Henry Owens was summarily crushed by the Yankees Wednesday night, putting the Red Sox in a huge hole which, with some extra runs coming from the bullpen, left them routed even with an eight-run attack of their own.
We've seen this from Owens before. When he's erratic, he can survive if his wayward ways take him outside the zone. But after a very nice first, the second saw him miss in exactly the wrong way. When Swihart set up low and away, Owens delivered up an over the plate. The Yankees, being professional baseball players, did not let him get away with it. Twice the Yankees would take Owens deep, putting three runs on the board before the second out was even in the books, and that second out would only come when Brett Gardner tried to take an extra base on a Chris Young single that knocked in a fourth. Alex Rodriguez made it 6-1, and that was it for Owens, who saw a seventh earned run credited to him when Ryan Cook quickly gave up a third New York homer.
And that...well, that was that. A look at Boston's run total might make it seem like at some point this was once again a game, but it wasn't. The Sox had gone up 1-0 in the first on doubles from Mookie Betts and David Ortiz, but they wouldn't score again until the fifth, by which point the Yankees had already scored four more off the bullpen. The Sox started scoring consistently from there, doing some decent damage against Tanaka and ultimately forcing the Yankees to use the likes of Betances and Miller just to make sure nothing completely insane happened. But nothing crazy did happen, and the final score was the closest the Red Sox ever got after falling behind.
Still, it's not a complete loss of a game. For Owens it's an unmitigated disaster, yes. But ultimately Betts, Bogaerts, Swihart, Shaw, and Bradley all came away with productive games. Between the five of them, they were 9-for-19 with three walks, a couple doubles, and a homer (that last coming from Xander). Owens' performance matters, yes, and after nights like this it's harder to see him as an arm the Red Sox can really rely on in 2016. But at least for the position players who are being evaluated with an eye towards next season, you can call this a success.
At this point in a season, it's all about the silver linings.