Boston Red Sox lose 3 – 0 lead and eventually the game 7 – 4 to Cubs with poor fielding, poor hitting, and a lack of consistency
The Red Sox haven’t looked like a team that’s been on point. Losing 3 – 1 and 3 – 0 to the division rival Yankees didn’t bode well for the squad. The Sox needed to get something going and it looked like it was trending that way after putting up five runs against the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta in the bottom of the first inning. The Sox went on to edge their opponents 5 – 4 for the victory. It wasn’t pretty. The Sox didn’t manage any extra base hits after the 1st. What’s going on is a lot more complicated than the teams lack of hitting.
People were definitely excited to see a five spot go up in the bottom of the 1st inning but after that, it’s like the Cubs put out the fire and that was that. Maybe that’s Arrieta finding his stride at Fenway or maybe it’s the Sox slipping back into mediocrity. The Sox started off with the hot bats again with Andrew Benintendi going yard in back to back games but even that wasn’t enough to keep it going. Steven Wright was still on the mound and that has been a difficult situation to manage all season long.
Wright has been wrong all year. His knuckle ball is ineffective and it stays up in the zone touching borderline meatball pitch status. It’s just a matter of when not if he gets sent down to Pawtucket. Nothing seems to be working. What went wrong in the first game? The Sox bats just went flat. I’m not going to blame Drew Pomeranz for his performance, he gave six good innings and struck out seven batters while also just allowing two earned. He did his job, the rest of the team needs to do theirs. How about game 2?
Game 2 was anything but pretty after the 5th inning. Yes Wright was able to go past the 3rd inning but, he’s got to get used to working longer into games again. Anything after the 5th inning as far as I was concerned should have been considered a bonus. He was able to go 6 innings and already at the 90+ mark for pitches. Pom got pulled after that, why didn’t Farrell pull Wright out at the same mark? Since he’s facing the World Series Champion Cubs, wouldn’t it make sense to stay consistent? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Anthony Rizzo got all of his offering in the 4th inning cutting the lead down from three to one when he made a one run ballgame. That was just the tip of the iceberg as the 7th inning was a nightmare. Wright needs to figure out what to do differently so that the long ball doesn’t become routine. He’s allowed nine home runs in five starts, six of which have come against the Orioles. He’s averaging less than 5 innings per start, that’s simply unacceptable. With an 8.25 ERA you’re not going to last long in the majors.
The 7th inning disaster displayed just what the Red Sox have recently become, a complete mess. Throwing errors on the same play made it look like the Sox were throwing the ball around haphazardly. It looked like an ugly game of hot potato. With Matt Barnes finishing up his 4 game suspension and Joe Kelly unavailable, John Farrell seemed nervous about bringing in his relievers to start the 7th inning. What he continues to forget is, that he has Craig Kimbrel, the best closer in the American League.
While releasing the Kimbrel for one inning is the norm, he can go longer if asked. Farrell blew the 7th inning. It’s now apparent that he’s doesn’t trust his bullpen 100%. Sunday night he’ll have everyone available for the first time since the Barnes suspension. While most want to blame Wright for his poor performance on Saturday night, this loss falls on Farrell. He should have pulled him after the 6 innings and 90+ pitches mark. Wright had done his job up until that point.
You only need 2 innings of relief before Kimbrel comes in and does his thing. He could go longer if needed as he had no problem going 2 innings on April 20th striking out five of the six batters he faced. Why is Farrell trying to push Wright? Wright hasn’t performed well after the 6 inning mark this season. You’re facing the Cubs, it’s not smart to take chances against a team as talented as them. They made him pay for it on the very first pitch to start the 7th inning.
The very first pitch to begin the 7th got sent over the right center field wall to tie the game up at four a piece. Since Farrell blew it twice now, you’d think he’d pull him now right? Nope, he proceeded to get an out and then give up a big double to left field by Jon Jay. John Farrell! What in heavens name are you doing?!? He missed the boat the second time around this inning! Wright should have been lifted after the home run, no questions asked. What is going on in the dug out that you missed this again!
The bottom line is that Farrell blew it. TWICE. More and more fans are beginning to think that Farrell is slowly losing or after yesterday, has lost his grasp as manager. The leash is almost out of room. If performance continues to dwindle and the Sox continue to lose games because of a failure to hit and field the ball properly, changes will get made. The Sox need to spend some more time in the cages and more time on the field working on throws. Mitch Moreland for example had 2 errors all in 139 games played last season. He’s committed 3 so far in 23 games this season.
Photo Credit – Christopher Evans