On an uncharacteristically rainy night in Anaheim, the Red Sox turned in a characteristically inept performance. For the second consecutive game, the Red Sox were shut out at the hands of the Angels, notching only two hits in the process. And though Rick Porcello was not awful, he regressed a bit from a strong performance in his last game. All things considered, the word “disaster” is a pretty fair description of this game.
Even with Ryan Hanigan (with whom he has been drastically more successful this season) behind the plate, Porcello was never really able to settle in tonight. Though he had broken a seven-game losing skid with his previous start against the Marlins, he returned to his old ways tonight against the Angels.
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At first, it wasn’t the longball that hurt Porcello. Rather, it was an uncharacteristic loss of control that led to an Angels’ rally in the second inning. Porcello walked a pair of batters in the second inning before a two-out error by Pablo Sandoval extended the inning and loaded the bases. Porcello bounced a fastball in the dirt and it got away from Hanigan, allowing the Angels to take the lead.
Porcello was able to escape that inning with just a 1-0 deficit, but his old sins came back to bite him from then on. The home run ball has been a huge problem so far in 2015 and that continued tonight, with Kole Calhoun proving to be Boston’s nemesis. The sturdy right fielder hit nearly identical solo home runs in both the third and fifth innings, increasing the Angels’ lead to 3-0.
All the while, Garrett Richards was throwing a gem for the Angels, ultimately throwing a complete game shutout. The Red Sox were unable to get anything going offensively, recording their only two hits of the game off the bat of Pablo Sandoval. Boston got an unexpected bright spot in relief, with Justin Masterson turning in three scoreless innings, but it was not enough to overcome the team’s ineptitude at the plate.
With this loss in the books, the Red Sox have dropped the first two games of this four-game series. They’ll aim to split the series, with the first step towards that goal being a win tomorrow. Seeking that win, Boston will send rookie sensation Eduardo Rodriguez (5-2, 3.59 ERA) to the mound against Hector Santiago (6-4, 2.33 ERA).
- Justin Masterson, who was nearly flawless in three innings of relief, may have found a home in the bullpen. Who knows, perhaps the sinkerballer will be able to garner some value in a bullpen role so that the Red Sox can ship him off in the next couple of weeks?
- Rick Porcello was very inefficient tonight, throwing a whopping 102 pitches over just 5 innings. Command was an issue for the lanky right-hander, who walked three batters, though he did see his ERA fall to a still terrible 5.79 on the season.
- Both Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt snapped 11-game hitting streaks with hitless performances tonight.
The results weren’t terrible for Porcello: two earned runs in five innings. However, he was clearly not at his best and was lucky to escape with limited damage. It’s getting to be safe to say that the Yoenis Cespedes-Porcello swap with Detroit this winter was a mistake on the part of the Red Sox.
Masterson turned in one of the better relief appearances that one will see, as he allowed just a baserunner while striking out four batters in three shutout innings. In doing so, he saved Boston’s relief corps in what had the potential to be a major bullpen game. Masterson may have found his niche in Boston after all.
Sandoval had a decent game, going 2-3 with a double, but he receives this “offensive MVP award” more due to the fact that he was the only Red Sox player to record a hit tonight.