Game 25: Tampa Bay Rays at Red Sox (April 27, 2018)

I finally had a night off this week: no practices or games to coach after work, just relaxing and visiting with my in-laws who are in town for a few days. We went out for an early dinner with then and when we got back, I was able sit on the couch and put the Sox game. I picked it up at the beginning of the third inning but unfortunately, by that point the Sox were already down 2-0. I saw Rob Refsnyder hit a solo home run to put the Rays up 3-0 and then Daniel Robertson hit another solo homer in the fourth to give Tampa a 4-0 lead. Drew Pomeranz looked awful tonight...he gave up three home runs (the two solo shots and a two-run homer in the first) and nibbled around the plate all night. He only slogged through five innings, striking out four and walking two and never looked sharp or comfortable. More ominously, toward the end of his final inning he seemed to grab his side in pain and rubbed it with a slight grimace. It's looking like he may not have a season like he did last year and I hope he can turn it around because this team needs him in the rotation. I'll be watching to see how the rest of the year pans out for him. 

The Red Sox were being no-hit by Rays starter Blake Snell into the fifth inning until Xander Bogaerts, back from his foot injury, slapped a single up the middle to break it up. The Sox finally got on the board in the sixth with a trio of triples from Christian Vazquez, Mookie Betts (driving Vazquez in) and JD Martinez (driving Mookie in). JD knocked another RBI in the eighth but it was too little, too late as the Red Sox dropped this opening game of their short home stand 4-3. It was a case of good pitching from Tampa and poor pitching from Pomeranz that put the Sox in a 4-0 hole they just couldn't dig out of. 

We got another bizarre lineup from Cora, too, with Benintendi sitting and JD playing left field, Tzu-Wei Lin at second, Eduardo Nunez at third, and Mitch Moreland at first. I still don't like seeing JD in the field...his defense is awful and I'd like to see Benintendi play not only for his glove but to get more at-bats so he can break out of his slump. I really hope the long-term plan is to install Martinez as the regular DH because it seems stupid to me to break up the best defensive outfield in the league when there are other ways to get his bat into the lineup.  I'm thinking (hoping) this is just a case of Cora tinkering early in the season until he settles on something that works. More immediately pressing, they need to figure out what to do with Pomeranz soon because if he's still hurt, they need to shut him down until he's back to full strength and get Velazquez back in the rotation. With the Yankees heating up and Toronto still lingering in the standings, this is not the time to start dropping games and letting those teams get closer to the division lead. I've got a full weekend of coaching travel baseball but I will be watching to see if the Sox can bounce back after this dud.