What a frustrating day. Rick Porcello didn’t have his best stuff, but he was still able to hold Seattle to only the one run thanks to big pitches at the right time and a little bit of luck. Unfortunately, the Red Sox failed to come through when they had their many chances, and were shutout after finally showing some signs of life during this recent stretch.
Let’s start with the offense, because their inability to get any runs across the plate was definitely the story for most of this game. It seemed like it should have been a good day for Boston’s lineup considering they were facing off against a pitcher in Christian Bergman who had allowed ten runs in his last outing and had a 6.30 ERA for the season. The Red Sox had no problems getting baserunners, but advancing them proved to be a major issue.
They got started early, with Dustin Pedroia hitting a one-out double high off the Monster in the first. A single from Bogaerts would get Pedroia to third, but he couldn’t score as he had to head back to second in case the line drive was caught in the infield. That turned out to be important, as Andrew Benintendi couldn’t get the run home, instead hitting into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
The next inning started with Hanley Ramirez getting hit by a pitch, but after a fielder’s choice left a runner on first with one out Boston once again hit into an inning-ending double play. This time, Jackie Bradley hit it. They’d be victim to another double play in the third when Deven Marrero hit into one following a leadoff walk from Sandy Leon. It seemed like it just couldn’t keep happening, but Benintendi did it again, ending the fourth with the team’s fourth double play of the game.
The good news for the fifth was that they were able to avoid a double play. The bad news is they still wasted their base runner when Mitch Moreland was caught stealing after drawing a walk. At this point, the offense essentially fell asleep completely. They got just a single in the sixth before going down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Bregman was mercifully taken out heading into the eighth, with the left-handed James Pazos taking over. It didn’t change much, though. Chris Young came on as a pinch hitter and ripped a single, but that was the only base runner there. They’d get a couple base runners in the ninth, but alas, they were also stranded.
Every offense has bad days, but it’s understandable to be slightly more upset than usual in this case. The Red Sox have already had plenty of days like this early in the year and this is a pitcher they should have crushed. Hopefully, this is not the start of another long, poor stretch from the lineup.
Meanwhile, Porcello’s day could have been much worse than his final line appears. He got hit fairly hard all day while also suffering from Seattle’s offense finding some holes. Time and time again, though, he got out of trouble. He gave up a single and a double in the first, but no one scored because Jean Segura was caught stealing before Cano’s double.
After inducing an inning-ending double play in the second, Porcello started the third by allowing back-to-back singles. A ground out would put runners on the corners with just one down, but the righty got a big strikeout against Ben Gamel before ending the inning unscathed thanks to a groundout against Robinson Cano.
Things started to catch up with Porcello a bit in the fourth, although even that frame could have been much, much worse. That rally was started by a one-out double from Kyle Seager that was followed by a Danny Valencia single to put two in scoring position. Porcello would then make his mistake, throwing a breaking ball in the dirt too far off the plate for Leon to block. The ball made its way to the backstop, scoring a run and giving Seattle a 1-0 lead. After allowing a walk, Porcello would get two strikeouts sandwiched by a single to end the inning with just one run. Seattle had at least one in scoring position for five at bats but only managed to score on the wild pitch.
Porcello would have relatively easy fifth and sixth innings before coming back out for the seventh. After allowing a leadoff double to Carlos Ruiz and striking out Segura, it seemed the warmed-up Robby Scott would come in for Ben Gamel. Instead, Porcello got to face the lefty and allowed a single to put runners on the corner. That single ended Porcello’s day, which involved a bunch of base runners but very little damage.
Scott, meanwhile did his job by allowing a shallow flyout to Cano before handing things off to Heath Hembree. The righty, suddenly donning some truly awful cornrows, got a ground ball from Nelson Cruz up the middle. Xander Bogaerts got there and made a nice diving stop, but the throw to first was off the mark and got by Moreland. That allowed Seattle’s second run to score and gave the Mariners another runner on third base. The inning would end without any more runs, however, when Seager flew out to the deepest part of the ballpark.
Hembree stayed out for the eighth and wound up allowing another run on a crushed home run to Guillermo Heredia. The ball cleared everything in left field. He’d finish off the inning before handing things off to Fernando Abad for the ninth. The lefty allowed two more runs on a home run to Cano, leading to Blaine Boyer’s Red Sox debut. The righty finished off the inning without a hiccup.
So, the Red Sox couldn’t take their seventh in a row mostly due to the offense failing to show up in any way, shape or form. Porcello also had some trouble and allowed a few too many hits, but those issues will justifiably be overshadowed by the lineup. Boston will look to put this one behind them tomorrow afternoon in Chicago with David Price taking the mound for the first time this year.