It was another really frustrating loss for the Red Sox on Sunday against a bad team. Rick Porcello really didn’t look great and wasn’t nearly as sharp as we’ve seen he can be, but he wasn’t to blame in this game. Thanks to big pitching when the going got tough and fortunate luck, Porcello gave his team a chance to win this game. Unfortunately, the offense didn’t take said chance. They had opportunities against Reynaldo Lopez, but they left approximately 84 (may not be accurate) runners on base and managed just two runs. That ends a frustrating three-game set with two losses and just six runs throughout. It was also the first series lost by the Red Sox since the middle of May against the A’s.
For the second time in this series, the Red Sox were frustrated by a White Sox pitcher who wasn’t expected to be so tough to hit. Here, Reynaldo Lopez did come into the game with some solid numbers on the year, but they didn’t seem very sustainable and it appeared to be a profile against which the Red Sox could take advantage. Instead, the Chicago righty was in the zone often enough that Boston hitters had to be aggressive. Obviously, they’ve had plenty of success this season with that kind of aggression, but they couldn’t square up a whole lot in this game. Even worse is that they had some opportunities early in this game but couldn’t take advantage.
The first inning was not one of those circumstances, as the top of the Red Sox order went down 1-2-3 after they fell down by one of the scoreboard in the top of the first. The second was better, and it unsurprisingly started with J.D. Martinez. The slugger smacked a groundrule double out to the right field corner to lead off the inning, and then he was knocked in by a Rafael Devers single. The Red Sox third baseman would get to second on a hit-and-run play and then to third on a stolen base to bring Jackie Bradley Jr. up with one out. The infield was in, but as we’ve seen so often this year Boston had the contact play on anyway. That turned out to be costly, as Bradley hit a weak grounder to first and Devers was thrown out at the plate. That essentially ended the rally and the Red Sox settled for one run there.
Not being able to get more than one run in that situation proved costly. They had another chance in the third to get more going when Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland both drew walks to put a couple on for Martinez, but he couldn’t come through this time. After a very quick fourth, they had another chance in the fifth when Sandy León smashed a one-out double off the Monster to set up the top of the order. Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts both grounded out to end the inning, however, and the Red Sox settled for just the one run through five.
The sixth was perhaps the most frustrating inning of the day, and it came in layers. Moreland led off with a shot off the wall in center field, but he only got a single. I don’t know if it was just hit that hard or if he wasn’t hustling, but it’s not something you see very often. Either way, the leadoff runner was on for Martinez but he couldn’t come through, instead hitting into a double play. It was frustrating, but Boston got more going with a Devers walk, a Brock Holt single and a Bradley hit-by-pitch to load the bases with two outs for Blake Swihart. Unfortunately, the struggling utility man continued his struggles, popping one up on the infield to end the inning. The Red Sox managed to get two singles, a walk and a hit-by-pitch in the inning, but came away scoreless.
Meanwhile, Porcello was not very sharp in this game, though he spent most of the afternoon limiting damage compared to what likely should have happened. This time around, it was fairly clear from the start that it was not going to be the righty’s day against Chicago. The first pitch of the game produced a smoked line drive into center field for a single, and that hard contact would continue a couple batters later when Jose Abreu laced one off the Monster for an RBI double. He would be stranded at second, but the White Sox got a 1-0 lead right off the bat.
They’d get a couple more baserunners in the second as well, though to be fair to Porcello they came on a pair of softly-hit singles and both runners were stranded. It resulted in some extra pitches, but it wasn’t exactly a case of being rocked.
The third wasn’t being rocked either, but it was bad pitching and bad defense. There, Porcello walked Abreu with one out, and then induced what looked like a double play ball. Instead, Brock Holt’s throw to second was a bit low — but not too bad — but Devers was forced to make the turn due to the shift. He couldn’t make the grab and the play resulted in runners on the corners with just one out. After hitting a batter to load the bases, Porcello got another out before allowing an awful walk to Tim Anderson to allow another run to score. That put Chicago on top 2-1.
The Red Sox righty would look a bit better for a couple of innings after that, getting through a 1-2-3 fourth and allowing a double but no more in the fifth. In the sixth, things went bad again. Chicago still had that same 2-1 lead, and Anderson drew another walk to leadoff the inning. After he moved to second on a bunt, the weirdness happened. Trayce Thompson came up and hit a ground ball to Moreland at first base. It was too far off the bag for Moreland to make the play himself, and he made a toss to Porcello covering first. The out was made their, but Porcello tripped over the bag as he tried to turn around to hold the speedy Anderson at third. He fell right into the umpire, and Anderson came around to score on a great baserunning play to put the White Sox up 3-1. Porcello would get out of the inning from there, and he ended his night having allowed three runs in six innings on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
Heath Hembree came out for a 1-2-3 session in the top of the seventh while the White Sox kept with Lopez heading into the bottom half. After a strikeout to lead off the frame, Benintendi came up and just missed a home run to right field, instead settling for a ground rule double. That would be the night for Chicago’s starter as they turned to Nate Jones. The righty hit Bogaerts to start his day, putting two on with one out for Moreland. He’d fly out to center field, leaving it up to Martinez. Well, Jones wanted no part of that, walking him on four pitches.
That brought up Devers with the bases loaded, and the White Sox turned to the left-handed Jace Fry. The Red Sox countered with Eduardo Núñez, who didn’t get the job done but got some help. He hit a routine grounder to Yoan Moncada at second, and the former Red Sox top prospect booted it for an error to score a run and keep the inning going. Holt couldn’t keep it going, but the Sox pulled within one.
After Brandon Workman tossed a scoreless top half of the eighth, the White Sox stuck with Fry against the bottom of the Red Sox order. Boston did get a hit from Blake Swihart, but that was it in a scoreless inning.
Matt Barnes came out for the ninth, and he couldn’t keep the one-run deficit. He looked good for much of this inning, getting a couple of outs while allowing just a weak infield single. However, with a runner on second they intentionally walked Abreu, and Daniel Palka made Barnes pay with a huge two-run double to put Chicago up by three.
That brought out Joakim Soria to protect a three-run lead against the middle of the Red Sox lineup, and he did that with a quick, scoreless inning to end the game.
The Red Sox will look to shake off this bad series loss as they head to Baltimore to take on the team with the worst record in baseball. The Red Sox send Steven Wright to the mound on Monday with Baltimore countering with Dylan Bundy. First pitch is at 7:05 PM ET.