After scoring 28 runs in their first four games, the Boston offense vanished in Toronto Sunday afternoon, with a quick early burst against Steven Wright enough for the Jays to salvage a win from the series.
The story on Marco Estrada coming into 2016 was a pitcher set up for a bit of a letdown season. He had dramatically outperformed his peripherals in 2015, and coming up against a lineup which was hot as can be. Recipe for disaster, right?
Not so much. Not really at all, in fact. And it's not that Estrada kept playing the same luck game of 2015. Estrada was pounding the zone relentlessly, and the Red Sox just weren't able to connect. While Estrada lived in the zone, he managed to get plenty of swings and misses on a changeup that the Red Sox just couldn't do much against at all.
The Sox did have a couple good chances to score off of Estrada early on. In the second, a one-out double from Hanley Ramirez--hustling once again--set them up with a runner in scoring position. But after a walk from Travis Shaw, Chris Young couldn't so much as put the ball in play, and Blake Swihart managed only a pop-up. In the third, they actually had someone come home after Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a single and Xander Bogaerts doubled with two down. But Dustin Pedroia, who had taken Bradley's place after a fielder's choice, was thrown out at home to end the inning.
That would've been one run, and it would've at least given the Red Sox a chance for a second. Which still wouldn't have been enough to win outright. The first inning had just not gone well at all for Wright, or the Sox as a whole. Wright gave up a couple of ringing hits to start the game, leaving Red Sox fans frightened that yet another rotation implosion was incoming. But in the end, the damage came as much due to an errant throw from Dustin Pedroia as from Wright, as he managed to escape the frame with the only runs scoring on a ground ball to Xander Bogaerts, who started the double play successfully, with the second baseman overthrowing Hanley Ramirez at first.
That brought in two, but Wright recovered from there. There was a rough period in the fourth when he allowed three straight baserunners with two outs, but the Jays only managed to load the bases with that, and Darwin Barney ended the inning with a ground ball. Otherwise, he got through the middle of the seventh without too much trouble--easily the best performance from a Red Sox starter since David Price.
But it wasn't enough because Estrada got through the seventh, and the Blue Jays found a couple good innings from Drew Storen and Roberto Osuna to keep the lead.
So no sweep for the Red Sox. They'll have to head home with only the winning record, where David Price will get the ball. There's worse positions to be in