A few moments before Rafael Devers hit his first of two home runs tonight, I saw my first firefly of the summer. I don’t know why it took so long to see one this year. I recently moved to a relatively leafy neighborhood, and yet I see fewer fireflies here than I did in the tiny yard of my old triple decker in the city. My theory is that there is too much greenery around here; the fireflies have plenty of places to hide and don’t need to crowd around my back patio. I don’t know if this theory makes sense. I don’t know anything about fireflies.
Four innings later, a minute or two after Cody Bellinger sent a poorly located Brayan Bello fastball the other way for his second bomb of the night, I heard a firework explode from somewhere on the other side of the train tracks. It’s possible that the firework was launched by a particularly enthusiastic Cody Bellinger fan, but I’m guessing it was just a leftover from a Fourth of July barbecue. It happens.
The Thursday of the All-Star break is the one of the worst days of the summer. Four days without Red Sox baseball doesn’t sound like a lot; it shouldn’t be that hard to endure. But the thing about baseball is that, from April through October, it’s not just something that keeps you entertained, it’s something that lends rhythm to your daily life. And so there’s something uncanny about that Thursday night, something that makes you feel unmoored when you turn on the TV and — for the second night in a row and for the first time since the trees were bare — there’s no baseball.
But ultimately, it’s a good thing that the last day of the All-Star break is so awful. That’s what makes the next day — today — so wonderful. Tonight’s game wasn’t perfect for the Sox. Justin Turner had a few shaky moments playing second base, which he shouldn’t need to do in the first place. And Tayler Scott’s control issues turned an easy win into an ugly easy win in the ninth. But on my back patio, it was pretty close to a perfect night.
It’s summer time. There are fireflies and fireworks in the air. And the Red Sox won on the strength of six homers and a solid start by a budding star. The world is pretty great sometimes.
Rafael Devers: 3-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI
I don’t think we’re ever going to be able to explain Devers’ weird first half. He wasn’t injured, he wasn’t doing anything differently, and he wasn’t even bad. He was just . . . weird. But with two home runs tonight, the second of which damaged the structural integrity of the right field scoreboard, I think we’re on the cusp of mostly forgetting about it.
Triston Casas: 2-4, HR, RBI
Casas’s first half wasn't all that weird, if you think about it. In some ways, it was maybe exactly what we should expect from rookies. He was really bad in April; he was better in May; and he was legitimately good in June, with an OPS of .851. Where does he go from here?
Brayan Bello: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 HR, 5 K, 0 BB
It wasn’t an outstanding Bello start. He missed some spots inside the zone and the Cubs made plenty of contact. But he didn’t walk anyone, he was efficient with his pitches, and he probably could have gone another inning if they had needed it.
You know what? I’m not in the mood for duds tonight. Consider yourselves spared, Connor Wong (0-4, 2 K, E) and Tayler Scott (.2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB).
Play Of The Game
By WPA, the most important play of the game was Justin Turner’s two-run homer in the seventh. That sounds about right to me. It was only a two-run game at that point and Bello had just allowed a homer in his sixth inning of work. Turner’s bomb turned what might have been a tense final few innings into a relatively comfortable win.
Who was the player of the game?
This poll is closed
Kenley Jansen, for saving us from an extremely annoying rain delay with two outs in the ninth.