Red Sox split first home series of 2022 with the Twins

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 16: Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox rides in a laundry cart through the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the second inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins on April 16, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 16: Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox rides in a laundry cart through the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the second inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins on April 16, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – APRIL 17: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox reacts with Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox after scoring on a sacrifice fly hit by J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins on April 17, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 17: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox reacts with Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox after scoring on a sacrifice fly hit by J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins on April 17, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

 Game Three thoughts: Red Sox 8, Twins 1

  • Michael Wacha didn’t get much fanfare upon his arrival in Boston, but he has been excellent in his first two starts. He mixed his pitches beautifully in his five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit in the process. He makes up for relatively bland velocity with a plus changeup and a cutter/sinker combination that keeps the ball off the barrel of the bat. A 15-pitch battle to Carlos Correa probably cost him an inning, but the Red Sox could not have asked for anything more.
  • This was the best Trevor Story’s swing has looked all season. He got unlucky with lineouts in two of his first three at-bats, but he ripped a ball up the ball in the 8th for a two-run single. After a hectic spring training and a bout of food poisoning, Story finally appears to be getting right at the plate.
  • I criticize J.D Martinez’s performance at the plate a lot, but I want to give credit to an at-bat he had in the sixth inning. With the score knotted at 0 and runners on second and third and nobody out, Martinez spits on a slider an inch off the plate before getting a pitch he could handle and driving it to deep center field. The ball was hauled in by Gordon, but it scored Devers and moved Bogaerts to third, where he would score on another fly ball by Verdugo. It was a terrific job of hitting by Martinez, who got exposed on down-and-away sliders all day on Friday.
  • Bogaerts has officially found his stroke. He put three terrific swings on the ball, including a 111 missile high off the monster that would have been a home run in nearly any other ballpark. Few hitters can carry a team like Bogaerts when he’s right, and the shortstop is showing signs of catching fire.
  • I’m just about done with Ryan Braiser. He’s had some nice moments over the years, particularly in the 2018 postseason, but his low 90’s fastball/slider combination isn’t fooling anyone anymore. With Taylor on the way back and rosters set to be trimmed at the beginning of May, Braiser’s time in Boston might be over soon.
  • While Braiser’s stock is plummeting, Jake Diekman is establishing himself as a viable late-inning option. The lefty again retired the side in order, including schooling Correa on a nasty slider. Diekman has now struck out seven and walked just one in his first four appearances on the season. With Barnes still finding his footing (to put it mildly), Diekman might soon find himself in the closer’s role.