The Boston Red Sox had owned the Kansas City Royals for the first two games of their series in Fenway Park. That is until last night. Matt Barnes made his second start of the season for the Red Sox, looking to find his game that had alluded him for a 9.82 ERA for the month of July. After returning from a short trip in the minors, it looks like the search continues.
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The right-hander from Connecticut must have felt like a pinata, because he was repeatedly hit, even for outs, in the first inning. After two lineouts and two singles to the first four batters, Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales doubled to left field, scoring Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer.
Barnes’ control was definitely an issue. The hitting continued in the top of the second inning, although it was Barnes who was responsible. He drilled all-star catcher Salvador Perez with a 90-mph fastball on the first pitch. However, the damage to the Red Sox was minimal, as the next three batters hit the ball for outs. In the third inning, after two groundouts and a single, Barnes threw a wild pitch before finally earning his first strikeout of the evening. The fourth inning was pretty much the same, except for no wild pitch.
By the fifth inning, the Royals’ lead-off batter popped out for the first non-threatening smack to Barnes’ pitches. Until that point, it looked like every ball was being fired off of the canon-like, Royal bats.
That was not more true than in the top of the sixth, when Perez, with a hinting smile of revenge for getting hit before, pounded a liner over the right center field fence for a three-run homer. That was all for Barnes, as he was immediately substituted for Heath Hembree.
The Red Sox mounted a comeback, but could not overcome the five-run deficit. Boston’s first baseman Travis Shaw continued to show his value, since the Mike Napoli trade, by putting the ball in play off of the Royals’ righty starter Yordano Ventura to score Xander Bogaerts. Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts followed that up with a solo-shot off of Royals reliever Ryan Madison over the Green Monster. However, Alex Rios singled to cash in an insurance run in the top of the eighth, and made Bogaerts’ RBI single in the ninth a mute point. The Royals won 6-3.
- Bogaerts and David Ortiz had two hits to lead the charge. Ortiz was also walked three times, never getting out at the plate. Alejandro De Aza pinch-ran for him in the disappointing ninth inning.
- Shaw went 0-for-5 with a strikeout, but his RBI kept the team in the game and he still holds a .351 batting average for his time with the big club.
- Pablo Sandoval went 1-for-4, with a walk and two strikeouts. When compared to his .258 batting average, the move to the second spot in the lineup for the last few games has seemed pretty suspect. If nothing worse, it doesn’t seem to be helping him be more productive. Sandoval has gone 7-for-27 with a single RBI in his last seven games. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough bad news for him, Sandoval made his 14th fielding error of the season at third base.
- The Red Sox outfield struggled at the dish. Betts’ homer put a run on the board, but not much else. Hanley Ramirez got a hit and was never heard from, again. And, after a number of great outings, it came crashing down for Jackie Bradley Jr., going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
- The Red Sox went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base. The Royals went 3-for-12 and left 8 on base.
It wasn’t a complete disaster for Barnes, although he did give up five runs in just over five innings. The eight hits and two walks must be remembered when you read that Barnes threw 63 out of 96 pitches for strikes. The 66% strike ratio, normally, means that the starter should have a good outing. However, the majority of batters Barnes faced hit the straight-looking pitches hard into the field, making it difficult for the defense to mount any consistent support. Barnes didn’t miss the strikezone, but he didn’t miss the opponents’ bats, either. The outing was Barnes’ fourth loss of the season.
Nothing incredible coming from the bullpen; just a decent outing. Hembree took care of his inning, allowing only two hits. Layne took care of the top of the ninth, allowing only a single.Craig Breslow
would have gotten out of a lead-off walk becoming a run, had it not been for Sandoval’s throwing error. It allowedMike Moustakas
to advance, instead of a double-play, waiting for Rios’ RBI single. However, it was still Breslow’s runner, making the bullpen responsible for the insurance run. Had the Red Sox got back the five-spot that Barnes gave the Royals, it would have still been for not.
Slim pickings here. Bogaerts won the game ball by being the only batter to have two hits and an RBI. Betts had the home run and crossed the plate twice to share in the award. Ortiz never got out, but his hits and walks were never a big factor in the game’s outcome. Shaw’s groundout RBI was a factor, but it wouldn’t have been if nobody was on base. The rest of the team trickled in a few more hits and left each inning with many of Red Sox Nation thinking that they’d never get back into the game, completely. The team getting nine hits would have been more respectable if they had done so with runners in scoring position.
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