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Red Sox 11, Cubs 5: Masa Mashes, Red Sox Clinch Series vs. Cubs

He wasted no time starting another multi-hit game streak!

Boston Red Sox v Chicago Cubs Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Man. Is Masataka Yoshida fun to watch, or what?

Let’s set the scene. It’s the top of the fifth inning. Even with a Rafael Devers solo HR in the first, the game has been sleepy for the most part. Pitching reigns. Devers gets thrown out at home in the fourth, keeping it a 1-0 ballgame. The fifth inning arrives. A leadoff double from Connor Wong and singles from Yu Chang and Rob Refsnyder double Boston’s lead. Justin Turner rips a single of his own, it’s now bases loaded, no outs. Devers strikes out. Duvall pops out into foul ground on the third-base side. You’re at massive risk of squandering a great chance to blow this game wide open. The 2022 Red Sox would have walked away from the frame with no more damage done. Heck, some versions of the 2023 Red Sox would have done the same. Not the hot version of the month of July. Not Masataka Yoshida. A 110.1 mph ROCKET ricochets off the lower LED ribbon and into the basket in right field. 6-0. No need to look back from there.

What Yoshida continues to do this season is truly Rookie of the Year worthy, even if he doesn’t want to be considered a rookie due to his age. Batting .317/.381/.502/.883 is obscene. Aside from slugging—which is second on the team to Devers—those slash lines lead in every other category. He’s third on the team in RBI and tied for first in total hits with Justin Turner. A strikeout rate in the 98th percentile of all of baseball and a whiff percentage in the 91st percentile. It’s not always power hitter Macho Man Masa, but what he does to get on base every game, multiple times a game is something the team can continue to build around. It’s not just that he gets on, it’s how consistently it happens. He would go on in Sunday’s matinee to hit a two-run triple in the seventh, scoring on a wild pitch, and a single in the ninth. 3-for-5, 6 RBI, 2 runs scored, and yeah, 1 K. Not a bad day’s work, right?

The Sox themselves continued to pour it on too, with huge credit going to Triston Casas delivering a pinch-hit two-run shot. He’s homered in all three games at Wrigley Field. We see more and more every month Casas is coming out of his shell and flashing his promise of being a power-hitting first baseman.

Last season, the Red Sox went to Wrigley before the All-Star break at the beginning of July and it completely derailed the rest of the 2022 campaign. Losing two of three, they skidded like roadkill to the break and never recovered. It’s the reverse in 2023. After heading into the break on a hot streak, the Red Sox would take two of three and set themselves up for a very interesting few weeks heading into the trade deadline.

Just never use Jake Faria again, OK?

The WPA chart of Red Sox-Cubs on 7/16/2023
Yoshi’s grand slam gave the Cubs absolutely no chance in this one.

Three Studs

Kutter Crawford (.260 WPA, 6.0 IP, 1 H, 4 BB, 9 K)

For all the Yoshida love, Crawford was also excellent today. With how decimated the rotation is, tossing six frames of one-hit, shutout ball took so much pressure off of everyone. The lineup to pour on runs, the bullpen to have leeway, and other starters not to have a taxed bullpen to work with in case you’re the arm with the off day. Big kudos, Kutt.

Masataka Yoshida (.126 WPA, 3-for-5, 2 runs scored, 6 RBI, 1 K)

There’s not much more I can say about Yoshi, he’s such a lynchpin to this squad.

Rafael Devers (.119 WPA, 2-for-4, 2 runs scored, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K)

Another day, another Devers homer. He continues to drive in runs, even if by his own standards, his other batting metrics aren’t exactly where he wants them to be.

Three Duds

Jake Faria (.001 WPA, 2.0 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K)

I normally go by who has the worst WPA here, but for today’s purposes, I’m happy to make an exception. I don’t care that they were all garbage time runs. Fire Jake Faria into the sun. I never want to see him on the mound in a Red Sox uniform again. That was brutal.

Jorge Alfaro (-.057 WPA, 2-for-5, 1 K)

Some late hits salvage Alfaro, but then again, everyone was quiet early on.

Christian Arroyo (-.057, WPA, 0-for-5, 1 K)

Sometimes it’s just not your day, and it just wasn't Arroyo’s.

Play of the Game

C’mon. There’s no doubt what it is. A game-busting grand slam by Masataka Yoshida in the fifth inning clearly takes the cake, with a WPA of .187.


Who was the Red Sox’s Player of the Game in their 11-5 win over the Cubs on 7/16?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Masataka Yoshida
    (195 votes)
  • 30%
    Kutter Crawford
    (84 votes)
  • 0%
    Rafael Devers
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Other (answer in the comments below)
    (0 votes)
280 votes total Vote Now