The Red Sox entered tonight’s game in position to make a legitimate run in the AL East. Riding their first four-game winning streak of the season, the Red Sox had cut their AL East deficit to 5.5 games before a crucial series against the first-place Yankees. In the series opener, the Red Sox sent ace Clay Buchholz to the mound to put the Yankees to bay.
Just a few hours later, the Red Sox are have lost that winning streak and they may have also lost Buchholz.
Buchholz allowed a first-inning solo shot to Alex Rodriguez, but aside from that blip, he was typically good through the first three innings. However, things weren’t the same in the fourth inning as he allowed the Yankees to place a pair of runners in scoring position with just an out in the inning. Then, in the middle of a Stephen Drew at bat, Buchholz winced and left the game, with reporters later learning that he had felt discomfort in his throwing elbow.
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Robbie Ross Jr. entered the game in relief of Buchholz and his defense didn’t back him to start his outing as a Mike Napoli error allowed New York to load the bases. After inducing a harmless popup off the bat of Cole Figueroa, Ross’s defense let him down again as a Brock Holt error allowed the Yankees to add a run. A Brett Gardner single and Rodriguez walk let the Yankees extend their lead to 4-0, a lead which appeared nearly insurmountable with Michael Pineda looking dominant on the mound.
In fact, the lead would prove to be just that, with the Red Sox only making any inroads when Mookie Betts drove a line drive over the green monster to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Unfortunately, that would be Boston’s only offensive contribution at any point in the game as the Red Sox were unable to get anything going against either Pineda or the Yankees’ vaunted bullpen.
- There’s not much word on the extent of Buchholz’s injury but given the nature of elbow injuries and Buchholz’s past durability issues, there might be some reason for concern. Hopefully his situation will become clear soon and he’ll be able to avoid any serious time on the disabled list, which would severely hurt a Red Sox team in dire need of a positive stretch.
- Mike Napoli had a rare start today, receiving a chance to preserve his spot on the team, and he didn’t do much to help himself out. He got a single and hit by pitch, but a crucial error at first base led to a big inning by the Yankees.
- Justin Masterson made his first appearance out of the bullpen this season, tossing a quick 1-2-3 ninth inning.
It’s unclear if his injury was responsible for some of his ineffectiveness, but Buchholz wasn’t bad at all before the fourth inning. Plus, even in that fateful inning, he was hurt by bad defense and a shaky start to Robbie Ross’s outing. Not a great outing for Buchholz but certainly not as bad as it might look on paper.
Ross was able to give the Red Sox some excellent relief, saving the bullpen by lasting 3.2 innings while allowing just an unearned run and punching out four batters. He’s been an up-and-down guy in the Red Sox bullpen this year but he demonstrated some value tonight and lowered his ERA to 3.66 on the season.
The Red Sox didn’t have much in the way of offense today, but Mookie Betts is certainly the Player of the Day in that regard as he knocked a home run and provided Boston’s only run of the game.