On a day where Chris Sale was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, Drew Pomeranz did not put forth his best effort to make Red Sox fans feel a little more comfortable with the fact they will be with out their ace for the time being, although Sale’s injury does not appear to be all that serious.
Anyway, making his 10th start of the season last night, Pomeranz was far from awful against the Philadelphia Phillies, that much is certain, but he was from great as well.
In five full innings, the lefty somehow managed to hold the Phils to just two runs while surrendering four hits, four walks, and two hit batsmen to go along with three punch outs on the night.
It was not pretty by any means, but by the time Pomeranz’s day came to an end in the middle of the fifth with his team trailing by just two runs, it’s difficult to say that he did not give the Red Sox a chance to win this game, because he kept them in it and worked around plenty of traffic on the base paths to hold Philadelphia to two runs.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 95, the 29-year old hurler only threw strikes about 53% of the time on Tuesday night. He also topped out at 92.3 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he went to 30 times, in the third inning while lowering his ERA on the season to an unsightly 6.56.
Due to the fact that Brian Johnson has taken over for Chris Sale while he is on the DL, all signs point to Pomeranz maintaining his spot in the Red Sox rotation. If nothing were to change, the Tennessee native would start again sometime next week against the Toronto Blue Jays.
In relief of Pomeranz, the Red Sox bullpen had themselves another solid night up until the ninth inning.
Joe Kelly, with the help of Blake Swihart’s cannon of an arm, worked his way around a leadoff single to face the minimum three batters in the lone inning he pitched in the sixth.
Heath Hembree too worked his way around a leadoff walk to toss a scoreless seventh and Matt Barnes, despite loading the bases, escaped any damage in the eighth inning with a big time strikeout of Cesar Hernandez.
In the final frame though, with the Red Sox trailing by just one run, Hector Velazquez, who had pitched on Monday, allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach base, which drove in the Phillies’ third and final run of the night to create some distance between them and the Red Sox going into the bottom half of the inning.
On the other side of things, similar to what Aaron Nola did for the Phillies in the series opener, Jake Arrieta had his way with the Red Sox lineup on Tuesday.
Tossing seven innings of one run ball, the ex-Cub held Boston to one lone run on six hits and one HBP with seven strikeouts.
That one run came in the sixth inning on a Xander Bogaerts RBI groundout. That’s all the scoring the Red Sox could manage in this one, although they did have plenty of opportunities.
I won’t break down all of them, but I will highlight the most crucial of these scoring chances that came in the ninth.
With Seranthony Dominguez on the mound for Philadelphia to protect a two run lead, a leadoff walk drawn by JD Martinez appeared to be a step in the right direction for a second walk-off hit in as many nights.
However, that optimism was quickly wiped away when Xander Bogaerts took a 99.1 MPH fastball off his right hand in the very next at bat. The same right hand that impacted Bogaerts’ 2017 campaign when he was hit with a pitch in Tampa Bay right before the All-Star break.
Despite the obvious pain he was in, Bogaerts was able to stay in this game and represent the tying run at first base with no outs.
From that point, Dominguez really buckled down for the Phillies, as he consecutively sat down the next three hitters he saw to pick up the save.
Ian Kinsler, who was making his Red Sox debut, Mookie Betts, who came on to pinch hit for Eduardo Nunez, and Brock Holt were all retired on just 11 pitches, and that was how last night’s contest would come to a close with a final score of 3-1.
Some notes from this one:
From @EvanDrellich: Right hand contusion for Xander Bogaerts. X Rays negative. Same spot as last year. He sounded worried just because of the similarity but good news again is X Rays are negative.
From @PeteAbe: Dombrowski said Sale was “adamant” he would miss only one start. Suspicion is how he throws his slider could be the cause. Team is being cautious. MRI was not needed.
In his aforementioned Red Sox debut, Ian Kinsler went 1/4 at the plate with two strikeouts batting in the six-hole. He was also solid at second base.
Extending his hitting streak to 11 games with a sixth inning single, Blake Swihart finishes his month of July with an outstanding slash line of .412/.474/.618 in 14 games.
Ending July with a 19-6 record, the Red Sox have Wednesday off before hosting the New York Yankees for a four-game set that begins tomorrow.
With a 4-5 record against the Bombers this season and a five game division lead to protect, you don’t need me to tell you that this upcoming series is meaningful.
Brian Johnson starts in the place of Chris Sale in the opener on Thursday. He’ll be matched up against CC Sabathia for New York, who has both struggled and succeeded against Boston in two separate starts at home this season.
As for Johnson, well, he’s never started against the Yankees, but he has yet to give up a run against them in three relief appearances as well. Should be an interesting matchup of two left-handers.
First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Thursday.