Red Sox Lose To Blue Jays, Henry Owens’ Second Loss
On the day that Henry Owens was given the keys to the club’s car, he ran the Boston Red Sox off the mound and into the proverbial wall, in Dunedin.
The Red Sox played as the visitors against the Toronto Blue Jays, in front of just over 5 500 fans at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. A sunny 80 degrees outside, while the temperature heated up for Owens in his start against fellow youngster Aaron Sanchez, the hot rookie whom the Jays brought up in the bullpen, last season.
It was fitting that the two young men would meet this way, as each are expected to do great things for their prospective teams. Sanchez went from Double-A New Hampshire all the way to the big leagues in one season. As this article was written, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons announced that Sanchez would now be one of the starting pitchers in April.
Toronto Star reporter Brendan Kennedy recorded Gibbons’s discussion about Sanchez, stating that the plans of keeping the pitcher in the bullpen this season, possibly as the closer, have changed. “The whole idea of him coming out of the bullpen was just because that was going to make our team stronger … But I think most guys want to see what he can do as a starter.” The change comes as another young Blue Jays talent Marcus Stroman went down for the season, fielding a routine bunt and blew his knee, which required season-ending surgery.
Owens, the 190-pound, California native is a tall drink of water at 6’6″, and was expected to be a refreshing change to the Red Sox bullpen, much like Sanchez was for the Blue Jays.
Then, Owens met Jose Bautista.
Mar 19, 2015; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista (19) hits a solo home run against the Boston Red Sox at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
The face of the Blue Jays franchise destroyed a 1-0 pitch, pulling it over the left field fence, in the bottom of the first inning. Welcome to the big leagues, son!
Much like yesterday’s match-up against the Minnesota Twins, the Red Sox bats tried to respond. In the top of the third inning, the rainbow left Sanchez’s world as well, hitting Jemile Weeks with a pitch. After Jackie Bradley Jr. singled to move Weeks around the bases, Brock Holt reached on a fielder’s choice to cash in the hit batsman. Daniel Nava followed that up with a soft groundout to first base, scoring Bradley Jr. to take the lead.
Not to be outdone, the strength of the Blue Jays batting order struck again, as Jose Reyes grounded out to score Dalton Pompey. Danny Valencia topped that with a screaming homer over center, which scored Josh Donaldson to give the Blue Jays a commanding 4-2 lead.
That was all she wrote for Owens, but not all for the Blue Jays in the same inning, as Devon Travis greeted Red Sox reliever Dalier Hinojosa with a double to score Dayan Viciedo. The score was 5-2.
In the sixth, Allen Craig decided to join the party, in favor of the Red Sox, as he smashed a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Nava and adding another blemish on Sanchez’s pitching line. Boston inched back to 5-3.
The comeback from yesterday stopped short, though. The Blue Jays, once again, scored in the bottom of the sixth, with Travis doubling again, this time off of Brian Johnson, to score Pompey. The play proved to be an insurance run, with the Blue Jays winning the game, 6-3. Aaron Sanchez recorded the win, Owens had the loss, while Blue Jays reliever Chad Jenkins recorded the save.
- Owens went a full three innings, giving up 5 earned runs on 5 hits, including 2 home runs, and a walk. He did get one strikeout. His counterpart, Sanchez pitched 5.1 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts.
- With most of the veterans out of the lineup, Red Sox third baseman Garin Cecchini had 3 hits and Nava had 2 hits to lead the team in that category, today.
- While Craig had the RBI, playing the designated hitter role, he also struck out twice.
It’s one thing to pitch well in a couple of innings of relief. It’s a whole other thing to match skills against All-Star caliber players like Jose Bautista. You cannot afford to leave pitches over the strikezone on the pull side of a pull hitter, especially one who makes a living by cranking home runs as often as he does. There is a reason why he is one of the most demanded players for the home run derby, as well as being the face of the Blue Jays. Chalk it up to a learning experience. Owens will still be a major part of the 2015 Red Sox, likely in the bullpen; however, if it was a concern before about him leaving pitches hanging to hit, it is a definite issue now.
Even though Johnson gave up a run, he also struck out 4 Blue Jays, while walking only 1 batter, in 2.2 innings of work. Hinojosa did give up a hit that scored a run, but he finished the rest of the inning quickly. So didDana Eveland
. Most of the damage came when Owens was pitching. However, it was not like Johnson and Hinojosa were lights out to hold trouble at bay. The Red Sox will need more relief to quell the storms when they come.
Once again, the bats came to the aid of their starter, but this time it was not enough. Nava had 2 hits and an RBI in 4 at-bats, but the rest of the team was fairly quiet. Only Cecchini made any more real noise, but there seemed like nobody to cash in when he was hitting. He even was caught stealing by Blue Jays catcherRussell Martin
. It was nice to see Craig bash one to the outfield, but, like the rest of the team, an out is an out. The team’s offense seemed unable to rack up runs in bunches, or even to seem threatening to do so. Granted that many veterans were not in the lineup. Were they not before, when they didn’t score runs then, either?
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