Good, confident baseball teams don’t let losing streaks get to them. The Boston Red Sox lost 10 consecutive games, but with a 7-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays which included a great pitching performance from Rubby De La Rossa and some big hitting from Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr., it seems like they’re back on the right track, winning for the sixth consecutive time.
The bad blood from the Friday game was still in the air, but if it affected anyone, the Rays probably were that team. David Price wasn’t on the mound, Jake Odorizzi was, putting on another awful road-game performance. He is 1-4 this season with a +7 ERA when playing away from home, lasting less than four innings before being taken out for Cesar Ramos. Odorizzi finished with six strikeouts, but he also gave up six hits and five runs.
The pitching was completely different for the Red Sox, as De La Rosa got his first start and first win of the season. He pitched for seven innings and gave up only four hits, striking out eight batters in the process. When the Rays finally got on the scoreboard it was in the 8th inning, when Kevin Kiermaier scored and inside-the-park home run, and the Red Sox lead was cut from seven to six. Alex Wilson was pitching by then.
Maybe there was no carry over from the previous night in terms of actual violence on the field, but David Ortiz didn’t seem completely focus at the plate, finishing with 0-for-4. His biggest contribution was probably calming down De La Rosa, as the 25-year old pitcher later said that Ortiz spoke to him before his start and kept him focused and calm despite all the noise in the background.
Both Holt and Bradley Jr. hit two-run homers. Holt was first, hitting his first of the season, helping Jonathan Herrera score as the Sox took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. The Red Sox were creative in their scoring after that with a sacrifice fly from Matt Carp, a bunt from Herrera and a single from A.J. Pierzynski advancing them nicely towards the victory before Bradley Jr. connected to go deep for the first time this season, also on a two-run homer.
Right now, this is the big bad rivalry in the AL East. The Red Sox are surging towards .500 again, improving to 26-29 and looking like a completely different team compared to the one from a little more than a week ago, with the hitting and pitching looking confident, almost as good as the one from last year that had a very happy ending in October. The Rays? A sinking ship might be too harsh in early June, but a 23-33, things aren’t looking that great.
No pregame warnings. We met with the umpiring crew before the game, just had a chance to talk about a couple of things. That was it. He showed four pitches for strikes. Given the environment, given what we went through last night, he was outstanding.