Coming off an opening series win in Miami, the Rays ran into a brick wall in Boston as the Red Sox, who were swept by the Baltimore Orioles in their opening series, swept Tampa Bay.
On Monday, the Rays were blown out, 11-2. Nick Pivetta looked sharp for Boston giving up two hits in five shutout innings. Off-season acquisition Michael Wacha was hit around in his first start for the Rays, giving up four earned runs, eight hits, and walking two in five innings.
J.D. Martinez, arguably the best player from both teams during this series, was two for three, including a three run home run off of the pesky pole and he worked two walks. Xander Bogaerts continued his dominance against the Rays with a four for five and one RBI performance.
One bright spot in this game is that Randy Arozarena made a catch that is an early favorite for catch of the year.
In the middle game of the series, the Rays looked like they had the game won – and then they did not. Tampa Bay lost 6-5 in twelve innings even though Rays’ ace Tyler Glasnow silenced the Sox bats in his six innings. Glasnow gave up one run, four hits, and he had nine punch outs. Manuel Margot had a clutch bases loaded single in the third to give the Rays a 2-1 lead.
After a Joey Wendle RBI single, the Rays seemingly had the game won. Boston entered the bottom of the eighth inning down 3-1.
Pete Fairbanks, a dominant reliever for the Rays, gave up back to back doubles and the lead shrunk to 3-2. Fairbanks was able to get a strikeout of Bogaerts and then a liner to center that doubled off the runner at second to get out of the inning.
Boston entered the ninth down 3-2, and on an 0-2 sinker, Christian Vazquez tied the game off of Diego Castillo. Going into extra innings, the Rays and Sox were both held scoreless in the 10th inning, after Andrew Kittredge was able to strand two Boston runners in scoring position.
Willy Adames led off the 11th with an RBI double (the rule stating that each team starts off with a runner on second carried over from the 2020 season), and despite Adames being on third with less than two outs, wasn’t able to get home.
Boston took advantage of that as Rafael Devers lead off the bottom of the 11th with a game tying single against Jeffrey Springs. Springs and Ryan Thompson were able to get the Rays to the 12th inning.
The Rays were able to take back the lead as Mike Zunino moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on an Arozarena groundout. Tampa Bay took a 5-4 lead to the bottom of the 12th.
Thompson was able to get the first two outs quickly, but then hit Alex Verdugo on an 0-2 fastball. J.D. Martinez then continued his success in this series with a walk off double on a ball that Arozarena arguably should have caught, and Boston took the second game of the series at a 6-5 final.
This loss is a loss that Rays fans have not experienced in a while, according to Rays’ Beat Writer Marc Topkin.
In the series finale, a matinee featured as the “Game of the Week” on YouTube, the Sox dismantled the Rays once again by a score of 9-2. Former Rays starter Nathan Eovaldi pitched a gem as he threw seven, one run innings while giving up only three hits.
Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, however, struggled after pitching well against Miami last weekend. He gave up six earned runs on Wednesday and nine hits in five innings of work. Boston ended up scoring nine runs while he was on the mound thanks in part to an errant Willy Adames throw in their six-run fifth inning
Bogaerts was masterful once again, going three for three with an RBI and Martinez continued his hot start to the season with a one for four and three RBIs performance. Vazquez added two hits and three RBIs. That trio, offensively, dominated the Rays this series and looked better than the nine hitters in the Rays’ lineup.
The Red Sox will aim for redemption as they face the Orioles in a three game series this upcoming weekend and the Rays will try to bounce back against another AL East foe and new rival, the New York Yankees.
Star center fielder Kevin Kiermaier came up limping trying to beat out a double play in the first game of the series vs. the Red Sox. On Tuesday, he landed on the 10 day IL as he re-aggravated his left quad which gave him issues in spring training.
Kiermaier said he is expected to miss two or three weeks and Kevin Padlo was called up in Kiermaier’s place. Padlo made his MLB debut in game two of the Boston series and he went 0-2 with a strikeout.