It was a rough weekend for the Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Our hometown heroes were swept by the Rays and handed over the division lead to Tampa Bay. Boston is now 1.5 games back in the division, heading into a series with the Detroit Tigers.
The division is still in contention, but something did not feel right this weekend. The team looked off and were unable to rally like they have shown throughout the season. The Rays deserve credit for racking up the hits in the big moments, but Boston did not bring their A-game this weekend.
The club must dig itself out of the small hole in the division before it becomes overwhelming.
Rays Shine on Sunday Night Baseball
The Tampa Bay Rays were favorites in Sunday’s matchup, but Boston was expected to play better than they did after two straight losses. The Red Sox have shined in 2021 because of their ability to bounce back following rough performances.
However, Tampa Bay had their number inside Tropicana Field this weekend. The Rays took the first two games by a combined 16-8 margin. On Saturday, the Red Sox fell apart late, so the score was closer than it appeared.
McClanahan went six innings, only allowing one earned run and fanning seven batters. He set the tone, and the bullpen finished the job. Pivetta was not his usual self, surrendering three earned runs in 4.2 innings of work.
A Brandon Lowe homer in the third broke the game open, and Pivetta was unable to recover. For Boston, Sunday was an embarrassing loss because they found a way to get on base and outhit the Rays.
The Red Sox left ten runners on base compared to the Rays, who stranded three. Lowe’s home run was the difference-maker, but an extra hit from Boston would have given them a victory on Sunday.
Nevertheless, Alex Cora did not seem worried after his team went 0-6 with runners in scoring position.
“We’re still here. Obviously, we don’t like losing. We want to be more consistent. It’s just four games. We know that. We still have a good team.”
The Rays are now the division leader, and they look strong with the addition of Nelson Cruz at the trade deadline. The Red Sox seem like a postseason lock, but no franchise wants to risk their season over a one-game Wild Card playoff.
Up Next for the Red Sox
Monday is a travel day for the Red Sox as the team makes the venture to Detroit for a three-game series against the Tigers. Detroit is six games below .500, but they have performed better than expected in 2021.
These three games are winnable for Boston, but they must hit with runners in scoring position. Garrett Richards will throw for the club in game one. Richards is 6-6 with a 5.15 ERA over 101.1 innings.
When Richards pitches, the offense usually shines, which is why he is .500 with two months left in the regular season. He will throw against Wily Peralta of the Tigers.
Peralta is 3-2 with a 3.64 ERA over 42 innings this season. The Red Sox should have success against Peralta, but they need J.D. Martinez to start hitting the baseball.
Martinez is 3 for 29 in his past seven games. When the Red Sox were dominant, Martinez was playing at an All-Star level. The team cannot afford hitless nights from the slugger if a division championship banner wants to be hung in Titletown.
The Rays will host Seattle, who is a formidable opponent. This could be a week where Boston takes first place back, but they just need to win games.