John Farrell

John Farrell

Within the Red Sox’ 9-8 loss to the Tigers Tuesday night at Fenway Park were a few decisions made by manager John Farrell with the pitching staff worth debating.

The first was with Steven Wright in the fifth inning.

Wright clearly didn’t have his best stuff as he had allowed four runs going into the inning. After the Red Sox had given him a 5-4 lead, the knuckleballer walked the first two batters of the inning, which were followed by two straight singles. An RBI ground out made it a 6-4 game with runners on second and third with one out.

Wright was able to get the next batter to pop out, but then with left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. seemingly ready in the bullpen, Farrell stuck with Wright who allowed a two-out, two-run single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to give the Tigers a 8-4 lead.

With two relievers unavailable, it seemed Farrell wanted to do anything in his power to get Wright through the fifth inning.

“On a night when [Clay] Buchholz is unavailable, [Matt] Barnes is unavailable, trying to get him as deep as possible to get us in those middle innings and possibility beyond,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately, can’t get through the fifth.”

Buchholz has pitched four times in the last six days, but Barnes being unavailable is puzzling considering he worked 1/3 of an inning Sunday after throwing three innings last Wednesday.

Then in the seventh inning, Ross Jr. was still in the game with the game tied at eight. It was his second full inning of work and after retiring the first two batters of the inning, things started to fall apart.

Ross Jr. hit a batter, allowed a single and then walked two, including the second with the bases loaded to allow the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run to score. Right-hander Joe Kelly was warming and entered following the walks to Saltalamacchia and No. 9 batter, lefty Tyler Collins. Kelly retired Ian Kinlser on one pitch to get out of the inning without further damage.

Farrell defended sticking with Ross Jr. against Saltalamacchia and Collins.

“Well, Joe is in the game against right-handers,” he said. “Felt like with Saltalamacchia, wanted to keep him on the right side of the plate and with a left-hander coming behind him. Robbie has been 40-plus pitches before. He was the one guy who had the most rest down there and needed to stay with him.”

Ross Jr. finished the game logging two innings, allowing the one run, while throwing an even 40 pitches.

The Red Sox’ last five losses have been one or two-run games and they are now 21-22 on the season in those games overall.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Robbie Ross Jr.

Robbie Ross Jr.

Robbie Ross Jr. thought he had things under control.

With the scored tied heading into the seventh inning, the Red Sox reliever started the frame by getting Victor Martinez to strikeout and then Nick Castellanos on a ground out. But then came a pitch that hit Justin Upton, Mike Aviles’ single and a walk to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

That brought up Tyler Collins with the bases loaded.

In nine at-bats against left-handers this season, Collins had reached base just one time. Ross, conversely, was holding lefty hitters to a .156 batting average, the best mark in the American League.

It didn’t work out as planned.

On a 3-2 pitch, Ross chose to use a slider, but missed badly. The walk forced in what would ultimately be the winning run in the Tigers’ 9-8 win over the Red Sox.

After the loss, Ross explained his thought process:

“I felt great. I just couldn’t command the zone right at the end. I was battling to find the strike zone. I felt good. It was surprising, actually. It was the feeling of, ‘OK, I’m right here. This is a make or break kind of thing. Let’s try and get out of it.’ Then it was like, ball here, ball here, ball here. And I felt myself every now and then pulling off the ball instead of staying through it.

“I felt it was the one pitch I was staying through and I was staying down through the ball. I felt myself drop under it instead of staying through it. It was just laziness right there at the last second. It’s frustrating because I was throwing my slider good so I was like, ‘Dude, if I can just spot this up he might be swinging. Hopefully he’s geared up for a fastball, or he rolls over to [Dustin Pedroia] Pedey or to [Hanley Ramirez] Hanley or he’s out in front of it and hits a pop fly.’ I just didn’t feel my fastball right there. My fastball is one of my best pitches right now, but I just felt myself coming off the ball so I thought if I come off a slider it might still stay in the zone. But it came way off.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Even though the Red Sox offense showed plenty of fight coming back from four and three-run deficits in the game, it still wasn’t enough to beat the Tigers.

Detroit scored a run in the seventh inning off left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. to break a 8-8 tie and it was able to hold on for a 9-8 win over the Red Sox Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

Steven Wright didn't have it Tuesday as he allowed eight runs in taking a no-decision. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright didn’t have it Tuesday as he allowed eight runs in taking a no-decision. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Even though the Red Sox offense showed plenty of fight coming back from four and three-run deficits in the game, it still wasn’t enough to beat the Tigers.

Detroit scored a run in the seventh inning off left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. to break a 8-8 tie and it was able to hold on for a 9-8 win over the Red Sox Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

Ross was able to record the first two outs of the seventh inning with no issues, but allowed a hit-by-pitch, a single and back-to-back walks to walk in the eventual game-winning run.

The Red Sox had the tying run on the ninth, but Ortiz hit into a game-ending double play.

The seventh inning wasted a valiant comeback effort by the Red Sox, which included two home runs. They now have 31 since July 4, which leads the majors in that span.

Trailing 8-5 going into the sixth, the Red Sox scored three times in the inning to tie the game at eight. Jackie Bradley Jr. got the scoring going with a solo homer to lead the inning off, then later Dustin Pedroia had an RBI single and Xander Bogaerts beat out a potential double-play ball to plate the tying run.

