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Red Sox 5, Tigers 10: A very Henry Owens loss

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The Red Sox lost with Henry Owens on the mound, as you might have expected to, leaving the Sox with a series split they'll be plenty happy with under the circumstances.

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Sometimes a lost cause of a pitching matchup turns out to be an opportunity for a great surprise victory, with the underdog pitching up to his competition or the lineup pulling through with a huge night to overcome the failures on the mound.

More often than not, though, this is what we get: an ugly blowout with few redeeming qualities.

Alright, hand it to Owens, there were a couple fun innings there. He was putting on a true outcomes only performance the first time through the order. It was all strikeouts and walks and one caught stealing, with his ability to make the Tigers look pretty bad swinging at pitches outside the zone a reminder of why he was once a prospect with no small amount of hype.

But the last at bat of that stretch saw Jarrod Saltalamacchia draw a walk to start the third. Then the Tigers started putting balls in play and it was all way, way downhill from there. At first it wasn't entirely Owens' fault. The first two balls the Tigers did put in play were grounders that may well have resulted in outs. But Travis Shaw couldn't quite corral what ended up being a double for Erick Aybar, and after the Sox elected to walk Miguel Cabrera, the blazing hot J.D. Martinez made it 2-0 by cueing a ground ball down the right field line.

It's a decision which is going to get a lot of flak, but one that I don't think really deserves it. John Farrell was very much in a pick-your-poison situation with Cabrera and Martinez there, and may have been playing less for the shutout (though he certainly would have taken it) and more in hopes of just dodging disaster. Owens is a lot less likely to give up the back-breaking homer facing one of them than both, and while he may well end up walking in the run against Martinez, that'd still leave him facing Justin Upton, who entered the game with an OPS well south of .700.

That, at least, is the sort of thought process that might go into walking Cabrera and pitching to Martinez. And, at the end of the day, Martinez only "made them pay" with a pretty weak ground ball when he went chasing a bad pitch. But all that kind of goes out the window given that Owens threw Upton a hanging changeup that was closer to being middle-middle than anything else. Even in a down year, Upton was fully capable of crushing that slop for a three-run homer to put the game firmly in blowout territory.

From there it was just a matter of the Red Sox trying to preserve the pen as much as possible. Owens was fed to the wolves some, giving up another three-run homer to Justin Upton before his day was over. Junichi Tazawa proved again to be fairly toast-like as the Tigers scored another couple runs off him in the sixth, though the fact that he finished the inning by striking out Miguel Cabrera kind of feels like it's going to cost the Red Sox a game sometime in the next month...

The Red Sox would manage to put together some runs, but all of them came after the game was completely out of hand. Your bright spot on the day is easily Andrew Benintendi, who clobbered a triple to lead off the sixth, leading to Boston's first run, and then hit his first career home run out to right field in the seventh to bring in two more. Ultimately, though, this was never a close game after the third, or even really threatened to become on.

Oh well. It's a game you probably could have penciled in as a loss sometime last night when Rodriguez was confirmed to be out and Owens in. It's a shame the Red Sox missed an opportunity to take first place in the East, but it's also nice that they haven't fallen any further back due to a game that was something of a lost cause to start with. They're onto Tampa Bay.