After a four-game losing skid came to a halt on Tuesday night, the Red Sox were hoping to build off of Rick Porcello’s masterful start. Unfortunately, that didn’t come to fruition in the rubber match between the Red Sox and the Rays. Justin Masterson failed to get through five innings and seemed to hit a wall after 90 pitches, something that has been a consistent issue for Boston’s starters all season.
Masterson gave up seven hits, four runs, and six walks with a strikeout in just 4.1 innings total and 96 pitches. Double plays would be crucial in getting Masterson out of jams in the first couple innings, but an RBI single from second baseman Logan Forsythe would drive in right fielder Brandon Guyer in the third. After an Evan Longoria solo homerun in the fourth, the fifth inning is where everything would really fall apart for Masterson. After a single, a wild pitch and a walk, Masterson allowed Joey Butler to drive in two runs on a single which would be his last pitch of the night.
The Red Sox bats struggled to get much going early on. Rays starter Alex Colome wasn’t exactly nasty, but he was certainly good enough on Wednesday night. Colome’s final line was 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB and 4 SO. An RBI double from Blake Swihart and a sacrifice fly from Dustin Pedroia would give Boston two runs in the third. That would be all they could muster until a Mookie Betts homer, his third in two nights, put the Red Sox within a run in the bottom of the eighth. After a couple walks and a single would load up the bases, Daniel Nava and Brock Holt both grounded out to squash the rally.
The Red Sox would also threaten to tie the game in the ninth, getting two men on with only one out, but they couldn’t get the job done losing by a final of 5-3. Brad Boxberger would pick up his seventh save of the season.
After a dreadful home-stand that saw a sweep at the hands of the Yankees and a 3-6 record, the Red Sox will look to regroup in Toronto on Friday night when Wade Miley (1-3, 7.15) takes the mound against 22 year old right-hander Aaron Sanchez (2-2, 4.62).
*Blake Swihart picked up his first double of his major league career and his first RBI. He would also throw out his first runner on the base paths as well.
*The Red Sox bullpen saw a good deal of work yet again with Edward Mujica, Tommy Layne, Junichi Tazawa, Robbie Ross and Alexi Ogando all combining for 4.2 innings. They would perform well giving up only two hits, two walks and no runs.
*Dustin Pedroia made a couple magnificent hit-saving and potential game-changing, diving plays in the field.
*Xander Bogaerst was the only Red Sox hitter with two hits on the night to bring his average to .269. He would also score a run.
*Evan Longoria crushed two dingers on the night to move to three total for the year. The first would tie the game in the fourth and the second would prove to be the dagger in the top of the ninth.
*Luis Jimenez was put in to pinch run for David Ortiz in the eighth, and that would come back to haunt the Red Sox. After not scoring in the eighth, he would come to plate in the ninth after Dustin Pedroia struck out with two men on and one out. Jimenez would go on to ground out to end the game.
Yet again, Masterson wasn’t able to get through five innings. His velocity and location were issues. While he was able to get some ground balls to help his cause, he wasn’t able to get consistent outs and walked too many batters deep in counts. The loss drops him to 2-1 on the season with a 5.18 ERA. Masterson’s problems are worrisome and it may be time to think about a possible bullpen stint to get the most out of him at this point.
Junichi Tazawa pitched out of a jam in the seventh with two men on and no outs showing why he is one of the more reliable guys in the pen forJohn Farrell
Mookie Betts did his best to reincarnate “Mookie magic” from Tuesday night when he clocked a homerun (his fifth this season) to bring the Red Sox within a run in the eighth inning.
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