Red Sox unable to back Miley’s gem in 4-1 loss


In great contrast to the month of May, in which the Red Sox scored the second fewest runs of any team in baseball, the Red Sox bats have performed largely as expected in June. Entering today’s game, the Red Sox had scored the seventh most runs in the league this month, but had struggled on account of their pitching, which ranks seventh worst in baseball. However, in a pitching duel with the Rays today, those factors flipped as the ineffectiveness of the Red Sox bats wasted a strong start by Wade Miley.

The matchup of Miley and Rays’ starter Matt Andriese didn’t look like a pitching duel in the making, but it was just that. Both pitchers matched each other pitch for pitch through the first four innings, with the game completely scoreless and both starters dominating.

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With just four baserunners allowed and four strikeouts through his first four innings of work, Miley was coasting early. However, he ran into his first real patch of trouble in the fifth inning when Asdrubal Cabrera led off the inning with a triple to right-center. Miley was able to induce a weak groundout to first base, keeping Cabrera on third base with one out, and worked a 1-2 count on light-hitting Jake Elmore. But Miley’s 1-2 curve didn’t drop far enough and Elmore hammered it around the foul pole in left field to give the Rays a 2-0 lead.

That one pitch to Elmore would prove to be Miley’s mistake in an otherwise excellent outing, as he allowed just those 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out an impressive 8 batters in 6.1 innings. Still, he was trailing 2-0 when he left the ballgame with one out in the seventh inning.

He was replaced by Matt Barnes, who had been recalled from Pawtucket earlier in the day, and after a quick strikeout to start Barnes’ day, Rene Rivera crushed a long home run to left field to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-0.

The Red Sox got on the board for the first and only time in the eighth inning when Alejandro De Aza turned on a Kevin Jepsen fastball and lined it into the seats in right field. De Aza, who has proved to be a solid low-profile acquisition by the Red Sox, rounded the bases and cut the Rays’ lead to 3-1.

However, all hope was crushed once and for all in the eighth inning when Evan Longoria homered to center field on just the second pitch of the inning. Barnes was able to strike out the next two batters and get a quick one-pitch groundout, but the damage had been done in a shaky outing by Barnes.

The Red Sox were unable to mount any resistance in the ninth inning, allowing the Rays to tie the series at a game apiece. Tomorrow’s rubber match will feature Justin Masterson‘s (2-2, 6.37 ERA) hopefully brief return to the rotation versus the fearsome Chris Archer (9-4, 2.01 ERA).

Game Notes:

  • If not for the hanging curve to Elmore (which wasn’t even a bad pitch, all told), Miley would have turned in a phenomenal start today against the Rays. He was in command of some of his best stuff on the season, featuring excellent secondary offerings, and punched out eight Rays. He has been a revelation since the start of May and now has trimmed his ERA to 4.38 on the season.
  • Matt Barnes also turned in a dominating performance aside from the home runs. Though the tall right-hander did allow two long balls and walked a batter, he struck out 4 batters in just 1.2 innings.
  • Mookie Betts‘ 13 game hit streak came to an end with an 0-4 performance.

B+. . Game Ball. Wade Miley. STARTING PITCHING

Miley looked very good today and it’s a shame that he wasn’t able to come away with a win. He had excellent stuff throughout the game and is turning into a solid mid-rotation starter for the Red Sox.

Game Ball. Matt Barnes. RELIEF PITCHING . C-.

Barnes certainly flashed some dominant stuff today, striking out four of the eight batters that he faced. However, in that span he also allowed two home runs and a walk, so it wasn’t all pretty for the young righty.

B. . Game Ball. Alejandro De Aza.

De Aza was the only Red Sox batter to do any form of damage offensively, knocking a solo home run in the top of the eighth.