The story coming out of this one will probably be Kyle Kendrick’s last inning, whether or not he should have even been in there to begin with, and whether or not it’s the last we’ll see of the righty. They’re all fair questions, and I’ll get to all of that in a minute. To me, though, the worst part of this game was missed opportunities from the lineup.
Chase Anderson, the Brewers starter on Wednesday, really wasn’t all that impressive. His control got away from him at times, and he gave up plenty of hard contact. The Red Sox got runners on base, they just couldn’t do anything with them. Boston stranded a runner in scoring position in each of their first five innings and missed multiple opportunities to get a lead in this game. They just couldn’t come through until it was too late.
In the first inning, after a quick first out, Dustin Pedroia singled before being moved over to third on a double from Xander Bogaerts. Just like that, they had two runners in scoring position with just one out and the heart of the order coming to the plate. Andrew Benintendi grounded out and Hanley Ramirez flew out and they exited the first without a run.
In the second, they actually did score a run, although it came from the first batter of the frame. Starting his first game since Friday, Jackie Bradley took an outside curveball that didn’t break nearly enough and launched it over the left field fence for an opposite field home run. It was an encouraging swing, as Bradley would try to pull that ball during many of his cold streaks.
After the home run, Vazquez would hit a one-out single and move over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kendrick before being stranded there. In the next inning, Pedroia would lead things off with a double and Benintendi would draw a walk, giving the Red Sox two on with one out. Anderson then got two easy strikeouts against Ramirez and Bradley to get out of it unscathed.
The Red Sox would plate another run in the fourth, the one inning they had some success with runners on base. After Vazquez hit a one-out double, Mookie Betts came through with with a big single to give the Red Sox their second run and tie the game. He’d even move to second on the throw in, but — and I know this will shock you — he’d be stranded there.
Anderson would leave the game midway through the fifth, but not before he allowed two more singles to put runners on first and second. Of course, Josh Rutledge couldn’t come through with two outs and the Red Sox couldn’t score, again.
So, the offense had their chances against a pitcher who has gotten good results that aren’t backed up by more advanced metrics, nor were the results from Wednesday backed up by any sort of eye test. The Red Sox got plenty of hits and should have definitely been able to put up more than two against Milwaukee’s starter. It was just one of those nights, I suppose.
On the other side of things, this was a big start for Kendrick. With another rough outing, it appeared likely that he’d be out of chances in the majors. The former Phillie came out in the first and got two quick outs before things started falling apart. Ryan Braun came through with a strong at bat that ended in a seven-pitch walk before the Brewers rattled off three straight singles to give them two runs in the inning. On the one hand, it’s hard to get too upset at a pitcher for giving up a bunch of singles. On the other hand, Kendrick wasn’t exactly throwing lights out stuff and couldn’t miss a bat to save his life.
He’d start to settle down a bit in the next few innings, even getting a little more movement on his fastballs. The Brewers managed one base runner in the second and one more in the fourth, but over the three-inning stretch Kendrick managed to keep Milwaukee off the scoreboard while the Red Sox tied the game at two — while, of course, not adding any more.
Then came the fifth, and everything began to unravel. The Brewers had the top of their lineup coming up, and it’s a formidable group to be sure. With it being their third time through the order, it was fair to question why Kendrick was coming back out. The reason, I’m sure, was to rest a bullpen that already had to work a few extra innings on Tuesday, but it wasn’t hard to see Milwaukee getting to the uninspiring Kendrick their third time seeing him.
Sure enough, the frame started with two hard-hit doubles from Keon Broxton and Eric Thames. The Brewers had a lead, and the Red Sox were just then starting to get some action going in the bullpen. Kendrick would end up facing three more batters, allowing two singles and one ground out to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead before exiting.
That would bring Heath Hembree to the mound with one out and runners at first and second. In the first at bat, Milwaukee attempted a double steal and Christian Vazquez made a mistake. Rather than attempting to throw out Travis Shaw at third base or simply eating the ball, he tried to get Jonathan Villar — one of the best base stealers in all of baseball — at second and threw the ball way off target and into center field. It allowed another run to score and Villar to advance to third base. They’d score one more in the inning, and that would basically be the end of the game.
Vazquez made another throwing error in the next inning to give Milwaukee a 7-2 lead, and the Red Sox offense completely stalled out after those first five innings. The lineup’s one chance came in the eighth, when they loaded the bases before recording a single out. Of course, they’d ground into a double play and only score one run in the inning.
It was an incredibly frustrating game with problems in all areas. They’ll have a quick turnaround tomorrow afternoon as they try to avoid the sweep.