At the end of the day, it simply doesn’t look like the Tampa Bay Rays have quality pitching that’s enough to handle the non-stop offense the Boston Red Sox bring to the table this season and in this series, with game 2 highlighting the home run hitting ability of David Ortiz, helping his team take a 2-0 lead in the series.
David Price was the next Rays pitcher to be battered by the Red Sox, even though he lasted a lot longer, staying in the game for 7 innings, allowing nine hits and seven runs. Jake McGee who came on for him didn’t allow any runs, but the Rays’ offense produced too little and not late enough against John Lackey, while struggling against the other three relievers.
It was a big day for David Ortiz, hitting two home runs, both of them bringing in just himself, but it included a big one in the 8th, the Red Sox only score in the final three innings, giving them a 7-4 lead that seemed a bit too much for the Tampa Bay Rays to believe they can actually chase.
It was a special performance for Ortiz because of the lefty-vs-lefty issue. It was the first time that David Price allowed a left-handed batter to hit two home runs against him. He did once allow two home runs to lefties in one game, but it was split between two players (Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson). For Ortiz, it was only the second time with two home runs off a left-handed pitcher in a single game. The first time happened against Tommy Milone last year.
When he hits two home runs, things are going to revolve around him. He’s the main cog in our lineup.
It’s not surprising the Red Sox are doing so well in this series, hitting 11-for-33 in game 2, including a 3-for-4 performance from Jacoby Ellsbury, who stole base for the second consecutive game. The Red Sox have hit .352 as a team and outscored the Rays 19-6 in the first two games of the series; They scored a league-leading 853 runs this season, 57 more than the Detroit Tigers. According to Fan Graphs, they swung at only 28.2% of pitches outside the strike zone. Only the Rays and Indians swung at fewer.
Ortiz went homerless in 37 at-bats against Price before his two-homer explosion. There are very few things to do against such a well-balanced, deep and varied lineup. Allowing them to go deep against you is almost an immediate forfeit, and even if the Rays do hit better at home and especially wait to see what it does to the Red Sox hitting at the moment, it’s hard to see anything stopping Boston from moving on to the ALCS but their own players suddenly entering a slump all at once.