Just how strange did things get in the ninth inning of the Boston Red Sox’s 17-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays? We’ll walk you through it.
After using five pitchers through the first eight frames, the team turned to infielder Jose Peraza to take over on the mound as Tzu-Wei Lin handled his duties in the field. But that’s not even the half of it, because after giving up two hits and an earned run, Peraza took a comeback liner to his shin and had to leave the game.
Enter catcher Kevin Plawecki, who took over pitching, throwing to Lin who moved yet again to play catcher. Jose Arauz moved from second base to shortstop in place of Lin, and Christian Vazquez, a catcher, came off the bench to play second. Got all that?
“Once Peraza got smoked in the knee, that’s about as bad as it gets,” manager Ron Roenicke admitted in his post game press conference. “You try and get through a game and then he gets smoked. He’s ok, we X-Rayed it, he actually got hit in a good spot on the knee, but I still feel bad about it.”
Overall, the bright side of the game was that Boston swung the bat well, and nine different batters recorded at least one hit. But even with eight runs on the board, the Red Sox really had no chance at coming back in this one.
“I really don’t need to make a message after that, they know,” Roenicke said after a performance he admitted kind of felt like the rock bottom.
“When you see heads hanging after a game, they realize it. We’ll have an advance meeting tomorrow, I’ll probably say some things to them, but it’s just kind of the way it’s going. We’re just going through a bad point and we keep talking about how we need to turn it around and we’re not doing that. I don’t know. Guys need to relax and just play how they’re capable. There’s some good players on this team and I still have a lot of confidence in them. I still think it’s going to show up but it’s hard watching games like that.”
Here are some other notes from Thursday’s game:
— Kyle Hart’s MLB debut certainly didn’t go as he imagined, and you have to feel for the guy.
In two-plus innings of work (73 pitches), Hart gave up seven runs on seven hits, five of which were earned, with three walks. He had four strikeouts, and things looked decent at the start, but in the third frame he gave up back-to-back home runs after walking the leadoff batter.
“I know Kyle Hart, he didn’t locate the ball like he wants to, and he’s going to rely on locating, but we didn’t help him at all defensively and that’s what I feel bad about. Because he’s out there for the first time pitching in the big leagues and he needs to get all the outs he can get. And we didn’t help him.”
That being said, Roenicke shared that his staff is unsure as to whether or not Hart will get another start.
“Mentally, it was a little bit of a draining day,” Hart said in a postgame video conference. “All the people reaching out, I felt so much support. I was really proud to go out and pitch and know that I had that many people watching me.
“Obviously the result was not even close to what I’d envisioned, but it’s something I’m happy I went through it, I’m happy that I can put it behind me and start working and growing and keep maturing as a pitcher, because I know I can compete at this level although today wasn’t my best display.”
— Throughout the series against Tampa, the Boston defense has left a lot to be desired, but four errors on Thursday hurt. And three of them were throwing errors from third base by Rafael Devers.
“He takes a lot of pride in what he does defensively,” Roenicke said of Devers.
“When he makes an error and he lets the team down, he really feels bad about it. It doesn’t just click off. Some guys can make an error and it they’re done with it and fine after that. But Raffy is a little bit different. He really takes those errors hard and he doesn’t want to let the team down. And as hard as he works at it, he wants to be perfect at what he does. So when these things happen, you can see it the body language, but I know he’s going to continue to work, continue to get better, and we’ll get him in a streak where he’s going to play really good defense like he did last year.”
— All those jokes about playing at Tropicana Field basically being a home game for Boston? Well, the Rays are giving the Red Sox a taste of that medicine over the last two seasons.
In the two teams’ last 14 games at Fenway Park, Tampa has come out on top 13 times. To add insult to injury, in their last six meetings in Boston, the Red Sox have given up at least eight runs.
And the 17 runs the Rays scored against the Sox? That’s a new record.
— Roenicke said Xander Bogaerts is expected to be back in the lineup Friday against New York, and as for Peraza, the shot he took to the shin while pitching is likely to keep him out next game, but he should be ready for Saturday and Sunday.
— It will be a bullpen day in the first game of the four-game series against the Yankees on Friday before Nathan Eovaldi takes the mound Saturday. Sunday, the Red Sox know who they’ll roll out, but can’t announce yet as a non-roster move will be required. And Martin Perez will throw Monday in the final game of the series.
First pitch Friday is at 7:05 p.m. ET.