Looks like someone fixed the Keurig in the Red Sox clubhouse.
After looking asleep for much of the last three games, including a brutal performance on Tuesday that featured just one hit over 10 innings, the Boston offense came alive Wednesday night, scoring three runs in the first inning as part of 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Rick Porcello continued to pitch well, albeit against a futile Tampa lineup, as the right-hander tossed seven innings, surrendering three runs on six hits while striking out nine.
The Red Sox wasted little time against Rays’ Ace and legitimate Cy-Young contender Chris Archer.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 21, 2016
Mookie Betts led off the first inning with a walk, followed by a base-hit from Dustin Pedroia. Xander Bogaerts brought Betts home with an RBI single, and David Ortiz cleared the bases with a double to left-center.
Betts cranked a two-run homer in the second inning, and additional RBIs from Ortiz and Chris Young gave Porcello all the offense he would need.
The win improves the Sox’ record to 7-7, as they’ll look win the final game of the series against the Rays tomorrow afternoon at 1:35 PM.
Boston will send David Price to the mound to face his former team, who will counter with Jake Odorizzi.
Betts — Mookie had been slumping coming into the game, but finished 2-for-3 to raise his average to .230. Betts had walked just once in 59 plate appearances, but registered two free-passes on Wednesday. He also made a couple of fine plays in right field that showed off his range.
Mookie Betts: The Rocket Show. pic.twitter.com/c23kmZHx0j
— Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) April 20, 2016
Porcello — Wednesday’s victory improved Porcello’s record to 3-0 on the season, as he continued to a better job of staying away from the middle of the plate against opposing hitters. He looks a lot more comfortable with Christian Vazquez as his catcher, and has been able to avoid the big innings that plagued him throughout last season. Porcello doesn’t have to pitch like an ace (though his contract suggests he should), but the Red Sox will be more than happy if these types of performances become the norm.
Ortiz — Boston has a deep, talented lineup, but their run production doesn’t come from too many sources, leaving Ortiz with a lot of responsibility. Big Papi finished the game 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs, giving him 13 on the season. It was also great to see him use the opposite side of the field in his first inning double off Archer.
Vazquez — Golden Sombrero! Pretty awful night at the dish for Vazquez. He finished 0-for-4 with four strike outs. He’s obviously earned his playing time with his elite defense, but performances like the one we saw on Wednesday illustrate what the team was sacrificing when they chose Vazquez in favor of Blake Swihart.
Fenway Crowd — I was at this game. While it’s noticeable on TV, seeing the empty seats after the seventh inning at Fenway is pretty glaring in person. I’m not sure if it’s the cold, the score, or fans just getting bored and wanting to get home on a work night, but it still blows my mind that people pay money for these tickets and refuse to get their money’s worth.
— Dakota Randall (@dakrandall) April 20, 2016
KEEP AN EYE ON
Bogaerts left the game with a “tight quad” in the fifth inning after scoring on Ortiz’s double. He was replaced in the order by Chris Young, and at shortstop by Brock Holt.
He’s officially listed as day-to-day, and Xander said after the game that he probably could play tomorrow. Still, with Joe Kelly likely on the DL for a while, and Carson Smith and Eduardo Rodriguez having been their all season, the Red Sox can ill afford to have these types of injuries start to mount up.