The Red Sox were without Alex Cora on this rainy day, as Will Venable took over for the day, managing his first career game. Nathan Eovaldi sought to make sure Cora’s leadership wasn’t missed. Opposing Eovaldi was Trevor Rogers, a young stud (and recently graduated prospect) with a 1.75 ERA in 56 2⁄3 innings of work this season.
The key to Rogers success this season has been the difference between his fastball and changeup, and mixing in a solid whiff-generating slider for good measure. He’s kept players off balance and off base, and good things happen when you do that (#EllisBurksWisdom).
So Rogers is good. Nobody told the Red Sox. Rafael Devers, Hunter Renfroe, and Bobby Dalbec hit back-to-back-to-back singles to get the first run of the game in the 2nd inning. Kevin Plawecki broke up the string of hits, but Christian Arroyo picked it right back up. A single into the outfield had Renfroe barreling around third, heading for the plate. He was cut down by a throw from Corey Dickerson on the second bang-bang play of the inning. A game of inches, this is.
The Red Sox did get that second run in the 4th inning. After a Renfroe double, Kevin Plawecki redeemed himself for killing the rally earlier by knocking him home on a single. Rogers recovered, as he took out Arroyo to stop the threat then and there. Either way, it was 2-0 after four full innings from Fenway Park.
You may notice Eovaldi’s name absent to this point, there’s a reason for that, no news is good news. He was inefficient with pitch count, but he more than did his job, shutting down the Marlins over 5 1⁄3 innings. He gave up four hits and a walk, and struck out seven. All told, the best possible outcome for Eovaldi in this one. He was relieved by Josh Taylor, who finished the sixth.
While Devers made a bad defensive play earlier (which thankfully did not result in a run) on a routine double play opportunity, he made up for it in the 6th inning, as he led off the inning with an infield double. The ball was just out of reach of the second baseman, who booted the ball into the outfield. Devers turned on the jets and slid into second safely. He then advanced to third on a wild pitch in the dirt. Devers did not score, but it was really cool to see.
Taylor returned for the top of the 7th, and got into a little trouble, ending up in a first and third situation with only one out. Venable made what was most likely the most crucial decision of the game at this point, replacing Taylor with Adam Ottavino. Ottavino walked the first man he faced to load the bases. Then he struck out the next two, to show exactly why he’s trusted in these situations. Also appearing tonight were Darwinzon Hernandez and Hirokazu Sawamura. Each did what they were asked.
The Red Sox weren’t done scoring though, in the 8th inning, Devers hit a two-out double, and Renfroe drove him in, advancing to second on a poor throw from the outfielder. Bobby Dalbec then grounded a ball up the middle that the Marlins could not corral, to push Renfroe over to third. They couldn’t get a fourth run across, but were happy to turn over a 3-0 lead to Matt Barnes in the 9th inning.
The 9th inning was a little more eventful than anyone would have liked. A bunt single put a runner on first. He stole second entirely uncontested. Plawecki is not a good defensive catcher. A single drove in the first Marlins run, but that was all they would get, as a double play ended it soon thereafter. The Red Sox improve to 32-20, to stay a half back of the Rays.
Tomorrow’s game is on at 1:10 ET.