Yoenis Cespedes takes stock of the Red Sox' seven-run yield in the fourth inning. (Getty Images)

Closing Time: Brandon Workman’s implosion extends Red Sox losing streak to 7 games

August 23, 2014 - 1:03 pm
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For the second night in a row, the Red Sox squandered a three-run lead to the Mariners at Fenway Park. However, this collapse came much earlier than the ninth inning. The culprit Saturday was Red Sox starter Brandon Workman, who was tagged for 10 hits and seven earned runs in a nightmare of a fourth inning that proved to be the difference maker in a 7-3 Mariners win. The Red Sox have now lost seven games in a row,€“ marking the second-longest losing streak for the club this year, behind only 10 straight contests from May 15 to May 25. Boston got off to a promising start Saturday afternoon against Seattle, scoring a run off of Mariners southpaw starter Chris Young in each of the first three innings to build up a 3-0 cushion for Workman. The lead would not last for long, however, as Workman gave up back-to-back singles to open the fourth before Mariners right fielder drove in Seattle'€™s first run with an RBI double to left field. After striking out Endy Chavez for the first out in the inning, Chris Taylor cut the deficit to one run after taking a 1-0 fastball into right field for an RBI single. Seattle would then tie the game in the next at-bat, as Workman would deliver a wild pitch that allowed Chris Denorfia to cross the plate to force a 3-3 game. The frame was far from over for Workman, who then allowed two more singles to give the Mariners a 4-3 lead before Dustin Ackley knocked the Sox righty out of the contest with a three-run home run into the right field bleachers to give Seattle a four-run lead. Workman, who was pulled from the game after just 3 1/3 innings of work, is now in the midst of a career-long 8-game losing streak that began on June 27 against the Yankees. Indeed, his eight losses in as many appearances represent the longest such streak by a Red Sox pitcher since Red Ruffing absorbed the loss in nine straight appearances in 1929. The damage was mostly done after the fourth, as neither team crossed the plate after Seattle's seven-run outburst. After compiling seven hits through the first four innings, Boston's lineup only managed to string together two hits over the final five frames. With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 56-73 on the season. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- Issues with fatigue once again seemed to creep up on Workman, who seemed to run out of gas in the fourth. Before his breakdown, Workman looked solid against Seattle, giving up no no runs off of three hits while walking one and fanning three in three innings of work. Workman, who has been roughed up for 14 earned runs in his last 15 2/3 innings of work (8.04 EA), previously had his start skipped in the rotation almost two weeks ago in order to give the 26-year-old more time to recoup between outings. It will be interesting to see if Red Sox manager John Farrell takes a similar approach once again after Workman's latest outing, or if the team considers moving him to the bullpen down the stretch. -- In what has been a recurring theme this season, the Red Sox failed to capitalize on a number of scoring opportunities Saturday. Boston had a chance to break the game open in the first inning, loading the bases with two outs and a run already in, but Will Middlebrooks popped up to Young to end the threat. Later in the game, Boston had a chance to quickly eat away at Seattle's four-run lead in the fourth, as Dustin Pedroia singled and both David Ortiz and Yoenis Cespedes walked to load the bases with two outs for Mike Napoli. Facing reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, Napoli was whiffed on a 97 mph fastball to end the inning. Over their seven-game skid, Boston is batting just .070 (4-for-57) with runners in scoring position. -- David Ortiz saw two offensive streaks come to a close Saturday afternoon, as the Sox designated hitter popped out to second base in the first, snapping his stretch of reaching base in nine consecutive plate appearances entering the game. Ortiz ultimately finished the game 0-for-2 with a walk, putting a close to his run of reaching base at least four times in four consecutive games. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- Yoenis Cespedes showcased his total array of tools Saturday, making plays at the plate, on the basepaths and on the field. The Red Sox left fielder drove in Brock Holt with a sacrifice fly in the first to put the Red Sox on the board, while later adding a double in the third. Cespedes showed off his wheels on the two-base hit, advancing to third on the play after a fielding error by Mariners center fielder Austin Jackson. Cespedes made his presence felt out in the outfield as well. With runners on first and second for the Mariners in the second inning, Jesus Sucre singled on a ground ball to left field. Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager attempted to score from second on the play, but was easily cut down by Cespedes, who fired a strike to catcher David Ross. It was Cespedes' 14th outfield assist of the year, most in the majors. -- Dustin Pedroia had a productive night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a ground-rule double in the first inning. Pedroia has successfully recorded a hit in 18 of his last 22 games, batting (32-for-94) during that stretch. -- Alex Wilson helped stopped the bleeding in relief of Workman, holding the Mariners to no runs and no hits over 3 2/3 innings while striking out the side in the sixth inning, Wilson has emerged as a reliable option out of the bullpen for Boston this season, posting a 1.26 ERA in seven appearances this season. The 27-year-old's impressive showing this season will certainly make him a prime candidate for a permanent spot in the bullpen next season.

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