It was a weekend full of festivities at Fenway Park as the Rays battled the Red Sox in a four-game set.
After an eventful evening at Fenway on Friday night, Chris Sale and Jake Odorizzi took the mound on Saturday afternoon – Jackie Robinson Day. Each year, on this day, every player from every team honors the former Dodgers second baseman by wearing his jersey No. 42.
Unfortunately for the Rays, Odorizzi departed early with a hamstring injury.
Jake Odorizzi exited today’s game with left hamstring tightness.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 15, 2017
Odorizzi spoke about some slight bruising that he had on the leg courtesy of a Jose Bautista hit last Sunday.
“There was no indication there was going to be something…I just felt it grab me a little bit, almost like an over- stretched muscle. Nothing pulling, no sharper pain. A surprising grab, more shocking than anything.”
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Erasmo Ramirez came on and pitched well. Entering the game in the second inning. Ramirez made one costly mistake – the first pitch he threw. Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland has been swinging a scorching-hot bat lately – he leads the league in doubles (9), sits fourth, among qualifiers, in the AL in batting average (.365), and fifth in OPS (1.065).
Moreland took the first pitch he saw from Odorizzi’s replacement and belted his first home run of the season.
With a guy like Sale on the mound, sometimes that’s all the help you need. He was dominant through seven innings. Just when it looked like he was going to receive a no-decision for his efforts, Sale was rewarded. Rays reliever Tommy Hunter got into trouble in the seventh by allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning. He was then on the hook for the loss when Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon gave the Sox the lead with an RBI-groundout.
Leading by a score of 2-1, the Red Sox turned it over to Craig Kimbrel in the ninth. The Sox closer picked up his fourth save of the season.
The story here was the early struggles of the starting pitchers. After watching Drew Pomeranz give up three runs, Alex Cobb took the mound for the Rays and surrendered two of his own.
Continuing his hot streak, Moreland’s second hit of the afternoon plated Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts. The Red Sox held a 6-5 advantage after seven innings.
Benintendi and Betts were joined by catcher Christian Vazquez in the three-hit department. Boston out-hit the Tampa Bay 17-7 on the day.
In relief of Pomeranz, who managed 10 strikeouts in 4.1IP, Joe Kelly followed with 2.2 innings pitched, allowing just one hit. Once again, it was Kimbrel who shut the door on the Rays to pick up his league-leading fifth save of he season. Kelly picked up the win – Danny Farquhar was saddled with the loss.
For the fourth time in eight years, the Rays and Red Sox squared-off on Patriots Day. Also referred to as Marathon Monday in Boston. The last time these two teams faced each other on this state-holiday was 2013. We all remember what happened on that tragic afternoon.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 17, 2017
Blake Snell was excited to start for the first time at Fenway Park, especially with the Boston Marathon taking place just a few blocks away…
“Being able to pitch tomorrow, knowing that it’s going on, is also going to be something that I’m excited for as well.”
Third baseman Evan Longoria, who homered in this game four years ago, enjoys the uniqueness of this day…
“It’s just a cool day overall, you can kind of feel the energy in the city when you wake up…really the only game you’ll ever play that early, and there’s only one a year. It’s a cool experience. The people are excited. They’re out there drinking at 8 o’clock in the morning, so it always tends to be a pretty rowdy crowd.”
Not How You Draw it Up
Snell has gone five innings or fewer in six of his last seven starts. BradMiller was much to blame for Snell’s elevated pitch count on Monday.
The Rays got to Red Sox starter StevenWright for two first-inning runs. Just as they did in Sunday’s contest, each team scored in the opening frame. Snell took the mound in the second inning with a 2-1 lead. He struck out the first two batters of the inning before allowing a base-hit to Leon.
With two outs and the number-nine hitter MarcoHernandez at bat, Miller committed a crucial error on a routine flip from TimBeckham. A walk and two singles later, the Rays went from a 2-1 lead to a 4-2 deficit. Snell threw 64 pitches (24 after the Miller error) through two innings.
Despite the lofty pitch count and early struggles, Snell did a nice job of keeping the game close and eating up additional innings.
Give #Rays Snell credit for getting thru 5th in just 13 pitches
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 17, 2017
Wright departed with zero outs in the seventh inning after allowing a lead-off single to Beckham. The Rays shortstop would come around to score, cutting the deficit to one.
Once again, the Fenway-faithful relied on the services of Kimbrel to preserve the series-win. Kimbrel saved all three Sox victories and now leads the AL with six saves.
What We Learned
- Craig Kimbrel is filthy: Three saves in three days
- Death by 1,000 cuts: Red Sox 46 hits in the series but just two home runs
- Road struggles: Rays, one win during seven-game trip. Lost 4 games when tied or leading after four innings
- Chris Archer is showing that 2016 was a fluke: 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA and 18 K over 20.1 innings
On Tuesday, the Rays host the Detroit Tigers for a three-game set. Justin Verlander is not scheduled to pitch in the series. This will be the first time former-Rays outfielder Mickie Mahtook enters Tropicana Field as a visitor.
Michael Fulmer (1-0; 2.25) and Matt Andriese (0-0; 4.50) are scheduled for the 7:10 pm game.
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