On a night when the Red Sox learned they’ll be sending at least six players to the mid-summer classic, the team looked anything but star-studded, losing to the Texas Rangers, 7-2, Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
It’s tough to win when your offense routinely has to dig itself out of a hole. It’s even tougher when your All-Star closer consistently turns the hole into a canyon.
David Price got the start, and for stretches he actually pitched like David Price. But a rough first inning — including a leadoff home run from Shin-Soo Choo — put the Red Sox in an immediate 2-0 deficit.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) July 6, 2016
After the Sox crawled back to tie the game, Price allowed a run in the sixth inning on an RBI double from Rougned Odor. For the game, Price allowed three runs on eight hits over eight innings-pitched. He walked one and struckout ten.
Facing just a one-run deficit, John Farrell turned to his newly-minted All-Star closer, Craig Kimbrel, to hold the score in the ninth inning. But as has been the case too often from Kimbrel in non-save situations, he got smoked.
He allowed a leadoff walk to Elvis Andrus, back-to-back singles to Odor and Jurickson Profar, and a towering three-run home run to Robinson Chirinos. It was the first time in Kimbrel’s career he’s allowed at least four earned runs without recording an out.
Kimbrel hasn’t just been off his game in non-save situations, he’s been awful.
In save situations, the right-hander has a 1.45 ERA. But in non-save situations, he sports an unsightly 6.75 ERA.
Despite the inconsistent pitching from the Red Sox shiny new toys, the fact that Kimbrel wasn’t pitching in a save situation rests solely on the lineup’s shoulders.
The Red Sox stranded a man in scoring position in eight-of-nine innings. They left a total of 14 men-on-base, and stranded a man on third in four of the first five innings.
Rangers’ starter A.J. Griffin — he and his mid-60s curveball — frustrated the Boston bats throughout his exhausting four innings of work. He allowed seven hits and three walks, but really should’ve been tagged for far more.
A solo home run from All-Star Jackie Bradley Jr. and a bases-loaded walk to Xander Bogaerts accounted for all the Red Sox’ scoring. With the exception of Bogaerts, every member of the lineup had at least one hit.
Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit 14 home runs this season. He has pulled seven, and he has hit seven to center field or left-center field.
— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) July 6, 2016
With the loss, the Red Sox fell to 45-38, and slipped into third place in the AL East, three games back of Baltimore, and a half-game behind Toronto after both teams won Tuesday night.
Boston will look to earn the series victory Wednesday night when they send All-Star Steven Wright to the mound to square off against Rangers’ lefty Martin Perez.
All-Stars — The Red Sox will send at least six All-Stars to the All-Star game, including four starters. Among the starters are Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. For pitching, Boston will send Steven Wright (deservedly) and Craig Kimbrel (not deservedly). Dustin Pedroia has a chance to make it seven All-Stars if he can win the AL “Final Vote.”
9 of the 17 position players starting in the 2016 MLB All-Star Game were acquired by Theo Epstein (Red Sox/Cubs). pic.twitter.com/LRUWMrVp8n
— Golic and Wingo (@GolicAndWingo) July 6, 2016
Price — It looked ugly early. Price was lucky to allow just the two runs in the first, and looked like he was going to get roughed up for more in the second. But the high-priced letdown settled in and pitched quite well the rest of the way. At one point, he struckout eight batters over a span of thirteen outs. Regardless, Price’s 8-6 record and 4.64 ERA are extremely disappointing.
David Price gave up 17 home runs last season. He gave up 16 when he won the Cy Young in 2012. He's now given up 16 homers this season.
— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) July 5, 2016
Shaw — Despite a crucial mental lapse on the base paths, Shaw continued to swing a hot bat, finishing 2-for-4. He now sports a .275 batting average and a .801 OPS. He was certain to struggle at some point, which he did, so it’s great to see him turn things around and level-off.
Kimbrel — Brutal. Kimbrel has been terrible when his team has been losing or the game’s been tied. And frankly, a majority of his save chances have come with at least a two-run lead, and he often has allowed plenty of baserunners in those situations as well. The jaw-dropping velocity and overall impressive numbers earned him a spot in the All-Star game, but it’s hard to believe that he deserves it.
In 14 non-save situations, Craig Kimbrel has allowed 10 runs on 12 hits and 10 walks for a 6.75 ERA.
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) July 6, 2016
Offense — Price and Kimbrel certainly had their hand in this one, but the offense deserves most of the blame. The Red Sox had men on the bases all night, but could never really cash in. For his part, David Ortiz went 1-for-5 while stranding five men on-base. Every member of the lineup, with the exception of Sandy Leon, stranded at least two runners.
KEEP AN EYE ON
The Red Sox appear to have some bullpen help — if you can call it that — on the way. Joe Kelly (still rehabbing) will begin his transition to the bullpen on Wednesday when he makes a rehab start with the Lowell Spinners. Kelly has been dealing with a groin injury since his demotion to Pawtucket, but the team feels he could be ready shortly after the All-Star break.
Kevin Boles on Joe Kelly, reliever: "In those shorter stints, his stuff, I really think it's got a chance to play up a lot."
— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) July 3, 2016
Kelly has been a reliever before. In 30 relief appearances with the Cardinals, he went 2-3 with a 3.23 ERA. He had 49 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.