How quickly things can change. After getting dominated by the Baltimore Orioles to open the season, the Boston Red Sox completely flipped the script, and swept the Tampa Bay Rays out of Boston. After looking hapless for most of their opening series, the Red Sox found their footing this time around, and ended up sandwiching their most exciting game of the season so far with two blowout victories. It was a great series for the team, especially after how poorly they started the season, and provides them with something they can build off of for the rest of the season.
The Sox kicked off the series by mopping the Rays, with the final score being 11-2. It was a great sight to see the team tee off on the Rays after struggling so much against the Baltimore Orioles, and they dominated in all aspects of the game. Aside from Rafael Devers, every starter recorded atleast one hit, with J.D. Martinez (1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) and Xander Bogaerts (4 H, 1 RBI, 1 R) in particular having huge games. Nick Pivetta picked up the win, going the 5 inning minimum while only giving up two hits. Pivetta did struggle with his control at times, administering four walks in the outing, but was otherwise really solid. The bullpen didn’t allow the Rays back into the game, and aside from Darwinzon Hernandez, everyone did a solid job when they were called upon. It was a really good way to open the series for the Sox after getting run up on by the Orioles.
That would set the stage for Tuesday night’s extra innings victory. Despite being only six games into the season, this game will easily go down as one of the most entertaining games of the season for the Sox. Rays ace Tyler Glasnow shut down the Sox lineup for most of his outing, while Martin Perez did a solid job of keeping Boston in the game for the most part. The score was set at 3-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth, until Christian Vazquez opened the inning with a moonshot over the monster to tie up the game and send it to extra innings.
After a scoreless tenth inning, both teams scored in the eleventh, with Willy Adames leading off the Rays side of the inning with an RBI double, and Rafael Devers leading off the Red Sox side of the inning with an RBI single. The Rays would score again on a fielders choice in the 12th inning, and it seemed like the Sox were set to take a hard luck loss with Alex Verdugo down to his final strike with two outs. in the inning But Rays reliever Ryan Thompson proceeded to hit Verdugo, and then fired a wild pitch to put two runners in scoring position with J.D. Martinez up to bat. The Rays opted to not walk Martinez with first base open, and he made them pay with a two-run double to win the game for Boston. Right fielder Randy Arozarena never really got a beat on the ball, and couldn’t find a way to make a game saving catch.
And less than 24 hours later, the Sox finished the sweep with a 9-2 blowout this afternoon. The Rays absolutely fell apart in the 5th inning, making numerous mistakes on defense, and allowed the Red Sox to score six runs in the frame, effectively putting the game to bed in the process. It was Martinez and Vazquez leading the way again offensively, as Vazquez hit a two run homer in the fourth inning to give Boston a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, and Martinez had a two run double in the fifth that helped break the game open. Nathan Eovoldi picked up his first win on the season, as he cruised through seven innings of work, giving up only one run and striking out seven.
It was great to see the Sox bounce back after their miserable season opening sweep, and they quickly got rid of that sour taste by dominating the Rays over the course of this three game set. The bats finally started to wake up offensively, the starters continued to pitch some solid games, and the bullpen was able to hold the leads that were given to them. This is what Red Sox fans were expecting would happen in their season opening series with the Orioles, but it turns out they were just waiting for the Rays to come to town to start playing baseball.
After going 3-3 on the opening homestand, the Sox will hit the road for the next week, kicking things off with another three game series against the Orioles. It’s a chance for some early revenge for Boston after how they opened the season, and after seeing how this series against the Rays went, it’s reasonable to expect the Sox to take at least 2 out of the three contests coming up. However, that’s what was expected of them in the opening series, so the Sox are going to have to keep up their recent play if they want to pick up some wins over the Orioles.
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