That is how you get it done. After blowing a four run lead in the eighth inning on Thursday, David Price and the Red Sox made sure not to let that happen tonight.
Making his first regular season start since July of last season, David Price got the nod against his former team in the Tampa Bay Rays for the second game of this series. Tropicana Field is a place Price has owned in the past, and that was evident tonight. The lefty tossed seven scoreless innings, scattering four hits and striking out five along the way. The most impressive part of Price’s night? No walks, and that made things decently simple. To complete those seven innings, Price only needed 76 total pitches, 55 of which he threw for strikes. He very easily could have gone back out for the eighth inning, but I respect the approach new manager Alex Cora has had with his rotation so far. Save your top starters for later in the season, preserve them as much as possible now. Speaking of the rotation, Chris Sale and David Price have combined to pitch 13 total innings without giving up a single run. The best part about that is the fact that the Red Sox bullpen didn’t implode for Price like it did for Sale.
Matt Barnes got the call for the start of the eighth inning. Appearing in his second game in two days, Barnes pitched another scoreless inning while walking one and striking out another. That made way for the return of Craig Kimbrel, the 2017 American League Reliever of the Year. In his 2018 debut, Kimbrel was lights out. He struck out all three batters he saw, needing only 15 pitches to notch his first save of the season.
Offensively, the Red Sox couldn’t do much against Blake Snell and the Rays bullpen, but luckily, they didn’t need to. It wasn’t until the top of the seventh when they scored their first and only run of the game. After a Xander Bogaerts leadoff double, Rafael Devers followed that up by driving in his third run of the season on a single to center off of Rays reliever Jose Alvarado. That was it for scoring, still some positives to take away though. Like how Xander Bogaerts has hit four doubles in two games and has a 1.750 OPS. Hanley Ramirez also picked up his first two hits of the season tonight. Still waiting for JD Martinez to hit a home run or something, he’s 0-for-6, but I can wait a little longer.
These two teams face off again tomorrow night at 6:10 PM. Rick Porcello gets the ball for the Red Sox while the Rays have yet to name a starter.