Game 2: Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays (March 30, 2018)

I missed the first few innings of the game because I was coaching my son's travel baseball team tonight. Yesterday's loss still sticks in my craw...not so much the loss itself, but how the Sox lost. The middle relief has been the biggest weakness (really, the only serious weakness) of the Boston pitching staff for at least the last few years, yet ownership and GM Dave Dombrowski have willfully ignored it. Hopefully it can improve or they can make some trades or call-ups during the season because if Joe Kelly and Carson Smith are going to pitch like they did yesterday, this is going to be a VERY long season.

Back to the game, I got home from coaching to pick it up in the third inning. David Price pitched a fantastic game, going seven strong innings. The Red Sox offense still looks anemic to me, although they did get a nice RBI from rookie Rafael Devers which turned out to be the difference. There was a bit of a scare when Eduardo Nunez slid head first into first base to beat out a chopper and appeared to hurt his knee. He ended up being okay and stayed in the game, but it reminds me how much I hate seeing guys slide into usually doesn't end well. Matt Barnes pitched a clean eighth inning (effective middle relief...go figure) and Craig Kimbrel closed the game out in the ninth in dominating fashion, picking right up where he left off last season. 1-0, Red Sox. Alex Cora's first win as Red Sox manager and a great antidote to the bitter taste of yesterday's loss.

I know it's early days yet, but I'm concerned with the offense, in particular Jackie Bradley and JD Martinez. With Bradley, he's one of my favorite players and I love watching him play centerfield, but he's so damn streaky at the plate that it's maddening. He's either knocking the cover off of the ball or he's an automatic out...there seems to be no happy medium, so I hope he finds his stroke soon because he's looked bad at the plate thus far. Martinez? He's the new guy and still getting acclimated to the pressure cooker of playing in Boston, but for his sake I hope he starts hitting soon because otherwise, it could get very ugly in front of the home fans starting next week. We shall see with him.

A satisfying win, but now I'm wondering if it was wise to stay up since I have to wake up extra early tomorrow morning to take my oldest daughter to her travel softball tournament an hour away. At least the Sox weren't on the west coast!