That’s about as infuriating of a loss as you can get. The Red Sox offense was simultaneously nonexistent and riddled with bad luck, as the rare hard contact they did make either found gloves or floated out of play. They were able to remain in the game because Nathan Eovaldi was dealing, cruising through seven innings of work, allowing two runs on a pair of solo homers. And the offense did finally come alive in the eighth, scoring two to tie the game! But then Will Venable made some choices. First, he pulled a dealing Eovaldi with just 72 pitches under his belt. Then, with two on, one out, and the top of the Blue Jays order coming up, Venable inexplicably called upon Tyler Danish. Predictably, that did not go well, and one grand slam later the game was basically over. It was not a fun time.
More robust games notes below.
The Red Sox offense is in a place where they can fail plenty on their own. Between over-aggressive approaches, listless stretches that last innings at a time, and poor situational hitting when they actually do mount a rally, they’ve really excelled at not putting runs on the board lately. And so when that is combined with all sorts of bad luck on hard contact, it just doesn’t seem fair. But alas, that is exactly what happened against José Berríos on Monday night.
That bad luck happened right away as the Blue Jays righty was leaving hittable pitches over the plate here and there to start the night. Enrique Hernández led off again in this game, and he hit one 369 feet, but for an out. The next batter, Alex Verdugo, hit one just nine feet shorter, but a mile and a half per hour faster off the bat, again for an out. So the Red Sox went down in order, and Berríos would end up retiring the first four batters he faced.
That stretch was broken up by J.D. Martinez, back from a handful of games missed with an adductor injury. He welcomed himself back into action very quickly, smacking a one-out double out to left-center field in the second inning. After a walk from Jackie Bradley Jr., and a base hit from Bobby Dalbec, the bases were loaded with just one. It was a big chance to take an early lead, but Christian Arroyo dashed any of those dreams by hitting a ground ball right back to Berríos, who started a 1-4-3 double play to end the inning with the bases full, no runs coming across.
From there, the offense went into the hibernation mode they seem to flock to after a wasted chance, though both Hernández and Verdugo had some bad luck again in the third with each hitting long fly balls just going foul. They also did get a man to third in the fourth when Xander Bogaerts led off with a single and moved one base each on two outs, but he couldn’t move up the final 90 feet, and Boston stayed off the board. And then in the fifth, Kevin Plawecki laced a line drive but it was caught superman style by George Springer.
To make matters even more frustrating, Nathan Eovaldi was dealing. He’s been mostly good this year outside of a weird home run problem, but the last time out he was also very inefficient and couldn’t even make it through five innings. That was not an issue on Monday. Eovaldi’s day started with a swinging bunt that went for a single, but a double play helped him get through the first on only five pitches. He then was perfect in each of the second, third, and fourth innings, needing only 34 pitches to get to that point of the game.
However, it was still a scoreless game because, well, that’s just how things are right now, but that changed in the bottom half of the fifth. And again, it was the home run ball against Eovaldi’s slider. Lourdes Gurriel jumped on one slightly down and away off the center of the zone, and launched it just up and over the wall in left field for a solo shot. It was the third off Eovaldi’s slider this season, and it put Toronto up 1-0. He recovered fine from there, just giving up a single before finishing out the inning, but the damage was done.
The Red Sox offense did not have any answers for that homer from the Jays, going down in order in each of the next two innings. Eovaldi did his damndest to keep his team in the game, too, tossing a perfect sixth. But the homer issues came back once again in the seventh. This time it was on a fastball up in the zone, but not by enough, and Matt Chapman blasted a no-doubt shot to the power alley in left field, doubling Toronto’s lead to two.
Homers or no, the Red Sox offense needed to do something, only having six more outs despite having just started the game 90 minutes early. They finally mounted another rally in that eighth, starting off with back-to-back singles from Dalbec and Arroyo. That would finally end the night for Berríos, with the Red Sox looking to get to Toronto’s bullpen. They played some small from there with Plawecki dropping a well-executed sacrifice bunt to both avoid a double play — because we all know that was a distinct possibility with this group — and move the runners up into scoring position.
Hernández immediately followed that up with a base hit, and the Red Sox snapped their 15-inning scoreless streak and also pulled to within one. Verdugo then followed that up with a fly ball deep enough to bring home Arroyo, and somehow, someway the Red Sox had tied the game.
Despite being at just 72 pitches, Eovaldi was pulled after seven, with Matt Strahm getting the call against the bottom of Toronto’s lineup in now a tied game. Things started well with a quick first out, but then a pair of singles — the second of which should have been ruled an error as Dalbec dropped a ball that hit him right in the glove on what would have been a sick play by Strahm on a drag bunt — put two on. That was it for Strahm, and shockingly it was Tyler Danish coming in with two on, one out, and the top of Toronto’s lineup coming in. Springer welcomed him to the game with a base hit to load the bases, and then Bo Bichette had the dagger, sending a grand slam out to right field to make it a 6-2 game.
The offense now had their work cut out for them in the bottom half of the inning, which did start with a leadoff double from Rafael Devers. That was all they would get, though, ending an incredibly frustrating loss.
The Red Sox now look to snap their three-game losing streak on Tuesday, with Nick Pivettta taking on Kevin Gausman. First pitch is set for 7:07 PM ET.