The Red Sox were swept away by the Rays on Thursday, with Tampa Bay completing its second four-game sweep of the Sox in less than a calendar year (also July 11-14, 2022). Over the four-game stretch, the Rays proved themselves the better team in just about every facet of the game.
For the third time this season, Boston bats were limited to just four hits in the game. In four innings Boston’s lineup went down in order. In all, 12 Sox batters struck out on Thursday marking the 10th game with at least a dozen Boston strikeouts at the hands of Rays pitching since 2010, more than any other Major League team in that time.
The Red Sox got an early lead on Thursday with a first-inning home run for Rob Refsnyder. For a few minutes, at least, it looked like a chance to break the Ray’s 12-game unbeaten streak. But Tampa immediately tied the game in the bottom of the first inning on the fourth pitch thrown by Boston starter Corey Kluber. Then, a fifth inning rally ended Kluber’s day prematurely. By the top of the sixth, the Rays were in command 8-3.
The sixth inning is a key marker for the Red Sox so far in 2023. The Rays are unquestionably hot, but the fact remains that Boston has only one victory this year when trailing in the game after six innings.
The Red Sox have now lost 13 straight games at Tropicana Field, the longest stretch of losses at a single venue for the club since dropping 17 in a row to Twins at Metropolitan Stadium 57 years ago.
Additional Game Notes
The Rays continue to break new records. Their now 13-game win streak to start the season ties the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers and 1982 Atlanta Braves for the most such wins in Major League history. Tampa is getting it done with great pitching (their 2.23 team ERA is the best in baseball) and great offense (their +71 run differential is third-best through 13 games in Major League history).
With two more home runs today, the Rays have 32 on the season, just one shy of the Major League record set by the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals and 2019 Seattle Mariners for most HRs over any 13-game span to start a season.
The Red Sox team ERA, meanwhile, is up to 5.42, which is the fifth-worst mark in baseball. Boston’s starters have recorded a 6.71 ERA, third-worst among the 30 Major League teams.
Yu Chang remains hitless in eight games for Boston (0-12), but he managed to reach base for the first time since last October 5 with a walk on Thursday.
Bobby Dalbec struck out three times in Thursday’s game. Was his 23rd three-strikeout game since his debut in 2020, the most on the team and tied for 11th-most in American League, in that time.