It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. OK, it was mostly the worst of times. This much was evident when I looked at the lineup. No Andrew Benintendi, no J.D. Martinez (again), no Rafael Devers. Instead of having three of the five best hitters on the roster, we were given the treat of Christian Vazquez, second hitter in the lineup and the team’s designated hitter.
Yes, try not to think of what happens if Sandy Leon got injured, that would just be awful, and would make you feel even worse about the lineup.
To make matters worse, the Red Sox were facing off against last year’s Cy Young winner, Blake Snell. Add up a terrible lineup against one of the biggest aces in baseball, and you should have a good idea of what’s going to happen in that game. The answer, ninety-nine times out of a hundred is pretty straight-forward.
The Rays got off to a quick start against the Red Sox and Eduardo Rodriguez. A Yandy Diaz single started the action. He’d move over to third on a single that Tommy Pham tried to extend into a double. Then Brandon Lowe singled, and so did Avisail Garcia. There were a lot of singles. I haven’t seen this many singles since I checked my spam folder on Yahoo.
The inning mercifully ended before things got too crazy, but a 2-0 deficit in the first inning is less than ideal when your lineup resembles a Psychrolutes marcidus. It would be on the Sox lineup to force the issue.
Mookie Betts and Christian Vazquez tried to answer in the bottom half. They really did. Mookie got a good base knock, and Vazquez drew an impressive walk, but Xander Bogaerts and Michael Chavis failed to bring in the runs. This brought up Eduardo Núñez, and you know how Eduardo Núñez at-bats go at this point. Whiff. Whiff. Whiff. That ended the threat.
Blake Snell looks fun to hit against. High-90s gas and a curveball that can bounce *before* the plate while the swing is being finished. pic.twitter.com/D8lxsEhDjI— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) June 9, 2019
I’m not saying that I expect much - after all, Snell is a fantastic pitcher - and I’m not saying I expect this to continue, but I saw an interesting stat that made me pause and curse for a moment.
D.J. LeMahieu with RISP This Season:— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) June 9, 2019
Actually, double welp. The sequel to the first inning was just as bad as the original. Guillermo Heredia demolished a Rodriguez offering over the monster (hey, name drop... it’s a lot more fun when it’s our guys doing it). This made it 3-0.
But wait, there’s more! And not all of it is bad, please don’t leave. The Red Sox rallied to begin the bottom half of the second, as Sam Travis and Jackie Bradley Jr both hit singles of their own to put Sandy Leon in a fun situation. Runners on first and third, no outs. Just don’t strike-out! Put the ball in play and a run will probably score! Naturally, Sandy Leon struck out! OK, that’s fine, as long as Marco Hernandez doesn’t ground into a double play or hit a pop-fly it should be fine! Jackie Bradley Jr decided to steal second, just to keep the Sox out of the double play and make me look stupid for not accounting for that. Unfortunately, that didn’t work and he got picked off.
So instead, the Red Sox now needed a base hit to score that run from the bottom of the lineup. This time, something positive happened, as the Red Sox would get back a single, solitary run. Take that, Blake Snell. Getting into a bad situation and giving up a run! That sounds like a very 2019 Red Sox thing to do. You’d fit right in, please come to the Red Sox.
The next couple of innings were pretty uneventful. In the bottom of the fourth, Jackie Bradley Jr would get the first extra base hit by the Red Sox in this game. It wouldn’t score a run, and he’d be left stranded, but it was still pretty cool to see something other than a single by us.
Brandon Lowe led off the sixth inning with his twelfth home run. Lowe (alongside Dan Vogelbach) are presently the biggest obstacles between Michael Chavis (who has been struggling) and a Rookie of the Year award. To this point, Rodriguez had still be pitching pretty efficiently, as he was in the neighborhood of 78 pitches entering the 6th inning. Things started to fall apart, and he didn’t finish the 6th inning, letting multiple base runners on, but Heath Hembree came in and shut the door. The book was closed on Rodriguez, and while it wasn’t pretty, he certainly did his job, though he gave up far too many base runners to do it. In 5.2 IP, he allowed 7 hits, 2 walks, and 4 earned runs, but also struck out 7, and kept the Sox at least mildly in the game.
Unfortunately, the Red Sox bats did a terrible job of keeping the Red Sox in the game. They meekly went down yet again, after getting a runner in scoring position, again.
Then Marcus Walden gave up a dinger to Yandy Diaz. The score was 5-1, but it may as well have been 50-1. The Sox were not going to come back with their current lineup, or their current approach at the plate. The sole run at this point came from Marco Hernandez, who was able to at least but a ball in play with a runner in scoring position, something that feels like it’s becoming more of a rarity for the Red Sox in the past week. While I was typing that up, Brandon Lowe hit another home run, making it 6-1.
The home runs were not quiet ones, either.
Rays home runs: 412', 433', 435', 455'— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) June 9, 2019
Colten Brewer came in and stopped the bleeding, for which I am going to be forever thankful on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. He didn’t look particularly sharp, but it was enough to get two outs and walk a tight-rope out of the danger zone.
The Red Sox went on to squander another opportunity in the 7th. Runners on (plural), 1 out, and a great situation to rally and get back in the game. And the top of the order was up! Neither Mookie or the #2 hitter in the lineup - Christian Vazquez - could get it done, and death was slow and painful.
In the end, it was a tale of two teams. One of the Red Sox, who had a ton of baserunners, but scored close to nothing, and one of the Rays, who had a bit more, and scored a ton more. One had an elite starting pitcher who pitched well. The other had a very good pitcher who did not pitch well. When one team does everything better than the other team, that team wins the game. The Red Sox were not that team today, or for much of this series, who won a single game by the grace of David Price.
Hopefully we beat Texas.
- Honestly, I’m not sure anything today was particularly encouraging.
- Marco Hernandez got a hit.
- So did JBJ x 2.
- The bullpen was alright, outside of Marcus Walden.
- Eduardo Rodriguez gave up more than one run. Which was enough to lose. No, I’m not saying it’s Rodriguez’s fault. Our offense sucked.
- Everyone on the offense outside of Hernandez and Bradley. 1-5 hitters were a combined 1 for 19. That’s a batting average of .052. That’s terrible, even if batting average is not a good stat.
- Marcus Walden gave up dingers when we really couldn’t afford to be giving up dingers.
- Everybody looking totally lifeless in general. Not sure if it’s a hangover from the double header yesterday or what, but they looked defeated early and often.
- I cannot get over the lineup, seriously, we had Vazquez batting second and playing DH. This was a disaster waiting to happen.