Late in Tuesday night’s game, Pat Light’s world started spinning quicker than his fastball. For a 6-foot-5 25-year-old whose best pitch can top out over 100 miles per hour, that’s pretty fast.
With the game in hand and a flurry of ninth-inning insurance runs being added to the scoreboard, the Boston Red Sox prospect started warming in the bullpen for his major league debut.
“It was awesome,” Light explained after the game on NESN. “From the moment they called down to get me ready, then, you know, finally going in and telling me it’s my ball. It’s unbelievable. I sped up there a little bit on the third batter, but I was happy I slowed down and ended up getting through it.”
In front of his family and a few friends, Light gave up hits to the first two batters he faced before walking the third on four straight balls to load the bases with no outs. It’s not exactly how most ballplayers dream of their first big league action. Fortunately for him, there was a calming presence to help Light: first baseman Hanley Ramirez.
“He came out and just said to calm down,” Light said, “take a deep breath, and then he talked some baseball with me and said ‘let’s go get ’em.'”
And go get ’em he did. Light induced three straight groundouts — though two runs scored in the process — to quickly retire the side and close out the game.
“Honestly the first two batters I felt good,” Light said. “Gave up a few hits, and then the third batter is really where the nerves started kicking in and things started speeding up for me. But after that I started slowing down, kind of knew what I was doing wrong and was able to get through from there.
“I’ve never been happier to give up two runs, which is weird. It was nice to get the first one out of the way.”
Let’s take a look at a few other notes from Tuesday’s 11-4 Red Sox win.
— Travis Shaw demolished a pitch off Atlanta Braves starter Matt Wisler in the first inning for a three-run home run. The ball left Shaw’s bat at 109 miles per hour and landed 418 feet away, deep into the right field bleachers.
“It felt pretty good, I’m not gonna lie,” Shaw told NESN’s Guerin Austin after the game. “I got every bit of it, and it was flush. I was looking in one spot and he threw it there and I put a pretty good swing on it.”
It was Shaw’s second homer this season. He added an RBI double in the ninth to finish with a career-high five RBIs and is leading Red Sox regulars with a .324 batting average this season, good for sixth in the American League.
Since being recalled last summer, Shaw has batted .283 with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs in 85 games. That puts him on pace for 29 home runs and 95 RBIs in a full 162-game schedule.
The go-home win also meant Boston finished its road trip 4-1. Shaw thought the extra-inning affair Sunday night was pivotal for his team.
“It feels good,” he said. “I mean any time you can come home with a winning record on the road it’s a good thing, so that extra-inning win in Houston I think was a big turning point for this team and I think it added a bunch of confidence to us. I think we’re in a pretty good groove right now.”
— David Price grew up rooting for the Atlanta Braves, but that didn’t seem to bother him on the mound Tuesday. The 30-year-old struck out 14 batters (which ties his career high) en route to his third win of the season and now has a major league-leading 46 Ks on the year. His eight-inning, two-run gem upped his career numbers against the Braves to 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA.
It was the most strikeouts in a game for any Red Sox pitcher since Jon Lester struck out 15 batters in a game in May 2014. But Price didn’t really care how many he rung up. He just wanted to win.
“I don’t care about strikeouts, man. That doesn’t mean anything to me,” Price said in the clubhouse after the game, as seen on NESN. “I want to be able to go out there and pitch as deep as I can in the baseball game. You know? I want to get 27 outs every five days. Twenty four is good.”
— Boston entered Monday’s series with the Braves with the best interleague record in baseball since 2003. It only got better with a two-game sweep in Atlanta.
— Xander Bogaerts stole two bases Tuesday and Mookie Betts added a third. The both now have five on the season, and the Red Sox own the best stolen base percentage in baseball. They’ve successfully swiped bags in 19 of 21 attempts, good for a 90.7 success rate.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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