their bullpen, and the bullpen responded as they’ve been doing with remarkable regularity this month, with Kelly, Ross, Barnes, and Scott getting the ball to Ziegler for the ninth. Evan Longoria did give the Sox a bit of a scare in that final inning, leading off with a double. But Ziegler has proven himself quite the escape artist in his time with Boston, and did so again here, getting a pop-up and two strike outs to make it nine wins straight.

The Jays knocked off the Yankees in emphatic fashion, so the lead will remain at 5.5 games for now. But that still brings elimination day one step closer. So long as Mookie and the Sox keep on dancing, it doesn’t much matter what the birds do.

The Carlton!