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Red Sox 5, Orioles 3: One More Moment For J.D.

The Sox win the season series against the O’s.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

God, I love weekday day games. I realize that I am probably in the minority here. I am fortunate enough to not have a real job, so I don’t have to keep MLB.TV covertly open on my desktop, hidden just behind a spreadsheet to catch the game. For the rest of you stuck in the office, I feel your pain. But even still, there’s something weird and wonderful about a baseball game being played at a time of day when we otherwise have no business engaging in leisure activities. Daily life should be weirder, anyway, and it certainly should be filled with less RISE AND GRIND! and more rise and hey, let’s relax and blow off some responsibilities.

Today was the last true weekday day game of the season for the Sox, and they won it. Here’s our instant reaction:

  • The Nate Eovaldi era has been fun and, on one unforgettable October night, it was much more than that. But it’s time to say goodbye. The 100 MPH heat is gone, he can’t stay healthy, and, while someone is going to give him a multi-year deal, it shouldn’t be the Sox. Give him the qualifying offer, take the draft pick, and send him on his way. Thanks for a job well done, Nate, we’ll see you back here for the reunion in 2028.
  • Ditto for J.D. Martinez, a free agent signing who came in and did exactly what he was brought in to do, but who will probably not be remembered as fondly as he should. Whether it was due to his somewhat standoffish personality, or because DHs have to be really special to become fan favorites, Boston never quite warmed to J.D. ,despite his talent. But it was good to see him hit one more big home run before he rides off. Maybe don’t give him the qualifying offer, though – too much of a risk that he’d take it.
  • So, is anyone still worried about Triston Casas? He reached base three times again today (his third straight game doing so), put his first dent in the Monster, and, even with all the grounders and bad BABIP luck, is carrying an OPS over .800. He even got another hit off a lefty today –sure, it was a seeing-eye single hit softly enough that you could cuddle up with it on the couch, but still.
  • It seems pretty clear to me that Zack Kelly has earned a spot in next year’s bullpen (and it also seems pretty clear that he should’ve been up here much sooner). He’s now made five straight appearances without allowing a run, and was robbed of a 1-2-3 inning today by Christian Arroyo error.
  • I’m still not sure how much we need to worry about the Orioles next year. Sure, Rutschman and Gunnar are scary, but the pitching isn’t there yet, and with the Angelos family’s ongoing legal troubles, I’m not certain the organization is in a good place. But they’ve got plenty room to add payroll and have been talking about being players in free agency. Will they go after one of the big arms?

Here’s how WPA saw it (FanGraphs Link)

Three Stars:

(1) J.D. Martinez (.251 WPA). 2-4, HR, 2 RBI

(2) Triston Casas (.171 WPA). 2-3, 1 BB, 1 RBI

(2) Zack Kelly (.110 WPA). 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K

Three Duds:

(1) Tommy Pham (-.110 WPA). 0-4

(2) Matt Strahm (-.098 WPA). 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 1 K

(3) Rafael Devers (-.078 WPA) 0-4, K

WPA Play Of The Game: This one’s obvious, isn’t it? With the score knotted at 3 in the 8th, J.D. Martinez homered off Dillon Tate to give the Sox a two-run lead they would not relinquish. (.320 WPA).