The saying goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If this doesn’t describe the Red Sox season so far to a T, I don’t know what does.
I came into this game with the expectation that Chris Sale would show more improvement on his last outing and prove he's still the ace of the staff. That the bats would wake up before the Rays would and the team could play with a lead rather than from behind. That everyone would stay healthy. That they could even field the best versions of themselves. Once again, it isn’t meant to be.
On the health aspect, that was shattered before the game even began. Masataka Yoshida was scratched with right hamstring tightness, forcing Bobby Dalbec to start at shortstop. The Rays countered with all right-handed lineup to target that weakness. They certainly made it count in the first inning. An error by Dalbec ing bobbling a ground ball from Wander Franco combined with another rough first from Chris Sale let Randy Arozarena flex on home plate after knocking a three-run shot. There goes playing ahead rather than from behind, and Sale looking any better than last time. Sale would end up giving up six runs total; just not looking comfortable all the way around.
On a more serious health note, we all hope the best for Zack Kelly, who came up immediately gripping his elbow after hitting Yandy Diaz. We all know what that can mean, but we hope it's not as serious as it looks.
Back to the frustration. The team then suddenly gives us hope, starting with Justin Turner racking up two hits and an RBI. Then some momentum with more RBIs from Kiké Hernandez and Alex Verdugo, even with Tampa Bay punching back. Then the big man, Rafael Devers, who had frustratingly struck out twice earlier in the game, going oppo-taco to bring the Sox within one. Chris Martin can’t hold the one-run lead, Boston can’t do anything in the ninth, and that’s your ballgame.
Alex Cora said postgame he didn't expect to be coaching his club out of sloppy baseball two weeks into the season. This is more than sloppy baseball at this point. This just feels like the expectation set for the season. Can they prove me wrong? Sure. I’d love for them to figure this out and get back on track. But for now, I’m happy to eat my words from the 2023 Red Sox predictions if it means they have to take a hard look at themselves and figure out what’s wrong. It’s not just sloppy, Alex; it’s uninspired. “We have to do a better job” is going to turn into w”e need someone better to do the job” faster than you know it.
Reese McGuire (0.088 WPA, 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 K)
I still think the Red Sox should give Jorge Alfaro a look simply because runners are stealing like mad off of Red Sox catching in general, but McGuire did a nice job at the plate this evening. You can’t do it all on your own, though.
Rafael Devers (0.069 WPA, 1-for-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 2 K)
A big home run certainly vaults his numbers in what would have probably ended up with him as one of the three duds otherwise.
Alex Verdugo (0.059 WPA, 2-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB)
Verdugo didn’t do anything egregious tonight and was a part of the early scoring to get the Red Sox’s heads in this game.
Chris Sale (-0.363 WPA, 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 6 R, 2 BB, 6 K)
Yeah, you’d figure Sale would top here. Another very frustrating start for the southpaw.
Triston Casas (-0.115 WPA, 0-for-4, 2 K)
There are always ups and downs in your first full MLB season, and Casas is certainly starting on a down. He hasn’t looked comfortable at the plate most of the season.
Yu Chang (-0.095 WPA, 0-for-3, 1 K)
A below-replacement level player for his career doing what a below-replacement level player does. Losing Duvall shattered any depth the lineup had, and it’s going to lead to performances like this.
Play of the Game
By all the game’s standards, it’s Randy Arozarena’s three-run shot off Chris Sale in the first with a WPA of 0.231.
Do your thing, Taj. This offense will handle the rest. pic.twitter.com/wKucqYYg6x— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 12, 2023
For net positive for the Red Sox with a WPA of 0.161, it’s Rafael Devers’ three-run shot in the top of the seventh.
Rafael Devers brings the Red Sox within a run of the undefeated Rays. pic.twitter.com/4RQDirPXkw— MLB (@MLB) April 13, 2023
Who was the Red Sox’s Player of the Game in their 9-7 loss to the Rays on 4/12/2023?
This poll is closed
Other (let us know in the comments!)