Red Sox 5 – Tigers 6: Final Thoughts

Apr 7, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon (3) talks to relief pitcher Joe Kelly (56) after he walks in a run in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon (3) talks to relief pitcher Joe Kelly (56) after he walks in a run in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

The flu-ridden Red Sox didn’t have the manpower to win it today. The first loss for the Sox came in heartbreak fashion, as the team couldn’t rally back two times in a row to get the win.

The flu has been going around the clubhouse like wildfire since the end of spring training, and today was when it really hurt the team. Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, and Robbie Ross Jr were all out of the game because of the flu, while Matt Barnes and Xander Bogaerts were on the bereavement list. Steven Wright kept the team in fighting position for a long time. It seemed like it was going to be a low scoring game, but all of sudden the bats woke up. Pablo Sandoval was the hero for a short while, until the Tigers had the last laugh.

Steven Wright went 6 and 2/3rds of an inning allowing 7 hits, 4 earned runs, 4 strikeouts, and 3 walks. His stat line was more impressive than it looked like.

Steven Wright pitched a good game. He gave up a 2 run homer in the seventh inning, but that was his only blemish. It all started out in the first inning, which was very rocky. It didn’t look like he had control of the knuckleball and was all over the place. The first two men got on and then he had to face the dreaded 1-2 punch of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. I didn’t think he was going to do it. He only allowed one run from a sacrifice fly and that was it. I was very surprised and it was a good confidence booster for the rest of the game.

He was cruising for most of the game. He allowed a triple in the 6th and then a single, which made it 2-0 Tigers. After that single, he grounded into a double play. Wright had a lot of double plays in this game. He ended with three ground ball double plays, that was the most by a Sox player in a game, passing Tim Wakefield. Wright unraveled in the seventh inning. He allowed a two run homer again to put the game out of reach, which is what it seemed like at that time. He had a few mistakes, but overall it was a solid outing. For it being the 8 month anniversary since Farrell pinch ran Wright at Dodger Stadium, I am pleased with his work. Wright was the only all-star from the Sox pitching staff last season. If he works on controlling that knuckleball even more this season, we’ll see him in Miami in July.

For an offense that couldn’t get anything going for seven innings, it sparked in the 8th due to a Pablo Sandoval 3 run homer.

It was a strange lineup because of all the players out today, but the team had more opportunities for runs than the final score showed. If we executed more and took the pitch, then this team could’ve scored a lot more runs, maybe 8-10 runs. Mitch Moreland was the most frustrating batter to watch for most of the game. He went 2-5 scoring a run, but could’ve had three or more rbis. He looked lost at the plate for much of the game and was swinging at terrible pitches. It is only the third game, but this man needs to get his act together or Boston will tear him apart.

Jackie Bradley Jr only went 1-4 today, but he hit the ball really hard.  He was squaring a lot of pitches up, but just missed the timing. His swing looks very promising for the rest of the season and I can’t wait to watch him grow more and more every game. He also made a great diving catch. This man must love playing in Comerica because he flashes the leather every time he is there.

Pablo Sandoval. Game 3 of a 162 game redemption tour and he showed up. In the top of the 8th inning with two men on, he smacked a long homer to left center field to give the Sox the lead. It feels weird writing something positive about panda, but I’m all for it. He’s back! Well maybe not so fast, but that homer was impressive. If this was last year, Pablo would’ve been caught looking in that type of situation, but it is a new panda. He was clutch for a day proving all the haters wrong. His swing from the left side was very nice and he hit the ball very hard. Sandoval also showed his hustle. In the seventh inning, he was hustling out of the box after what looked like a pop up, but the fielder dropped it and Sandoval got to second. He turned an error single into a double because of the hustling. Although he didn’t score, it gave us a big opportunity with a man on second and only one out. It’s actions like this that give me hope in Pablo Sandoval. Keep it up panda! 2017 Comeback player of the year!!

The amazing effort by the bullpen on Wednesday didn’t translate for this game. The Sox gave up two runs in the bottom of the 8th to give the lead back and ultimately lose the game.

Another day another poorly managed bullpen by Farrell. The bullpen was short two big arms in Robbie Ross Jr and Matt Barnes, so I’ll cut him a little slack, but still Farrell did an awful job. Farrell was still not comfortable with Kelly in the eighth inning role and played mix and match with the pen. Heath Hembree started the eighth and allowed two walks. It was too late to play games after that and both inherited runners eventually scored to give the TIgers the lead. Robby Scott gave up the run to tie the game and Joe Kelly gave up the lead. Kelly was all over the place. The man couldn’t throw any strikes. He had 3-1 counts and didn’t go to his 99mph heater. He looked lost and was the polar opposite of Wednesday’s game.

It would’ve been a smarter move to put Craig KImbrel into the game when Justin Upton came up with a runner on and two outs, but no Farrell doesn’t like to be smart. Kimbrel would have been better than any other pitcher we had available. It was a high pressure situation and he lives for that. It didn’t happen and everything fell apart. This game would’ve been completely different if everyone in our pen was healthy, including Tyler Thornburg. Thornburg’s our eighth inning guy and we missed him a lot. The Sox were close to coming back in the ninth again, but couldn’t do it again. The first loss always hurts a lot, but the way this ended made it sting even more.

Next: Red Sox: Expect bullpen meltdowns to be the norm

161-1 now. The 2013 Red Sox also started 2-1, so everything will be fine. Give us a team at full heath and no injuries and that’s when the league will really have to watch out!