With Thursday’s 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays the Red Sox now sit a half game behind the Rays in the AL East. Despite six and two-thirds no hit innings from Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta, the Red Sox were unable to get the win and ended up losing the series 2-1. Throughout the course of this crucial AL East series, the Red Sox showed that they still have a lot to clean up.
Base running for the Red Sox has not been great this season, and this was on display again this series. Key base running errors late in games proved to be costly for the Boston Red Sox. Most notably in the seventh inning of Thursday night’s game with Hunter Renfroe being thrown out at the plate.
With just one out in the inning and Renfroe on second, Christian Vazquez hit the ball over the head of Rays shortstop Wander Franco. The ball rolled into left-center field where it was picked up by Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. Renfroe had a bad jump on the ball rounding second and was thrown out at the plate by Kiermaier. Had Renfroe held at third, the Red Sox would’ve had runners on first and second with just one out. Instead there were two outs, and Vazquez ended up getting picked off at second base.
The Red Sox were thrown at home twice this series, Hunter Renfroe once, and Bobby Dalbec once. They were also caught trying to steal three times in this series. The Red Sox base running hurt their offense’s ability to score and they paid for it, especially on Thursday.
The lack of production from the first base position continues to be a problem for the Boston Red Sox.
Tuesday- Bobby Dalbec 0-5 with a fly out and four strikeouts. He was also thrown out at home due to a bad base running decision.
Wednesday- Bobby Dalbec was 0-3 with three strikeouts and a walk.
Thursday- Bobby Dalbec was 0-2 with two strikeouts, before he was replaced by Marwin Gonzalez. Michael Chavis was then moved to first base and he finished 0-3 with two strikeouts and a ground out.
In total, that is 11 strikeouts in three games for Red Sox first baseman. The Red Sox continue to get little to no production from their first basemen, which was on full display this series. This may be something Chaim Bloom needs to address before the July 30th trade deadline.
Much like the first base position, the leadoff spot has also been a lingering problem for the Boston Red Sox.
Tuesday- Danny Santana 1-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
Wednesday- Danny Santana 0-5 with three strikeouts.
Thursday- Michael Chavis 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts
It was interesting to see Alex Cora having Danny Santana bat lead off with Kike Hernandez healthy. Santana has just .123 batting average and Kike has seen a lot from the lead off position this season. When Christian Arroyo is off the 10 Day DL, Chavis will likely be sent down and the lead off position will be between Arroyo and Hernandez. Regardless of who has been leading off for the Sox, it has not been good, and this series was another harsh reminder.
Garrett Richards seems to be the only pitcher on the Red Sox staff affected by the MLB’s crackdown on sticky substances. Richards’ spin rate has been way down since the crackdown and he was unable to get out out of the second inning on Wednesday night. Richards threw just an inning and two-thirds finishing with four earned runs, three hits allowed, and four walked batters. He also threw 54 pitches, and of those 54 pitches, only 28 of them were strikes.
This was Richards’ second start since the MLB announced they would be cracking down on pitchers using foreign substances, with his last start coming June 16th against the Braves. In that start, Richards threw just four innings allowing seven hits, four earned runs, and walking one batter.