Rays clobbered in Game 2 of ALDS

by Gary Shelton on October 9, 2021

in general

Ji-Man Choi had a home run./CHUCK MULLER

Saturday, 4 a.m.

It was bloody. It was ruthless. It was humbling.

But for the Tampa Bay Rays, the question is this: Was it the knockout blow of the American League Division Series?

As unsightly s the Rays' 14-6 bashing at the hands of the Boston Red Sox was on Friday night was, they can take solace that their ALDS best-of-five series remains tied at 1-1. Technically, it's a best-of-three series from here on out.

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The question remains, however. Did the Red Sox seize control of the series with their victory?

As losses go, this one was Hun-like. The Sox -- who trailed 5-2 after one inning -- pounded out 20 hits and hit five home runs. Five different players had three hits, and Kiki Hernandez had five. It was as if the Rays were throwing batting practice.

After all, two of the final three games are in Boston, and the Sox have ace pitcher Nathan Eovaldi -- who has been hard on the Rays. If Eovaldi can beat Drew Rasmussen, the Red Sox would have to win only one of the final two games.

"We knew coming in they had a very talented offense," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "They just put together a lot of quality at bats, consecutive with guys on base. Just put it to us tonight."

The game was lopsided enough to bring up all the old concerns about the Rays pitching: Is the rotation too young? Is there enough power in the bullpen? Was the regular season only about over-achievement?

Rookie Shane Baz, in only his fourth career start, didn't measure up to the moment. He lasted just seven outs and gave up six hits. But the bullpen, one of baseball's best during the regular season, was even worse. It gave up 14 hits and 11 runs.

“I thought Shane was fine," Cash said. "His stuff was fine. Right off the bat, they ambushed him with quality at-bats. I felt like mentally he was totally fine... just a lack of execution on some pitches. The Red Sox lineup deserves a lot of credit."

In all, the Rays used six pitchers. Four of them gave up a homer. Four gave up at least two hits. Michael Wacha gave up six earned runs. Collin McHugh gave up two homers.

By contrast, the bullpen of the Red Sox gave up just one run in eight innings.

Baz gave up two runs in the top of the first, but the Rays came back against Chris Sale. The Rays scored five times in the bottom of the first, most of them on Jordan Luplow's grand slam.

If the Red Sox were going to get back into this series, it figured it would be Sale who would lead them there. But Sale lasted just one inning. Instead, it was Tanner Houck, who pitched five innings of two-hit baseball.

The series takes the day off today. On Sunday, the Rays will play the Red Sox at Fenway Park at 4:07 p.m. Eovaldi is expected to start for Boston. The Rays have not announced a pitcher, but said that Drew Rasmussen will be used either as a starter or a bulk pitcher.

Cash thinks his team will bounce back.

"It's a mentality they've carried," he said. "It’s a loss. It didn’t go our way tonight. You bounce back."

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