Game 14 Lineups and Outlooks
Last night was fun! We should do it again tonight!! While I know there are some folks groaning and muttering about the offense I’m just rolling in all this great pitching. Smyly delivered an absolute diamond of a start striking out 11 and walking only two. He gave up one hit with all of these baserunners coming in one inning. The Red Sox showed that it’s not just the Rays that can get Houdini’d letting Smyly wriggle off the hook. In the process of going ten innings the Red Sox needed to empty their pen with nominal starter Joe Kelly departing after only four batters. One of my keys for this series would be forcing this pen to labor and making them pitch when they would rather not. Mission accomplished after the first game.
Last night’s game saw the system rate both teams as completely equal, so it was nice to see an extra inning game for a little confirmation. Tonight the Rays have a fairly large lead by win expectancy with what looks like a nice little arbitrage opportunity this evening. Of course, the system doesn’t know that Chris Archer has looked very Clark Kent of late, but it’s also true that we humans probably overrate the importance of these first few starts. Archie is a great pitcher and barring injury he will continue to be one going forward. Put the fastball where you want and then crush them with the slider.
David Ortiz looks like his toughest matchup, though there are good hitters throughout the lineup. Archer is just so good against righties that it is difficult to see the top of their lineup having a ton of success. On the other side, Porcello has such wide splits that all of our lefties look like very strong plays tonight. Owing to his lackluster quality, overall, the righties also don’t look like they’re facing some unconquerable challenge, either. I’d expect the Rays to bust out the sticks tonight. Drive Poochy from the game early and then go to work on whatever is left of that triage unit they call a bullpen.