It was the worst start of the year for knuckleballer Steven Wright, but because of the Red Sox offense took a no-decision. He allowed eight runs on nine hits in just 4 2/3 innings of work, while walking three and striking out two. His eight earned runs were a career-high.

The most frustrating thing for Wright was the Red Sox had rallied to take a 5-4 lead after the fourth inning, but Wright walked two batters to open the fifth and would go on to allow four runs in the frame.

Trailing 4-0 after two innings, the Red Sox rallied with three in the third courtesy of David Ortiz’s 25th home run of the season and then scored two more in the fourth to grab a 5-4 lead at the time.

Closing Time note

Ross Jr. has stranded his last 10 inherited runners.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Wright just didn’t have it. The knuckleballer saw his ERA climb from a league-leading 2.67 to 3.12. He may have been kept in a batter too late too, as Ross Jr. was warming when he allowed a two-out, two-run single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. His ERA over his last six starts is 6.29.

— Ross was looking good after retiring the first two batters of the seventh, but couldn’t get out of the inning. After allowing the go-ahead run to score he was replaced by Joe Kelly, who needed just one pitch to get out of the inning.

— The reigning American League Player of the Week Hanley Ramirez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— After returning from his knee injury going 0-for-6 in his first six at-bats, Mookie Betts has seemed to get back into the flow of things. He reached base in each of his next three at-bats, including two doubles and a walk before lining out in the eighth.

— With his homer, Ortiz became the ninth player in MLB history with at least 25 home runs at age 40 or older. He also has 61 extra-base hits, which are one shy of the record for a player who is at least 40 years old.

— Bradley Jr. reached base three times as besides the home run he singled and walked.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Chris Sale talk figures to last all the way through Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. But that certainly doesn’t mean all the smoke will ultimately lead to any kind of fire.

Chris Sale

Chris Sale

The Chris Sale talk figures to last all the way through Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. But that certainly doesn’t mean all the smoke will ultimately lead to any kind of fire.

According to multiple major league executives who have been in communication with the White Sox, the chances of Chicago dealing Sale remain ‘highly unlikely,’ unless White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is ‘absolutely blown away’ by an offer for the 27-year-old lefty.

This, of course, doesn’t mean Sale absolutely doesn’t get traded before Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline, with one executive with an interested team saying they think ‘there’s a chance’ a blockbuster deal gets done.

Late last week sources told WEEI.com following Sale’s meltdown Saturday, in which he cut up his team’s throwback uniform in protest of having to wear them during his start, the White Sox were still not inclined to trade the ace or his rotation-mate, Jose Quintana.

One of the more interesting names surfaced in rumors involving Sale is pitcher Julio Urias, who the New York Post reported the Dodgers would be willing to include in a deal for the White Sox pitcher. The 19-year-old is considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, and has a 4.69 ERA over his nine starts, having struck out 48 in 40 1/3 innings.

Sale is under team control through 2019, while scheduled to not make more than $13.5 million in any season. The final two years of his deal are team options.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

A pectoral strain is extremely rare for a baseball player to suffer, which is why it’s hard to have an idea of what Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara is going through and what a realistic timetable for his return might be.

Although it was two years ago, Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez suffered the same injury when he was attempting a pick-off attempt at first base.

Koji Uehara is on the 15-day disabled list with a right pectoral strain (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Koji Uehara is on the 15-day disabled list with a right pectoral strain (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

A pectoral strain is extremely rare for a baseball player to suffer, which is why it’s hard to have an idea of what Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara is going through and what a realistic timetable for his return might be.

Although it was two years ago, Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez suffered the same injury when he was attempting a pick-off attempt at first base.

“It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez suffered the injury on Aug. 8 and didn’t return until Sept. 26, but not as a starter.

Coming back from the injury he was switched to the bullpen where he made one regular-season appearance and one postseason appearance against the Orioles in the ALDS as he was never back to 100 percent.

“That injury is the most weird injury that could happen to a baseball player, but that happens sometimes,” he said.

The Tigers starter noted the rehab process took about a month and a half and it was mostly rest. He couldn’t lift any weights or do any throwing. Sanchez received a PRP injection like Uehara and also noted he was nervous returning from the injury as he didn’t want the muscle to tighten on him again.

“I was nervous,” Sanchez said. “You feel weird because you feel everything in the shoulder. Sometimes I felt something, but I think it’s more mental.”

Uehara suffered the injury after throwing seven pitches against the Giants on July 19. Going off of Sanchez’s timeline, Uehara would return to the Red Sox the first week of September, but it’s important to note Sanchez was 30 years old at the time. Uehara is 41 years old, which likely means his recovery time could be a little longer. Also, Sanchez didn’t go back to his normal role either.

Bottom line, don’t expect Uehara back to the Red Sox until at least early September at minimum, but also it’s no guarantee he returns at all.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Jackie Bradley Jr. got his revenge.

Back in May when Bradley Jr. appeared on MLB Network after winning the American League Player of the Week, Hanley Ramirez appeared in the background distracting Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr. got his revenge.

Back in May when Bradley Jr. appeared on MLB Network after winning the American League Player of the Week, Hanley Ramirez appeared in the background distracting Bradley Jr.

Tuesday, Bradley Jr. got his revenge by doing the same when Ramirez was on MLB Network after winning the most recent AL Player of the Week.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable