Red Sox Shut Down Rays, Score 9 Two Nights in a Row

It’s hard to cheer on the Red Sox when they’re playing a team that’s currently displaced due to a massive hurricane, but I’m still ecstatic about how this Sox-Rays series is turning out. In the past two games, the Red Sox have beat the Rays 9-3 and 9-0. They’ve won four straight and resolidified their first place standing while adding to their lead over the Yankees, now 4.5 games.

Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer in the first, there was no looking back. With Chris Sale on the mound and a revived lineup, the Red Sox scored early and often in the 15-hit game, while Tampa Bay played the way the Red Sox had been playing prior to Tuesday. The offense was so good that Farrell was able to give his ace a break, and took Sale out after only 97 pitches and six innings, turning the game over to the surprisingly-effective law firm of Smith, Hembree, and Boyer.

The Blue Jays have probably the slimmest chance of a playoff run, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Red Sox can play a game of this caliber against a more evenly-matched team.

Highlights:

– Dustin Pedroia took note of Mookie Betts’ 1st inning 3-run homer on Friday night and decided to hit a 2-run homer of his own, his 7th of the season and first since July 20th. Looks like that DL stint did him well.

– Mookie’s first inning included a single, stealing second base, reaching third on an error, and running home to make it 3-0

– Andrew Benintendi went 3 for 5 and Mitch Moreland went 2 for 4. Each had 3 RBIs by the 3rd inning.

– Devers and Nuñez, the team’s resident New Guys, had two hits apiece.

– Chris Sale threw six shutout innings with 8 K’s. He is now 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA against the Rays.

– Sale leads the MLB with 270 K’s and leads the AL in wins.

– The Rays starting pitcher Andriese lasted only 1 2/3 innings Saturday. Friday’s pitcher Archer lasted less than four.

– Carson Smith pitched a scoreless 7th, his second appearance of the week after pitching one of the million innings from Tuesday night’s game.

– Red Sox pitchers set a new franchise record for strikeouts in a season with 1,363.

– John Farrell is still reluctant to use Matt Barnes (with good reason), but chose well, using Hembree and Boyer for the 8th and 9th innings, respectively. No need to waste Kimbrel on a 9-0 game.

After today’s game, Tampa Bay will face the Yankees at the New York Mets’ Citi Field instead of in Florida, while the Red Sox head to Oakland for a three-game series.

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