Wandy Rodriguez

Closing Time: Punchless Red Sox once again stymied in loss to Rangers

John Tomase
May 21, 2015 - 6:01 pm

If you're left-handed, grab a glove -- you might be able to shut out the Red Sox. In what easily goes down as the most mystifying facet of a mystifying season, the Red Sox once again on Thursday night illustrated how hopelessly overmatched they are against southpaws of any shape or size. This time it was Wandy Rodriguez's turn. The Rangers lefty began the game 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA, but the Red Sox made him look like Lefty Grove. Rodriguez limited the Sox to four hits and a run in 6 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out five in a 3-1 victory. The Red Sox entered the matchup batting just .199 against lefties, and that number dropped after Rodriguez finished with them. He particularly baffled them with a curveball that he used as a two-strike hammer. The Red Sox also once again showed an inability to take advantage of what few opportunities they created. They put runners at second and third leading off the fourth and scored just once on a David Ortiz groundout, squandering another run when Hanley Ramirez swung for the fences and instead dribbled one in front of home plate, allowing Rodriguez to erase Dustin Pedroia at the plate. An inning later, they had a chance for runners on the corners with one out, but Xander Bogaerts was clipped in the cleat by a hit-and-run Daniel Nava single and called out for interference. That was about it for the Red Sox, who wasted a gutty start by right-hander Clay Buchholz, who lacked fastball command for most of the night, but nonetheless navigated his way into the eighth inning while allowing just two earned runs. Buchholz made just one real mistake, an 0-1 cutter that Mitch Moreland ripped into the left field seats for a solo homer in the fourth. Otherwise, the Rangers did very little after scratching out two runs in the first. Two runs was about all they'd need, though, against an anemic Red Sox offense that isn't just struggling against lefties, it's struggling against everyone. SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Rangers left-hander Wandy Rodriguez toyed with the Red Sox for most of the night, limiting them to four hits and a run in 6 2/3 innings. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- After a rough first that included an unearned run, Buchholz settled down and maneuvered his way through 7 1/3 innings. He struck out four and lowered his ERA to 4.58. -- Bogaerts was about it offensively, stroking a pair of singles and drawing a walk. -- Dustin Pedroia didn't do anything offensively, but he made a trio of nice plays in the field, diving to smother the final out of the second, turning a strong double play while getting upended in the seventh, and gloving a Prince Fielder smash to end the eighth with runners on the corners. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- Buchholz allowed two runs in the first and the Red Sox eventually dropped to 7-19 when the opponent scores first. -- Slumping Daniel Nava managed one hit, though Bogaerts was erased on interference. Otherwise, he struck out with a runner on in the second and with two on in the seventh, dropping his average to .172. -- First baseman Mike Napoli went 0-for-4 and struck out three times. -- Left fielder Hanley Ramirez swung for the fences with runners on second and third and one out in the fourth, dribbling weakly to the mound and getting Pedroia cut down at the plate.