Pregame thoughts: It’s hard to call a game in early August a “must-win”, but tonight is as close as it gets. It’s a Friday night at Fenway against the struggling Alek Manoah. You’ve got ten games at home in the next ten days. Reinforcements are around the corner in the form of Trevor Story, Chris Sale, and Tanner Houck, If you go 7-3 over the next ten with at least two wins against the Blue Jays, you’re going to put yourself in a pretty good spot to push to the finish. This is as close to a playoff series in August as it gets. Let’s get it.
Do me a favor and pretend I never wrote that last paragraph. As the resident Over the Monster optimist, losing a “must-win” is bad for the brand. From the very first pitch of the game, the energy was sucked out of the stadium. Here’s all you need to know about James Paxton tonight.
He just didn’t have his best stuff tonight, as you can see a whole lot of stuff over the middle, and not a lot on the edges. Nobody can be perfect all of the time, but he picked a really bad time to put up a stinker.
On the other side of the ball, the offense didn’t show up either. Alek Manoah was on the mound for the Jays and still didn’t really have his best stuff. He commanded his slider much better than he has for most of this season, but his velocity was still down from what it’s been, and the Red Sox never really punished him. He made a few mistakes but they weren’t punished like they could have been. Tonight was a night where they really could’ve benefited from having Justin Turner and his ability to grind out at-bats.
All things considered, it’s a tough loss in a game that you really needed to win. Hopefully, they come out with some energy tomorrow and can take the next two.
Jarren Duran (3-4, HR, 2 RBI)
Jarren Duran continues to impress on a nightly basis. Even his flyout to right field was hit on the screws. He’s a freak! He’s the fastest kid alive!
Luis Urias (1-3, BB)
Welcome to Boston, Luis Urias. He showed off his great eye tonight in his first plate appearance and followed it up by fighting off a pitch the other way for a base hit. He did have a ground ball that he took his sweet time with which led to a base hit. I’ll give him a pass as it’s his first game back in the majors.
Joe Jacques (1.2 IP, K)
I guess if I’m forced to pick three studs, Jacques is one of them. He’ll probably never be a superstar, but he’s at least good enough to be part of the depth that’s kept the organization afloat among all the injuries. Although depth isn’t flashy, it is important.
Alex Verdugo (0-3, K, CS)
A bunch of weakly hit balls and ran into an out on the basepaths in the first inning. Not his night. Let’s hope he figures it out.
James Paxton (5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER)
The outing wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, but he wasn’t the pitcher we needed tonight. Absolutely nothing came easy for Paxton who battled through five innings.
You, The Viewer (2.5 Hours, 0 Enjoyment)
That’s right, I’m talking about you. If you sat through that entire game, you wasted about two and a half hours. After the first three minutes, the game felt like it was over. All in all, it was a waste of time. Can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.
Play of the Game
For a moment, we were back in the game thanks to Jarren Duran. That was a fun moment.