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Red Sox 4, Rays 3: Whither Xander

The Sox get back in the win column, but do it without the one guy we most want to see.

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

A couple of weeks ago, Joiner and I did a pod where we discussed reasons to keep watching the 2022 Red Sox. The number one reason, by far, was Xander Bogaerts. He was a starter on the all-time Red Sox team, we reasoned; he was playing what might be his final games in a Red Sox uniform; and he was chasing a batting title.

While his status as an all-time Red Soxer is secure (note: Soxer? Sock? Fenwayfarer? We as a fan base really should have decided on an agreed-upon term for ‘player on the Red Sox’ by now.), the other two factors have, just a week and a half later, disappeared. A poorly timed slump has already put the batting title out of reach. And now, thanks to a similarly poorly timed back injury, he’s not even playing.

Just when we thought this season couldn’t get any more depressing, here we are facing the possibility of not getting a chance to say goodbye to Xander. God damn you, 2022. God damn you to hell.

Anyway, here’s how WPA saw last night’s win against the Rays (FanGraphs Link):

Three Stars:

  1. Rafael Devers: .206 WPA, 3-3, 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI
  2. Matt Barnes: .168 WPA, 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R
  3. Kiké Hernandez: .141 WPA, 2-4, 2B, RBI

Three Duds:

  1. J.D. Martinez: -.124 WPA, 1-4, 3 K
  2. Abraham Almonte: -.108 WPA, 0-4, 3 K
  3. Triston Casas: -.077 WPA, 1-4, 1 K

Play Of The Game: Wander Franco’s 9th Inning Triple

This is one where WPA gets a little funky. The play that added the highest amount of win probability — by a considerable margin — was Wander Franco’s ninth inning triple off Matt Barnes. That makes sense to a degree, as the play put the trying run at third with just one out in the ninth. But most people watching would probably say the play of the game is the one that happened next: Harold Ramirez’s grounder to third that saw Franco get caught napping, allowing Devers to tag him out and nearly seal the game for the Sox. The triple was awarded .230 WPA, the highest total in the game, while the subsequent fielder’s choice was awarded just -.209 WPA, the lowest total in the game. It’s all a matter of perspective. Because WPA essentially measures probability from the point of view of the offensive team, the fielder’s choice is read as taking away win probability from the Rays, rather than giving it to the Sox. Either way, that’s a massive swing in back-to-back at-bats.


Who Was The Red Sox Player Of The Game?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Rafael Devers
    (33 votes)
  • 3%
    Kiké Hernandez
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Christian Arroyo
    (2 votes)
  • 29%
    Rich Hill
    (17 votes)
  • 6%
    Matt Barnes
    (4 votes)
58 votes total Vote Now