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Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 5: Hello darkness my old friend

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The DBacks walk it off on Saturday.

Boston Red Sox v Arizona Diamondbacks
I’ve come to talk with you again
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Three series into the year, and the Red Sox have now officially lost all of them. This game was not nearly as bad as the first one in the desert, though matching that performance would have been impossible. This was a familiar theme where Boston held a lead for about five minutes. David Price was mostly solid in this game, but one horrible inning was bad enough to take a win away from him. Meanwhile, the offense had one great inning and was later able to rally and tie it up, but they were still bad for long stretches in this game. The Red Sox have now lost eight of their first ten games. Not great!

The Red Sox are developing a clear pattern in games right now, and it is not fun to watch. At all. This hasn’t happened every time out, of course, but it’s happened often enough in recent games that people are starting to recognize what’s about to happen before it actually begins to unfold. It starts well enough, as the Red Sox have jumped out to a few early leads over the last week. They’re never huge leads and often it feels as though they could have scored more, but it’s something. Then, the starting pitcher of the day comes out looking for a shutdown inning but instead watches the lead evaporate. It’s not great!

This is, of course, how things ended up playing out on Saturday night in Arizona. After both sides went down in order in the first inning, the Red Sox offense started to show some life against Luke Weaver in the second. Xander Bogaerts drew a walk to start things off, then Rafael Devers fought off a pitch in on his hands and punched it into center field. That put runners on the corners and things were cooking. Eduardo Núñez didn’t have a big hit, but a soft ground ball to second base was enough to both score a run and avoid a double play. After a fly out moved Devers to third base and Christian Vázquez was intentionally walked, David Price was forced up with runners on the corners with two outs. National League baseball is a crime, but it didn’t cost Boston this time around as Price came through with an RBI single to keep things going, and Andrew Benintendi would add one more with a ground rule double. With a 3-0 lead, things were looking good.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

They were looking particularly good with Price on the mound. He wasn’t great in his first start, but he was far and away the best starter in the team’s first run through the rotation and he was also feeling good about himself after that RBI base knock. What could go wrong?! Well, you know. David Peralta led off the inning with a base hit for the Diamondbacks, and he would move over to third with one out when Eduardo Escobar’s fly ball in left field fell just in front of a diving Benintendi. With a pair in scoring position, Nick Ahmed hit a blooper into right-center field and Arizona was on the board. It looked like Mookie Betts held up a bit on that ball and it may have been a misplay, but it wasn’t convincing to me that he definitely could have gotten there. Either way, a run was on the board and the Diamondbacks still had two on with one out. They’d both score very soon when Carson Kelly tied the game with a two-run double, and then he’d come in on a two-out RBI single from Adam Jones. Just like that, the three run lead was turned into a one-run deficit in the blink of an eye.

To Price’s credit, he was very good in this game outside of that fourth inning. Yes, it’s a bit of a “but other than that how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?” situation, but given what the rest of the staff has done in the early parts of the year we’ll certainly take it. I already mentioned the 1-2-3 first inning for the lefty in the first, and after that he faced only three batters in the third and sixth while allowing just one single in each of the fourth and fifth.

Price was cruising, but the offense wasn’t living up to their part of the deal. They had that big second inning, but had very few signs of life outside of that rally. Over the four innings immediately following that second, they sent only three batters to the plate in three of them. In the other, they wasted a leadoff single from Núñez.

As we headed into the seventh, Weaver was out of the game and the Red Sox would try to get going against Arizona’s bullpen. Up first for the home team was Yoshihisa Hirano, and Boston got their leadoff man on with a walk from Jackie Bradley Jr. After a strikeout from Vázquez, J.D. Martinez came on to hit for Price in a big spot and he’d rip a base hit into left field to put runners on the corners for Benintendi to face lefty specialist Andrew Chafin. He would put up a nice at bat and eventually work a walk to load the bases for Betts, who was looking to reverse what had been a tough night to that point. Going up against Archie Bradley, he didn’t pick up a hit but his fly out to right field was deep enough to tie the game. With runners on the corners and now two outs, Mitch Moreland came up to pinch hit for Steve Pearce and he’d draw a walk to re-load the bases for Bogaerts. That would be how the inning ended, though, as the shortstop grounded out to leave ‘em full.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

So, with the game now tied the bullpen was coming in for the Red Sox, starting with Brandon Workman. He’s had a great run to start this 2019 season, and he continued it on Saturday with an easy, stress-free 1-2-3 inning.

Bradley stayed in the game for Arizona in the eighth, and Devers started the top half with a walk before moving to second on a Núñez bunt. After Bradley Jr. struck out, Vázquez had a chance with two outs and a runner in scoring position. He put a nice swing on the ball, but it was caught right in front of the wall in left field and we were still tied heading into the bottom of the eighth.

There, the Red Sox called upon Ryan Brasier and he’d get through the inning allowing just a single. After the offense went down in order in the top of the ninth, Colten Brewer came on for the bottom half. After starting the inning with a strikeout, Escobar knocked a base hit into right field before quickly getting over to second on a bad passed ball from Vázquez. That took away a double play chance, and it looked like it could be costly when Ahmed poked a based hit through the right side. Betts came up firing, though, and easily gunned down Escobar at the plate. Still, Ahmed moved up to second on the throw and Arizona had another chance with a runner in scoring position, this time with two outs. Kelly came through with a cleaner base hit more towards the left field line, Ahmed scored easily and the Diamondbacks walked it off. 2-8 for the Sox.

The Red Sox can’t salvage a series victory here, but they can try to avoid a sweep on Sunday. They’ll be sending out Hector Velázquez for a spot start and he’ll take on Merrill Kelly. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM ET.


Courtesy of Fangraphs