After a disappointing loss on Friday night, the Red Sox needed to bounce back to avoid falling to .500. Two southpaws, Chris Sale and Blake Snell, took the mound for their respective teams Saturday afternoon. With this game getting moved up six hours because of incoming rain, I was interested to see if Sale would be affected by it. I really don’t think that was an issue for him though, as he was relatively dominant for most of his start. He only allowed two hits, and those two hits really cost him, as they were both home runs, the first being a solo shot, and the next being a two-run shot. Other than those two hits, Sale was never in any danger, only allowing two other base runners on two walks. Seven straight starts with at least 10 K’s puts Sale in some rare air. Despite his ERA rising over 2 for the first time this season, there’s no doubt he is the workhorse of this rotation. Sale’s day was done after seven, and Joe Kelly would go on to pitch a shutout eighth, consistently reaching 100 MPH on his fastballs. Craig Kimbrel would come in to finish the Rays in the top of the ninth, and that’s what he did. Another shutout inning with two K’s puts Kimbrel’s WHIP at 0.48 and his K/9 at 17.81. We could be witnessing the eliteness Kimbrel had while a member of the Atlanta Braves, which is what this bullpen and team needs.
Scoring wise, this game had a back and forth feel to it in the middle innings. The Rays scored once in the second. The Red Sox would answer back shortly after though, with Mookie Betts blasting his sixth home run of the season, scoring himself along with Sandy Leon, which gave the Red Sox the lead. The Rays would take the lead back in the fifth, scoring twice, but would only have it for a brief period of time. In the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox would take the lead and wouldn’t look back. Deven Marrero would get the scoring started by driving in Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley on a big double that nearly went over the Monster. Marrero would then score himself, with Mookie Betts driving him in on an RBI double. After Dustin Pedroia moved Betts to third on a sac bunt, Xander Bogaerts would drive him in on an RBI ground out.
It would seem that Chris Sale is finally getting run support from his teammates. In his last 13 IP, the Red Sox offense has scored 12 runs over that span. Hopefully, the lack of run support Sale had is an issue this team can put behind them. Also, shout out to Deven Marrero, made a couple of great plays at third today while also driving in a couple of important runs.