Well, it was nice to be back in the win column for at least one day. But here we are, after late-inning struggles from the bullpen and defense, with a 5-2 loss.
If you want to lay the blame for this one somewhere in particular, it probably comes down to the defense in the end. It wasn't one of those games where outfielders are falling down, infielders are watching balls slip through their legs, and the catcher drops strike three and lets runs score on passed balls. Instead, it was a matter of those plays that, while not routine, should probably be made.
In the fourth, after the Red Sox had taken the lead on, of all things, a Joe Kelly infield single, it was Dustin Pedroia who had a chance to make a big play on a Pedro Ciriaco line drive in his direction. An out could hardly be assumed, but Pedroia tried to at least keep the ball in front of him to prevent Juan Uribe from scoring, but instead managed only to boot the ball into short right, allowing the Braves to tie the game.
There was more to that play, though. John Farrell, too, should shoulder some of the blame for that situation, given that Ciriaco was pitched to with first base open, a man in scoring position, and the pitcher up to bat next. The Sox likely could have gotten out of that inning clean with an intentional walk, even if it seems impossible for giving that free pass to Pedro Ciriaco to be the right move.
But this is National League ball, and sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do.
The Sox got back on top in the sixth on Mike Napoli's tenth homer of the year, but once again the shutdown inning proved elusive. Kelly allowed the first two batters of the sixth to reach, bringing Robbie Ross into the game. Ross almost got the Sox out with the lead intact, getting a strike out and a ground ball, but Dustin Pedroia couldn't come up with the ball cleanly making a diving play on said ground ball, keeping the Red Sox from doubling up A.J. Pierzynski, and allowing Pedro Ciriaco to come to the plate and once again hurt the Sox with an RBI single.
Where the Braves bullpen was able to hold down the fort from thereon in, the problems in the field persisted for the Red Sox, and ended up costing them the game. Xander Bogaerts made a good play on a Cameron Maybin ground ball, but Mike Napoli couldn't handle the throw to first. It was scored a hit, but it should have been an error, and the inning just devolved from there. With the runner on, the Braves were able to put together a hit-and-run, and another ground ball off the bat off Nick Markakis into left scored the go-ahead run. Tommy Layne came in to walk A.J. Pierzynski with the bases loaded to make it 4-2, and some more small ball in the eighth gave the Braves a fifth run.
Three, four, or five, though, were all the same with the Red Sox not scoring again. God knows the offense wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders. John Farrell missed an early challenge and then couldn't get a more obviously missed call checked in the second. The lineup was 1-for-7 with RISP and stranded eight. But all this is kind of just assumed at this point. The exceptions worth mentioning are the games where those numbers are more...normal.
Just a bad baseball team playing bad baseball. We've heard and seen it all before.