How do you follow up a 12-2 blowout win to open up a seven-game road trip? By getting blown out yourself the very next day, of course!
That’s right, after blowing the doors off the Blue Jays in the first of a four-game set on Monday, the Red Sox fell behind in the fourth inning on Tuesday and never recovered.
Making his 10th start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered the day unbeaten in his last seven outings.
Working the first five innings of this one, the left-hander yielded six runs, all earned, on six hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night. Half of those hits went for Blue Jays home runs.
Retiring eight of the first 10 hitters he faced, the bottom half of the fourth is where things fell apart for Rodriguez, and it all started with a harmless leadoff single off the bat of baseball’s top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., making his first ever start against the Red Sox after being held out of Toronto’s lineup Monday.
That was followed up by Justin Smoak flying out to center field for the first out of the inning, and then Rodriguez went ahead and made his first mistake of the evening, an 83 MPH changeup located way inside that Blue Jays designated hitter Rowdy Tellez took deep to right field to put his team on the board at 2-0.
Two pitches later, Toronto added to their lead, this time with Randal Grichuk taking Rodriguez deep to left on a 1-0, 87 MPH changeup on the bottom half of the strikezone.
In the fifth, it was once again Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who would wind up being the catalyst for another three-run inning by ripping another single off of Rodriguez with two outs in the inning.
After Justin Smoak drew a five-pitch walk and a wild pitch allowed both runners to advance up 90 feet, Tellez struck again for his second dinger of the night, this one a three-run, 397 foot shot to right field that seemed avoidable.
Why do I say that? Well, when you see where Christian Vazquez was set up, and then when you see where that 82 MPH slider ended up, it becomes a bit frustrating.
Anyway, Rodriguez got Grichuk to fly out to center for the final out of the fifth, and that is how his night would come to a close.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (57 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 37% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.8 MPH with the pitch.
Falling to 4-3 on the season with his ERA jumping up to 5.43, Rodriguez will look to improve those numbers in his next time out against the Houston Astros on Sunday.
In relief of Rodriguez, Tyler Thornburg entered this contest in the sixth with his team trailing by five runs and left with them trailing by seven thanks to back-to-back RBI singles from Danny Jansen and Brandon Drury.
From there, Colten Brewer allowed an additional pair of runs to score in the seventh on a two-RBI double from Drury before retiring the side in order in the eighth. Just a banner day for Red Sox pitching.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against the ace of the Blue Jays pitching staff in 5’7″ right-hander Marcus Stroman.
Despite having several opportunities to push some runs across, the Boston bats didn’t get going until it was already too late.
It started in the second inning, really. No outs, runners on first and second in a scoreless game. Michael Chavis grounds into a 6-4-3 double play and Xander Bogaerts ends up stranded at third.
Just an inning later, one out and the 9-1-2 hitters do their job by loading the bases for the middle part of the lineup. Anything to show for it? Nope, because Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts both struck out to end the top half of the third.
Fast forward to the sixth, Moreland led off what looked to be a promising frame by mashing his team-leading 13th homer of the season off of Stroman, a 352 foot shot to the opposite field to make it a 6-1 game.
Back-to-back walks drawn by Rafael Devers and Chavis in the same inning gave the Sox another chance to trim their deficit, but a 6-4-3 twin killing off the bat of Christian Vazquez put an end to that potential rally.
In the seventh, Stroman was chased due to Jackie Bradley Jr. and Steve Pearce reaching base to leadoff the inning.
One pitching change that saw left-hander Tim Mayza take over and one walk drawn by Andrew Benintendi later, the bases were full for the part of the Boston lineup you want the bases full for.
But, again, nothing to show with Mookie Betts and Moreland going down by way of the K and Bogaerts grounding out to short to end the seventh.
And in the eighth, a pair of solo homers from Devers and Bradley Jr. off Joe Biagini and Sam Gaviglio made it a 10-3 contest in favor of Toronto, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.
For Devers, his fifth big fly of the season and second in as many days to secure another mult-hit game.
Bradley Jr., meanwhile, has also homered in two straight. That much is encouraging to see.
Some notes from this loss:
The Red Sox went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday while also leaving 10 on base. Not great.
Tyler Thornburg has allowed runs in nine of his 16 appearances so far this season. His ERA currently stands at 7.71.
Over his last two starts, opposing hitters are slashing .333/.392/.600 off of Eduardo Rodriguez.
From Red Sox Notes:
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the third game of this series Wednesday night.
Right-hander Rick Porcello, fresh off a solid seven innings and a forgettable eighth inning against the Houston Astros, is set to get the ball for Boston while fellow right-hander Aaron Sanchez will do the same for Toronto.
In his career at Rogers Centre, Porcello owns a lifetime 5.47 ERA over 13 games (12 starts) and 72.1 total innings pitched.
Sanchez, meanwhile, has posted a career 3.91 ERA in 20 games (12 starts) and 76 innings against the Red Sox. He is currently 3-4 with a 3.88 ERA and .250 batting average against through 10 starts this season.
First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:07 PM EDT on NESN. Time to start another winning streak.