Red Sox Recap: Clay Buchholz Dominates, Yet Rays Win 2-1


The Boston Red Sox got a masterful performance from their starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, compared to his last start; however, the team still lost the game to the Tampa Bays Rays, last night.

In front of over 13 800 fans at Tropicana Field, in Florida, Buchholz needed 104 pitches, 62 of them for strikes, to complete his night of one-run ball. It took six innings for him to do so. Buchholz only gave up a run on 2 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 10 opposing Rays batters. He was on fire, as only an ace can be.

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Ian Browne of reported Buchholz saying, “”Best I’ve felt all year,” said Buchholz.” I felt that way warming up. Getting here today, I felt really good. My mindset was to build off the last time out. I just about had all of my pitches working the way I wanted to.” Now, only if he could keep that up. Considering that he is the leader of the rotation, Red Sox Nation, let alone the team, will want to see that kind of command every night.

His matchup against Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi proved to be a pitcher’s duel, as both righty pitchers gave it their all. Odorizzi went 6.2 innings, with a run scored on 3 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts. However, the game could have ended quite differently if not for Tampa’s bullpen and great defense.

In the top of the second inning, Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Pablo Sandoval. In the bottom of the second, Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe singled to center field to score Evan Longoria. Other than those two plays, the game seemed settled in limbo, until the top of the fifth inning.

If it wasn’t for Rays outfielder Kevin Kiemaier making an incredible diving catch on Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts, the Red Sox would have broke the game open for possibly two runs.

The same happened in the top of the seventh inning, only this time it was the Rays’ relief pitcher who saved the day for Tampa. Brandon Gomes came into the ballgame, after Odorizzi left Allen Craig at second and Xander Bogaerts at first base. As Craig was given the start in left field, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to bring in Hanley Ramirez, their big RBI guy to the plate, after the pitching substitution. After falling 3-0 in the count to Han-Ram, chomping at the bit to drive the next pitch, Gomes had to throw a strike. Everyone in the park knew it too, anticipating Ramirez to look to either take the walk or destroy a fat strike down the middle of the plate. Instead, a called strike and a swinging strike made everyone hold on to their seats. The final pitch was 79 mph slider that was called a strike. Ramirez was called out looking, ending the threat.

In fact, it wasn’t until the bottom of the ninth that the game would be finally settled. With Red Sox reliever Anthony Varvaro pitching, Rays catcher Rene Rivera singled on a ground ball to left field, to score Tim Beckham from second base, in walk-off fashion.

The Red Sox lose the series to the Rays in a very close battle.

Game Notes:

  • Rays reliever Brad Boxberger got the win, while Varvaro took the loss, leaving both starters with a no-decision.
  • The Red Sox went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, while the Rays went 2-for-5. Not only were the Rays more successful in that category, but did well to have more base runners than the Red Sox throughout the game, including outhitting the visitors 6-3.
  • Nava did strike out 2 times out of 3 opportunities, but he also was the only one to contribute an RBI for the Red Sox, even if it was a sac fly and not a hit.
  • Betts stole another base to add to his season total. He currently sits at 5 stolen bases.


STARTING PITCHING . A-. . Game Ball. <strong>Clay Buchholz</strong>

While reflecting on his last performance, coming into last night’s game, the Red Sox and their fans should be pretty happy with their starting pitcher. Yet, we shouldn’t all be gushing with joy about it, either.

Buchholz pitched 59.6% more strikes than balls. If that percentage stays the same, he would do well to make sure that hitters are chasing his pitches out of the strikezone, or else performances like this outing could be few and far between.

RELIEF PITCHING . F. . Game Ball. <b>Anthony Varvaro</b>


Alexi Ogando


Junichi Tazawa

made quick work of the Rays’ bats, Varvaro could only record one out in the ninth inning. And it wasn’t a strikeout, either.

The first batter Varvaro saw hit a single, after watching a called strike to get a bead on him. The second batter flied out to the outfield, smacked hard after watching two pitches. The third batter singled after watching two pitches and fouling twice. The fourth batter, and eventual game-winning RBI at-bat, was given four straight curveballs, the first three were either watched or only swung at because the hit-and-run play was on. Not once did any Rays batter chase a pitch for a strike, with no contact.

Not only did the Red Sox lose the game on the hit, it wasn’t like the Rays were struggling much with Varvaro’s stuff to get their hits.

D+. . Game Ball. <b>Daniel Nava</b>. OFFENSE

When the team only gets 3 hits, it’s hard to give them any grade higher. Nava should get the game ball because he found a way to contribute. He was able to put the ball in play when it counted. Betts and Ramirez had the same chances, but the Rays shut them both down. The fact that the Red Sox were able to trouble Odorizzi for both Betts and Ramirez to have their chances in the first place is what keeps this grade from being a complete failure.

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