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Red Sox 11, Blue Jays 5: Statement Series

The Sox complete a mop of the Jays

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

We’re beginning in the top of the second inning. Matt Chapman, Brandon Belt, and Danny Jansen were due up for the visiting Toronto Blue Jays — not quite the heart of the Jays’ formidable order, but three solid players, two of whom have recent all-star appearances on their resumes.

And Brayan Bello needed just 14 pitches to strike them all out.

We’re starting here because it was at this moment you really could see just how the 2023 Red Sox could become genuine contenders. The Sox already had the lead at this point, thanks to a first inning homer by Masataka Yoshida, who is currently establishing himself as one of the best offensive performers in baseball. But as we all know by now, offense is not the Red Sox issue. They currently sit third in all of baseball in OPS and fifth in homers. The lineup has the juice.

Starting pitching, on the other hand — yikes. Red Sox starters have collectively been worse than all units outside of the Oakland A’s, who, for a number of reasons, just don’t count. Sustained success simply isn’t possible unless the starting pitching improves. So, when Bello pocketed that 1-0 lead, took the mound in the second, and shut down the Jays without a fight, it seemed to signify something. Here’s a kid who may possibly be the single most talented pitcher in the entire organization, but someone who is still trying to find his footing in big league baseball. And in a season when we’ve been waiting for someone to step up and show that he can be a consistent force on the mound, Bello stepped forward and volunteered.

Bello would go on to complete five innings, striking out five, walking just one, and giving up only two earned runs, one of which came via a Vlad Guerrero homer, which is something that, like a rainstorm, just happens from time to time and there’s nothing you can really do about it.

The offense, meanwhile, would keep chugging along. Devers broke out of his slump with three hits, including the 150th home run of his career (he missed the 151st by just a few inches). Four different players collected three hits on the night: Devers, Yoshida, Justin Turner and, (duh) Jarren Duran. And Triston Casas collected another hit, providing further hope that he might be turning the corner.

Despite a Devers error that allowed the Jays to plate three in the fifth, the game was never really in doubt. Brennan Bernardino and John Schreiber clamped down the middle innings, and by the time Ryan Brasier came in to Ryan Brasier the ninth, the game was out of reach.

The Sox completed the mop, and the Jays now head out of town with the knowledge that this isn't the same Red Sox team they so easily slapped around last year. Are they genuine contenders? It’s still too early to say that, but keep watching Brayan Bello to find out.

Three Studs

  1. Masataka Yoshida: .150, WPA, 3-5, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI
  2. Brayan Bello: .072 WPA, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 5 K, 1 BB
  3. Rafael Devers: .049 WPA, 3-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI

Three Duds

  1. Kiké Hernandez: -.031 WPA, 0-4, K
  2. Ryan Braiser: .001 WPA, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  3. That’s it! No one else! It was a two-dud night!

Play Of The Game

By WPA, it was Yoshida’s homer, which gave the Red Sox a first inning lead they would never relenquish. But let’s give it to Raffy for #150.


Who was the Red Sox player of the game?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Brayan Bello
    (82 votes)
  • 14%
    Rafael Devers
    (46 votes)
  • 55%
    Masataka Yoshida
    (172 votes)
  • 3%
    Jarren Duran
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Justin Turner
    (2 votes)
312 votes total Vote Now