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.
Brayan Bello, Filthy Changeups. pic.twitter.com/9EFLOPd0ZO— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 4, 2023
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.
- Masataka Yoshida: .150, WPA, 3-5, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI
- Brayan Bello: .072 WPA, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 5 K, 1 BB
- Rafael Devers: .049 WPA, 3-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI
- Kiké Hernandez: -.031 WPA, 0-4, K
- Ryan Braiser: .001 WPA, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
- 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.
RAFAEL DEVERS WITH THE EXCLAMATION POINT!— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) May 5, 2023
2-RUN BLAST AND HIS 11TH HOMER OF THE SEASON!
RED SOX UP 11-4! pic.twitter.com/QZLa9x1JyH
Who was the Red Sox player of the game?
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