Well, this was bound to happen.
James Paxton was bound to throw a stinker, the bats stay cold, and the Red Sox are forced to swallow a bitter pill as they get swept by the LA Angels. With the rotation finally set, it's now every starter's job to fight to keep their role in the five-man platoon. While it's hard to expect Paxton to be as good as he was in his first two starts every outing, I don't think many people expected him to throw such a mediocre performance today.
Though it's not like the bats helped him out, either. They've been quiet pretty much ever since the Red Sox touched down in Anaheim, and that trend certainly carried through Paxton's outing. Boston only got one RBI while Paxton was (technically) on the bump via a Kiké Hernandez RBI double, But then Nick Pivetta, fresh off his demotion to the pen, gives that run right back up to Mike Trout with a two-run shot in the bottom of the fourth inning.
You can even go back to the second inning, which is probably more of a microcosm of how this game went. With runners on the corners in one out, Connor Wong strikes out while Pablo Reyes attempts to swipe second base. Reyes would have gotten to second with ease had it not been for Rafael Devers attempting the double steal on the other end chugging toward home plate. Luis Rengfo fires back quickly to Chad Walllach who nabs Devers by a mile to end the top of the frame. James Paxton would then give up four runs in the bottom, including a three-run home run to the nine-hole hitter Zach Neto. That inning certainly hurts the most.
With this evening's loss, the Red Sox are now tied for last place in the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays at 26-24. It's so hard to look at the Red Sox record in the context of the American League East because if you put them in any other division in the AL, They'd rather be leading or ahead of where their current playoff spot is. The first-place AL Central Minnesota Twins have the same record as the Red Sox and the Jays right now. I guess that's the rub when you play in the most competitive division in all of baseball, where every team is playing above .500 ball.
We can only hope that the Red Sox take this off day to do some work and figure out what's going on with their bats because they certainly have a good pitching advantage with Chris Sale taking the bump in game one in Arizona and Garrett Whitlock returning this weekend as well. We're almost at the 1/3 mark of the season, and as I believe I keep saying, every when you get early on makes it easier on you down the line. The Angels and the Diamondbacks are certainly good, but these are wins you need now to keep pace at the end of the season.
Pablo Reyes (.040 WPA, 1-for-4)
When this is what leads your three studs, you know you had a pretty pathetic night all the way around.
Justin Turner (.007 WPA, 2 BB)
Walks both in the 1st and the 7th innings that led immediately to Masataka Yoshida ending the frame with no damage. That’s rough, buddy
Justin Garza (1.0 IP)
He threw a 1-2-3 7th, I guess? Nothing too flashy in a quick appearance.
James Paxton (-.290 WPA, 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 H, 2 HR, 3 BB, 5 K)
Certainly not the outing Paxton or the Red Sox were hoping for. I’ll certainly take this with a grain of salt knowing that this is only his third start back in the rotation after a couple of years of being on the shelf with injuries, but even still, it's not something you want to happen when you're in a skid.
Masataka Yoshida (-.068 WPA. 1-for-4, 1 run)
That ground out in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two down definitely hurts. They’re still down by 5 runs, but one swing of the bat makes it a lot closer of a game and certainly changes your approach in the last two innings you're at the plate.
Connor Wong (-.059 WPA, 1-for-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 runs scored)
His home run in the seventh innings started out as a too little too late kind of a move and ended in an almost rally, and he did score another garbage time run in the top of the ninth inning. A little surprising to see him here, but my guess is that the impact of garbage time runs on WPA doesn't exactly matter much.
Play of the Game
Without any question with a .215 WPA, it was Zach Neto’s home run in the bottom of the second off of James Paxton to make it 4-0, Halos.
Who was the Red Sox player of the game in their 7-3 loss to the Angels on May 24th?
This poll is closed
Other (answer in the comments)