clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 7: Josh Donaldson destroys the Red Sox

New, 13 comments

Josh Donaldson was a one-man wrecking crew Friday night. One for which the Red Sox had no answers.

Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

This was Joe Kelly's shot.

With a big start in his first outing, and Clay Buchholz officially out, Kelly had a chance to win over the Red Sox and their fans in one fell swoop. To stake his claim on that open spot in the starting rotation. He took that opportunity, and he was...Joe Kelly.

This is not a good thing.

Oh, don't get me wrong. For some of this game he looked phenomenal. At points in the first two innings he was transcendent, even while surrendering a solo shot to Josh Donaldson. Y'know what, that'll happen.

The thing is, Joe Kelly's problem is not now, nor has it ever been his stuff. That "great stuff" meme is grounded pretty firmly in reality. He has velocity, he often has movement, and when it all works in concert he looks like an ace. It's why he's stuck around in Boston's rotation through so much schlock.

The problem is that Joe Kelly gets less with that stuff than any pitcher has any right to. Inevitably, it fails him, and the end result is disaster. Those first two innings? Magnificent. The third? Ugly. The fourth? Pitiful. The fifth? Blissfully conclusive. Yes, he was striking out batters the entire way, but in the final frames, the Jays were tattooing everything they didn't miss, which is the classic way he gets hurt.

Long story short: the Red Sox got two innings of good Kelly, and three innings of bad Kelly. At the end of the day, those are the sort of ratios they're used to.. Even in conjunction with last night's game, there's no indication that Kelly is really different from his 2014-2015 self, and that is not a pitcher you want to rely on.

Five runs, however, would not be enough to beat the Red Sox. Though, really, that was as much because the Jays were gifting them runs as anything else. They scored in the second thanks to Troy Tulowitzki making a wild throw to first on a Travis Shaw ground ball. The fourth would bring a second run, but ultimately prove extremely frustrating as Marco Hernandez came up to bat with the bases loaded and hit a hard, low line drive to third, but directly at Donaldson, who was able to throw to second to turn two.

That bailed Aaron Sanchez out of what could've been a disaster frame, but the Red Sox would finally crack him in the seventh, with Christian Vazquez collecting a ground ball base hit up the middle to score Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. after a leadoff walk and single. That brought the Sox within one run, and the Jays were once again generous enough to give them that extra push. Some hilarious defense in the eighth gifted Dustin Pedroia a "double" (Saunders' gaffe really needs to be seen to be fully appreciate) and Travis Shaw a "single" (on a booted ball from an oddly spinning Justin Smoak), allowing the Sox to tie the game at 5-5 before a double play ended the threat.

Just as quickly as they had erased Toronto's lead, though, Boston tossed it right back. Koji Uehara could not field a bunt to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and after Josh Donaldson fired a warning shot very deep but just foul to left, he dealt the death blow to the Red Sox with his fourth hit of the game: a two-run shot just over the wall in right. With the Jays not in nearly so giving a mood in the ninth, that was that.