ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:
What was Jackie Bradley thinking in the fifth inning? He wasn't, apparently.
Trailing 4-0, the Red Sox had runners on first and second with two out and Christian Vazquez at the plate.
Inexplicably, Bradley broke from second base in an attempt to steal third. Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore simply pivoted and threw the ball to third, where Bradley was tagged out for the final out of the inning.
Not only did it end the threat, it guaranteed the weak-hitting Vazquez would lead off the next inning.
It was the first time in his career that Bradley was thrown out trying to steal and one that he -- or the Red Sox -- won't soon forget.
David Price didn't like the strike zone.
On at least two occasions, Price made a detour from the mound to the dugout after innings to confer with home-plate umpire John Hirchbeck, presumably about the latter's strike zone.
It may be true that Price got squeezed on some pitches, but when you give up four runs to a light-hitting lineup that had lost 12 of its last 13, it's not a good look to be placing any of the blame on the umpiring.
The Red Sox aren't the worst team in baseball with the bases loaded; it just seems that way.
The Sox threatened in the sixth when Vazquez and Mookie Betts singled and, after a flyout by Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts singled, too.
But David Ortiz couldn't handle some fastballs in the strike zone, popping up in the infield, and Hanley Ramirez hit a ball off the end of the bat for an inning-ending flyout to right.
For the season, the Red Sox are 18-for-70 for a .257 batting average with the bases loaded, ranking them 17th -- or just below the middle of the pack -- in baseball.
Still, it seems that the Sox have been particularly inept in those situations of late, most memorably when they loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth against Chicago two weeks ago and improably came away with nothing.