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Red Sox 3, Braves 10: Maybe don’t pitch to Marcell Ozuna

The Braves slugger hits three homers as the Sox lose again.

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The good news: The Red Sox were actually tied in this game about halfway through. Ryan Weber had a bad first inning but settled down and looked good for the next three. Alex Verdugo had two more hits.

The bad news: Everything else.

The Red Sox fell behind early, tied it up, and then absolutely imploded. We’ve seen this story, I don’t know, 15 times this year. Marcell Ozuna absolutely terrorized Red Sox pitching in this one, smashing three home runs on the night with all of them being no-doubt moonshots. The offense didn’t do much. You know this story, right? I don’t have to tell it all again.

The Red Sox, as we all know, have never really been able to boast much in the way of rotation depth this season, and with Kyle Hart potentially pitching himself out of the mix and Nathan Eovaldi hitting the injured list, that depth has become even more sparse. Enter: Ryan Weber. The righty started the year in the rotation, pitched horribly, got demoted, came back up and thrived in a long relief role. As many here have correctly pointed out, the smart move if you want him back in a starter-type role would be to try using him after a reliever. Allow him to miss that top portion of the lineup the first time through.

That is not the route the Red Sox decided to take. They gave him a regular old star, and sure enough he looked really bad in the first inning against the top of the Braves lineup. After a quick first out, a pitch got away from him and hit Freddie Freeman, putting a runner on in front of Marcell Ozuna. On the very first pitch, Weber tried to sneak a fastball under the hands of Ozuna. Instead, the Braves slugger turned on it and sent it to the moon over everything in left field. Three batters in, it was a 2-0 Braves lead. Weber would also give up a single and a double in the inning — and the double was almost literally as far as a player can hit one without hitting a homer — but managed to get out of it without a run.

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

To be fair to Weber, and to those who have advocated for him to come in after an opener, he cruised after that brutal first inning. The righty allowed just a double in the second and then he was perfect in the third and fourth. He’d thrown enough pitches in the first that he’d only be able to toss those four frames, but he at least did not let things snowball after the tough start.

On the other side, the Red Sox were going up against Ian Anderson in the top prospect’s second career start. Though he’s known for big stuff and poor control, he looked pretty sharp against this Boston lineup, who failed to get much going early. They did get a leadoff single from Alex Verdugo in the first, but that was all there. They’d go down in order in the second, too.

Things would finally start to turn a bit in the third, thankfully, starting with a solid base hit from Tzu-Wei Lin. He’d then move up to second on a ground out before coming home on Verdugo’s second hit of the game, cutting the deficit in half. Verdugo was then able to move up on a wild pitch, and a couple batters later he was brought home by a third single of the inning, this one from Rafael Devers. Just like that, we were all tied up.

The next couple innings were largely uneventful, with the Red Sox getting three baserunners across the two innings but no runs. On the other side, Josh Taylor came on for the fifth and worked around a two-out walk to keep the score tied at two.

That was still the score heading into the sixth, and Robert Stock was coming on for his second straight day of action. This outing did not go as well as Monday’s. The big righty walked the first batter he saw on four pitches immediately before giving up a base hit. After a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position with nobody out, he served up a rocket of a base hit for Austin Riley, putting the Braves up 3-2 and leaving runners on the corners, still with nobody out. Stock almost worked his way out of that jam, too, thanks to a strikeout and a pop out. Ender Inciarte ruined that, though, with a high chopper on the infield to bring another run home and extend Atlanta’s lead to two. Austin Brice then came on to end the inning with a strikeout.

After the Red Sox went down easily in the bottom of the sixth, Hart came out of the bullpen for the first time this year. The southpaw got one quick out, but then Ozuna struck again in pretty much the same way, launching a hanging slider way out to left field to make it a 5-2 game. He’d come back out for the eighth, too, and let the game get away. The score was 10-2 by the time that inning finished, in part thanks to Ozuna’s third moonshot of a homer on the night.

The Red Sox did add another run in the eighth and got a perfect ninth from Jeffrey Springs. But, in the end, it was another blowout loss to drop their record to 12-24.

The Red Sox will be looking to avoid a sweep on Wednesday in the series finale against the Braves. They’re going with a bullpen game that should feature Mike Kickham for some bulk innings while the Braves go with Robbie Erlin. First pitch is at 7:30 PM ET.


Courtesy of FanGraphs