It’s kind of hard to pinpoint why exactly the Red Sox lost Friday night’s game against the Royals. Was it Steven Wright’s atrocious first inning? Maybe. Was it the fact that they left 12 runners on base? Could be. Throughout the entire game you just kind of sat there waiting for them to do something to finally get back into it and that moment just never came. Let’s just start off by talking about the first inning. In the top half, Steven Wright was nothing like the All Star we’ve seen all year.
Wright gave up two home runs that amounted to 5 runs for the Royals before their starter Ian Kennedy even threw a pitch. In the Red Sox half of first, they managed to get one run back and load the bases with 1 out and Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley Jr. coming to the plate. As the Red Sox have done all season, they realized that the bases were loaded and laid an egg. Sandy and JBJ each struck out (Sandy looking Jackie swinging) and it has become official that the Red Sox are much worse off with the bases loaded than just having 1 or 2 runners on. Friday night it did not seem to make a difference. Regardless of how many runners were on base, the Sox couldn’t seem to drive ‘em in.
Steven Wright overcame a horrid first inning to help turn a terrible start into a bad start. Obviously 5 earned runs in 6 innings isn’t what you’re looking for. However, when you consider the fact that he did not allow a run after the first inning, you can appreciate that the score was not much uglier. Wright's final line was 6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. It was nice to see him be able to get his knuckleball over the plate after a rough first inning in which he struggled to get a feel for the pitch. If he can pitch like he did in those final 5 innings for the remainder of the season, Wright is going to be just as valuable to this team as he’s been all season.
It is inexplicable that the Red Sox can have the highest run producing offense in baseball and still struggle to hit with runners in scoring position. On Friday night, the Sox managed to leave 12 runners on base while going just 4 for 15 with runners in scoring position. The fact that they piled up 15 hits compared to KC’s 9 and still got smacked says something. Among all of the unintelligent things I’ve had to listen to Steve Lyons say on NESN this season, there was something that made a lot of sense. He said that if one of the teams can manage 10 hits in a game, they should win. This is of course assuming that some of these hits are extra base hits and/or drive in runs. It turns out that 13 of Boston’s 15 hits were singles. They can hit as many singles as they want, but if they can’t manage to string them together, they are not going to score enough runs to win games against legitimate teams.
With a Toronto win, the Sox have fallen 1 game back in the AL East. It is most likely going to come down to the wire in a race between Boston and Toronto. Baltimore does not have the pitching to keep pace so it is most likely that they will finish in the second Wild Card spot at best. David Price is set for another big start on Saturday. He has the opportunity to stop a 3 game skid and continue to win back the trust of the fans in the process. Not to mention, Price has the chance to lower his ERA below 4 for the first time since his first start of the season. If David wants the ball in a Game 1 or potential Wild Card game, these are the type of games that he needs to show up to. Now we’re going to get the chance to see if Price is really coming around or if he’s still the disappointment that he was in every big start in the first half.