Friday’s game was one that went well in pretty much every area for the Red Sox. They followed that up with a game on Saturday that went poorly in just about every possible way. The offense got some early runs before going quiet for the rest of the game. Jackie Bradley was particularly frustrating as he was finally rewarded by being moved up in the lineup and he responded by going hitless with a couple of strikeouts. David Price was hit harder than he’s been in a long time and gave up too many runs. The defense, and Xander Bogaerts in particular, had some really horrible moments. Even the umpiring was frustrating enough to get John Farrell tossed halfway through. This was one we’ll try to forget.
For as bad a turn as this game ended up taking, things actually got off to a good start for the Red Sox for the second consecutive night. Although this first inning wasn’t quite as strong as Friday’s they would still get on the board before their pitcher even took the mound. This time the rally started with back-to-back walks from Andrew Benintendi and Dustin Pedroia. Boston would get on the board in the very next at bat when Hanley Ramirez smacked a single to score Benintendi. The Red Sox wouldn’t be able to score more, but it was still an early 1-0 lead.
After Price came through with a scoreless first in which he threw a few too many pitches and did allow one hit, the Red Sox came back for more against JC Ramirez in the second inning. This rally began with a single, a fielder’s choice, an error and a ground out to put a runner on third with two down. Mookie Betts didn’t let the chance go to waste, coming through with an RBI double out to right field to give Boston its second run of the game. Benintendi followed that up immediately with a single of his own to score another and put the Red Sox up 3-0.
From there, things slowed down a bit as Price had his second scoreless inning before Ramirez shut the Sox down 1-2-3 in the top half of the third. In the bottom half, Price started to struggle mightily with a little help from the ump behind the plate. I always hate even mentioning balls and strike calls, but it certainly seemed like close calls that were going against Price on Saturday were being called in Ramirez’ favor.
Anyway, Price allowed a single and a walk to start that inning before giving up a one-out, two-RBI double to Albert Pujols. After getting the second out of the frame, Price tossed a cutter down and in to Andrelton Simmons and the Angels shortstop smashed it into the left field seats. Just like that, the Red Sox lead was gone and the Angels were up by one run. Price would get out of the inning after that, but the damage was done.
After the Red Sox went down 1-2-3 again in the fourth, Price looked like he was going to rebound with a quick inning of his own. Instead, on what should have been a routine grounder to end the inning, Xander Bogaerts simply let the ball roll under his glove for an unacceptable error at shortstop. Price ended up escaping the inning without allowing a run, but he walked another batter and threw ten pitches that should have never happened.
The Red Sox would go down 1-2-3 once again in the fifth, and this time they added the wrinkle of striking out in each at bat. To be fair to them, two of the strikeouts included some very questionable strike threes. They were questionable enough that John Farrell got himself ejected at the end of the inning.
When they took the field again, Price had another rough inning and things really started getting away from the Red Sox. The southpaw allowed three straight singles to start the inning, and the third one scored Pujols. He probably shouldn’t have scored, though, as the veteran can’t really move at this point in his career and it seemed Hanley Ramirez had a play at home on the cutoff play. I’m not sure if the reason was that he still can’t throw at this point. If that’s the case, though, he probably shouldn’t be playing first when Mitch Moreland is DHing. Either way, the Angels scored another run on that play and they’d score another thanks to more bad defense from Bogaerts. This time, Price induced a double play ball but Bogaerts just flubbed the toss to second and it got past Pedroia. The runner was off on the pitch, anyway, so Bogaerts should have just been getting the out at first. Price would mercifully end the frame after that, but not after the Angels extended their lead to three and Price’s pitch count to triple digits.
The Red Sox finally got a couple baserunners in the sixth, but they both came with two outs and they would both end up stranded because of course. After that, Heath Hembree came on in relief and allowed a couple of singles that were sandwiched by a stolen base to give the Angels a 7-3 lead. Both teams would fail to score in the seventh and a mustachioed Ben Taylor took the mound for the Red Sox in the bottom half of that inning.
In the eighth, the Red Sox managed to get a leadoff baserunner, but they were quickly eliminated by a double play before a strikeout ended the inning without any damage having been done. Taylor shut down the Angels again in the bottom of the inning, leaving the Sox in need of a miraculous rally in the ninth. They did not get one.
With the bad game, the Red Sox fail to add another game into their lead column in the American League East. Still, it’s probably a little too early for scoreboard watching and the game we actually were watching was ugly. At least Ben Taylor did pretty well? The Red Sox will try to rebound from this one with Rick Porcello on the mound Sunday afternoon. With a victory, they can salvage a series victory and try to bring a little positive momentum as they travel up to Seattle on Monday. To do so, they’ll need better everything.