BOSTON — The Red Sox seemingly have taken two steps backward for every one step forward this season.
The Red Sox appeared to be finding a rhythm after winning four of five against the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles. But the Sox now have dropped two straight, including a 9-3 decision to the New York Yankees in Jacoby Ellsbury’s return to Fenway Park on Tuesday.
Boston will send John Lackey to the hill Wednesday as it looks to stop the bleeding. First, let’s go over some key points from Tuesday’s rough loss to the Yankees.
— Ellsbury expressed his appreciation for the Red Sox organization and its fans before Tuesday’s game.
Ellsbury received mostly boos before his first at-bat, although the Fenway Faithful did show some love when the Red Sox paid tribute to the outfielder’s Boston tenure with a video montage before the second inning. Then, it was back to boos.
“I’m happy I could go out there and help the team win tonight,” Ellsbury said. “But I thought the fans were great. I thought the reception was nice. The tribute the Red Sox gave on the video board (was) unexpected and I thought it was very classy of them to do that.”
— Ellsbury went 2-for-5 with a triple, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. The triple came in his first at-bat and was the result of a fan interference call.
— Jake Peavy got knocked around Sunday and Clay Buchholz got shelled Monday. Jon Lester certainly wasn’t his best Tuesday.
Lester surrendered a season-high 11 hits over 4 2/3 innings in his shortest outing since August 2, 2013. The left-hander has allowed 11 or more hits only three other times in his nine-year career.
“Just one of those nights,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “He made good pitches and they got hits. When he fell behind, he wasn’t as sharp as he’s been. He made some mistakes and they didn’t miss them and when he made good pitches, they still found ways to get hits.”
— The Red Sox’s defense certainly didn’t help. Only three of the eight runs charged to Lester were earned.
Pierzynski’s throwing error in the first inning set up New York’s second run, and Mike Napoli’s fifth-inning miscue stopped Boston’s momentum dead in its tracks and opened the floodgates for a four-run inning that really put the Yankees in the driver’s seat.
Napoli failed to catch a line drive right at him with two outs and runners at first and second.
“It just went off my glove,” Napoli said. “It kind of disappeared for a bit, but I need to make that play.”
— David Ortiz and Napoli crushed back-to-back homers in the fourth inning.
— Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka continued his impressive start to his major league career.
Tanaka allowed two runs on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and didn’t walk anyone while improving to 3-0.
— Brian McCann (3-for-4) and Carlos Beltran (2-for-5 with a home run) also made impacts, so you could say it was a nice night for New York’s offseason additions.
— Grady Sizemore went 0-for-4 atop the order. He’s now 1-for-26 over his last seven games.
— Chris Capuano tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, running his scoreless streak to 13 innings over 10 appearances.
— Shane Victorino was expected to be activated from the disabled list Wednesday, but those plans might have changed.
Farrell said after Tuesday’s game the Red Sox instead might make a roster move for an extra pitcher given how much the bullpen has been taxed in recent days. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a move involving Daniel Nava, who has struggled and has two options remaining.