By: Jake Perda
Following Tuesday nights game in which the Red Sox throttled the Kansas CIty Royals for 8 runs while claiming sole possession of first place in the division, it looked as though they were going to claim their second consecutive victory and end the road trip on a high note.
Thanks to a strong outing from Drew Pomeranz, back to to home runs from Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts, and some smaller contributions from the rest of the lineup, the Red Sox were able to take a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the 8th inning. As opposed to sticking with Joe Kelly, who had thrown just 13 pitches the inning before, John Farrell opted to send Matt Barnes out to start the frame. This is when it all went downhill. After 3 straight walks (2 issued by Matt Barnes and 1 issued by Robby Scott), Robby Scott was left in the game to face Salvador Perez with the bases loaded. This decision proved to be very costly when Perez drove a high fastball deep over the left field wall, giving the Royals a 6-4 lead.
There are a lot of people blaming John Farrell for this loss, but I don’t necessarily agree with them. For better or for worse, Matt Barnes is going to be one of the guys that will have to be heavily relied upon by this bullpen. Therefore, it’s not Farrell’s fault when Barnes fails to do what he is paid to do.
On a more positive note, Drew Pomeranz had one of his best outings of the season. Pomeranz was able to limit Kansas City to 2 runs while working into the 7th inning. This makes it back to back starts in which he has accomplished both of these feats, so maybe Drew can start to go on a bit of a roll. He acknowledged after the game that he has been working on trying to keep his pitch count down, and as a result, he has been able to deeper into his last two outings while using fewer pitches to do so. It’s already cemented in most Red Sox fans minds that Pomeranz sucks, but I’ve always believed that he can be something more than what he’s shown us to this point. Maybe this is where he starts putting it together.
The Sox bullpen had been over-performing to the point where a bad game was nearly inevitable. Hopefully they will be able brush it off and continue to carry this team as they fight to reclaim first place in the AL East. Following an off-day on Thursday, the Sox will face off against the Los Angeles Angels for 3 games at Fenway while the Yankees take on the Rangers. Regardless of the outcome, Friday night will finally put an end to all the David Ortiz pregame ceremonies. That’s already a huge moral victory. Now it’s up to the Sox to get the job done and show the fans that they can still win games without #34 in the lineup.