Red Sox crush Rays in Game 1 of ALDS: Quick hits
Game 1 of the ALDS in Boston is in the books, and the Sox prevailed by a score of 12-2. Let's break it down.
MORE: ALDS Game 1 boxscore
Game 1 of the ALDS between the Rays and Red Sox? Not close. At all. The host Sox throttled the Rays by a score of 12-2 and, not surprisingly, dominated their familiar opponents in every phase. Let's take a closer look ...
Hero: Jon Lester. It started out as a spotty day for Lester. Frustrated after what he thought should've been a called third strike, Lester gave up a homer to Sean Rodriguez in the second. And then came a shot by Ben Zobrist in the fourth. Not long after that, though, Lester retired 11 in a row at one point and eventually handed a comfortable lead over to the strong Boston bullpen. On the day, Lester struck out seven in 7 2/3 innings of work, and 71 of his 114 pitches went for strikes. On a windy day in Fenway and facing a lineup with six right-handed bats and two switch-hitters, it could've been a rough day for a lefty like Lester. It wasn't.
Goat: Rays defense. In the course of the Red Sox's five-run fourth inning, Wil Myers got confused on deep fly he had been calling all the way, which led to an automatic RBI double for David Ortiz. Then four batters later, Matt Moore was unfocused covering first on a right-side grounder, which allowed Stephen Drew to leg it out, which, in turn, allowed Gomes to score all the way from second on, again, an infield single. Then Jose Lobaton let a third strike bounce away, which allowed Jacoby Ellsbury to reach on a passed ball and prolong an already interminable inning. Sean Rodriguez also had trouble on multiple balls off the Green Monster. This, of course, is a team typically known for its fielding excellence. In fact, this season, the Rays ranked second in the AL in defensive efficiency (i.e., the percentage of balls in play that a defense converts into outs).
Turning point: Had Wil Myers caught David Ortiz's deep fly in the fourth (here's what happened on that particular play), then the Sox would have had one out and a runner on first in the fourth. Instead, the ball bounded over the wall for a double, and the stage was set for a big, game-changing inning. Five runs followed, and the Rays' lead was gone for good. Sure, it could've still been a crooked number on the board even if Myers had made the play, but the Ortiz double certainly changed the tenor of the frame.
It was over when: Jarrod Saltalamacchia's fifth-inning double plated two runs and pushed the margin to 7-2. That two-bagger also, per FanGraphs, pushed the Sox's changes of winning the game to 95.7 percent. The keen observer will note that that figure is close to 100 percent.