There were some big stories coming into this game. There’s Raffy hitting dingers. There are continued eyes on Bryce Harper, of course, who is freshly back from accelerated rehab for Tommy John surgery. Then there are the dueling banjoes of the Sox’ impressive 7-game win streak, mirrored on the other side by the Phillies’ 5-game losing streak, an albatross around their collective neck.
Well, the Sox blew it open in a five-run fourth inning and didn’t look back. Rob Refsnyder and Alex Verdugo got on base back-to-back (the first Sox baserunners of the night, in fact). Justin Turner walked to load the bases for Rafael Devers, who delivered by smacking a double that made it 2-1. Christian Arroyo hit a two-run single to make it 4-1.
The Sox offense knocked out Phillies starter Bailey Falter at this point, making it the 11th time this season they’ve made the opposing manager pick up the bullpen phone by the fourth inning. That’s the most in MLB, and remember we’ve only played 35 games. That’s kind of astounding. The Sox were relentless and this isn’t something I saw coming earlier in the season.
The Sox showed some nice defensive effort too. Verdugo made a valiant attempt at a ball in foul territory, though he wasn’t able to come up with it. Devers showed some fancy foot-and-glove work when he confidently snagged a ball that had been briskly put into play by J.T. Realmuto and threw him out at first.
In the fifth, Bryce Harper hit his first home run of the 2023 season, and this seems like a good time to mention that Masataka Yoshida is just about his biggest fan. (Jen McCaffrey has recently written about this in The Athletic.) Among other things, Yoshida named his dog after Harper and wanted to wear 34 in his honor, but of course, as long as he’s with the Sox, that number is taken in perpetuity. They were able to meet before the game and Harper delivered some gifts, including an NLCS-used bat. Yoshida, who was taking a scheduled night off, was visibly excited, calling the gifts his “treasures” and gang, I was VERKLEMPT.
In the top of the sixth, Refsnyder hit a long ball along the left field foul line, which was fair and drove in two more runs to make it 7-2.
Corey Kluber looked solid, giving up seven hits (the only one of real consequence was the home run to Harper) and got the win.
Trea Turner homered in the 7th to make it 7-4, but it didn’t feel like a meltdown in the making. And it wasn’t. This game was under control all night and that’s a great feeling.
In the eighth, Raimel Tapia stole a base, making the Sox 22-23 in stolen base attempts — the best in MLB. All in all, this was a great job. Let’s sleep well tonight, folks.
- Devers: 3-5, 2 RBI, nice defense
- Arroyo: 2-4, 2 RBI, 2R
- Jansen: save #8 of the season, 399 for his career, 0.84 ERA
This feels like nitpicking because a lot went right in this game and it was always within reach. But here we go:
He was pitched around once, 1 K, 1-4, 3 LOB.
0-5, ground into a DP. He had a tough job because he had the mic for a half-inning. I know I couldn’t multitask like that!
Old friend (and neighbor) Kyle Schwarber who is 0-20, including 0-5 tonight
Play of the Game
By WPA, it was Refsnyder’s long hit that stayed fair which was the final nail in the Phillies’ collective coffin tonight. But honestly, there were lots of little moments tonight to savor.
Player of the Game
This poll is closed