I must say, the Red Sox have spoiled us to begin this season. In 22 games, they’ve already had two winning streaks of at least eight games, and have been one of the best all around teams in baseball in terms of run production and pitching. That’s all nice, but things have kind of halted since that no-hitter on Saturday night. Since the start of that game, the pitching has still ben great for the most part, but the Red Sox have scored a grand total of four runs in three games, and three of those runs were scored in Toronto last night.
Speaking of Toronto, the Red Sox kicked off the last third of their road trip up north last night. Rick Porcello, looking for his fifth win of the season, was on the mound for Boston while it was lefty JA Happ making the start for the Blue Jays.
Porcello looked great once again, as he surrendered three runs over seven innings, allowing three hits, three walks, and striking out a season high of nine along the way. The walks were a bit unusual, since before last night he had given up a total of one all season, but I really have nothing else to complain about from Porcello’s start. Those three runs the Jays scored in the second weren’t all on him, that was a pretty weird inning. I mean, Rafael Devers could have made a better throw, that could have limited what the Blue Jays did. At the end of the day though, I’ll take seven quality innings from Porcello anytime I can get them. He finished his night at 103 pitches, 65 of which went for strikes. And since he got hit with the no decision, he’ll look for that fifth win of the season once again this weekend, back home against the Tampa Bay Rays.
In relief of Porcello, Joe Kelly was first up and he too had a quality outing. In two innings pitched, the righty allowed one hit and struck out one batter as he held the Blue Jays scoreless in a crucial situation, since they had the chance to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, a walk off was apparently inevitable because Curtis Granderson put a stamp on this contest an inning later.
No doubt that this is a bad look for Craig Kimbrel. An elite closer like himself should be able to keep thing tied going into the eleventh. But, that was the first time in nearly a week the Red Sox flamethrower had seen any in-game action. Regardless, he got hit with his first loss of the season.
Offensively, the Red Sox lineup never stood much of a chance against JA Happ last night. The veteran starter held the Red Sox to just one run on four hits, while striking out 10, in the seven innings he pitched.
That one run was important though, as it cut into the Blue Jays lead in the top of the sixth.
Hanley Ramirez collected his 16th RBI of the season, and the Red Sox were now down by only two runs.
Fast forward to the ninth, and it looked like the Red Sox were done for with Roberto Osuna on the mound. The young Jays closer had been perfect in save opportunities before last night, but the bottom of the order rallied.
After Hanley Ramirez and Rafael Devers both singled with one out in the inning, Eduardo Nunez picked up his seventh RBI of the year by ripping a single to right field that scored Ramirez from second and moved Devers up to third. One strikeout and one lucky walk from Christian Vazquez later, and Brock Holt came through with the clutchest hit of the night for the Red Sox.
On the second pitch of the at bat, Holt took a 97 MPH fastball from Osuna and laced it into left field. That allowed Devers to score from third and should have kept the inning going with Mookie Betts due up next. Instead, Eduardo Nunez was tagged out trying to score from second on what was one of the most aggressive sends from third base coach Carlos Febles that I have seen.
That disaster of a play ended the top half of the ninth, and the rally the Red Sox had going as well. With one last chance in the tenth, Tyler Clippard walked one while also facing the minimum as he got Hanley Ramirez to ground into a game-ending double play.
That makes three straight losses for the Red Sox now. No need to panic yet, it’s still way too early for that. Eduardo Rodriguez will look to end this little skid, as he faces off against Jays righty Aaron Sanchez later tonight. First pitch is at 7:05 PM ET.