BOSTON -- First impressions of the Boston Red Sox’ 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays:
No Red Sox pitcher is safe in the first inning.
It doesn’t matter who’s out on the mound and what team they’re playing. Red Sox pitching just can’t get the job done in the initial frame.
Thankfully Rick Porcello was able to put out the fire before things got out of hand.
Rick Porcello continues to get the job done.
After scuffling through the first frame, the righty did pretty much everything well. He handled rough innings. He had quick ones, too.
Porcello only struck out five batters, but once again he didn’t allow for a free pass.
And with Craig Kimbrel being moved to the disabled list prior to the game, Porcello’s seven-inning out becomes all the more important -- giving almost everyone in the pen a day of rest heading into the final game before the All-Star break.
He even gave himself a little break, only throwing 94 pitches in the outing.
This is what Boston needs to do every time against Tampa Bay.
Easier said than done, but it’s clear the Rays are the worst team in the division.
The fact that the Red Sox have struggled against this team quite a bit this year is unacceptable.
David Price needs to gain some momentum heading into the break, and his old team is the perfect one to do it against.
Matt Moore has not developed as he was originally projected.
The left-hander was expected to be a top of the rotation threat when he first emerged into the big leagues. But ever since elbow surgery in 2014, the lefty hasn’t been where he used to be.
He still has a lively fastball, touching 95 mph throughout the game. And even though only two of his runs were earned in his six innings, Moore missed out on opportunities to execute and keep his team in a more favorable position.
Matt Barnes is the set-up man for the time being.
With Brad Ziegler not available yet, and the righty expected to close with Koji Uehara, it looks like Barnes is expected to serve in the set-up role for Boston.
The UConn alum was serving as the reliever to enter with men on base for the Red Sox, so now John Farrell has to decide who will fill those shoes.
Sandy Leon is the opposite of snake-bitten.
While most players go through slumps where they can’t find holes, Leon has done nothing but that -- and nothing seems to be changing that.
Whether he hits it hard or soft -- with his two hits Saturday serving as proof -- Boston’s catcher keeps finding a way hit his way on base.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar