Boston Red Sox: 3 keys to taking down the Tampa Bay Rays

Alex Verdugo #99, Enrique Hernandez #5, Hunter Renfroe #10 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Alex Verdugo #99, Enrique Hernandez #5, Hunter Renfroe #10 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Boston Red Sox
Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

No. 2: Don’t leave anyone on base

The 2018 Red Sox were one of the most clutch teams I can ever recall watching. They always found a way to come up with timely hits, and rarely left anyone on base. Their high-powered offense led them all the way to a World Series title. This offense isn’t nearly as good, but they have the ability to carry this team to victories.

They did just as much in the wild card game. Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber hit a pair of huge home runs that helped Boston get off on the right foot. But Alex Verdugo owned the night with a pair of clutch hits in the sixth and seventh innings that led to three insurance runs for the Sox.

Verdugo found himself at the plate with a chance to put some runs on the board, and he delivered. If the Red Sox want to keep winning, they would be wise to follow in Verdugo’s trail. You simply cannot afford to squander scoring opportunities in the playoffs. The Yankees did squander their few chances to score runs, and they are at home watching the playoffs now.

Continuing their clutch hitting from the wild card game will be imperative to winning this series. Boston has a solid group of veterans from the 2018 team in Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Rafael Devers that know the importance of bringing in those runs, and with those three guys at the heart of the lineup, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this team drive in more runs than expected.

The lineup has always been the Red Sox strength this season, and they will need to rely heavily on them to produce in this series. Tampa Bay has an extremely diverse case of arms in their rotation and bullpen, so it isn’t going to easy. Scoring runs is what wins you games, and if the Sox can capitalize on their scoring chances, they will have a good shot to prevail in this series.