There was no time for moping following Saturday’s 19-inning loss. The Boston Red Sox needed to buckle down roughly 12 hours later to avoid dropping two of three to the Los Angeles Angels.
The Red Sox, fresh off their longest game time-wise since 2001, wasted little time in putting their marathon defeat in the rearview mirror. Boston capped its three-game series Sunday with a 3-1 win over L.A.
The Sox, who are off Monday, now travel to Cincinnati for a quick, two-game series with the Reds. After that, it’s back to Fenway Park for an 11-game homestand.
Let’s assess Sunday’s action.
– Rubby De La Rosa gave the Red Sox exactly what they needed.
The Sox used nine pitchers in Saturday’s loss, so it was critical for De La Rosa to provide innings, if nothing else. The right-hander did that and more, allowing just one earned run on five hits over seven-plus innings.
It wasn’t a spotless performance, as De La Rosa maneuvered around some trouble. But he matched a career-high with eight strikeouts, effectively used all of his pitches and mixed speeds very well.
“I feel everything worked today,” De La Rosa said. “The two-seamer, the four-seamer, my slider. I feel confident right now. I’m more comfortable than I was at the beginning of the season. I’m feeling good right now.”
De La Rosa is starting to answer questions about his ability to succeed away from Fenway Park. He has thrived in back-to-back road starts after posting an 0-3 record and 6.04 ERA through his first four road outings of 2014.
– Hector Santiago pitched six shutout innings for the Angels. It was a rather strange start, though, as he didn’t induce a single ground ball out.
– Dustin Pedroia lit a fire under the Red Sox with a sweet diving stop to end the seventh inning. Pedey is having a tremendous season defensively, and he’s now starting to produce at the dish, hitting .341 in August.
– Yoenis Cespedes picked a perfect time for his first home run in a Red Sox uniform.
Brock Holt reached on an error by first baseman Efren Navarro with one out in the eighth inning, and Pedroia followed with a single into left field. Cespedes broke a scoreless tie and gave the Red Sox a three-run lead with one swing of the bat, ripping a rocket over the left field fence for his 18th homer of the season.
– Mike Napoli was ejected by home plate umpire CB Bucknor in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
– Edward Mujica is starting to salvage a ho-hum first season in Boston.
Mujica retired all three hitters he faced in the eighth inning after Mike Trout began the frame with a home run off De La Rosa. Mujica hasn’t allowed a run in his last seven appearances, a span of 6 1/3 innings.
– Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless ninth inning. The Red Sox are 40-0 when leading after eight innings.
– Jackie Bradley Jr.’s defense still is awesome. His offense is anything but.
Bradley donned a golden sombrero, striking out four times. He’s now lodged in an 0-for-35 slump, during which he has struck out 18 times.
Bradley doesn’t have a hit since July 26.
– Xander Bogaerts isn’t faring much better despite a widespread philosophy that a return to his natural shortstop position would translate into an offensive surge.
Bogaerts is 3-for-35 in nine games since moving back to shortstop. The 21-year-old also committed his team-high 17th error of the season Sunday, though it was his first error since returning to short.
– Catcher Dan Butler went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts in his major league debut.
– Kelly Johnson went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his Red Sox debut.