The Red Sox fell to the Blue Jays 5-3 Sunday afternoon, with a late surge against the Toronto bullpen falling short...and perhaps not really being given much of a chance to succeed.
So, seriously, what's the deal with these third games against the Blue Jays? Win two, drop one, and drop one with at least eight scoreless innings to start the game. And two runs allowed in the first, no less! It's just uncanny. Steven Wright on the mound, two quick runs, and then nothing much else. Jose Bautista was once again involved in a big way, taking Wright deep to score the first run before a couple of ground balls set up Chris Colabello for a single to put the Jays up 2-0. All this with two outs in the inning.
And then Aaron Sanchez took the mound and, as Marco Estrada had done last Sunday, completely shut the Red Sox down.
The righty managed to carry a no-hitter all the way into the fifth. Who else would break it up but the freshly debuted Marco Hernandez, singling to left, stealing second base, and then coming home when Mookie Betts found the gap up the middle on a ground ball to bring the Red Sox within one.
That gap, however, would never close all the way. While Steven Wright managed to hold the Jays at two for the rest of his outing, as he'd done the week before, Toronto would manage to strike against the weaker portion of Boston's bullpen. Tommy Layne allowed a leadoff single to Ryan Goins in the seventh, and then with Noe Ramirez coming in with one out to face the heart of the order, things fell apart. Josh Donaldson got a 3-1 meatball to crush for an RBI double, and Edwin Encarnacion drove Donaldson himself home. Matt Barnes would allow a fifth Jays run to score come the ninth, with the 2-3 combination of Donaldson and Bautista again in the mix.
That would all seem like so much unnecessary extra damage had the 9th not started the way it did, with Hanley Ramirez reaching base on a flare to center, and Travis Shaw hitting his first homer of the year to bring the Sox within a pair, still with all their outs left in the ninth. But if the Sox were given new life, John Farrell didn't seem terribly interested in taking advantage of it. Despite having a full bench with Dustin Pedroia, Brock Holt, and Christian Vazquez available, Farrell elected to let Chris Young and Ryan Hanigan hit against Robert Osuna. This to get the backups one more at bat rather than attempt to steal a win. The Sox predictably went in order from there, falling back to 6-5 on the season.
I have often defended John Farrell here for being a good clubhouse manager making relatively low-impact mistakes in-game. But tonight was one of those nights where it just went too far. The Red Sox probably don't win that game even with pinch-hitters, but the cost to try is nil. This? This was just plain negligent.