There was really nothing good to take out of this game for the Red Sox, except for maybe Drew Pomeranz. Nathan Eovaldi was only able to pitch two innings because of a long rain delay — it also knocked Michael Kopech out of the game prematurely — but he didn’t look great in the short time he did pitch. Tyler Thornburg was awful in his inning of work. Pomeranz did well, but also got some help from his defense. The offense struggled all night, and when they did get scoring chances they squandered them in the most frustrating ways possible. Often, that frustration included poor baserunning. It was not a fun night is what I’m trying to say.
The Red Sox were going up against Michael Kopech on Friday night, a pitcher with whom the organization is very familiar. Obviously, the righty was a former top prospect for the Red Sox before he was traded to Chicago in the Chris Sale deal. His stock has only risen since then, and he was making his third career start against his old club. It was a tiny sample, but his first taste of the majors looked impressive. That being said, it was only natural to expect him to be a little over-amped against his former club and that’s exactly what happened.
Right off the bat, Kopech couldn’t find the zone. He hit Mookie Betts with the first pitch of the game, and he immediately followed that up by walking Andrew Benintendi on four pitches. The Red Sox had him on the ropes, but then Betts made a rare mistake. For the second straight night, he was caught being too aggressive on the bases and got picked off second base. That seemed to settle Kopech down, and he’d retire the next four batters he faced. That streak was ended by Ian Kinsler in the second, but after allowing a double and hitting another batter Kopech came back and retired four more consecutively.
On the other side, Nathan Eovaldi was looking to turn things around after a really tough run in the Red Sox rotation. Pedro Martinez had apparently found some mechanical issue with how Eovaldi was landing, and the two had been working on a tweak over the last week. Unfortunately, the work didn’t show any results in this game.
Just like Kopech, Eovaldi hit the first batter he faced in the bottom of the first, but the White Sox were able to capitalize where the Red Sox were not. With one out, Avisail Garcia got a ground ball past third down the line and it rolled all the way to the wall. Garcia strolled in with a double and Yolmer Sanchez came around to score and make it a 1-0 game. Two batters later, Yoan Moncada — of course the other headlining piece in the Sale trade — got a fastball belt-high on the outer half and he went the other way for a two-run shot. Just like that, it was a 3-0 game. Eovaldi did get out of the inning from there.
He’d look better in the second, too, though he allowed another double, this time to Kevan Smith. The righty escaped that jam. However, he’d only pitch those two innings as a few pitches into the third was when the rain delay struck, and we’d be without baseball for a little over two hours. Obviously, Eovaldi did not return.
Instead, it was Drew Pomeranz coming on for the righty, and while it seemed like it might be a shaky outing for the lefty he gave the team some big innings on a night it seemed would further fatigue the bullpen. That being said, the southpaw got himself into trouble in that third inning. After finishing off a strikeout started by Eovaldi, Pomeranz gave up a double and hit a batter. A couple batters later he’d allow another single to load the bases with two outs. Fortunately, he’d escape the jam with his third strikeout of the inning and the White Sox could extend their three-run lead.
After that jam, Pomeranz settled in. He allowed just a single in the fourth and in the fifth he allowed a pair of two-out singles, but on the second Mookie Betts cut down Matt Davidson trying to stretch it to a double. Pomeranz would be helped by his defense again in the sixth when he allowed a two-out double to Sanchez. Smith was on first and tried to score from first but a good relay got him at the plate by a mile. Pomeranz wasn’t perfect, but all in all the Red Sox really couldn’t have asked for much more.
On the other side, the White Sox turned to Dylan Covey after the rain delay, but the Red Sox weren’t faring much better against him. They did come out in the fourth and look like they’d jump right on the scoreboard when Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Núñez started off with back-to-back singles. They’d both move over to scoring position on a ground out, but then Ian Kinsler and Sandy León stranded them. (Kinsler was called out on a bad strike call, for whatever that’s worth.) After that, they’d get just a single in the fifth before going down in order in the sixth.
Kinsler led off the seventh with a walk, which knocked Covey out of the game, but the Red Sox would go down in order after that with an inexplicable caught stealing by Kinsler mixed in.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Tyler Thornburg came on in relief after Pomeranz’ solid showing. He’d allow a couple runners to reach with one out, but after a big strikeout against Moncada it seemed he could escape. Instead, he left a fastball over the heart of the plate to Davidson and just like that it was a 6-0 game that felt out of reach. Thornburg allowed two more baserunners before getting out of the inning.
Benintendi would give the Red Sox their first run of the game in the eighth on a solo homer, but then later Bogaerts made up for it by getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Both sides had issues with the strike zone all night long, particularly after the delay.
Brandon Workman came on for a scoreless eighth and the Red Sox went down in order in the ninth to finish off this very bad, no good night.
The Red Sox couldn’t win four in a row, and they will look to start a new win streak on Saturday and keep open the possibility of winning this series in Chicago. They’ll have Eduardo Rodriguez back on the bump to get that done and he’ll take on Carlos Rodon. First pitch will be at 7:10 PM ET.
As for the division, the Yankees were able to complete a late-game comeback to get the game they lost on Friday right back. Boston’s lead stands at 7.5 games.