Game 46: Red Sox 3, Rays 2 (23-23)
Game MVP: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, .693.
Least valuable Sox: Marlon Byrd, .160
Most valuable Ray: David Price, .327.
Least valuale Ray: Fernando Rodney, -.766
6th (BOS): Will Middlebrooks singles to center, scoring one, BOS the lead, 1-0, .160.
7th (TBR): Matt Joyce singles, advancing the runner to third, no outs. BOS lead, 1-0, .151.
9th (BOS): Jarrod Saltalamacchia hits a walk-off two run homer, BOS win 3-2, .693.
Wasn’t able to watch the game thanks to MLB’s blackout rules, so a couple quick factoids:
- Powered by his walk-off home run, Saltalamacchia’s .575 slugging percentage now leads the Red Sox.
- The legend of Daniel Nava continues.
Though he went 0-2 at the plate, Daniel Nava took two walks, including one that turned into the tying run in the bottom of the ninth. Nava has now walked in 20.6% of his 63 plate appearances in 2012. If he qualified, that would rank him second in the majors, behind Joey Votto.
Nava’s .476 on-base percentage lead’s the Red Sox. Though he continues to struggle mightily against left-handed pitching, Nava may play himself into the role of the team’s fifth outfielder once the regulars return.
- Andrew Miller worked a clean eight inning, drawing a ground out, infield fly and a strikeout.
Andrew Miller has struck out 12 of the 34 batters he’s faced this year (35.3%), while walking just two (4.5%). With so few balls in play, opponents have struggled to put up runs. Over 9.2 innings (10 appearances) Miller has a 1.86 ERA on the season (2.48 FIP). This relief thing might just work. Miller, combined with Rich Hill (who worked a scoreless ninth), may end up squeezing Franklin Morales off the roster once the team looks to bring up one or more of Mark Melancon, Clayton Mortensen, and Junichi Tazawa from Triple-A Pawtucket.
- Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney had faced 91 batters on the season without allowing a home run, prior to Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s walk-off home run.
Fernando Rodney had also walked just three batters faced (3.2%), prior to Nava’s walk, the tying run.
- Josh Beckett has recorded seven quality starts on the season. Next closest on the team are Jon Lester and Felix Doubront, tied with five.
Quality starts (6 IP or more and 3 ER or less) aren’t a particularly great statistic, but more often than not, they tell us if a pitcher is able to go deep into games while limiting the damage. And it’s certainly a better indicator of a pitcher’s performance than wins and losses, by which Josh Beckett’s 4-4 record in 2012 lags behind both Felix Doubront and Clay Buchholz (both 4-2).
Though he’s still got some work to do, Beckett’s numbers on the season are beginning to round into form (4.15 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 3 K/BB).
Want a reason for optimism?
In his last three starts, Beckett has gone a total of 21.2 innings (no less than 7 IP per start), striking out 19 and walking just 4. His 22.9% strikeout rate and 4.8% walk rate during the period are actually better than his career average (22.5% and 7.3%). He’s allowed just three runs in those starts, all of which the Red Sox have won.