The Boston Red Sox have let knuckleball pitcher Steven Wright floundering alone without any run support twice this season, losing to the Toronto Blue Jays.
For the second start in a row, Wright had almost no help from the Red Sox offense to combat the Blue Jays. On April 10th, Wright pitched a great game, allowing two runs, only one was earned, on six hits in 6.2 innings for a loss in the Rogers Centre. The Red Sox could not muster enough runs to even get Wright the no decision. Today, Wright did much of the same thing: allowing two earned runs on six hits in six innings of work. Yet again, he had to take the loss because of the lack of offense.
It’s not like Wright did not have his mistakes. One big one happened in the top of the very first inning, setting the tone for the Blue Jays controlling the game. Toronto’s face of the franchise Jose Bautista drilled a hanging pitch over the Green Monster in left field for a solo shot. Two singles later, Chris Colabello hit a single of his own to cash in Edwin Encarnacion to make the score 2-0 for the Blue Jays.
However, it got really quiet for a long stretch. It wasn’t until the Red Sox bats finally woke up against Wright’s counterpart on the mound Aaron Sanchez. The young Blue Jays starter was pitching a gem of his own until newly called-up Marco Hernandez earned his first hit of the season in the bottom of the fifth inning, poking one to left field. From there, Hernandez stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Toronto’s catcher Russell Martin. That moved Hernandez only 90 feet from finally breaking the goose egg for the Red Sox, which he did after Mookie Betts singled to cash him home to make the score 2-1.
Other than that, both pitchers seemed in control for most of the game. Only when Wright was relieved by the bullpen did the game get out of hand. First, Tommy Layne replaced Wright to start the top of the seventh inning. Layne allowed a single before being replaced by Noe Ramirez, who proceeded to throw a fat two-seam fastball to the reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson. The Blue Jays’ third baseman drilled the ball to center field for a double that scored Ryan Goins to increase the lead to 3-1. Then, with two men out, Encarnacion belted a single to left field which scored Donaldson from second and Edwin advanced to second on the throw. The Red Sox challenged the tag play, but it was upheld in favor of the Blue Jays.
Matt Barnes pitched in the ninth inning, allowing Bautista to tack on another insurance run by doubling to score Michael Saunders. Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw made things a bit more interesting in the bottom of the ninth, when he cranked a two-run homer that also scored Hanley Ramirez off of Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna, making the score 5-3. However, three quick outs later and the Red Sox had lost the match pretty convincingly.
- The Red Sox were perfect with runners in scoring position. The problem was that they only had one runner in that position all game. They also left five men on base. The Blue Jays went 3-for-12 and left 11 men on base.
- The Red Sox only had four hits for the matchup, while the Blue Jays recorded 14 hits. When your team is being outhit by 10, you cannot expect to win the game.
- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz continues to be walked, getting two free passes while going 0-for-2 at the plate. Neither outs were strikeouts. His season batting average is .314, making him only one of two Red Sox hitters to have a batting average over .300.
Yes, he took the loss. Yes he gave up as many hits as he pitched innings. However, considering Wright is a knuckleball pitcher, the Red Sox got a great deal out of their starter today. He lasted six innings and only bled two runs. The knuckleball pitcher on the opposing team,R.A. Dickey
, consistently bleeds much more runs than that. The nature of the pitch is that it moves slowly and can be hit far if the opposing batter catches up to it. Yet, the Blue Jays only pressured Wright a few times. It wasn’t until the bullpen came into the ballgame that the wheels fell of the pitching car. Wright deserves much better than that. He now has a record of 0-2 with a 2.13 ERA, by far the lowest amount of runs scored on any Red Sox starting pitcher this season.
Jr. did not allow a run to score in the ballgame. However, the bullpen allowed the Blue Jays to post eight out of the team’s 14 hits, two more than Wright allowed in six innings of work. The bullpen did it in only three innings. Clearly, these men were used asJunichi Tazawa
, andCraig Kimbrel
have been saved to hold and claim victories when the Red Sox have the lead late in games. Failing grades come when the bullpen allows more runs than the starter does in less amount of time.
Shaw was the only Red Sox player to have two RBIs, which came off of his homer. However, only four Red Sox bats had a hit. When the number nine hitter has as many, if not more, hits as the rest of the team, especially a hitter who was just called up from the minors, the team is going to have a problem putting any pressure on an opposing pitcher. Granted that Sanchez is an absolute stud on the mound for the Blue Jays, the Red Sox still needed to do their job and get at least a few more hits and scoring opportunities. They only had one. Yes, they did score, but too little too late.