Who would have thought that the Red Sox bullpen, not Drew Pomeranz, would be who to put the blame on for another tough loss? Well, that’s what happened this afternoon. Pomeranz was not half bad, pitching into the seventh inning for the second start in a row. The only runs the Royals scored off of the southpaw were pretty cheap honestly, a GIDP that scored one in the second, and a sac fly that scored the other in the third. Five strikeouts for Pomeranz too, whose ERA is down to 4.07. The silver lining in this loss was probably Pomeranz, who needs to step up with all the injuries within the rotation. It looks like Drew will be making his next start against the Twins next Tuesday, another chance to lower that ERA.
Like the first sentence says, the bullpen was mostly awful today as they blew the lead and the game. Joe Kelly came in to relieve Pomeranz in the seventh, and despite loading the bases, he got out of the inning. Matt Barnes got the ball for the eighth, and he walked the only two batters he faced. Robby Scott came in, gave up a walk, then served up the go-ahead grand slam to Salvador Perez, who hit that ball with Miguel Cabrera’s bat.
Love that guy… Anyway, Heath Hembree would have to be thrown in the game to bail out the bullpen and stop the Royals bats, and that’s what he did in getting all three outs in the inning. Listen, I like Matt Barnes, he’s a pretty good guy to have out of the pen, but I just don’t think his purpose is to be the setup guy, the eighth inning guy. Last year, you had Koji, Tazawa, and Ziegler later on, so Barnes was really never needed in that role. Dave Dombrowski went ahead over the winter and made a trade with the Brewers for one of 2016’s best relievers, Tyler Thornburg. Well, he’s not going to play this season, and that setup man is still a question until we see what Carson Smith can be. Barnes will probably still pitch in those situations, because it seems like Manager John loves seeing him pitch there.
Offensively, the Red Sox only scored in two innings. They could have won the game with just these runs, but still. Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts mashed back to back solo home runs in the fourth, the tenth for Benny and the fifth for X. In the fifth, Christian Vazquez scored on a Mookie Betts sac fly and Deven Marrero scored from third on a failed pick-off attempt with Mitch Moreland at the plate. Not much to say about the offense today, Xander Bogaerts was the only guy in the lineup who reached more than once. Also, I know he only got one PA, but I just want to point out the fact that Hanley Ramirez’s BA has fallen to .239 and his Slugging % is only at .394, compare that to last year when he finished with a Slugging % of .505. He’s obviously not the guy to blame for the loss, but just wanted to put that information out there.
A 4-4 road trip is far from awful, but you can look at some recent losses as games that got away. At this point last year, the Red Sox had the same record as they do now, 40-32. If you visit Red Sox Twitter, many think this team could be better if Torey Lovullo was at the helm with how good the DBacks have been this year. Me? I think it’s tough to compare two teams in different divisions, not to mention different leagues. This Red Sox team could have a better record now, or they could make an impressive run over the summer. No team is running away with this division, patience is key.
To conclude, let me be the first to wish you a happy David Ortiz number retirement ceremony weekend. Three at home after the off day against a Trout-less Angels team, should be easy enough to take at least two out of three.
40 down, ? to go.