If you’re like me, dear readers, the last thing you were in the mood for after last night was to watch this Red Sox team trot out onto the field. Last night saw the Red Sox commit two more throwing errors, including yet another by Kiké Hernandez, and just generally commit horrendous fielding atrocities throughout the night. That awful evening added two throwing errors to Boston’s total of thirty, and I’m sure you do not need me to tell you this, but that leads the league.
If that was the only issue, that would be frustrating enough. But, when the team faces Connor Seabold, a guy who, last season, had a double-digit ERA (10.55) pitching for us, and makes him look like a Cy Young contender, that’s not great, either. They wasted a bases loaded, no-out situation on Seabold early and never recovered. And don’t forget Connor Wong trying to stretch a single into a double when the Sox were down and coming about twenty feet short, a painful visual that left me thinking of when I accidentally hold down L1 playing The Show and the batter keeps running.
To make matters worse, Alex Cora continued his questionable bullpen management, leading to a Nick Pivetta melt down in the tenth. Cora wasn’t done; he picked Joe Jacques to make his MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT with the bases loaded in extra innings in considerable amounts of rain to face Nolan Jones, a guy who hit a walk-off shot into the stratosphere in his last game. By the way, this all happened directly before a two hour rain delay that would not have happened had Jones not robbed Devers of a ball Statcast had as a home run in the ninth inning.
Did I sum all that up? Okay, good. So, needless to say, baseball was not the first thing on my mind - or my list of things to do - today.
But, we must watch baseball, as Boston is facing a beatable Colorado team that sits in last place in their division with a 28-40 record. The Red Sox bats continued to go down quickly in the beginning of this game, as it took until Triston Casas’ appearance, sixth in the lineup (too high, in my opinion, but...) to get their first hit off of Chase Anderson, a guy who has gotten VERY lucky with his 32 innings this season, with a 2.25 ERA and a 4.96 FIP. Needless to say, the team did not make the most of this baserunner. We cannot say the same for Kutter Crawford’s luck with the Colorado lineup, as although he struck out four in the first three innings, he also walked two, and he allowed the bases to get loaded in the third and surrendered a bases-clearing double to Edwin Diaz to make the score 3-0.
By the way, can I just say... Jurickson Profar has been tearing up this pitching staff in this series, starting with his three hits last night, and contributing to this good third inning for the Rockies. It’s tough to get ahead when it’s tough to get the leadoff guy out, as this third inning showed. Not surprisingly, Boston answered by going 1-2-3 in all of about two and a half minutes in the third.
Things did not look good for Crawford in the fourth, either, as he floundered just as much against the bottom of Colorado’s lineup Randal Grichuk singled, then reached second on a passed ball. Crawford then threw eleven pitches to walk Harold Castro. Two pitches later, Brenton Doyle, the 9-hitter, scored Grichuk on a knock to left, as Jacques warmed up in the bullpen under a much lower-leverage situation during a second passed ball of the inning, albeit not without the frustration.
Before we could get to that bullpen performance, though, we did get a Rafael Devers redemption arc on a ball that went right past the body of Nolan Jones where it hit almost the bottom Pesky Pole to score him and Justin Turner and make the score 4-2 on a ball that had a hit probability of THREE percent. This home run was 311 feet, which is definitely the shortest home run I have ever witnessed. Triston Casas (who is finally over the Mendoza line, at .201!) had a long plate appearance of his own, walking after nine pitches, but Christian Arroyo struck out to end the inning. The Red Sox would get to Anderson in the fifth, loading the bases, and Turner reached base again to score what looked like two runs, but Verdugo would get tagged at the plate. 4-3 game... and it would stay that way.
Now, onto Jacques, who got out of a messy fifth scorelessly that started with a triple on a botched fielding play by Adam Duvall. He didn’t look too bad, especially not compared to his limited outing yesterday. The sixth inning saw him pounding the strike zone and forcing a double play on a ground ball, and then beat Brenton Doyle in a foot race to retire him. A-B-C, as easy as 1-2-3. Even in the fifth, which was rougher, he retired the side after some tough breaks put a runner on third. So, thumbs up, or at least tilted upward, Joe Jacques!
After Arroyo would tie the game bringing Duvall home in the sixth, Fenway would experience what the cool kids call a “Rare Kluber W” in the seventh and another Rockies runner stranded at third following a triple. In the bottom of the seventh, you don’t need me to tell you what the Red Sox did with the bases loaded, but in case you did: they yet again managed to miss that big hit, and once again wasted a tailor-made opportunity. They are hitting .148 with runners in scoring position in the last ten games, as announced by Lou Merloni, and it somehow feels worse than that.
The eighth inning saw a textbook reading by Jarren Duran on how to run the basepath, stealing second and third after pinch running for Triston Casas. Take a guess what happened here. Take two, and the first one won’t count. The Red Sox cannot bring a runner home, and it’s honestly disheartening doing this watching baseball thing knowing the Red Sox are going to do whatever they can to avoid bringing opportunities home.
Another pet peeve reared its ugly head, as Turner simply missed an easily field-able ball for another error with one out. And, one would guess as things go with this team, the Rockies would not squander this opportunity, but Chris Martin had other things to say about the ninth to send the Red Sox to the bottom of the ninth with the perfect chance to take a game they may not have deserved to win.
Daniel Bard arrived back in Fenway, and it dawned on me once again how well he’s doing this year. This is not 2013 “catching the yips” Daniel Bard. He has battled anxiety and adversity wonderfully to throw his way back into being the guy for high-leverage situations like this for the Colorado Rockies. It seemed too opportune, though, with the top of the lineup coming through in this game when momentum seemed on their side. But, as one would guess, the Red Sox went quietly in another prime opportunity, and this game headed to extras.
You know the drill. You don’t need me to tell you what happened to begin this extra inning, and it’s not because of the score in the headline. Randal Grichuk slaps a ball down the third base line to score both the Manfred runner and a Justin-Garza-walked Nolan Jones. Garza then hit Moustakas, and then.... remember, he still doesn’t have an out... allowed an outfield hit to Castro, struck Doyle out to finally get that first out, a sac fly to Profar, and finally got out of the inning on a shattered-bat grounder by Tovar. The Red Sox needed to score three runs in the bottom of the tenth.
Leading off the tenth, Rafael Devers hit his second home run of the night, this one much more decisive, and just like that, the score was 7-6. With one swing, Devers made it so all the Red Sox had to do was score one run, and they had the full inning to do it. Even better, Jarren Duran made the most of a bobbled Pierce Johnson pitch on a 1-2 to Reese McGuire, and stole second.
You don’t need me to tell you what happens next. The Red Sox wasted another opportunity, and McGuire struck out. The win probability during this inning never exceeded 25 percent, because even the numbers know: opportunities have been lost. Runners were wasted the whole game, the whole season, in scoring position, why would the numbers think it’d be any different here? Why are we as viewers fooling ourselves into watching this team, knowing it’s just going to be more of the same dire errors?
You’ve heard the platitude before: The definition of insanity is knowing the end result and continuing anyway. In that respect, this frustrating team and its frustrated fan base are guilty of insanity on a nightly basis.
So, what do you say? More baseball tomorrow?
Rafael Devers: 2-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
Chris Martin: 1 IP, 0 ER 2 K
Jarren Duran: 0-0, 1 BB, 3 SB
Masataka Yoshida: 0-4, 2 SO
Justin Garza: 1 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Reese McGuire: 0-5, 2 SO
Play of the Game
Two plays come to mind, and they’re both Devers home runs. Sadly, this team did little else to capitalize on these hits, which is why we this one goes down as a loss, and why it would be... well, insane to name anything else here.