David Price may have pitched the Rays past a treacherous Game 163 to get into the Wild Card playoff, but the Red Sox clearly aren’t impressed. The Rays’ lefty, who led the league with a 5.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio and four complete games, was tagged for two runs in the first inning due to two of the more prominent features of the Red Sox offense.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the bottom of the first with a bloop single to right field. Ellsbury paced the league with 52 steals during the regular season, so it was no surprise that he would attempt to swipe second base against Price and catcher Jose Molina. He did, and Molina’s throw was a bit off the mark, trickling into the outfield, allowing Ellsbury to scamper to third base. Shane Victorino then grounded out, leaving Ellsbury 90 feet from home plate with one out. Dustin Pedroia picked up his teammate, driving a fly ball to center field, more than deep enough to allow Ellsbury to trot home for the game’s first run. David Ortiz followed up by driving a 1-0 cutter deep to right-center for a solo home run. Price ended the inning by striking out Mike Napoli.
The Red Sox easily disposed of the Rays 12-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS yesterday and are in a good situation leading 2-0 in Game 2 with one inning in the books. The Rays would prefer not to head home to Tampa trailing 0-2 in a best-of-five series.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.
The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.
Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.
The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.