There aren’t many teams that have had a worse year than the Red Sox in 2015, but the Miami Marlins team they faced on Tuesday night is one of them. The Marlins came into the game with just 44 wins sitting at the bottom of the NL East. Boston had defeated Miami in both games of a two-game set at Fenway at the beginning of July. They wouldn’t be able to extend that streak by the end of a long night on Tuesday.
Steven Wright got the start for Boston coming off of a gem and possibly the best-pitched game of his career last week in Yankee Stadium. He wasn’t as effective Tuesday night in Miami, but he was solid enough to give the Red Sox a shot at a victory.
After a 1-2-3 first inning, Wright loaded up the bases in the second despite striking out 1B Justin Bour and catcher J.T. Realmuto. He was able to get out of the jam forcing the pitcher Justin Nicolino to ground out. Wright gave up a couple singles and a walk in the third but didn’t allow any runs to cross the plate, and he cashed in on another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. He found his way out of another sticky situation in the fifth after two walks and a passed ball. Realmuto led off the sixth with a double and Ichiro Suzuki followed that up with a walk. That would be the end of the night for Wright.
Sox reliever Ryan Cook, who had just been recalled earlier in the day, came on to try to stop the Marlins rally. Realmuto would move to third after Adeiny Hechavarria fouled out. Casey McGehee came on to pinch hit for the pitcher and grounded out, but got the run in. The leadoff hitter, 2B Dee Gordon, then knocked in Suzuki with a single to cap off the two-run inning for Miami. That would close out Steven Wright’s line for the night: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 5 BB, and 4 SO.
The Red Sox offense was looking to continue their hot streak coming off the series in Detroit and looked decent to start again on Tuesday night. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts each had a hit in the first inning, but David Ortiz would hit into a double play to end it. After a 1-2-3 second, the Sox were able to get to the 23 year old lefty Justin Nicolino. He wasn’t able to locate his fastball consistently, and Boston jumped on that. Jackie Bradley Jr. continued from his career day on Sunday and led off the third with a triple. After Wright grounded out, Mookie drove in Bradley with a single. Mookie then stole second and Brock Holt walked, but Bogaerts hit into a double play.
Betts would drive in Bradley again in the fifth inning on an infield double. The sixth inning would be the one that would send Nicolino to the dugout. Bogaerts and Ortiz kicked things off with a single each, and Xander would eventually score on a wild pitch. After Pablo Sandoval and Blake Swihart each flied out, Rusney Castillo hit a towering triple to drive in Big Papi to give Boston a 4-0 lead at the time. Nicolino’s line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR.
While the Red Sox offense really seemed to be clicking, the well would run dry once Nicolino left the game. Meanwhile, Ichiro would add another run on an RBI sac fly to drive in LF Derek Dietrich in the seventh. Tommy Layne really struggled in the inning after just getting recalled the same day. He walked the first two batters of the inning leading to the run and was then yanked. Beside a double from Martin Prado, not much went down in the eighth for either team.
That brings us to the ninth where the Red Sox would go 1-2-3, which is exactly what they had just done in the seventh and eighth. Still, they had a 4-3 lead with Junichi Tazawa taking the mound for the save attempt. After getting CF Cole Gillespie to fly out to start the inning, Realmuto and Ichiro would both single. A wild pitch from Tazawa would advance both runners allowing Hechavarria to drive in the game-tying run and complete the four run comeback for Miami.
After the Red Sox did absolutely nothing for the fourth inning in a row, the Marlins would capitalize in the tenth. With Craig Breslow on the mound, Gordon would triple, Prado was intentionally walked and Bour ended the game with a single giving Miami the walk-off 5-4 victory. It was a game that came full circle and put the Red Sox deficiencies on full display.
The Red Sox will look to split the two-game series on Wednesday when Eduardo Rodriguez (6-4, 4.17) takes the ball to face another lefty in 25 year old Adam Conley (1-0, 4.05). Conley was just recently called up from Triple-A and has been in a relief role previously with the big-league club. The game is set for a 4:10pm first pitch.
*Bench coach Torey Lovullo would take over the managerial duties for John Farrell on Tuesday night. WEEI’s Rob Bradford has the story here. Apparently, Farrell had hernia surgery on Monday in Detroit. He was at the ballpark to speak with the media, but was still very sore so the team thought it best to give him the night off.
*Hanley Ramirez was given the night off with David Ortiz playing first base in an NL ballpark. Betts, Castillo and Bradley (who had a great catch) were playing the outfield.
*Mookie Betts returned from his seven day DL stint due to concussion symptoms and came back with a bang. He went 3-5 with 2 RBI.
*Other big nights at the plate: Bogaerts 2-4 with a run scored and JBJ 2-4 with 2 runs scored.
*In possibly the biggest key to the game, the Red Sox didn’t have a hit after the sixth and 13 straight batters were sent back to the dugout by Marlins pitching to end the game.
*The Red Sox used seven pitchers (Steven Wright, Ryan Cook, Tommy Layne, Alexi Ogando, Jean Machi, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow), all of whom were not very effective. The Marlins used six of their own pitchers to get the win (Justin Nicolino, Kyle Barraclough, Kendry Flores, Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos, Bryan Morris). Breslow would get the loss while Morris recorded the W.
Wright wasn’t spectacular, but he was certainly good enough. The Marlins obviously haven’t seen much of him and probably don’t see the knuckleball very often either. He was able to get out of jams and gave Boston what would be defined as a “quality start”. Steven Wright didn’t have anything to do with the implosion that occurred later in the game.
It was great to see Mookie return Tuesday from the DL and get right back to work. His bat has been missed at the top of the lineup and he clearly sparked things early on in the game. His play in the field was also back on par.
Every single relief pitcher out of the huge group that was trotted out contributed to this horrific loss. Tazawa may have given up the tying run, and Breslow may have given up the winning run, but every one of them failed to do their job and contributed to the loss. Fans have complained all year about the starting pitching, but the whole bullpen needs to be blown up and restocked to start 2016.
More from BoSox Injection
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Why Red Sox fans should be rooting for Carlos Correa’s Mets deal to go through
- Red Sox exec claims Mookie Betts loss changed management style, but actions say otherwise