Wednesday night turned into a night that was beyond demoralizing for Red Sox. The Red Sox took a 4-1 lead into the 7th inning after a decent outing from Drew Pomeranz (5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 K’s) and another scoreless bullpen appearance for Clay Buchholz. After Boston handed the ball off to the bullpen in the 7th, a mediocre at best Yankees offense managed 8 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in just 3 innings. By the time this game was over, the Yankees had officially embarrassed the Sox and handed them a 9-4 loss at home. On top of the ugly loss, Boston took a huge hit to the middle of the batting order with Mookie Betts and David Ortiz each leaving the game with injuries. On the bright side, Mookie’s was just right calf tightness and he was removed for precautionary reasons, and the initial David Ortiz X-Rays have come back negative after fouling a pitch off of his shin. Nonetheless, you don’t want to be pushing a 40 year old man’s body to the limits. Wednesday night proved to be another tough night to be a Red Sox fan.
The fact that Clay Buchholz was your best reliever in this game is just sad. Matt Barnes has been the most underrated Red Sox player this year, so I’m willing to give him a pass for tonight’s awful appearance in which he gave up 3 ER on 3 hits in just a third of an inning. I would continue to put him into high leverage situations without hesitation. On the other hand, Fernando Abad has quickly taken over Clay Buchholz’s role as the most hated man in Boston. In just 4 outings since he was acquired from Minnesota, Abad has blown 2 saves while also being handed 2 losses. Do you think the Yankees will let us have Tommy Layne back? He’s about the same as far as results and at least the Sox were smart enough to only pitch him in low leverage situations. When Tommy Layne came in and shat the bed, I could live with that because I knew that was all he was capable of. Fernando Abad is supposed to be a legitimate bullpen threat from the left side, but for some reason he has decided to become the second coming of Eric Gagne.
As far as Junichi Tazawa goes, he and Koji need to find the first one way plane ticket back to Japan and buy it. Like Koji, Tazawa is just too worn down to be effective anymore. Coming into Wednesday, Tazawa had made 173 appearances over the last 3 seasons. Yes, his excessive workload is 100% to the fault of John Farrell. However, the Red Sox need to realize that him being shut down last year due to shoulder fatigue and his recent DL stint for a shoulder impingement are signs that his body just isn’t holding up. Taz has been a mainstay in this Sox bullpen for years, but when he’s allowing his most home runs and walks per 9 innings since 2011 you have to make the best decision to help the team win now. That decision would be to either shut Tazawa down and stash him on DL until they can figure something out, or just DFA him and move on. Brad Ziegler and Robbie Ross Jr. have shown that they are exactly who we think they are. Ross is a power lefty who can give you an inning or two and occasionally get you out of a jam. He’ll have a bad outing here and there, but he’ll put a zero up on the board more often than not. Ziegler has proven to be as close to a safe bet as Red Sox have in their bullpen. He’s shown us against Detroit and Los Angeles that nobody's perfect, but he’s the only pitcher I feel safe with on the mound these days. I generally feel this way about Matt Barnes but he has to earn that back in his next outing.
Injuries have continued to be a problem for the Sox this season. Mookie Betts and David Ortiz are the latest members of the team to go down suffering injuries that took them out of Wednesday’s game. I’m much less concerned about Betts considering he was removed for precautionary reasons and his youthful 23 year old body is capable of bouncing back quickly. In the case of Ortiz, the initial X-Ray results have come back negative and David is seen as day to day according to President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. This is huge for the Red Sox and their fans because the last time we saw a player being helped off the field like that, it was Blake Swihart in June. We haven’t seen Swihart since, and we now know that we won’t see him again until next season. The problem for Ortiz is that there is no next season. When I saw the pain he was expressing followed by him being carried into the dugout, I was convinced that was the last time I’d ever see Big Papi with the bat in his hands. Luckily, he should be okay and Red Sox fans should be beyond grateful for that.
This was an all around awful night to be a Red Sox fan. On nights like these, you just have to sit back, relax, and remember Patriots season starts in a month. This season is not over by any means as the Sox are still half a game up in the Wild Card standings, and the fans should be excited to see their first intense playoff race since that heartbreaking 2011 season. (In the 2013 the Sox didn’t give up first place after July 31st so that doesn’t count as intense.) Steven Wright has been scratched from his start Thursday so we’ll see Eduardo Rodriguez take on the Yankees. Rodriguez has proven to be a serviceable starter since returning from Pawtucket and we’ll see what E-Rod can do in A-Rod’s final game at Fenway.