Where Steven Wright and Wade Miley were able to lift the Red Sox to victory in their last two games, Joe Kelly took after Rick Porcello's performance back on Friday, falling apart in a disaster second that left the Red Sox dead in the water.
To be fair to Kelly, it was an inning where everything that could go wrong did. It started with a flare to left, and continued on a ground ball double that squirted past Pablo Sandoval for an RBI double. All told, the Twins put six balls on the ground in the inning, most of them not hit particularly hard, and had all but one go for hits. That's a recipe for disaster, and not one any pitcher can do much about.
But Kelly was to blame for the first-inning run Brian Dozier scored on a double and a sacrifice fly. And he was certainly responsible for the Trevor Plouffe homer that really put the game away, taking it from a 4-0 game to a 7-0 disaster. A single from Kurt Suzuki followed, and Kelly's night was done.
That left a good 19 outs for the Red Sox bullpen to record, assuming no comeback. Matt Barnes, thankfully, was able to save them the worst of that, recording 10 of his own--half of them strikeouts--without allowing another run to cross. That left the pen usage limited to Craig Breslow, Tommy Layne, and Heath Hembree the rest of the way. It's not much in the face of a disaster like this, but it's a nice performance that at least keeps the likes of Alexi Ogando, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara untouched.
As for the offense, it was a little bit of the old, a little bit of the new. The Sox still got a some hits, if not nearly so many as you might hope. Mike Napoli was still hot, too, picking up a pair of singles in four at bats. But David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez wasted a golden first-inning chance after Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts reached to start the game, and while the Red Sox were able to put together a pair of runs in the top of the third, a long fly ball from Pablo Sandoval that could have gotten the Red Sox back in it ended up falling just short in left field, and after that the fight was out of them. The score stayed the same all the way to the end: 7-2.
If the last series is any indication, a disaster like this to start things off doesn't mean the end. But after putting together two of their more complete games of the year in a row, the Red Sox didn't look like much of a baseball team Monday afternoon.