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Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 13: Rick Porcello’s very bad not good night ends the streak

Well, it was bound to happen eventually

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that’s not how you want to see a streak end. Obviously, the Red Sox weren’t going to win out the rest of the way, but this was a jarring game. To be fair, it wasn’t all bad. The offense had itself a good night — though it was still frustrating for them at times — but it couldn’t overcome an awful night for the pitching. More specifically, it couldn’t overcome an awful night for Rick Porcello. We’ve seen bad versions of the righty before, but this was something different. He was nowhere close to the strike zone, and when he did hit the zone the Blue Jays crushed him. I have no idea if the issue is mechanical, mental or physical, but the hope has to be its not the latter. The other two would presumably be easier to fix. Either way, it was an awful outing for him and it was the biggest factor in the streak-buster.

This was a wild, back-and-forth game, so we’re just going to take this one in chronological order. The top of the first was actually the only quiet one, relatively speaking, for a while, though even then Porcello didn’t loo right. He allowed only a single there, but he was still missing some spots and throwing a few more pitches than we’re used to seeing from him. Still, it was 0-0 after the top of the first.

The Red Sox were able to get on the board right away in the bottom half, though. Mookie Betts, fresh off his mammoth grand slam on Thursday, started this game with a bang as he launched one to straightaway center for a leadoff triple. Two batters later, J.D. Martinez hit a grounder to shortstop and while Lourdes Gurriel had a legitimate shot to throw Betts out at the plate his throw was short and allowed Boston to score. Martinez would later get to second on a wild pitch, but he was stranded there.

In the top of the second, Porcello had completely lost it. That inning started with back-to-back walks, which is obviously not something we are used to seeing from the Red Sox righty. He got the plate in his next at bat, but the results weren’t any better when Kevin Pillar smoked a double out to left field — though, to be fair, Martinez was a second late getting back on the ball and arguably should have made the catch — to score one run. Dwight Smith would follow that up with a sacrifice fly, and the game was tied. After yet another walk and a strikeout, Gurriel ripped a single and Toronto left the inning with a 3-2 lead.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

I wasn’t lying when I said this game went back-and-forth, though, and the Red Sox swung the bats in the bottom of the second. Sam Travis, called up earlier Friday, started the rally with a one-out walk, and after an error put two on Jackie Bradley Jr. smacked an RBI single. Even better, a throwing error trying to get the runner at home advanced both runners to scoring position. That brought Betts back up, and he hit his second triple of the game (and missed a home run by about an inch) to knock in two more and give the Red Sox their lead back. Holt knocked in another run with a single, and Xander Bogaerts contributed an RBI single of his own to let the Red Sox head into the third with a 6-3 lead.

Unfortunately, Porcello was back out in the top half of the third and he didn’t find any answers for his struggles while he was waiting through the bottom of the second. Justin Smoak led off that inning and he took a middle-middle fastball into the Red Sox bullpen to immediately get one run back for Toronto. After a walk and a single, Porcello gave up another double to Pillar, letting two more runs score and the game to be tied. Alex Cora stuck with Porcello for the next at bat, and that would be a mistake. Smith got a fastball middle-in and he hit a laser down the right field line that found it’s way into the seats for a two-run shot. Just like that, Toronto had a lead and Porcello’s night was over. It was a disastrous start, and you have to worry that there could be an injury there.

After Porcello left, the game took a chill pill. Hector Velazquez relieved him and retired three straight batters to end that third inning. In the bottom half, Boston got a leadoff double from Travis, but three strikeouts sandwiched by an intentional walk to Mookie Betts ended the frame without a run.

Velazquez then got into trouble in the fourth when he loaded the bases on two walks and a single, but he wiggled his way out of that one to keep the deficit at two. The Red Sox did have an answer in the bottom half of that frame. Martinez and Bogaerts started that rally with back-to-back walks, and Mitch Moreland came through after that with a single that snuck through the shift, and just like that Boston’s deficit was down to one and they had runners on the corners with nobody out. Unfortunately, they squandered the chance to pile on more runs. Eduardo Núñez popped out in the next at bat, and then Bogaerts was caught in a rundown on a ground out after that, leading to second and third with two outs for Sandy León. He walked, but Bradley grounded out and the score was stuck at 8-7 in Toronto’s favor.

That score would hold for a few innings thanks to strong work out of the bullpen on both sides, with Tyler Thornburg (one inning) and Ryan Brasier (two innings) contributing for the Sox. Joe Kelly then came in for the eighth, and he did not do so well. The righty hit a batter, allowed a single, had a runner advance on a passed ball caused by a cross-up, and allowed another single before leaving the game after allowing one run and three baserunners without recording an out. Robby Scott then came in and immediately allowed a ground-rule double and a single to get two more runs on the board. All of a sudden, it was an 11-7 lead for Toronto.

The Red Sox then had two innings to cut into the four-run deficit, and it looked like they had a promising start in the eighth when Brock Holt doubled to lead off in front of the heart of the order. He’d be stranded there, though. Scott then allowed a two-run homer in the ninth to extend Toronto’s lead to six runs. Boston came back in the bottom half of the ninth with a scoreless frame, and that was that. The ten game streak is over.

The Red Sox will look to begin another win streak on Saturday with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound taking on Sam Gaviglio. First pitch is at 1:05 PM ET.


Courtesy of Fangraphs