Another day, another marathon. This one did not have a very fun ending, and while there were some positives through the game this was a mostly frustrating day. The offense had its moments, but for the most part it was quiet. The biggest bright spot there was Rafael Devers’ looking solid in his major-league debut. On the mound, Drew Pomeranz was shaky but mostly effective. Doug Fister was good too, until he wasn’t. But we’ll get to that. Oh, we’ll get to that.
For much of this game, it certainly looked to be more of the same for the Red Sox offense. Felix Hernandez was cruising through the early parts of this contest and Boston wasn’t putting up any sort of fight against the former superstar. They did get a runner into scoring position in the first on a single and a wild pitch, but they never got the ball in the air and never really seemed like a threat to score. They followed that up by going down 1-2-3 in the next two innings, a stretch that included the first career at bat for Rafael Devers. The star prospect flew out to center field.
In the fourth, with the team trailing 3-0 already, they got some offense going with one swing of the bat. After getting two quick outs in that inning, Hernandez threw Hanley Ramirez two consecutive sliders down in the zone. The first was a strike. The second was a demolished solo home run on a line drive out to left field. For as bad as the offense has been of late, Ramirez has still had a few good swings here and there, and this one gave Boston their first run of the game.
After going down 1-2-3 in the fifth, the Red Sox offense really got going in the sixth. Sure enough, it was the new savior in Devers that kicked things off. He drew a walk in a very impressive at bat against some tough offspeed pitches from Hernandez to lead off the inning. From there, Andrew Benintendi drew another walk with one out to put two on. During the next at bat, Hernandez threw a wild pitch that barely got away from the catcher, but Devers made a great read on the ball and advanced to third. Benintendi also moved up, and Dustin Pedroia knocked both runners in with a double out to left field. Just like that, the game was tied. Two batters later, Pedroia was knocked in on a Jackie Bradley single.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox sent Drew Pomeranz to the mound. The lefty did fairly well in terms of keeping runs off the board, but for the second consecutive outing he had a little bit of trouble keeping the ball in the zone. Just using my own two eyeballs, it seemed as if he was getting squeezed a little bit, but more of the blame is on Pomeranz for nibbling around the zone a little bit. The outing only resulted in three runs, but he only lasted five innings because of a lack of efficiency. This, of course, was a major problem of his earlier in the year as well.
All of the damage done against Pomeranz came in the second inning. The southpaw started the frame out with a strikeout before allowing an infield single on a perfectly placed ball from Kyle Seager. After recording the second out, Pomeranz allowed a big walk to Ben Gamel in an at bat in which Pomeranz had a chance to put Gamel away. Instead, he allowed the inning to continue and left a fastball up in the zone to Guillermo Heredia in the next at bat. The Mariners center field was waiting for that pitch and he smashed it out to the left field corner to give Seattle a 3-0 lead with one swing of the bat.
Although that was the only inning in which Pomeranz allowed any damage, it wasn’t the only inning in which he got into trouble. He’d allow baserunners in three of his five innings of work, and all three of those innings included multiple baserunners. Fortunately for the Red Sox their important relievers were mostly well-rested thanks to the team’s poor stretch of play coming into this game, but it’s not a great sign to see Pomeranz sliding back into this kind of inefficiency. It will certainly be something to keep an eye on the next time he takes the mound.
So, this brings us to the bottom half of the seventh with the Red Sox leading 4-3. Heath Hembree came on for the sixth, threw a scoreless inning and was called back out for the seventh. That...that didn’t go so well. He immediately allowed a game-tying home run to Mike Zunino to start the frame, and after walking the next batter he faced John Farrell turned to Matt Barnes. The righty got out of the inning without allowing another run, but the damage was done and the game was tied.
From there, the Red Sox failed to score again over the next few innings while Barnes tossed a second scoreless inning and Brandon Workman tossed a scoreless ninth in another impressive outing for the righty. That brought us to the tenth with Craig Kimbrel coming in for his first outing in a week. The Red Sox closer allowed a leadoff single that was followed by a stolen base to put a runner on second with nobody out. He’d escape the jam with three big strikeouts, though he did mix a walk in as well.
Boston found themselves with a good chance in the eleventh with Jackie Bradley reaching on an error and Xander Bogaerts drawing a walk to start the game. It was downhill from there, though, as Chris Young popped out, Sandy Leon grounded into a fielder’s choice and Devers struck out in an at bat that was perfectly executed by Seattle pitcher James Pazos.
Doug Fister came in next for the Red Sox and was phenomenal in his first two innings, not allowing a run and striking out a couple Mariners. Finally, in the top half of the thirteenth, there was a little bit of offense. The rally started as Ramirez smacked a single into right field. It looked like it would end before it started after Bradley and Bogaerts both struck out, but then Deven Marrero drew a big walk. With two runners on, Leon found himself with two strikes before sending a little line drive into shallow left field. Ramirez hustled around third and made it home to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. Devers couldn’t extend the rally, but the lead was there.
Fister came back out for the bottom half looking to preserve that lead. After a leadoff strikeout, Mitch Haniger reached on a walk and Ben Gamel hit a weak ground ball. If it was hit harder, it would have been a double play to end the game. Instead, it was a fielder’s choice and gave Seattle new life. With Gamel on first, Heredia put together a long at bat before finally singling out to right field. That put runners on the corners, and sure enough Fister’s next pitch went to the backstop and Seattle tied the game. It sure looked like Leon could have blocked it, but it went down as a wild pitch. Either way it was crushing. After walking the next batter, Fister allowed a weak ground ball that was placed in the right spot up the middle to give the Mariners a hit and a win. It was an awful ending to an awful game.
I’m not going to lie to you. I’m exhausted right now. That game was stupid and I want to go to bed. The Red Sox will look to avoid a sweep with Chris Sale on the mound Wednesday afternoon. Go get some sleep.