Punchless Red Sox fall to Cubs, 2-1


The Boston Red Sox scored just 84 runs during the month of June, an average of three per game. They’re dead last in the American League in scoring. And they began July by continuing the offensive malaise, managing to scratch across just one run in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park.

The loss was the second straight to the woeful North Siders, as the Cubs grabbed the winning run in the top of the ninth on an Anthony Rizzo single, a Starlin Castro double, and a sacrifice fly by Luis Valbuena. Koji Uehara (3-2) took the loss for the Sox.

Despite Uehara’s bumpy outing, the problem for the Red Sox wasn’t, and hasn’t been their pitching. Clay Buchholz had his second effective start since returning from the disabled list, pitching a tidy six and 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and a run with two strikeouts. Andrew Miller continued his great run of stranding inherited runners, leaving two of Buchholz’s men on in the seventh by whiffing consecutive Chicago batters. Junichi Tazawa also pitched a clean eighth, striking out two.

Pedro Strop (1-3) got the win in relief while Bruce Rondon recorded the save, his 11th, getting Dustin Pedroia to ground out to third on a disputed play to end the game with Brock Holt left aboard.

The Sox scored three runs or less for the 14th time in 17 games and made Edwin Jackson, who carried a 5.22 ERA into the game, look like an All-Star. The Sox managed eight hits on the night, including three for a suddenly-hot Dustin Pedroia, two for Brock Holt and two for A.J. Perzynski. Pedroia scored Jackie Bradley in the fifth during a two-out mini-rally for Boston’s only run.

But they also saw donuts from usual suspects Xander Bogaerts and Stephen Drew, and call-up Mookie Betts wore the collar as well, going 0-4 in his third Major League start.

Even when the Sox had an opportunity, the two most-maligned members of the roster, Pierzynski and Drew, the only Sox to record hits on Monday night, contributed to their demise. In the second, Pierzynski was thrown out trying to stretch a wall ball into a double, while Drew was picked off first to end the inning.

Uehara admitted fatigue in the loss; this writer is unsure who’s more fatigued right now: the pitchers from trying to keep the team in the game, or the fan base.