All the Red Sox wanted from Roenis Elias was...mediocrity. He didn't need to be good. The Red Sox could have lived with five innings and three runs.
They didn't get the five innings. And they got way more than the three runs.
At no point tonight did Roenis Elias really give off the image of a pitcher who should be in the major leagues. For all the devastation he'd wrought on Pawtucket's opponents in recent weeks, he couldn't even keep the Mariners off the board for a single inning. In fact, before he had recorded a single out, Elias had allowed a two-run shot to dead-away center to Franklin Guttierez. The outfielder would victimize Elias with another longball to start the third, and by the end of the fourth, it was all over.
He led off that final inning by surrendering a walk to Kyle Seager, but quickly retired both Chris Iannetta and Leonys Martin to give some small hope that maybe, just maybe he'd survive the frame. But the Mariners pulled off a couple nickle-and-dime hits to keep the inning alive, and when Elias most needed an out, who was stepping up to the plate but Gutierrez? He would come remarkably close to a grand slam, going the other way and bouncing a ball off the foot of the wall in right field, clearing the bases. He wouldn't manage to finish the inning until it was 7-0.
The Red Sox did manage to get on the board in the bottom half of the inning, and once again it was a David Ortiz homer doing the major work of the game for the Red Sox. But that could hardly get the Red Sox back in the game. They would quickly go quiet again until the seventh, when a pair of sacrifice singles cashed in on a couple leadoff hits from Travis Shaw and Sandy Leon. But that only came after Robinson Cano got to the Red Sox for a third homer in the top of the inning.
Shockingly, it turned out eight runs was enough to win the game. Seven were enough to more-or-less end the Elias campaign on the spot. The Sox, if we're being honest here, are down to three starters right now. Roenis Elias has basically shown himself not to be an answer as much as one can in just one game, and Eduardo Rodriguez is clearly not right at the moment.
Is it panic time in the rotation? Arguably. The Sox lineup isn't exactly at its best right now, but at least there's some track record there. They still sit one back of the Orioles for the division lead, and are only that close because the Jays beat them tonight, drawing even with the Red Sox in second place. All the good work of the early season now shines through in little more than record over .500, and at the end of the day, division standings are all that matter.
The Red Sox lost tonight. Lost again. They're doing a lot of it lately, heading in the wrong direction, and showing some serious problems in how they were constructed. All is not lost--not even close--but they're going to have to figure something out if they don't want to head further and further in that direction.