That was gross. After a big win in the series opener against the Yankees, the Red Sox had a chance to earn a tie atop the American League East on Wednesday. All that stood in their way was C.C. Sabathia who, to be fair, has been pretty outstanding of late. Still, this is not the same Sabathia from seven or eight years ago, and he is not the be feared like he once was. Or, so we thought.
As it turned out, the Red Sox could get nothing going against the lefty. He induced a ton of weak contact, and the Red Sox just couldn’t find good pitches to hit. They may have been able to be a little more patient in some cases and try to let good pitches to hit come to them, but there’s no guarantee those pitches would have come. To Sabathia’s credit, he had good command most of the night and spun some really solid breaking balls throughout the outing.
The Red Sox were able to scatter some hits around against Sabathia, but they never really got anything going. The only hitter who did get much going was Josh Rutledge, who had a double and a triple. The triple came to lead off the fifth, but then the Red Sox grounded out to the pitcher, flew out to shallow right field and popped out to shortstop, failing to bring the runner home.
Besides Rutledge — and even his double was lucky as it bounced off the glove of a diving Starlin Castro — no Red Sox hitter managed an extra base hit, and really no one managed much in the way of hard contact. It was an incredibly frustrating day for the offense, and there may need to be a change in the way they approach games against left-handed starters.
Meanwhile, Rick Porcello had a typical 2017 Rick Porcello outing. He gave up a bunch of hits and was hurt by bad luck, bad defense and hard contact, the latter issue being his problem.
Things actually got off to a good start for the 2016 Cy Young winner, as he retired the first six batters he faced on just 16 pitches. Then, things took a turn in the third. The frame started with a home run to Didi Gregorius on a ball to right-center field, although it was more good hitting than it was bad pitching. Porcello got a changeup that dropped right into the bottom edge of the zone, but Gregorius was still able to muscle it out. That was followed by a well-hit single by Chase Headley and a well-hit single by Chris Carter. On the second single, Carter didn’t notice that Headley had stopped at second and was caught in what should have been a disastrous situation between first and second base. Instead, Deven Marrero waited too long to make a throw, then when he finally got rid of it it sailed past Mitch Moreland to put two in scoring position with nobody out. Fortunately, Porcello worked his way out of the jam to preserve the 1-0 deficit.
Things would get worse in the fourth when Castro led things off with a triple. It may have been a double, buy Jackie Bradley bobbled it off the wall, and although it wasn’t ruled an error it likely led to an extra base. Castro would come around to score in the next at bat on a Gary Sanchez single. Porcello would record one more out and allow one more single before leaving a fastball right down the middle to Carter, who is not a guy you want to give a middle-in fastball to. The first baseman destroyed it into the left field seats to give New York a 5-0 lead.
From there, Porcello settled down but the damage was already done. He’d end up throwing 6 1⁄3 innings in the game, allowing six runs — Blaine Boyer would allow an inherited run in the seventh — on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts. It wasn’t the sharpest of outings, although as I said above the defense did him no favors. Something’s gotta give for Porcello at some point, but it just hasn’t happened yet. It’s been the anti-2016 for him.
After that, he handed things off to Boyer to mercifully end the game, though not before allowing a couple more runs. There’s not much else to say about this one. Nothing went well, and hopefully they can recover on Thursday to take this series in the Bronx.