The Red Sox and the Marlins really had no business playing this game on Friday, but with rain in the forecast all weekend they were desperate to get this series-opener in. As a result, they played with rain coming down steadily pretty much all game, and ultimately the game was shortened due to the weather. But the Red Sox were able to get the win before they finally decided to stop playing, thanks to a couple of big doubles from Hunter Renfroe, a huge home run from Alex Verdugo, and Martín Pérez recovering in a big way from a tough start.
With the rain coming pouring down, the Red Sox knew they were going to have some trouble offensively. Not only were they dealing with the weather, but they were also going up against a young pitcher in Cody Poteet who has both pitched well this season and was something of a mystery to Boston’s lineup. As we’ve seen often in the past, first times facing off against good rookies have spelled trouble for the Red Sox, even in normal baseball weather.
And early on, they indeed did struggle to get much going against Poteet early on. Both pitchers got rather wide zones as the CB Bucknor calling balls and strikes behind the plate clearly was not thrilled about standing in the rain. And the Red Sox struggled with that in the first couple of innings, having just one player reach base on an error while striking out four times in the two frames. It was looking like it could be a rough night.
Meanwhile, Pérez was given the same conditions as Poteet, but things didn’t go quite as smoothly for him in the early going. He found himself in some trouble right away in the first, giving up a one-out double to Starling Marte, who just returned from the IL. Pérez was able to bare down with the runner in scoring position, however, and escaped the inning without any runs coming across.
The second inning would not be as kind. Corey Dickerson started the inning with a weak ground ball that just barely got through the left side opposite a Red Sox shift, and then Jorge Alfaro decided to go over the infield, and the outfield as well. Miami’s catcher got a cutter that stayed right out over the plate, and he was all over it, sending it way out to the power alley in right field for a two-run shot, and giving Miami the early lead.
That was not a homer that was going to snowball into Pérez’s first truly bad inning of the season, however. The southpaw got into a groove right after that, giving up a single before finishing out that second inning, and then facing three batters in each of the next three innings. In this game that sure seemed like it had a chance to be a five-inning affair, getting into that groove was indeed a big thing.
It was also big that the offense seemingly started to figure things out starting in the third inning. Hunter Renfroe, hitting in the nine hole, seemed to be the one to change up the momentum with a big one-out double to get things going. After a walk, the Red Sox had two on with just one out. Alex Verdugo popped up on the first pitch, but J.D. Martinez wouldn’t squander the chance. Boston’s slugger ripped one into the corner in left field, allowing two runs to score and tying the game with one swing. They couldn’t get him home after that to take the lead, but they’d take the tie for the time being.
With Pérez cruising, that meant the game was still tied in the bottom of the fifth, which seemed much later given the weather. And once again, it was the bottom of the lineup getting things going. Marwin Gonzalez started the inning with a walk, and then moved up to third on another double from Renfroe. With two in scoring position and nobody out, it was a massive chance to take a lead and perhaps cement a win. Kiké Hernández couldn’t get it done, but Verdugo could. He jumped on the first pitch again, but this time hit a later on a hanging curveball that carried up and over the fence in right field, and just like that it was a 5-2 lead for the Red Sox.
It seemed all but certain the tarp would come out after that inning, but they continued on, with Adam Ottavino coming into the game for the sixth. it was the earliest he’s been out all year, and pointed to how long the managers imagined this game going. The righty did well off the bat recording a couple of quick outs, but then he lost his control, likely at least in part due to that falling water. Ottavino walked two in a row, and suddenly the tying run was coming to the plate. He’d then walk one more to load the bases for Isan Díaz, with Matt Barnes starting to warm. Ottavino finally got some bit of his command back, though, getting a huge three-pitch strikeout to seal up the inning.
The tarp finally came out after that, and eventually, after way too long of a delay, the game was called. The Red Sox grabbed the 5-2 win, pushing their record to 31-20.
The Red Sox and Marlins are scheduled to continue this series on Saturday. It sure seems like rain will not cooperate yet again, but as of now they are scheduled to start at 4:10 PM ET with Nathan Eovaldi taking on Trevor Rogers.