At the risk of showing some recency bias here, I’ve gotta ask the question — was Mookie Betts’ grand slam on Thursday night the defining moment of the 2018 Boston Red Sox season so far? It sure as hell felt like it. No, the Toronto Blue Jays are not a very good team this year. And no, JA Happ isn’t in the conversation for the Cy Young award as he has been in the past. Still made the All Star team, but that’s not the point.
At the end of the year, when we all look back on the biggest moments from a season that could feature the most wins in Red Sox history, what will we think of when we recall that one big moment? Unless something else can top it, I will think of that 13-pitch at-bat that ended with a grand slam off the bat of Mookie Betts, giving the Red Sox a lead that they would not give back en route to their tenth straight victory, their longest winning streak of the season.
I will think of Mookie screaming at his teammates as he stomped up the first baseline while his grand slam sailed into the Boston night. I will think of Dennis Eckersley yelling, “It’s time to party!” as Mookie rounded the bases. I will think of the Fenway Park crowd losing their collective minds, as if the calendar for one night had turned ahead to October. That’s what I’ll think of.
That’s the long term picture. The short term picture was that this was a start for David Price in which he needed to get his shit together. After enjoying a very good nine-start stretch, the left-hander got mauled by the Yankees in the most important start of his 2018 season. He then followed that up by turning in a dreadful start against the Kansas City Royals, who barely qualify to be called a major league team. This start wasn’t important for Price because of the opponent, the standings implications, or for any other reason than he was trending downwards and that needed to change. Now.
In the first inning, it didn’t look like that was going to change. Price gave up a quick two-run bomb to Teoscar Hernandez, his fourteenth, just four batters into the game. After that, Price settled in nicely and did not allow another run until Kendrys Morales tagged him for a solo home run to dead center to lead off the seventh inning. Price would retire the next two batters before handing it over to Brandon Workman, who finished off the frame.
In all, it was a fairly good outing for Price, but that’s still not good enough. Six and two thirds, three earned runs and a couple of homers allowed isn’t exactly going to have the folks at home screaming, “He’s baaack!” unless it were in a sarcastic tone after the multiple homers served up. Regardless, it’s a step in the right direction. He was better against the Blue Jays than he was against the Yankees and Royals, but you could not possibly set the bar any lower.
On Friday night, it’ll be 24-year-old rookie Ryan Borucki versus Rick Porcello. Borucki has only made three starts at the big league level, but he’s gone at least six innings in all three of them, seven innings in each of his last two starts, never allowing more than two earned runs. He’s also whiffed 16 batters in those 20 innings of work and has yet to allow a home run.
Porcello is coming off back-to-back good starts against the Nationals and Royals. His last time out, even though he didn’t have his best stuff, Porcello held the Royals to three earned runs over seven innings, tying a season high with nine strikeouts.
Final score: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 4