BOSTON — Every so often, we’re reminded of why the Boston Red Sox’s 2014 season has been a disaster.
Monday was one of those times.
The Red Sox’s offense — an anemic unit for much of the year — struggled in key spots as Boston fell 4-2 to the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park. The loss was a microcosm of the Sox’s season in that the bats simply couldn’t produce timely hits, thus spoiling a good pitching performance by Brandon Workman.
There were more layers to Monday’s loss, though. Let’s peel them back.
– Workman definitely benefited from his extra rest. He was a hard-luck loser.
Workman was skipped the last turn through the Red Sox’s rotation, as manager John Farrell felt the right-hander was showing signs of fatigue. Workman bounced back Monday — his first start since Aug. 7 — to toss seven solid innings despite suffering his sixth loss in as many starts.
“I felt a lot better,” Workman said after Monday’s game. “I was throwing the ball where I wanted to for the most part. I was throwing a lot of strikes, getting ahead of hitters. I felt good tonight.”
Workman allowed two runs on six hits. He struck out five, walked two and threw 89 pitches (59 strikes). Most importantly, he pounded the bottom of the strike zone and his velocity returned to normal levels.
– Workman’s quality start was Boston’s 72nd of 2014. The Red Sox rank second in the American League behind the Oakland Athletics (74).
– The Red Sox actually outhit the Angels 9-7. Brock Holt, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Christian Vazquez each produced two hits.
However, Boston left 12 men on base and went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
– Mike Trout drilled an RBI double in the third inning. Albert Pujols added an RBI single.
– Kole Calhoun reached base four times (two hits, two walks) and scored two runs atop the Angels’ order.
– Holt extended his hit streak to a career-high 12 games with an RBI single in the fourth inning. He’s hitting .302 (16-for-53) during the streak, which marks the longest active streak in the American League.
– Ortiz ripped his 544th career double in the fifth inning. It moved him ahead of Tony Gwynn for sole possession of 28th place on Major League Baseball’s all-time list.
– Pedroia is hitting .350 (14-for-40) over his last nine games. He has six multihit games in that span.
– Vazquez excelled both offensively and defensively.
In addition to his two hits, Vazquez gunned down two runners — Erick Aybar in the fourth inning and David Freese in the seventh inning — in a single game for the first time in his major league career.
“He had a very good game all the way around,” Farrell said. “Couple of base hits. But the catch-and-throw ability clearly is well above-average. It’s outstanding. … He’s doing a very good job behind the plate.”
Vazquez has thrown out 43 percent of would-be base stealers (six of 14) since being called up.
– The Angels’ two runs in the eighth inning proved huge. They were the result of a major implosion by Junichi Tazawa.
Tazawa walked Chris Iannetta and surrendered a double to Calhoun to begin his outing. After striking out Trout, he intentionally walked Pujols with first base open to load the bases.
Howie Kendrick hit a comebacker that had the potential to be an inning-ending double play. Tazawa botched it and rushed a throw home that kicked off Iannetta, allowing two runs to score.
Tazawa was charged with two errors on the play, which was backbreaking, especially when the Red Sox made a little bit of noise in the bottom of the ninth inning.
– Jackie Bradley Jr. was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket following Sunday’s game. Mookie Betts was recalled Monday.
Bradley, batting leadoff, went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in his first game back with Pawtucket.
– Allen Craig served as the designated hitter for six innings in his first rehab game with Pawtucket. He went 0-for-2 with a flyout, a strikeout and a walk.
Craig is expected to play two more games with Pawtucket before being activated from the disabled list.