Boston Red Sox: 3 takeaways from win against Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MARCH 30: Xander Bogaerts
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MARCH 30: Xander Bogaerts /

Carried by Xander Bogaerts, the Boston Red Sox would pick up their second victory of the season.

The Boston Red Sox offense right now looks more gridlocked than the City of Boston during the Big Dig.

Helping them to victory, however, would be the play of the scorching hot Xander Bogaerts. As Rick Porcello glided through 5+ innings of work and picked up his first win of the season. Craig Kimbrel would close out the game and garner his second save of the year. As the Boston Red Sox came out on top 3-2 over the Tampa Bay Rays.

X gon give it to ya

The best player on the Red Sox right now is undisputedly Xander Bogaerts. In 3 games, he’s mashing a .667 average (8-for-12) with 5 doubles and a home run. Leading the league in doubles, Xander has taken his calm batting style and jumped on pitches early on in the count. Despite having great plate poise, Xander has lashed out on some pitches and slapped them into right field for singles.

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Right now his OPS stands at 2.000, that is insane. This is the Bogaerts the Red Sox need for the rest of the year. Last year was tough for X as he finished with a .273 average, well below his perennial .300 mark. Most of this issue came from his straightforward swing and getting ahead of curveballs, which has always been a mystery to him. X put the offense on his back and helped put up two of the three runs with a solo shot in the second, and a double in the sixth to drive in JD Martinez.

Ever since bursting into the league in 2013, Bogaerts has shown that he is talented with the bat.
At times he struggles with the glove, he’s no Carlos Correa, but he’ll make the every day plays on a consistent basis.
At this point of the season, he’s carried a sluggish Red Sox offense in the early goings of the 2018 season.

The kid is not alright

One of the Killer B´s isn’t looking too killer in 2018.

Andrew Benintendi alone could reverse “global warming” with the way he’s looking at the plate. I don’t want to bash Benny but it hasn’t been a good season for him.

In 11 at-bats Benintendi has yet to get a single hit, despite walking twice Saturday. The young lefty stated during spring training that he was going to take a more aggressive approach at the plate. He has been aggressive to say the least, being caught star struck by sliders away from his side of the plate.

As with any hitter, pitchers are gonna find holes in a swing, but this isn’t what’s holding Benny back yet. With only one strikeout on the year, it’s just that he hasn’t seen any good pitches to hit. The matchups have been there, but he hasn’t hit his stride just yet.

If the Red Sox want prolonged success, they’re gonna need him to contribute, especially at the crucial two spot in the lineup.

As far as worry level, it’s still hovering in the DEFCON 5 region. Benny will eventually take off, but skipper Alex Cora could put him in a new spot in the lineup if this slump continues.

Pretty Ricky gets the job done

In 3 seasons with the Red Sox, Rick Porcello has won the Cy Young in one and posted an above 4.50 ERA in two of them. Yesterday, he started to trend in a positive direction.

Rick Porcello would go 5.1 innings, letting up 6 hits, 1 earned run, and striking out 4. His first start of the year looked like classic Pretty Ricky, letting up a hit here and there, but still having Flex seal nearby to hold back any serious leaks. Porcello at the three spot is going to be a breaking point of the Red Sox rotation. If Porcello can eat up innings while letting up 1-3 runs a game, he is doing his job at a high level. At his core, Rick Porcello is a ground ball pitcher. After throwing 89 pitches and having men on first and third, Alex Cora had seen enough from Porcello and went to the pen.

While the start is nothing groundbreaking and outstanding, it’s a good foundation for Porcello to build on. Coming off a year where he had a 4.62 ERA and let up a league-leading 38 home runs, it’s definitely a solid start. Pretty Ricky looks to have his next start a week from Saturday against the same team in the Tampa Bay Rays, this time with the Fenway faithful cheering him on.

Next: 3 takeaways from the Sox's first win of the season

Whats next?

The series finale of the 4 game set takes place on Sunday. Taking the bump will be 29-year old Hector Velasquez for the Red Sox, making his fourth career major league start. Opposing him will be 24-year old righty Jacob Faria, who only has 14 starts under his belt. It should be an interesting battle as the Red Sox look to jump to first in the AL East.