It was a historic, emotional night for Red Sox fans and Sox great Pedro Martinez. Martinez, possibly the best pitcher ever to wear a Boston uniform and one of the best all time, had his number retired during a memorable ceremony that saw the returns of Tim Wakefield, Carlton Fisk, Luis Tiant and many more Sox legends take part in the festivities. Only this 2015 Red Sox squad could manage to viciously destroy the good vibes at Fenway on Tuesday night…and that’s precisely what they did.
Wade Miley came into the game against the Chicago White Sox as the loser of his last three starts, however he had been pitching better and seemed to have better command of his fastball. That all came to a crashing halt on Tuesday night. Perhaps Miley was a tad psyched out by the crowd and the hysteria surrounding Pedro’s night, but he just didn’t have it right from the start.
After striking out CF Adam Eaton to begin the first, Miley walked 3B Tyler Saladino and gave up an infield single to 1B Jose Abreu. This was all followed up with a double from LF Melky Cabrera – yes that Melky Cabrera, a single from RF Avisail Garcia and a towering double from Geovany Soto giving the White Sox a quick 4-0 lead. DH Emilio Bonifacio added another big time double to drive in another run and just like that, the Red Sox found themselves in a 5-0 hole.
Miley was able to settle down somewhat for the next four innings scattering a few hits, walks and a hit-by-pitch, but was able to keep Chicago scoreless. That would change in the sixth when Jose Abreu drilled a shot to right center with Mookie Betts on the hunt and tracking the ball. Betts seemed to make an incredibly athletic play, but after attempting to jump the wall after a couple steps to avoid crashing into it, he flipped and came crashing down to the ground. Betts was rattled for sure and came out of the game. To make matters worse, the ball jarred loose upon his impact to the ground and the umpires correctly ruled the play a two-run homer.
Soto would throw in a solo homer of his own in the seventh, and Abreu capped off his monster night with an RBI double in eighth. Both of those runs came at the hands of reliever Justin Masterson who didn’t exactly light up the mound either.
The Red Sox offense was undoubtedly frustrated at having to somehow dig out of yet another hole to kick off the game, and they were never able to climb back into the contest. Right-hander Jeff Samardzija was tough on the Sox lineup. He worked quickly and effectively, and despite a Pablo Sandoval two-run homer in the second inning, never really allowed Boston to get much going. Samardzija went eight solid innings giving up seven hits, four runs, a walk and adding three strikeouts to improve his record to 8-5.
His night would have looked even better had he not been sent out to start the ninth. Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez all started the inning off with singles forcing Dan Jennings to come on in relief. Jennings would give up a single to Sandoval and another run scored (charged to Samardzija) on a Mike Napoli double play ball, but that would be all the Sox could muster after Blake Swihart struck out to end the game.
The White Sox have now taken the first two games of the series after the 9-4 victory on Tuesday night. The Fenway crowd will witness Pedro night all over again on Wednesday – this time in Spanish – and these two teams will also do battle all over again with Rick Porcello (5-10, 5.51) battling lefty Jose Quintana (5-9, 3.56). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm.
*According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Mookie Betts was being tested for a concussion after his amazing jump and fall over the wall. Results were not released as of Tuesday night, and there was no word on any other possible injuries or effects from the tumble.
*Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez were the only Red Sox with two hits. They were also the only Red Sox with an RBI (Pablo had two). Rusney Castillo, who came in the game for Mookie after the sixth inning incident, Alejandro De Aza, Bogaerts and Ortiz all each had a hit. Take away the ninth inning “too little, too late” comeback attempt, and the Red Sox didn’t do much at the plate at all. They went 2-6 with runners in scoring position and left four men on base on the night.
*Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera both had huge nights that really led the White Sox to the dominant victory. Abreu was 3-5 with three RBI, a homerun and two runs scored while Melky was 4-5 with two doubles and a triple.
*Hanley Ramirez knocked in his 48th RBI of the season to tie him for second on the team with Mookie. Big Papi leads Boston with 56 RBI.
*Mike Napoli’s short-lived resurgence had a setback with a dreaded 0-4 performance and a double play in the ninth with the bases loaded and no outs. He is now hitting .205 on the year.
The only thing that kept Miley from getting an “F” was the fact that he didn’t completely fall apart and was able to somewhat gather himself after a horrific first inning. A first inning like that is in excusable for any Sox starter. Putting this offense behind the eight-ball immediately is a recipe for disaster. Miley finished the night with 5-2 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 5 SO and a HR. Frankly, that’s just not good enough and proves that Miley’s inconsistencies aren’t going away any time soon. He’s obviously and emotional guy and it’s possible that the pre-game ceremony for Pedro got to him, but it’s his job to use those emotions to his advantage.
While Sandoval did have a decent night going 2-4 with 2 RBI, a homerun and a run scored, he basically gets the mention here by default. The Red Sox offense continues to struggle and baffle Sox fans who never saw this drought coming.
Masterson was the only Sox pitcher used out of the bullpen on Tuesday night, and he didn’t do his job to stop the bleeding when he came on in the sixth. Masterson went 3.1 innings total giving up four hits and two runs with a walk and four strikeouts. You have to wonder if this is the last time we’ll see Masterson in a Red Sox uniform.
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