Game 50: Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays (May 24, 2018)

I suppose it was too much to ask for a sweep, especially given how tough the Rays have played the Sox all season. I was coaching my son's travel team last night so I didn't get a chance to turn the game on until about halfway through and by that time I wish I hadn't.

With Rick Porcello on the mound, it seemed that the Sox would have a great chance at the sweep as he was 6-1 heading into the game and apart from one bad outing had pitched great all season. Sadly, it wasn't his night as he was tagged for six runs in only 3.2 innings of work. Granted the errors behind him didn't help his cause, but he only struck out two and walked two while giving up eight hits...that's not going to cut it regardless of who you're facing. The bullpen actually held down the fort and held the Rays scoreless the rest of the way, but by then the damage was done and it was too much for the Sox to overcome. The Rays got on the board in the first on a Sandy Leon catching error at home to make it 1-0 which was followed by a sacrifice fly by Brad Miller to make it 2-0. Surprisingly, it was a throwing error by Mookie Betts that let in the next three runs on a routine single (!) in the second. That one play cost the Sox dearly by quickly jumping the lead from two runs to five. Matt Duffy drove in another run in the fourth to make it 6-0 Rays and that was all the offense they'd need in this one. It wasn't until the top of the seventh when Rafael Devers drove in Eduardo Nunez that the Red Sox finally got in the scoring column. They'd add a couple more in the ninth off a Mitch Moreland solo home run and an RBI double by Devers to again drive in Nunez, but it was too little too late as the Sox went down to the Rays 6-3. With the Yankees idle, the Sox only lost a half game in the standings and are still a game ahead in first place.

This was just an ugly game all around for the Sox with the errors and the offense non-existent until the end (the Rays outhit them 12-7). Nunez and Leon each went 2-4 and Moreland continued to stay hot, but otherwise it was a quiet night for the bats and it cost them, epsecially on a night when Porcello wasn't sharp and the defense was shaky. Still, taking two of three from the Rays on the road is good and sets the Sox up nicely heading into the next series at home against the surprising Atlanta Braves (have I mentioned how much I hate interleague play?). With this tough stretch of games against the Braves, Blue Jays, and Astros it'll be a good test to see how they respond against better competition.