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Red Sox 2, Phillies 5: Wasted chances galore!

A second straight terrible loss.

Philadelphia Phillies v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It’s the same old story we’ve seen so often this year in a few different respects. The Red Sox were playing well, which means it was right on schedule for them to drop two consecutive wildly frustrating games. This one was particularly on brand with the offense leaving, oh I don’t know, a billion? runners on base. (The real number was nine with the team going 2-8 with runners in scoring position.) The lack of the big hit has killed them all year and it was the case again tonight, with the Phillies taking the lead immediately after the most egregious missed opportunity of the evening. Mix in some timely bad defense and weird managing, and this was an extremely 2019 Red Sox game.

As we’ve talked about time and time again over the last week or so, the Red Sox just don’t have innings in their rotation right now. They have only two fully stretched out starters as we speak, and every time one of those two starts it is imperative they get a full and effective start. It’s a lot of pressure on Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello, but that’s life for the Red Sox in 2019.

Porcello got the ball on Wednesday, and while they sort of have a day off on Thursday — they finish the suspended game in the afternoon, which could last one inning or nine. Who knows? — they needed to use their bullpen for 5 13 innings on Tuesday. As such, innings from Porcello would be much appreciated in this game.

Sure enough, the righty pitched extremely well early against the Phillies. After Brian Johnson gave up three first-inning runs in the first game of this series that ended up deciding the game, a quick start felt extra important on Wednesday. Porcello got the job done, allowing a two-out walk but nothing else.

Things continued to go well for the Red Sox righty over the next few innings as well. He did get into some trouble in the third when he allowed a one-out double to Rhys Hoskins followed by a walk to Bryce Harper, but he was able to escape the jam and keep a zero on the scoreboard for the Phillies. He followed that up with a big 1-2-3 inning in the fourth.

On the other side, the Red Sox had a chance to really do big damage in this game going up against a struggling lefty in Drew Smyly. The southpaw had a couple of strong outings when he first signed with the Phillies, but by and large he’s been terrible in 2019. Sure enough, the Red Sox gave themselves a bunch of chances to open up a solid lead in this game. Instead, they followed the same pattern they’ve followed all year, which is to say they left a billion runs on base.

Take the first inning for example, when the Red Sox jumped out to an early lead and still managed to exit the frame feeling like they left runs on the table. Mookie Betts started the game with a double and Rafael Devers did the same with a shot high off the Monster, and it seemed the offense was off to the races. Then, they recorded three straight outs and settled for just the 1-0 lead after one. A lead was nice, but it should have been multiple runs on the board at that point.

They did add to their lead in the second, but again it felt like it could have been more. This one was more credit to the Phillies than the fault of the Red Sox, though. Christian Vázquez led off the inning with a walk, and after a fielder’s choice put Marco Hernández at first, the infielder was caught stealing second base. It was a solid jump, but J.T. Realmuto made a perfect throw down to nab the runner. Sure enough, that failed stolen base attempt was immediately followed by a home run from Jackie Bradley Jr., his second in as many days. After two, it was 2-0 Red Sox.

After a quick third inning, Boston had their most frustrating frame in the fourth. Andrew Benintendi kicked things off with a double to snap an 0-12 skid which was immediately followed by an infield single from Sam Travis. For some reason — possibly because it seemed rain might be on the way and they were desperate for any runs they could get — Vázquez dropped a sacrifice bunt to move each runner up. It was successful, but it gave away a valuable out. With runners on second and third and one out, Hernández drew a walk to load the bases but Bradley struck out and Betts grounded out. The Red Sox squandered the chance. It felt like one too many squanders to win a baseball game.

Sure enough, that feeling was absolutely right as the Phillies got to Porcello in the top of the fifth. César Hernández led things off with a double, and then during the next at bat Porcello threw a wild pitch. It didn’t get too far from Vázquez, who tried to throw Hernández out at third. Instead, it skipped off the glove of Devers into shallow left field, allowing the runner to score and cut the lead in half. It was originally called an error on Vázquez, but was later (and correctly, in my opinion) changed to one on Devers. Adam Haseley then drew a walk and, two batters later, Bryce Harper does what he does. The star outfielder has been ridiculous clutch of late, and he continued that trend by blasting a go-ahead, opposite field home run. Unsurprisingly, the Red Sox squandered that great chance and the Phillies came right back and took the lead.

Now, with the Phillies bullpen in the game it was up to the Red Sox offense to get going and at least tie this game up. They would get a runner on first in each of the next two innings, but nothing more.

Things got a little bit harder when Andrew Cashner came in for the seventh as the team’s second reliever of the night, following a scoreless sixth from Ryan Brasier. Cashner wasn’t as effective, allowing a run on a two-out, RBI triple from Corey Dickerson.

After the Red Sox once again failed to get a runner beyond first in the seventh and Darwinzon Hernandez came on for a scoreless inning in the eighth, the Red Sox had six more outs to work with trailing by two. They gave themselves a chance, too, when Sam Travis led things off with a base hit before Vázquez came through with a two-out double. That put two in scoring position for Hernández. With a lefty on the mound, though, Alex Cora called for Chris Owings as a pinch hitter in what was, frankly, a terrible move. It was clear at the time, and even more clear when Owings struck out looking to end the inning. Cora has gotten too cute with platoon situations a lot this year, and this was one of the most costly examples.

The Phillies then got another run in the ninth thanks in part to a balk on Brandon Workman — I mean, really? — and the Red Sox now trailed by three with three more outs to go. They went down in order, laying down to lose this game and to get swept in this short two-game series.

The Red Sox are sort of in action on Thursday, finishing off the suspended game against the Royals from a couple weeks ago. They will be playing at 1:00 PM ET and the game will pick up in the top of the tenth in a tie game. Weird stuff!