After narrowly escaping their series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, the Red Sox went ahead and fell flat on Tuesday, dropping the second of the four-game set by a final score of 10-4 to fall to 51-44 on the season.
Making his 18th start of the season and first for Boston since being acquired from the Baltimore this Orioles this past Saturday was Andrew Cashner, who hadn’t seen any in-game action since before the All-Star break.
Working into the sixth inning of his Red Sox debut, the right-hander yielded six runs, five of which were earned, on eight hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the night.
The first three of those Toronto tallies came in the top half of the second, when after being given an early one-run lead, Cashner allowed two of the first three Blue Jays hitters he faced to reach base before serving up a three-run, 441-foot home run to Teoscar Hernandez off a 1-1, 84 MPH changeup that the outfielder appeared to be sitting on.
In the third, a leadoff walk of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would cause more trouble for Cashner, as the Blue Jays rookie came in to score from third on a two-out RBI single from Justin Smoak four at-bats later, making it a 4-1 contest in favor of Toronto.
From there, Cashner showed a bit of consistency by sitting down the next eight Jays who came to the plate, but the most crushing blow in this one came in the sixth, after the Red Sox had battled back to tie things up at four runs apiece.
Going into the sixth, which is something the number-five starter in Boston’s rotation has not done much of lately, Cashner was greeted once again by Smoak, and on the first pitch the Blue Jays slugger saw, he unloaded on a hanging 76 MPH curveball down the heart of the plate and deposited it 426 feet to right field.
That gave Toronto the 5-4 edge, and Cashner’s outing soon came to a quick close following a ground ball single from Freddy Galvis.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (57 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler turned to his changeup more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses with it. He also topped out at 95.9 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 33 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.
A debut that did not go quite as expected, Cashner will look to rebound from his worst start in nearly two months in his next time out, which should come against the Orioles in Baltimore on Sunday.
In relief of Cashner, Josh Taylor came on with an inherited runner on first and three outs to get in the sixth. The left-hander got the first out of the frame courtesy of a force out at second, essentially swapping Galvis for Hernandez as the base runner at first.
A throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed Hernandez to move up all the way to third, and he scored on a wild pitch with Eric Sogard at the plate to officially close the book on Cashner’s start. 6-4 Blue Jays.
From the beginning of the seventh until the end of the eighth, Colten Brewer worked his way around a one-out double in a scoreless inning of relief and Darwinzon Hernandez did the same in the eighth despite walking one in his first appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier Tuesday.
The ninth inning is where things really fell apart for the Sox, and that was mainly because Heath Hembree surrendered three straight hits to the Jays to begin the frame, which in turn gave them an 8-4 lead.
Ryan Weber entered to try and stop the bleeding, but he too allowed the runner he inherited to score on a Randal Grichuk RBI double before being charged with a run of his own on a run-scoring two-bagger off the bat of Danny Jansen.
Jansen’s 29th RBI of the season put his team ahead 10-4, which would turn out to be a lead Boston could not battle back from this time around.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie rigtht-hander Jacob Waguespack, making his first career big league start after being used after the opener in two prior outings for the Blue Jays.
Seemingly picking up right where he left off to kick off the scoring for Boston in this one was Xander Bogaerts, who extended his hitting streak to eight games by blasting his 21st home run of the season with two outs in the first inning. Per Statcast, the ball had a projected exit velocity of 109.3 MPH and was hit an estimated 409 feet over the Green Monster.
Fast forward all the way to the fifth, Michael Chavis begin the crawl out of a four-run hole by reaching base on a two-out single, breaking a string of seven straight Red Sox hitters being retired by Waguespack.
Two batters later, after Chavis had advanced to third on a double from Brock Holt, the top of the lineup came through with runners in scoring position, first with Mookie Betts ripping a two-run, line drive single to left, then with Bogaerts striking again and plating Betts on an RBI base knock through the middle of the infield.
Those two important hits brought the Red Sox back to a 4-4 stalemate with Toronto, and it seemed as though all the momentum was working in Boston’s favor.
That would not turn out to be the case though, as the Jays went up 5-4 the very next inning and would not have to look back.
Sure, the Red Sox had their fair share of chances to score, like with runners at first and third with two outs in the fifth, or with runners at first and second to lead off the sixth, or with runners at first and second with one out in the seventh, or with Chavis drawing a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth.
Nothing came of those opportunities, and the Blue Jays capitalized on the Sox’ inability to score runs by running up the score to 10-4 in their half of the ninth, which, as already mentioned, would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.
Some notes from this loss:
The Red Sox went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday. They left 10 men on base.
From Red Sox Stats:
From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:
The Red Sox are 8-6 against the Toronto Blue Jays this season, a team that had won 35 games heading into this series.
From Red Sox Notes:
Mookie Betts’ July so far: .432/.500/.614 with seven extra-base hits and six RBI.
Xander Bogaerts during his eight-game hitting streak: .455 (15-for-33) with five homers and 16 RBI.
As Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before Tuesday’s loss, “We’ve been consistent at being inconsistent.” That much was proven in another frustrating performance against a divisional opponent.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the third game of this series on Wednesday night, weather permitting.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is set to get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Aaron Sanchez will do the same for Toronto.
Owning the last quality start from a Red Sox starting pitcher, Rodriguez’s only other outing against the Blue Jays this season did not go well, as the 26-year-old surrendered six earned runs over five innings in an eventual 10-3 loss at Rogers Centre back in May.
Sanchez, meanwhile, has had a miserable 2019 thus far, owning the most losses in the American League with 13 to go along with a 6.22 ERA through 20 starts this season.
The once highly touted prospect has posted a lifetime 3.56 ERA over 10 career appearances (seven starts) at Fenway Park, including an outing back on April 11th in which he allowed four runs, only one of which was earned, in five innings of work.
The Blue Jays are 5-15 in games Sanchez has pitched in so far in 2019.
First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to get back on track.