In a game that took over five hours to complete from start to finish due to a not so nice 69-minute rain delay, the Red Sox blew their chance to pick up their third straight win Tuesday night thanks to a ninth inning implosion courtesy of their bullpen.
Before said implosion though, David Price was actually solid, as he usually he is against the Indians, on a night where the conditions certainly were not in his favor.
Making his ninth start of the season for Boston three days after flu-like symptoms cut his outing short in Houston, the left-hander held the Tribe scoreless over six quality innings of work, scattering just three hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts in what should have been his third win of the year.
When this contest went into a delay in the middle of the second, it was unclear whether or not the Sox would be able to get Price back, given the fact they were probably going to take a more cautious approach anyway.
But, since the rain stoppage was brief, the 33-year-old was good to go and dazzled from the beginning of the third up until the middle of the sixth.
Never facing more than four hitters in a single inning, Price also received some help from his middle infield to rob Greg Allen of a hit in the third.
Capping off his night by sitting down eight of the last 10 Indians he faced, Price finished this one with a final pitch count of 96, 63 of which went for strikes.
Out of those 96 pitches, the Tennessee native turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 39% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday while inducing two swings and misses with it. He also topped out at 93.8 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 13 times with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.
Lowering his ERA on the year down to 2.83 while also receiving the tough luck no-decision, Price will look for win number three in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, a venue the lefty has not found much success at.
In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen held it together enough up until the start of the ninth, with Brandon Workman tossing a scoreless seventh,…
…Marcus Walden having one of his worst outings of the season by allowing two runs to score in the eighth on a two-RBI double from Francisco Lindor, and Matt Barnes cleaning up Walden’s mess to get his team out of the top half of the eighth with a one-run lead still intact.
That was all fine and good, and even more so with them tacking on a pair of insurance runs in their half of the eighth to make it a 5-2 contest, but then Ryan Brasier came on for the save, and it all went downhill from there.
Entering Tuesday with four straight shutout appearances under his belt, Brasier got his 25th appearance of the season started by serving up a leadoff home run to Indians catcher Roberto Perez. Not ideal, but it was only one run.
Well, an eight-pitch walk of Jake Bauers all of a sudden brought the tying run to the plate for Cleveland, and Greg Allen, not known for his power, took full advantage by ripping an 0-1 fastball from Brasier and sending it 394 feet into the right field seats. Just like that, this one was tied.
Allen would be the last hitter Brasier faced Tuesday, meaning the right-hander did not retire any of the three Indians he matched up against. Not great.
So, with the bases empty and three outs still to get, in came Travis Lakins for just the third big league appearance of his young career, and boy, did he have some control issues.
A HBP, followed by a seven-pitch walk of Lindor, a huge play made by Steve Pearce to nab the lead runner at third on a bunt attempt off the bat of Oscar Mercado, and another four-pitch walk of Carlos Santana meant that the bases were full of Indians with only one out recorded.
With no one warming in the Boston bullpen, this one fell on Lakins, and he delivered the crushing blow to the very next hitter he faced in Jordan Luplow, who, on a 2-1 cutter, laced a two-run double just out of the reach of a twisting Mookie Betts in right field that allowed Lindor and Mercado to come in and score to put the Indians ahead for the first time all night.
Lakins would be able to escape without yielding another run, but the damage was already done in an inning the Sox entered with a three-run lead and left trailing by two.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a young right-hander making his big league debut for Cleveland in Zach Plesac.
For never facing Boston before in his career, or let alone toeing a major league rubber before Tuesday, the 24-year-old rookie held his own in this one, limiting the Sox to one lone run in his 5 1/3 innings of work.
That lone run came in the sixth, when after Rafael Devers collected his first career triple to force Plesac out of this contest…
…Xander Bogaerts drove him in on a one-out RBI single off new Indians reliever AJ Cole to put his team on the board first.
Staying in the sixth, JD Martinez advanced Bogaerts to third on his second double of the night, and Brock Holt plated both runners by reaching first on a two-out fielding error committed by Indians second baseman Mike Freeman. 3-0.
Fast forward to the eighth, after Cleveland trimmed their deficit down to one run, a pair of RBI base knocks from Michael Chavis and Steve Pearce, Chavis’ a single and Pearce’s a double, off right-hander Nick Wittgren provided the Red Sox with that looked to be much-needed insurance to put them up 5-2.
But, after the Indians staged their comeback with a five-run rally in the ninth, 7-5 would go on to be Tuesday’s final score. Just a crushing blow, really. Without a doubt the worst loss of the season thus far.
Some notes from this loss:
According to FanGraphs, the Red Sox had a 96.2% chance of winning this game going into the ninth inning. 96.2%!
From Red Sox Notes:
Rafael Devers during his nine-game hitting streak: .415/.429/.829 with four home runs and nine RBI.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game series against the Indians before heading out on another seven-game road trip.
Right-hander Ryan Weber, fresh off six quality one-run innings in his first start of the season against the Blue Jays last Thursday, will get the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Shane Bieber (3-2. 3.11 ERA) will do the same for Cleveland.
First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 6:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.