The Boston Red Sox (57-74) continue their series with the Toronto Blue Jays (66-65). Yoenis Cespedes knocked in the winning run in the 10th inning to seal the win for Boston in the opener last night.
Clay Buchholz had the Red Sox in position to win after cruising through 8 shutout innings, but the wheels fell off after that. Buchholz was lifted with 1 out in the 9th, leaving two runners on and a run in. Boston turned to Koji Uehara to finish the inning, but he couldn't close it out. He gave up a two-run double to Edwin Encarnacion that tied the game, giving Uehara a blown save in his second straight appearance. He entered the game having allowed at least 1 run in three straight appearances, including a 5-run meltdown in his last outing that stands as his worst game ever as a reliever. None of the runs were charged to him this time, but the two inherited runners he allowed were just as damaging.
The 39-year old closer is looking really worn down lately, with his fastball and splitter not showing the same life we're used to seeing. He's coming off a season where he pitched a career high 74.1 innings and has tacked on an additional 60.0 so far this season. No pitcher in baseball has more appearances (145 games) since the start of last season, which seems a little insane given his age – even when you factor in Boston's World Series run into that total.
- Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 3.69 ERA) takes the hill for Boston. He took the loss in his last start, despite only giving up a pair of runs against the high-powered Angels offense. He also tied a career high with 8 strikeouts in that game – a total he's reached three times this season, twice against the Angels. He now has a quality start in 4 of his last 5 outings.
- The Red Sox had the worst stolen base percentage in the majors in the first half of the season (30-for-50, 60%). Since the break, they have the best (16-for-17, 94%). Granted they are still in the bottom half of the league in total steals since the break, but at least they are doing it a lot more efficiently now. The addition of Mookie Betts has helped add some much needed speed to the lineup. The rookie has swiped 4 bases in only 21 games this season.
- David Ortiz remains out of the lineup tonight, but he is scheduled to take batting practice, which is a good sign that he won't be out much longer. Mike Napoli will DH again and Allen Craig will play 1B for the first time since joining the Red Sox. He had previously played the position with the St. Louis Cardinals, but had been used exclusively in RF so far in Boston. Tonight he'll swap places with Daniel Nava, who covered 1B last night.
- Dustin Pedroia is 3-for-21 in his career against R.A. Dickey – the lowest average of anyone in tonight's Red Sox lineup that has faced him more than once (Craig is 0-for-1). Boston's lineup is hitting .246 overall against Dickey, with Mookie Betts the only hitter in the lineup to have never faced him the 39-year old knuckle ball pitcher.
- R.A. Dickey (10-12, 4.08 ERA) gets the start for Toronto. It's the 4th time he'll face the Red Sox this season – the most starts he's had against any one team this year. He's won all 3 starts so far with a 2.79 ERA.
- Melky Cabrera has been on a tear since the All-Star break, hitting .340 with 4 HR and 24 RBI in his past 35 games. Only Chicago's Jose Abreu has a higher batting average in that time among players with at least 100 at-bats and he's 8th in RBI.
Seeing your team play in the SuperBowl is priceless. Watching the SuperBowl live in the stands for $1 per week is beyond priceless. Find out how at TicketScore.com, the future of Championship Tickets. Tags: Allen Craig, Baseball, Boston, Boston Red Sox, Daniel Nava, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Koji Uehara, Mike Napoli, MLB, Mookie Betts, Rubby De La Rosa