Games since a pitching disaster: 0
Well, it was nice while it lasted. Eight games of good pitching ended in a Rick Porcello explosion, punctuated by a nine-run fifth inning split between Porcello and Matt Barnes.
The worst part? The Red Sox actually scored tonight. For the first time since May 11, they managed five runs. It wasn't so much the arrival of Rusney Castillo, though he was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Instead, it was the revival of some of the team's coldest bats in Mike Napoli and Brock Holt. The former's on-again off-again streak continued with a solo shot that put the Red Sox on the board and, for a brief moment, on top. In the fourth, after Porcello had let the Angels get on top, Garrett Richards put the first three Red Sox on base and then surrendered a double to Holt to put the Sox ahead once more.
But for the first and not last time Friday night, the Red Sox did not take full advantage of their opportunity. Instead, Napoli got himself thrown out at home on Holt's double, Castillo flew out, and Swihart grounded out to end the inning without any further damage. Had Napoli stayed at third, that could have been two more runs, with Mookie Betts having a chance to add yet more. The Red Sox could have found themselves with a big lead, and perhaps even facing a dispirited Angels team.
Instead they led by one, and the Angels had plenty of life in the fifth. And it certainly didn't hurt that Porcello gave them two free baserunners to start the inning. An Albert Pujols ground ball was the only out Porcello would produce from the next four at bats, finally being pulled after the Angels had pushed accross four runs.
The game may not have felt quite so over had Matt Barnes not proceeded to allow five more to score, including an inherited runner from Porcello. And even when he did, the Red Sox still somehow had a chance to make this a game again in the seventh. Once again, the Sox managed to load the bases with zero outs, and this time, the next two baserunners managed to avoid making an out. The Red Sox had pushed to within six, and still had the bases loaded, with David Ortiz coming to the plate no less.
In came relief pitcher Jose Alvarez, and four pitches later, Ortiz was down on strikes. Daniel Nava--in the game for Hanley Ramirez, who left with a sore hand--grounded into a double play to end it.
The Red Sox did not quite waste their bases loaded opportunities, scoring four runs from them. But they also had a potential two-on, zero out situation produce zero runs after Holt's double, and a bases loaded, zero out situation produce zilch starting with Ortiz' at bat.
Say what you will about missed opportunities, though. The Red Sox gave up 12 runs tonight, and that's that. If they had scored 13 and won, that would have been great, but it would hardly be a win you could expect. This was a respectable output from the offense, and if the rotation had been respectable the way they had been for the last eight games, we'd be talking about either a win, or at least a close loss.
Instead, we're talking about a blowout. And a pretty awful one at that.