For the second night in a row, a Red Sox starting pitcher gave up four runs in his start against the Houston Astros. Yup, Drew Pomeranz gave up four in five innings on Thursday, and Chris Sale just so happened to do so in six innings pitched on Friday.
In his 13th start of the season, Sale had a bit of a tough time in the first. Similar to what they did to Pomeranz on Thursday, the Astros put two runs on the board early. It started with a leadoff walk to George Springer, who eventually scored when Carlos Correa reached first on a strikeout. That was followed by a Yuli Gurriel single, which scored Alex Bregman from third, and just like that, the Red Sox found themselves down early.
The lefty would settle down a bit after that, as he scattered two more runs on four hits and no walks over the next five innings. By the time he departed, the Red Sox were only trailing by one.
Certainly not the best out of Sale against a team he has owned in the past, and that now marks two straight starts where he has not looked like his dominant self. In those two starts against the Braves and Astros, the Florida native has surrendered 10 earned runs on 11 hits in just 10.1 innings pitched. He’ll look to rebound next time out against the Detroit Tigers.
With his pitch count at exactly 100 (67 strikes) heading into the bottom half of the seventh, Sale was replaced in favor of Matt Barnes.
The UCONN alum worked his way around back to back singles to lead off the inning while holding the Astros scoreless in his only frame of work. That made way for Joe Kelly in the eighth, who has arguably been one of the better relievers in baseball up to this point in the season.
In fact, over his last 10 appearances, Kelly has held opponents to a .091 BAA in 10.1 innings pitched. That was not the case last night though, as the Astros got to the righty for three runs on two home runs to pretty much put this ting out of the reach. For Kelly, it was the first time he had surrendered a run since May 10th against the Yankees.
Needing two outs to get to the top of the ninth, Brian Johnson got the final call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he too worked his away around back to back singles AND a bases loaded jam to get out of the inning.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup could only muster three runs against Astros starter Gerrit Cole last night. Cole, who entered last night with the American League lead in strikeouts, managed to fan seven in seven innings pitched. Over that span, Brock Holt, Mitch Moreland, and JD Martinez were the only ones to drive in a run on Friday.
Holt put the Red Sox on the board in the second with an RBI double, and Moreland and Martinez went back to back with solo shots in the fourth.
That was that, and the Astros pitching staff held them scoreless over the last five innings to pick up the 2-0 series lead.
Next up for the Red Sox is the third game of this series later tonight. In a matchup of premier pitchers, Cy Young Award winners, and former teammates, it will be David Price vs. Justin Verlander.
Over their past three starts respectively, both starters have been phenomenal. Price owns a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings pitched, and Verlander owns a 0.83 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched.
Also, Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia have both hit the 10-day disabled list in the last 24 hours. Betts won’t be able to return until next Friday at the earliest, and in their place, first baseman Sam Travis and reliever Bobby Poyner have been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket. It will certainly be interesting to see how they manage without two very important players.
Anyway, first pitch of tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET tonight on FOX. Should be a decent pitchers duel.