On a night where Clay Buchholz took the mound, it was ultimately the offense that let the Red Sox down Friday night in a 4-2 loss to Cleveland.
One does wonder what damage could've been done to the Indians in the first if the Red Sox had pushed all-in. But after Mookie Betts led off the inning with a double, Dustin Pedroia went ahead and laid down a sacrifice bunt, which looked bad to start and worse when Corey Kluber proceded to walk David Ortiz and give up a base hit to Hanley Ramirez. One way or another, Betts is scoring, as he originally did on a Xander Bogaerts ground ball, but was the one run the Sox scored there really the limit had they not given away a free out? We'll never know.
One player who won't be laying down sacrifices anytime soon: Jackie Bradley Jr. He did not wait nearly so long to extend his hit streak as on Wednesday, jumping on the second pitch he saw in the second inning, hitting his seventh homer of the month. The run he's on is past unreal at this point for a player whose ability to cut it in the majors was in question a year ago today. But, leading off the inning, there was only so much damage he could do, putting the Sox ahead 2-0.
You may notice that, if the Sox were up 2-0 after two, that means Clay Buchholz pitched two scoreless innings! It wasn't all that easy, with the Sox needing to catch Carlos Santana in a run-down after he led off the game with a double. But he did manage to get to the third without allowing the Indians to get on the board before...well, falling apart. It was just an infield single that set things off. But he followed that with a walk to Santana, and then gave Jason Kipnis a meatball fastball. 2-0 became 3-2 in a hurry on a shot to right, and then 4-2 when the Indians managed to turn the ensuing walk to Lindor into a run since there were still no outs in the inning.
Buchholz would manage to pitch into the fourth, and then ultimately through the sixth without giving up another run, but it was a start that was, frankly, worse than six innings, four runs (three earned) would suggest given the four walks, three strikeouts, and one homer. This is just what the Red Sox are getting from Buchholz these days: starts which, by results, aren't quite miserable enough to force the Sox to try something, anything that would get him out of the rotation. But they also carry pretty much no real reason for hope. It's just plain depressing at this point.
But just as depressing, at least for tonight, was Boston's offense. Because after Bradley it was just completely gone. The Red Sox lineup would manage a baserunner here, another there. But they almost always came with two outs. And when Dustin Pedroia did give the Sox a leadoff baserunner in the eighth, David Ortiz ended up grounding into a double play to waste even that. Jackie Bradley Jr. gave them one last chance by drawing a walk with two down in the ninth, but Marco Hernandez struck out, and that was that.