Make it seven straight for the Red Sox, with a late rally falling short Monday night and leaving Fenway witness to yet another loss.
At this point, it's getting hard to figure out why exactly the Red Sox lose any given game. Excepting, of course, the simple fact that they are a bad team playing bad baseball. All the misery just sort of runs together at this point. Was this a game where they scored, but couldn't pitch? Pitched, but couldn't play defense? Kept runs off the board, but couldn't hit? Could hit, but couldn't score? One imagines they're saving the best for last, and will somehow combine all of those into one performance so terrible and, yes, paradoxical that it causes the universe to just give up right then and there.
Alright, so maybe it's not so dramatic as all of that. This game falls mostly in that last category, with a little bit of "everything is awful" for good measure. Rick Porcello didn't really pitch all that badly. He left the game with four earned runs in 6.1 innings of work, but it was one of those situations where the Braves just put their hits together all in a row. Porcello allowed just five baserunners in the first six innings, all of them coming on singles. But because four of them came all at once in the fourth inning, Porcello was tagged for three runs instead of scattering a bunch of stranded baserunners on a scoreless night.
The fourth run came in the seventh, with the braves getting a single, walk, and hit batsman before Porcello was pulled with one down. He legitimately wasn't up for a seventh inning, which isn't to his credit given his reputation as an innings eater, but it still was not really a bad night so much as an untimely one. Robbie Ross Jr. would come in to allow the run to score before finishing the inning off with a double play.
As for the bats, well, as I said earlier, they hit, they just didn't score. They actually outhit the Braves 10-9, with Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, and Mookie Betts combining for seven of those. An eighth came off the bat of Xander Bogaerts in the bottom of the seventh, leaving the park for his third homer of the year. But somehow the Sox managed to squeeze three double plays into the first three innings, and they only twice put together any significant number of baserunners in one inning. First, in the sixth, when Hanley Ramirez grounded out with the bases loaded. And again in the ninth when, trailing 4-1, the Sox managed to push accross the one run on Mookie Betts' third hit of the game, putting the tying run on first before Alejandro De Aza ended the game by tapping a ground ball for Jason Grilli to handle for a relatively easy game-ending out.
Take what positives you will from this. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts had positive nights at the plate. Rick Porcello wasn't too bad. The Red Sox lost a quiet game by a close score. It was...a mundane loss. And when losing is all the Red Sox seem capable of these days, losing in less dramatic fashion can almost be considered a positive outcome.
97 games to go...