Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox was about mistakes and making the most of them, which went very well for the Red Sox, completing a 12-2 rout, getting a very strong performance from Jon Lester on the mound while Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were busy bringing runners home.
The Red Sox scored 8 runs in the fourth and fifth inning combined to break away and seal the game after the Rays actually were 2-0 before the slide began. Matt Moore completely lost a handle of things, finishing the game after 4.1 innings with 7 earned runs and giving up 8 hits. Almost every hit became a run because the Rays made too many mistakes, even if they don’t show up as errors.
There was the miscommunication between players as balls fell between them. There was a third strike being dropped by the catcher and a case of a pitcher being too slow to cover first for what should have been an easy out. The Red Sox were hitting quite well on the day (14-of-38), but Tampa Bay gave them all the help they needed in order to go 1-0 up.
We’ve been playing very well. We’ve not been making any mistakes. We made a bunch tonight. But I’ve also learned one other thing regarding baseball: 24 hours can make a huge difference. That’s just one game, baby. That’s just one. We’ll be back tomorrow, I promise you. We’ll be ready to play. We will not be affected mentally by tonight’s game.
And as unique as the Ray’s mistakes were, the Red Sox hitting was rare on an all-time level.
They were 8-for-17 with runners in scoring positions, The only other time the Red Sox had more hits with RISP in a postseason game was in Game 4 of 1999 ALDS vs Indians. Another unique feature of the win was not having to score home runs, making it the most they’ve ever scored without a homer. They are the first team with at least 12 runs without hitting a home run in a postseason game since the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series against the Yankees.
The most impressive feat was having all nine lineup players finish with at least one hit and one run, something that hasn’t happened since the 1930’s, and is only the third time in postseason history. Teams have made it happen recently with nine players, but for almost 80 years, not all nine starters.
You play 162 games, a lot of innings, a lot of pitches, a lot of runs. One thing you can guarantee in the playoffs is you’re going to see something you haven’t seen all year. No longer it’s the best team, it’s the hottest team. And we obviously know Tampa is coming in hot, coming in on a roll. So it took a couple of innings to break the ice, but once Petey got that hit up the middle, I think that took a lot of questions out.