Welcome again, to the latest Red Sox Pre-Cap Podcast. Make sure to subscribe to the OTM Podcast Network to hear the latest from every series, as well as a preview of what’s next on the docket for the Red Sox.
Michael Wacha came out of the gate strong once again, pitching five innings, giving up two runs on three hits, bringing his season ERA to 1.88. Austin Davis, Matt Strahm, Hansel Robles, Jake Diekman, and Matt Barnes came in to close out the game, with the only damage coming on a Strahm unearned run. Diekman was a little shaky, walking the bases loaded, but thankfully Barnes shut the door. The scoring came from a monster blast by Devers, three hits from Xander Bogaerts, and two hits each from Enrique Hernández and Alex Verdugo. Red Sox win 4-3.
Garrett Whitlock made his much anticipated first career major-league start in the middle game. Stretching out Whitlock, if he is to stay in the rotation will be the largest hurdle, as he only lasted four innings in this game. They were extremely impressive, though, not giving up a run or a walk, allowing just one hit while striking out seven. Whitlock lowered his ERA to 0.66. Davis and Kutter Crawford, who was impressive in three innings of no run baseball, came in after and Tyler Danish finished off the 9th. The Red Sox offense, however, managed zero hits through nine innings.
In the 10th, Bobby Dalbec recorded the first Red Sox hit, with a triple, and brining in ghost runner, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Christian Vázquez sacrificed Dalbec in, and the Red Sox went up 2-0 in the 10th. Hansel Robles, after striking out Ji-Man Choi and Brandon Lowe, proceeded to balk Manfred runner Arozarena to third. A throwing error by Trevor Story then allowed Arozarena to score and Taylor Walls to reach before Kevin Kiermaier hit his first ever walk-off home run. Game over, Rays win 3-2.
The final game of the series was a doozy for the bullpen. After four scoreless innings from starter Rich Hill, Phillips Valdez crumbled under pressure, lasting just a third of an inning, hitting two batters and walking one leaving the bases juiced. Ryan Brasier nearly allowed a grand slam to Choi, who instead ripped a game tying double. Barnes and Diekman also each gave up a run. The Red Sox offense, at first looked primed to be having a good day after scoring two early runs off of Rays starter Shane McClanahan, to only be shutdown the rest of the game as McClanahan completed seven innings. Rays win 5-2.
The Red Sox will face the American League East-leading Blue Jays in Toronto, but will be at a disadvantaged with unvaccinated players not allowed north of the border.