An uninspiring effort from the bullpen, a so-so start from Steven Wright and a meatball from Craig Breslow conspired to make this a boring, discouraging game. I hope you did something else with your Sunday afternoon.
Top Play (WPA): Unsurprisingly, all three top plays belong to the Mariners. First on the list is Logan Morrison’s single in the second inning (.108) off Steven Wright. That play set up Mike Zunino with an RBI single (.096) a few batters later. Finally, Brad Miller’s homer (.073) in the fifth inning felt like a grand slam given the way the Sox have hit as of late.
Don’t be too hard on Wright here. The knuckleballer went five innings and gave up two earned runs (though his unearned run was due to a knuckleball), and you can’t ask for much more from your sixth starter. Except Wright is Boston’s fifth starter now, and there’s very little upside in his right arm. Unless Rick Porcello and Clay Buchholz pitch like they’ve pitched lately for the rest of the year, the Red Sox need an arm who can shut good opposing teams down. Wright probably isn’t that guy.
Bottom Play (WPA): In the top of the fifth with one out and Brock Holt on at first, Blake Swihart hit into a double play (-.057). That this was statistically the best shot the Sox had at shifting the game in their favor should tell you all you need to know about the offense’s lackluster performance.
Next up on the list is Dustin Ackley’s bases-loaded strikeout in the bottom of the second (-.056), followed closely by a Dustin Pedroia fielder’s choice in the third and a Swihart groundout in the seventh. Feel the excitement.
Key Moment: It’s tough to pick one in such a mediocre effort, but I’ll go with Swihart’s groundout in the second. After a single by Xander Bogaerts and a double by Holt, the Sox could’ve made this a close game with a well-placed single from the young catcher. Instead, the Sox were caput when Swihart rolled over softy to Robinson Cano. Mookie Betts’ foul ball that missed being a homer by less than a foot is significant as well, yet it still would’ve only brought the Red Sox to within three.
Trend to Watch: The Red Sox are now scoring just 3.97 runs per game, down at 20th in the league. They’re not getting any production from first base, right field or catcher, and David Ortiz is having a down year. Add in that Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are more “ok” than “good” right now, and it’s easy to be discouraged.
Coming Next: The Red Sox play host to the Texas Rangers starting on Tuesday, and one would hope this is a series that can get the team back on track. First up, Wade Miley will take on Yovani Gallardo, and we’ll see if his devil magic from his last start holds up. After a three-game stint against Texas, the Sox will face more of a challenge against the Angles.
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