Fellow Red Sox rookie Christian Vazquez congratulates Rusney Castillo after the outfielder's first career home run. (Getty Images)

Why you should have cared about Thursday's Red Sox game: Rusney Castillo went next level

Rob Bradford
September 25, 2014 - 6:26 pm
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Since Rusney Castillo arrived with the Red Sox, the reviews have been mixed. The outfielder has shown an ability to go get the ball in the outfield, while taking to coaching like the Red Sox would hope he would. He showed hints of pop, particularly to right field. Conversely, Castillo's much-publicized speed has come under some scrutiny, possessing a pedestrian time of 4.4 seconds down the first line (due in part to an aggressive hitting follow-through). It all added up to four hits in 23 at-bats (.174) with one run and a single RBI (claimed on a bases-loaded walk). Thursday night, however, Castillo went next-level. The rookie play a key role in the Red Sox' blowout, 11-1 win over the Rays at Fenway Park, launching his first big league homer -- clearing the left field wall with at three-run blast off a 92 mph fastball from Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson. He also just missed a second by a few feet, having to settle for a seventh-inning double. "I have been feeling more comfortable," Castillo said through translator Adrian Lorenzo. "I'€™m feeling closer towhere I want to be, so it'€™s like anything else, with some more time and somemore repetitions you get to feel a little bit more comfortable and confident. But yeah, I feel like I'€™m on my way there." With catcher Christian Vazquez hitting a second-inning homer over the left field wall, and Garin Cecchini sending a fly ball over the right field fence Wednesday night, the Red Sox have had three rookies hit their first major league homers in the past two nights. Like Castillo, Vazquez' night wasn't just limited to a home run. The backstop went 4-for-4 with three RBI. Also pitching in for the offense was fellow rookie Bryce Brentz (2-for-4). Also of note was Allen Webster's outing. The righty starter turned in yet another solid performance, this time allowing one run on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out five and walked one while throwing a season-high 99 pitches. In his last three starts, Webster -- who has implemented his four-seam fastball a bit more of late -- has allowed four runs in 18 2/3 innings, striking out 10 and walking three. "Much like we talked about with [Anthony] Ranaudo last night, the final start of the year with some increased confidence going into the offseason and even furthermore, with Webby, just some momentum as he finishes things out this year," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.