I really don’t know how to describe what I just watched. It’s hard to imagine things could get any worse for this team, but know that I’m knocking on every wood surface I can find as I type this. The Red Sox were thoroughly embarrassed in Arizona on Friday. The offense had one solid inning in which they failed to maximize their chance. Rick Porcello had a couple strong innings before imploding. The defense made multiple mistakes. Brian Johnson gave up a billion runs. This was the definition of a gut punch in the midst of a road trip that has continued to go from bad to worse.
The Red Sox moved on to a new city and off of the Pacific coast for the first time in 2019, but it was more of the same early on for this team. The new norm for the pitching staff seems to be starting off strong before seeing the bottom fall out after a couple of innings. Meanwhile, the offense has been dead for multi-inning stretches before putting on a rally that ends with too few runs. It’s a familiar pattern by now, and we were watching it play out in the first half of this game in Arizona as well. It would get so, so much worse, too.
The first inning was relatively quiet on both sides. Rick Porcello did have to fight off a couple of two-out baserunners after a single and a catchers interference call going against Blake Swihart, but they were stranded there. The second would be even quieter with both sides going down in order.
Then, in the third, the Red Sox finally got something going against Zach Godley, who had retired the first six batters he faced. The red-hot Swihart started the rally with a leadoff single before he was moved over to third one base at a time on two ground outs. That brought up Andrew Benintendi, who just missed an RBI double down the right field line but then came back with an RBI double to the opposite field. That gave Boston a 1-0 lead, and after Mookie Betts reached on an infield single Mitch Moreland had a chance to give the Sox a big lead with runners on the corners. He couldn’t come through, though, and Boston settled for just the single run.
That would hurt, because on the other end things started heading downhill for Porcello. The bottom half of the third started with a base hit from Godley, and any inning that starts with a hit from the opposing pitcher is destined to end poorly. Sure enough, after an infield single and a walk, Arizona had the bases loaded with nobody out. All things considered, Porcello did handle it as well as possible allowing just one run to score on a double play and escaping the frame with the score knotted up.
After the Sox lineup went down in order in the fourth, the aforementioned bottom had its falling out. Two batters into the bottom half of the inning, Ketel Marte came up and launched a 2-0 slider over the wall in right-center field to give Arizona a one-run lead. It would get worse. Much worse. Nick Ahmed smacked a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and then after a walk Godley got his second hit of the day. This was a cheapie on a pop up that found grass in between Brock Holt, Betts and J.D. Martinez. Just another instance of bad luck and bad baseball living in perfect harmony, and that gave the DBacks a two-run lead. After another single and a ground out, they had plated two more and at the end of the fourth it was suddenly a 5-1 deficit for Boston.
Rick Porcello was left in the game, though, and hit for himself in the fifth. He would not make it out of the bottom half of the inning. Longtime AL East foe Adam Jones led off for Arizona and he’d extend the lead even more with a smoked home run out to left field, his fourth homer of the year. After getting two consecutive strikeouts, Porcello allowed a single and a double to give up one more run before his day was over. In all, he allowed seven runs in just 4 2⁄3 innings on ten hits (two homers), three walks and five strikeouts. To make matters worse, Brian Johnson had to come out in relief. The lefty was likely to get Sunday’s start, but that’s obviously less likely now.
As we moved on to the sixth, the Red Sox did start to show some life, but it ended in pain because of course it did. After Betts, Martinez and Bogaerts all drew walks, they had the bases loaded with two outs and a real chance to put a dent into the lead. Arizona turned to lefty specialist Andrew Chafin, though, and Rafael Devers was no match for him. The young third baseman grounded out weakly back to the mound, and the Red Sox left the inning with the same total on the scoreboard as they had at the start of the frame.
I’m going to spare you (and I, to be honest) the rest of this story. I’ll just say that Johnson had an unfathomably bad sixth and by the end of that inning the Diamondbacks had a 14-1 lead. If you really want to know the gory details, seek help and also click the “Box” link below and head over to the play-by-play tab.
On a positive note, Betts did crush a two-run, garbage time home run. That was neat. They added two more on a Blake Swihart double, too. Then, in the next inning, Mitch Moreland closed the gap with a three-run home run.
The game ended pretty much as it should, with Eduardo Núñez on the mound for the Red Sox. Yes, you read that correctly. He got a pair of quick outs before allowing a solo shot to Alex Avila. He’d get out of it after that and finished in the top half of the four Red Sox pitchers to appear in the game in terms of quality of performance.
The Red Sox will look to put this one behind them and pick up a win in the desert on Saturday night. They’ll turn to David Price who will go up against Luke Weaver. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.