Red Sox Wrap: COVID-19 Gets Best Of Xander Bogaerts, Pitching Staff Vs. Rays

Things went from bad to worse in this one


August 31, 2021

The Red Sox had a 1-0 lead after the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night in St. Petersburg. People forget that.

It’s easy to see why they might, as things just went from bad to worse at Tropicana Field: Xander Bogaerts was yanked in the second inning after testing positive for COVID-19, the depleted pitching staff fell apart and Boston just couldn’t get out of its own way with two errors.

With the 8-5 loss, the Red Sox dropped to 75-59. Tampa Bay now is 84-48.

Check out the full box score here.

Brad Peacock’s debut didn’t really go as everyone had hoped. The reliever — acquired on Monday from the Cleveland Indians — hadn’t appeared in a game all season and hadn’t made a start since June 2019. On Tuesday, he was credited with five runs allowed on two hits, with no strikeouts, a home run and two walks through 2 1/3 innings.

Stephen Gonsalves — who was called up from Triple-A Worcester earlier Tuesday — got the Red Sox out of the third inning, but not before giving up two more runs on as many hits. Phillips Valdez stopped the bleeding but it was too little too late.

With COVID-19 ravaging the Red Sox — and particularly affecting the bullpen with Hirokazu Sawamura, Matt Barnes and Martín Peréz testing positive and Josh Taylor deemed a close contact — there’s really not much to do besides ride this one out.

— Kyle Schwarber was what kept the offense going. He had a sixth-inning solo home run and an eighth-inning walk, then hit an RBI single in the top of the ninth. He finished 2-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and the base on balls.

— Phillips Valdez stopped the bleeding in three innings of relief. One run crossed the plate during his outing but it was unearned, and he fanned two and walked one with just one hit allowed.

— For Tampa Bay, Ryan Yarbrough lasted six innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out three.

DraftKings Sportsbook had the Rays as a -160 favorite, so it would have taken a $160 wager to win $100. But where things got interesting was the run line, since the book had the Red Sox putting up a fighting chance — given the +1.5 runs, a $150 bet was required to win $100.

So if you got the Rays on the run line at +130, you cashed out ahead.

The Red Sox-Rays series continues Wednesday at 7:10 p.m, and you can watch it live on NESN.

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