The Red Sox played their fourth and final game in Tampa Bay on Monday afternoon. Boston opened the scoring in the 3rd inning, tallying one run on a Mookie Betts RBI single. However, the Rays came storming back in the bottom of the frame, and collected 3 runs on 4 hits against Boston’s starter, Rubby De La Rosa. After surrendering the lead, the Red Sox shrunk the deficit to one-run after Mike Napoli took Rays’ starter Drew Smyly yard. With Rubby De La Rosa out of the game after just 5.1 innings, Boston used three relievers to keep the Rays offense in check, which allowed Boston to tie the score in the 8th. With 2 outs and a runner on second, Yoenis Cespedes rifled an RBI single through the left side of the infield that knotted the score at 3 a side. However, the Red Sox were unable to use their late inning momentum to pull into the lead, and went hitless in both the 9th and 10th innings. The usually sure-handed Burke Badenhop was responsible for the Rays 10th inning rally, and eventual walk off, on Monday. After the Rays loaded the bases with just one out, Matt Joyce jumped on the first pitch he saw from Badenhop an singled into left field, scoring Sean Rodriguez from third base. While the Red Sox had an opportunity to collect their second consecutive series win, a four game split is a nice consolation prize. Boston will continue their road trip on Tuesday by opening up a 3 game set with the Yankees in New York.
- With a log jammed outfield and a line-up mainstay at first base, Daniel Nava doesn’t exactly have a defined role going forward with the Red Sox, but that isn’t anything new for the 31-year old. After struggling to find his swing earlier this season, and subsequently being demoted to AAA, Nava inadvertently squandered an opportunity to put a stranglehold on an outfield spot. However, since returning from the minors, Nava has looked like his normal self, but the Red Sox outfield has become very crowded. The Red Sox know what he can provide the team, but must decide if he fits in the 2015 model. (Daniel Nava accustom to playing with uncertain future)
- After spending just two games with the Golf Coast League Red Sox, Rusney Castillo will continue his climb to the MLB with a stop in double-A Portland. Castillo collected 1 hit in 6 at-bats in his short stint with the Red Sox rookie ball team in Fort Myers. The 27-year old will now join the Sea Dogs, as they open up a post season series with the Binghamton Mets. (Castillo to play in double-A playoffs)
- After being hit in the head on a tag play at second on Saturday, the Red Sox announced that Dustin Pedroia had sustained a concussion. While the 30-year old hasn’t been placed on Boston’s 7-day concussion disabled list, the team does not expect the second baseman to return to the line-up during this week’s series against the Yankees. On the bright side, Pedroia has stated that he feels better, but must first pass concussion tests before returning to action. (Pedroia unlikely to return until weekend series)
- With September now upon us, the Red Sox will take advantage of the roster expansion to get a look at how some of their minor league starters perform out of Boston’s bullpen. This isn’t the first time that the Red Sox have tried this with their young talent, just last year both Brandon Workman and Rubby De La Rosa saw time in the bullpen after serving most of 2013 season in Pawtucket’s starting rotation. Evaluating how a starter can adapt to relieving not only gives the Red Sox a better idea of how to use a pitcher in the future, but also ups their trade value. (As rosters expand, Red Sox will try young starters out of the bullpen)
- Just as September is an opportunity for the Red Sox young players to prove they’re worthy of a roster spot in 2015, it’s also important for Boston’s veteran players and impending free agents. Boston has a handful of veterans that would greatly benefit from a solid month of baseball. The recently struggling closer Koji Uehara could ensure the 9th inning spot next season with a solid month in the pen. Allen Craig is another name that could help himself with a solid month of play, after enduring an all-around disappointing 2014 campaign. (September still a significant month for several Boston veterans)
- Tweet of the day: Stars get picked off at crucial parts of the game? Who knew?