On a rain-soaked Wednesday night in Buffalo, the Red Sox kicked off the second half of the 2020 season by falling to the Blue Jays by a final score of 9-1 to fall to 10-21 on the year.
Colten Brewer made his third start and 10th overall appearance of the season for Boston in this one, as he was filling on for the cramped up Nathan Eovaldi.
Coming off a fine outing in his last time out against the Orioles, the right-hander struggled this time around, surrendering four runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.
The first pair of those Toronto tallies scored off Brewer came on a pair of solo home runs from Randal Grichuk and Rowdy Tellez in the bottom halves of the first and second.
The other two came in the fourth, when after yielding a leadoff double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Brewer served up another homer, this one good for two runs, to Tellez off a hanging 1-1, 76 mph curveball towards the inner half of the plate.
Tellez’ second blast of the night, which was his ninth in 20 career game against the Red Sox, put the Jays up 4-0.
Brewer’s evening came to a close shortly thereafter, as he recorded the first two outs of the frame before walking old friend Santiago Espinal on five pitches and getting the hook from Sox manager Ron Roenicke.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 80 (49 strikes), the 27-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 41% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings-and-misses with the pitch while topping out at 95.6 mph with it.
Hit with his second losing decision of the year later on while raising his ERA to 4.57, Brewer’s next start, if he does get one that is, would likely come against the Braves back in Boston sometime next week.
In relief of Brewer, Ryan Weber got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen and came into a four-run game with a runner on first and one out to get in the bottom of the fourth.
The 29-year-old got that out pretty easily, and he was also lights out in the fifth and sixth innings before running into a significant amount of trouble in the seventh.
There, Weber allowed the first three hitters he faced to reach base, resulting in another Blue Jays run crossing the plate to make it a 5-1 contest.
A lineout off the bat of Travis Shaw would mark the end of Weber’s outing, and in came Austin Brice who immediately walked Teosar Hernandez on six pitches to fill the bases for Guerrero Jr.
The Toronto phenom took full advantage of the opportunity that had been laid out before him, as he took a 3-0, 94 mph sinker from Brice and ripped a bases-clearing, three-run double down the left field line. Just like that, the Jays were up 8-1.
A Tellez RBI single moments later brought in Guerrero Jr. from second and put the Sox in an eight-run hole.
All in all, Boston pitching gave up five runs in the seventh inning. Three of those runs were charged to Weber, the other two to Brice.
Left-hander Josh Osich did manage to toss a scoreless ninth to keep the eight-run deficit intact, but by then the damage had already been done.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Julian Merryweather for the Blue Jays, who was making just his second career major-league start on Wednesday.
To put it simply, Merryweather impressed by keeping the Boston bats off the scoreboard over the first two innings while throwing strikes 64% of the time.
It wasn’t until the top of the fourth when the Sox offense finally got it going. There, with Shun Yamaguchi on the hill for Toronto, Mitch Moreland stayed hot by crushing his eighth big fly off the season deep to the opposite field off a two-out, first pitch 84 mph changeup on the outer half of the plate.
As it would later turn out, though, Moreland’s solo blast would prove to be the only offense the Red Sox could muster over nine frustrating innings on Wednesday.
In fact, Moreland’s homer was one of just three hits for the Sox all night, as 9-1 would go on to be your final score in this one.
Some notes and observations from this defeat:
From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:
Alex Verdugo’s 14-game hitting streak has come to an end following the 24-year-old’s 0-for-4 night at the plate.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game set against the Blue Jays on Thursday night.
Right-hander Chris Mazza will get the start for Boston, while veteran left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu will do the same for Toronto.
Mazza, who will be making his second start of the year for the Sox, will need to be added to the active roster prior to first pitch, which is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI.