The Red Sox continued their recent winning ways this weekend by taking 2 games of 3 from the Tampa Bay Rays. In his third career start, Boston right-hander Anthony Ranaudo tamed Tampa Bay over 6 innings of work, allowing just 3 runs on 5 hits, and striking out 4. The Red Sox offense wasted no time roughing up Rays starter Chris Archer, as Boston jumped out to an early 3-run lead after the first inning, thanks to RBI hits by Yoenis Cespedes, Will Middlebrooks, and Daniel Nava. With the Red Sox leading 4-0 in the 2nd inning, Mookie Betts stepped up to the plate and promptly doubled the Boston’s run total with one swing of the bat. The 21-year old center fielder drilled a 1-0 offering from Chris Archer over the left field wall for his first career grand slam. Boston went on to win by a final of 8-4. After their offensive explosion on Friday night, Boston didn’t enjoy the same success in Saturday night’s bout with the Rays. Red Sox starter Allen Webster lasted just 4 innings, and surrendered 6 runs of 5 hits and 3 walks. After a string of decent starts, Saturday’s game marked Webster second consecutive outing in which he lasted 4 innings, and allowed 6 runs to cross the plate. On the flip side, Rays starter Jake Odorizzi stymied the Red Sox’ offense over 7 innings, yielding Boston to just one hit and 3 walks. Tampa Bay’s bullpen followed suit after Odorizzi left the game in the 7th, as Jeff Beliveau and Kirby Yates tossed back-to-back scoreless frames for the Rays, and secured the 7-0 win. Clay Buchholz stole the spot light in the rubber match of the 3 game series on Sunday. While Boston’s offense scored just 3 runs against Rays starter Alex Cobb, that would be all Buchholz would need to give the Red Sox the W. Pitching with a slim margin for error, the 30-year old was in control all game, tossing a complete game shutout. While the wiry righty allowed just 3 baserunners all game, perhaps the most impressive part of his gem was that he finished under the 100 pitch mark. Buchholz ace-like performance, as well as offensive contributions from Christian Vazquez, David Ortiz, and Mookie Betts, helped the Red Sox secure a 3-0 victory.
- While Edward Mujica’s Red Sox career didn’t get off on the right foot, the 30-year old Venezuelan reliever has pitched better since his early season struggles. Since the start of May, the right-hander has posted a 3.05 ERA, and his strike-out-to-walk ratio lies at 31-7. Mujica credits his return to normalcy to finding a consistent groove in Boston’s bullpen, and becoming more comfortable on the mound. (Following cruel April, Edward Mujica has rebounded)
- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia departed early from Saturday night’s bout with the Rays, after being hit in the head by Tampa Bay infielder Logan Forsythe. The play developed when Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan hit a bases loaded sac fly to deep center field. After securing the catch, Mookie Betts fired the ball to second base in an attempt to cut down Forsythe, who was tagging up from first base. Betts’ throw was late, but right on the bag, and once Pedroia bent down to apply the tag, Forsythe’s arm swung up and caught the Red Sox second baseman in the head. Pedroia underwent on-field concussion tests, after which he exited the game. (Dustin Pedroia hit in head)
- Rusney Castillo crept closer to his Red Sox debut on Sunday. The newly acquired Cuban defector played in a game with the Golf Coast League Red Sox, and collected a single in three trips to the plate. In his first innings in America, the 27-year old showed glimpses of some of the tools he has at his disposal; with plate discipline and speed on full display at the Red Sox spring training facilities in Fort Myers. (Rusney Castillo gets first game action for Red Sox minor league team)
- While most Red Sox fans want Boston to pull Jon Lester back into the rotation this offseason, the likelihood of that happening is slim, according to baseball scribes. Therefore, the Red Sox must have a back-up plan, should Lester not become a viable option for Boston this winter. But Lester or no Lester, the fact remains that the Red Sox need pitching, and future free agent James Shields is an attractive option. Not only has Shields held a top of the rotation role before, but he also features a track record of success in the American League East, after spending most of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays. (Looking at why the Red Sox will be keeping an eye on James Shields)
- As is normal with any team, the Red Sox have made it known that they intend on monitoring rookie’s workloads as the season draws to a close. And while catcher seems like a position that would be atop, or close to the top, of players to keep an eye on, Boston isn’t concerned with Christian Vazquez going forward. The rookie backstop will exceed his career high innings caught, but he says he feels healthy, and the Red Sox are confident that he’ll hold up. (Red Sox not worried about Christian Vazquez’s workload)
- Tweet of the weekend: The times of the season
Sights and sounds of a Red Sox season: One press box wag just now – "I'm so bored I'm going to call my family"
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) August 31, 2014