A 4-9 record by no means is great, but if not for Mitch Moreland, it could be much worse.
Like, 1-12 worse.
For the third time this young season, Moreland had the key hit (or hits) in a victory for the Boston Red Sox.
In Thursday’s 7-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, Moreland clubbed a seventh-inning solo shot into the Red Sox bullpen that tied the game at five. Then with the Sox trailing 6-5 in the ninth, the first baseman hit a double to the center field wall that went over Randal Grichuk’s head, allowing Mookie Betts to score from first and tie the game. A few batters later, Rafael Devers’ chopper to second scored the winning run.
Pretty much his entire tenure with the Red Sox, Moreland has been a first-half player who has substantial success in the first few months of the season.
So what’s been the secret to his success in 2019? Well…
“I don’t know, but I’ll take ’em,” Moreland told Guerin Austin after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Whatever I’ve done, I need to keep it up.”
With the starting pitching continuing to stumble, the Red Sox offense will need to keep bailing them out. So long as Moreland is around to put out fires, Boston should be able to keep its head above water.
Here are some other notes from Thursday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays game:
— While the win is great, the fact that Nathan Eovaldi wasn’t his best again can’t be ignored.
The right-hander got tagged for five runs over as many innings, surrendering six hits with two homers, four walks and four strikeouts.
It was just the third inning that really troubled Eovaldi, as he allowed all five of his runs in that stanza. Justin Smoak’s three-run shot and Rowdy Tellez’s two-run blast did the damage for the Blue Jays.
Even with the result, Eovaldi felt he threw the ball mostly well.
“I felt like I threw the ball really well today,” Eovaldi said. “I felt like I had pretty good fastball command, my curveball was really good too. It just came to really two pitches, the one to Smoak and then Rowdy.”
Despite the poor outings, the Red Sox actually are 3-0 this season in Eovaldi’s starts, though he doesn’t have a decision yet.
— Marcus Walden now has half of the Red Sox’s wins this season, earning victory No. 2 Thursday.
The reliever, who was called up last Saturday after not making the Opening Day roster, pitched a clean ninth inning, which resulted in him getting the victory.
Walden has proven he can pitch in important situations for the Red Sox and give them a chance to win.
— The Red Sox turned four double plays, and Dustin Pedroia had a hand in three of them.
It was encouraging to watch, as Pedroia was turning two in a vintage manner, looking much like he did before he underwent knee surgery.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images