Matt Joyce failed to record a hit or walk off Daisuke Matsuzaka, but the other seven(!) lefties in the lineup sure didn’t. After a week in which the offense made the fan base feel like Cornel West following his first listening to Flockavelli, the Rays went crazy with runs.
Matsuzaka alternated between falling behind and throwing flat first pitches that the Rays took full advantage of, including three consecutive hits that plated runs in the second inning. See Tommy’s Game-Changer for more on that inning.
Joyce batted third tonight and I’m all for it against righties. In fact, I’d like to see it stay that way once Evan Longoria returns. I’ve covered why Longoria batting fourth makes sense before, and Joyce has a .363 wOBA versus righties since 2008. That’s within five points of:
And within 10 points of:
Those are not park- or league-adjusted numbers, but raw numbers versus righties. Joyce’s true talent level likely lies a little below that, still, though, he is a good hitter.
Sam Fuld will get most of the acclaim as he recorded a home run, two doubles, and a triple –oh and made a diving catch. Fuld is having the run of his career right now and quite a run it is.
Jeremy Hellickson was less sharp than his previous outing against the Angels, but it comes with the territory. Pitching against the Red Sox in Fenway is a bit different than against a lineup featuring Brandon Wood and Jeff Mathis, but Hellickson was further hurt by an ambiguous strike zone. You’ll be able to count the number of times Hellickson walks three-plus on one hand by season’s end, so to see him walk five in five-plus innings is jarring.
To Hellickson’s credit, he limited the damage from the walks and technically held Boston to a pair of runs –although he owes an assist to Adam Russell on that front.