The Brewers have some power in their lineup, and they weren’t afraid to show it against Drew Pomeranz and company.
The first inning was where the action was in this one, and it seemed like it was going to be a worse day than it actually was for Pomeranz. It all started with a strong at bat from Jonathan Villar, who has been struggling this year after a breakout 2016. He’d walk in eight pitches, and as one of the premiere base runners in all of baseball, Pomeranz’ was noticeably concerned with the runner on first. Meanwhile, Eric Thames stepped up to the plate. He, of course, was arguably the biggest story in the league last month because of his incredible power, and that showed up yet again here. Pomeranz left a 90 mph fastball right over the heart of the plate, and the slugger predictably crushed it over the fence.
Two batters into the game, Pomeranz had already allowed two runs. He’d give up another smash to Ryan Braun in the next at bat, although this one stayed in the yard and simply went as a double. Travis Shaw would knock him in on a single to give the Brewers three runs before recording an out. Pomeranz would finally get a fly out and a ground out in the next two at bats before throwing another 90 mph fastball down the middle of the zone. This time, it was to Keon Broxton, but once again the ball sailed over the right field wall and gave Milwaukee two more runs. After just one inning of work, Pomeranz had allowed five runs.
From there, he settled down a bit. He came out and threw a scoreless second, although he admittedly got a bit lucky. After Villar got on with another walk, he had a chance to advance to third on a single but inexplicably decided against it. In the next at bat he’d try to steal third instead but was gunned down by a perfect throw from Sandy Leon. After a 1-2-3 third inning, Pomeranz allowed another run in the fourth, which would be his final frame.
All in all, it was a mostly rough day for the lefty, although most of the damage came in that horrendous first. Throughout the start, Pomeranz looked to lack confidence in his fastball. As was pointed out in the Gamethread, his velocity on the pitch has decreased some as the year has gone on. On Tuesday, he turned to his curveball in some questionable spots. It’ll be something to monitor moving forward, at least.
The offense, meanwhile, also got off to a sort of hot start and looked like they’d be able to shell Brewers starter Wily Peralta. In the very first at bat of the game, Mookie Betts rocketed a low fastball 433 feet and over the left field wall for a leadoff home run. After that, Dustin Pedroia and Andrew Benintendi each drew walks that were sandwiched by a strikeout, but that put two runners on with one out and a pitcher whose command was looking shaky at best. They’d get two quick outs, though, and leave with just a one-run lead. It was their only lead of the night.
From there, Peralta got into a bit of a groove, although his control didn’t really improve too much. He was still throwing a lot of pitches, but the Red Sox couldn’t convert it into walks or hits and managed only two base runners in the next three innings, with one of them being eliminated in a double play.
The lineup finally started making some noise in the fifth inning when they were trailing 6-1. The rally would start with an infield single by Chase d’Arnaud in his first plate appearance since joining the Red Sox on April 27. He’d end up scoring on a double from Betts, although d’Arnaud ran through a stop sign and was very nearly thrown out at the plate. Either way, it was 6-2 and would soon be 6-3 when Pedroia followed it up with an RBI double of his own. Boston got one more on yet another RBI double, this time from Benintendi on a ball that missed being a home run by about six inches.
So, the Red Sox were within two and looked like they might yet come back. Fernando Abad took over for Pomeranz in the fifth and had a spectacular 1-2-3 inning with two pop ups and a weak ground ball. After the Red Sox offense went down 1-2-3 inning the sixth, though, Heath Hembree came in and imploded.
The righty had been great this year up to this point, so it’s hard to fault John Farrell for turning to him in this situation. Hembree....well, he didn’t get the job done. The Brewers went single, fly out, hit by pitch, single, double against Hembree, scoring three more times and extending the lead to five. Robby Scott had to come in and finish things off.
The Red Sox would come back and score one more in the top half of the seventh, but Ben Taylor came in and gave up two more to Milwaukee to get the lead back to six. It looked like the Red Sox were going to put together another late-game rally in the top of the eighth, but after scoring two runs Xander Bogaerts struck out with runners on first and second and that was that.
Although I thought the offense could have done better early in the game, it’s impossible to say this was on them. Led by a spectacular night from Betts, the offense did its job to win this game. The pitching just couldn’t handle this Brewers lineup, starting with Pomeranz and moving through the bullpen. It was a forgettable day for most of the staff.