Well, this was bound to happen eventually. As awesome as it would have been to see the Red Sox play as well as they have over the last week for the entire season, that was never going to be possible. The team had won six in a row heading into Wednesday night’s game in Texas, and after the start of the game was delayed by about 90 minutes due to falling water, that streak was snapped fairly easily.
Of all the games for this streak to end on, if it was going to end before the All-Star break, this was the time to do it. Boston had Doug Fister on the mound, and while he’d put up admirable efforts and allowed the Red Sox to hang around in each of his first two starts with the organization, he is clearly the weak link in the rotation right now. He’s obviously not a long-term solution, and he showed off why that’s the case on Wednesday.
It was clear from the very start that Fister didn’t have his command with him in this one, as his first pitch of the day got away from him and he hit Shin-Soo Choo to lead off the game. Although he’d end up getting out of that inning with a strikeout and a double play, it was a sign of things to come.
That started in the next inning when he led things off by allowing a smoked double to Adrian Beltre before leaving a curveball right over the middle of the plate to Rougned Odor. The Rangers’ second baseman did not miss his chance and smashed the ball over the wall in right field to give Texas an early 2-0 lead. He’d make another mistake in the third, this time leaving a cutter over the middle of the plate to Carlos Gomez for the same result.
After that, the wheels totally fell off in the fourth. Fister would allow two straight walks to start the frame off before making an error on a bunt attempt to load the bases. From there, he allowed two sacrifice flies and two singles and the Rangers had a 6-0 lead with two outs in the fourth. Fister wouldn’t get a chance to to do any more damage, as John Farrell pulled him at this point in favor of Robby Scott.
Fister was never going to be a consistently great option in the back of the Red Sox’ bullpen, of course. There were bound to be some stinkers, and that was clearly the case here. Even with as well as this team has played of late, though, it’s not ideal to have him in the rotation. Fortunately, Eduardo Rodriguez should be back after the break and Fister is looking at an exit from the rotation following the double header against the Yankees on the Saturday after the break, provided everyone stays healthy.
On the other end of things, the offense couldn’t pick up Fister’s rough night as they had a strangely difficult time with Andrew Cashner. The Rangers starter is the type of pitcher the Red Sox should be able to have plenty of success against, but they simply sputtered out of the gate and failed to get much of anything going at any point. They’ve been so hot of late that it’s hard to be too upset about this performance, but it certainly wasn’t fun to watch.
Cashner actually had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning against the Red Sox, only allowing a couple of walks and zero runs to that point in the game. Then, with two outs in that inning and a runner on, he made a mistake to Xander Bogaerts and Boston’s shortstop broke up the no-hitter and the shutout with one swing of the bat. This may have been an overwhelmingly negative game for the Red Sox, but at least Bogaerts gave a reminder on why you should vote for him to make it to the All-Star Game.
In the end, Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley were the only Red Sox players with hits, and Andrew Benintendi was the only one to reach base more than once. Again, the lineup wasn’t going to stay as hot as it’s been, but it was still disappointing to see them have such little success against such a hittable pitcher.
After Fister’s early exit, the Red Sox turned to Robby Scott, Fernando Abad, Heath Hembree and Matt Barnes. Scott allowed a couple of runs in his stint, but besides that the group did their job keeping the game at a moderate blowout rather than a total disaster.
It’s never fun to see the Red Sox lose, but it’s made a little easier in this one considering they had just won six in a row. It also doesn’t hurt that both the Yankees and the Rays lost on Wednesday as well. The Red Sox will take on those Rays in Tampa in a four-game set that begins Thursday night.