Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes

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Red Sox players-only meeting not enough to get pitching on track

Nick Friar
August 03, 2019 - 11:28 pm
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After only pushing across two runs in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox offense looked better in Game 2. Not as good as it can be, but more like its normal self.

Still wasn’t enough. Neither was the players-only meeting the team had between games.

"When things get bumpy, you’ve got to address it,” Sale said following his rough outing. "We care about each other in here. Obviously, we’re not playing the way we want, but we take a lot of pride and we respect each other and we love each other. We grind together, we win together, we lose together. And when something comes up and someone has something to say, we have enough respect and love for each other to get together as a group and go over some things. That’s just how it goes."

Shockingly, pitching remained the problem in Boston’s 6-4 loss to the Yankees.

Brian Johnson made his return to the mound and had one rough inning, giving up three in the third. Now, considering he’s just coming off the injured list, wasn’t stretched out while rehabbing and the team hasn’t been pitching well — and considering the lineup Johnson was facing — his outing was OK. That may seem generous, but he gave the Red Sox offense somewhat of a chance. Most other members of this staff have struggled to do the same.

However, Johnson’s rough third inning came right after the Red Sox scored two in the top half of the inning. Shutdown innings continue to be a problem for Boston. And that can wear on hitters — assuming it hasn’t already started to take a toll.

Though, Marcus Walden did toss a scoreless fourth right after the Red Sox took a 4-3 advantage. But that lead didn’t last long either. Josh Taylor served up a moonshot to Gleyber Torres in the fifth, which clocked in at 103.7 MPH. It was his second home run of the game and his second-hardest hit ball of the night. (His first home run was 105.7 off the bat.)

Matt Barnes walked three hitters in the seventh inning. Generally, that’ll lead to some runs — this time was no exception.

"I had guys in kill-counts and just wasn't able to put them away," Barnes told reporters.

For some reason, Colten Brewer was Alex Cora’s answer to Barnes’ control issue. In fairness, things did work in Brewer’s favor. He got the two outs required of him without allowing another run.

Brandon Workman worked a clean eighth. He’s thrown three scoreless innings in as many appearances since he scuffled in back-to-back outings in mid-July.

Now, four runs for this Red Sox offense isn’t exactly a stellar collective performance. Especially when there were opportunities, like the one in the eighth, to take a lead or even blow it wide open.

But at some point, the pitching has to pull its weight.

Rafael Devers hit his 22nd home run of the season (103.9 MPH), which is a new single-season career-high.

Christian Vazquez hit his 16th double of the year in his 3-for-4 performance.

J.D. Martinez reached base safely in each of his five plate appearances, walking four times.

Andrew Benintendi struck out four times after going 2-for-4 with a home run in Game 1.

 

Click here for a complete recap of the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.