These Oakland Athletics, man. 20-21 on the season, 3-1 against the Red Sox. That’s frustrating, even more so after the Red Sox lost by one run to them last night. I guess one early positive to take away from the series opener was that A’s starter Sean Manaea did not throw another-no hitter.
Rick Porcello got the start for the Red Sox in this one, and for the second start in a row, the righty certainly did not have his best performance. In his last start in New York, Porcello surrendered five runs on eight hits and three walks in 5.1 innings pitched. Last night against the Athletics, he surrendered another five runs, this time on nine hits and zero walks in six innings pitched.
Things started to go awry for the New Jersey native in the third inning, when Matt Joyce took him deep to right field for the A’s first run of the game. An inning later, the opposition knocked Porcello around for another three runs on four hits. In his final frame of work, Matt Olson took Porcello deep to center to put his team up by two.
Last night marked the first time this season in which the 29 year-old has given up more than home run in a start. In the four starts he’s made since April 24th, Porcello owns a 5.02 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 25 innings pitched. On the bright side, at least he’s going fairly deep into his starts, as none of the four previous outings mentioned have been shorter than five innings for Porcello. With a pitch count of 108 (69 strikes) through six innings, Porcello’s night would come to a disappointing end. He’ll look to rebound next time out when he goes up against the Baltimore Orioles.
In relief of Porcello, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen to start off the seventh inning. For the second day in a row, Hembree somewhat impressed, as he held the Athletics scoreless while holding them to one hit.
An inning later, after Rafael Devers had just momentarily pulled the Red Sox within one run, Carson Smith, who had been looking better as of late, served up a solo homer to the first person he saw in Khris Davis. He went on to retire the next three batters he faced, but that home run would prove to be crucial for the A’s given what transpired half an inning later.
After JD Martinez had just made it a one run game once again, Brian Johnson would be responsible for holding the Athletics scoreless. Last time we saw Johnson out of the ‘pen, he gave up a game-winning home run to Luke Maile in Toronto. With that in mind, I’m happy to say that Johnson did not allow last night’s game to get further away from the Red Sox than it already was. The lefty did his job by tossing a perfect ninth, giving his team one last chance in the bottom half of the inning.
On the other side of things, A’s starter Sean Manaea was certainly not as sharp as he was last time the Red Sox saw him in Oakland. After going hitless in the first inning, a JD Martinez single in the second finally gave the Red Sox a hit off the lefty this season. With the monkey off their back, three straight singles from the top of the Red Sox lineup in the third inning put the Red Sox on the board. Hanley Ramirez gave them the lead for a brief moment, as he ripped a single to right field to score Andrew Benintendi from second after he had driven in Mookie Betts on a single of his own. Things were looking up for the Red Sox at this point, but that would not be the case half an inning later, and they would be clawing to get back in this game for the rest of the night.
Fast forward to the fifth, Hanley Ramirez was at it again, as he plated the third run of the game for the Red Sox on a fielder’s choice that scored Sandy Leon from third. That cut the A’s lead to only one run, but once again, that wouldn’t last long.
Two innings later and the Red Sox trailing by two, Rafael Devers cut the deficit in half on his seventh long ball of the season.
That 373 foot shot over the Monster, followed by Sandy Leon reaching on a fielding error, put an end to Sean Manaea’s night, and made way for a mediocre Athletics bullpen. Unfortunately, the top of the lineup could not capitalize on that error, as Yusmeiro Petit ended the inning on nine pitches.
In the eighth, now trailing by two runs again, it would be JD Martinez who cut the deficit in half this time with his 11th homer of the season.
That would be the lone hit of the bottom of the eighth though, and after a scoreless top half of ninth from Brian Johnson, it would be up the 8, 9, and 1 hitters to either tie this thing up or send it into extras.
Facing off against Athletics closer Blake Treinen, Rafael Devers led the inning off by grounding out to first base. After Mitch Moreland came on as a pinch hitter for Sandy Leon, he flew out to left for the second out. Down to just Mookie Betts now, I was somewhat expecting a lengthy, dramatic at bat. Instead, Betts grounded out to short on the second pitch he saw from Treinen, thus ending a very frustrating game and ending the Red Sox winning streak at two.
Some notes from this one:
Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, and Sandy Leon were the only Red Sox hitters to reach base more than once last night.
There was only one walk drawn between the two sides in this game.
With his eighth steal of the season last night, Mookie Betts is now in a three-way tie between himself, Mike Trout, and Kevin Pillar for fourth most swiped bags in the American League.
After his 2-for-4 performance at the plate on Monday, JD Martinez has the eighth best OBP (.396) and is tied for the third best SLG (.641) in the AL. He is one of eight players in all of baseball with an OPS north of one (1.037)
Rick Porcello was dealt his first loss of the season in his ninth start (5-1).
Since starting the season 17-2, the Red Sox are 11-11 over their last 22 games.
Next up for the Red Sox is the middle game of this series later tonight. It will be Daniel Mengden on the mound for the A’s, while Eduardo Rodriguez, coming off maybe his best start of the season last time out in New York, will be taking the mound for Boston. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.