Red Sox Notes: Kelly Johnson Preparing To Give Boston Extra Versatility

Kelly JohnsonBlame it on the rain.

The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals endured a rain delay in excess of an hour for the second straight night Thursday at Busch Stadium. It seemingly affected the Red Sox, who stumbled out of the gate en route to a 5-2 loss.

Boston dropped two of three in the clubs’ World Series rematch. The Red Sox now travel to Los Angeles for three games against the Angels.

Let’s glance over some notes from Thursday before the focus shifts to the Halos.

– Brandon Workman’s unique season continues.

Workman allowed three runs while throwing 34 pitches in the first inning Thursday. He settled down after that, but the early struggles were extremely detrimental with Adam Wainwright pitching for the Cardinals.

“I just didn’t come out sharp in the first inning,” Workman said. “That got me today. I gave up a three-spot in the first and put our team behind the eight ball against a good pitcher. I threw well after that, but the first inning was enough.”

Workman has made 10 starts this season. The first five were good. The last five have been bad.

The 25-year-old’s recent skid — 0-5 with a 6.04 ERA over his last five outings — further clouds the Red Sox’s 2015 rotation plans. The rest of this season truly represents an open audition for several of the organization’s young pitchers.

– It’s easy to blame the rain delay for Workman’s shaky first inning. It wasn’t his first rodeo, though.

Workman has started three rain-delayed games this season.

June 4 at Cleveland (2 hour, 28 minute delay): No decision, five innings, three earned runs, three strikeouts, two walks
June 10 at Baltimore (1 hour, 33 minute delay): Win, 6 2/3 innings, zero earned runs, four strikeouts, one walk
Thursday at St. Louis (1 hour, 4 minute delay): Loss, 5 1/3 innings, four earned runs, five strikeouts, two walks

– Mike Napoli and Christian Vazquez provided Boston’s only offense. They delivered a pair of RBI singles in the third inning.

Six of the first 15 Red Sox hitters reached against Wainwright, but the Cardinals ace soon entered cruise control.

– Kolten Wong homered twice to give the Cardinals some breathing room.

– The biggest out of the game occurred in the seventh inning. The Red Sox were threatening with two on and two outs.

Wainwright battled back after falling behind in the count 3-0 against Yoenis Cespedes. He then froze Cespedes with a 3-2 curveball on the outside corner to escape the inning unscathed.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny visited the mound before the at-bat and showed faith in his No. 1 hurler.

– One of Wong’s two homers came off reliever Craig Breslow. It’s been a disastrous season for the left-hander.

Breslow has allowed a home run in each of his last three outings. He has surrendered six long balls this season (in 41 1/3 innings), doubling his 2013 total (in 59 2/3 innings).

Breslow’s ERA sits at 5.01.

– Jackie Bradley Jr. went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He’s currently mired in an 0-for-27 slump in which he has struck out 13 times.

Bradley, who doesn’t have a hit since July 26, is batting .216.

– The Red Sox activated Kelly Johnson from the 15-day disabled list before the game. Mookie Betts was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room on the active roster.

Johnson will give the Red Sox an additional left-handed bat. He’s capable of playing first base, second base, third base and left field, so he’ll also add plenty of versatility.

“I’ve been told to stick to what I’ve been doing,” Johnson told reporters in St. Louis. “I’ll be kind of a fill-in at a lot of different places. We’ll see. I’ll keep preparing at all of them and see how it goes.”

Johnson was acquired last week from the New York Yankees in exchange for shortstop Stephen Drew.

– David Ortiz originally was slated to start at first base. He was scratched right before game time because of the wet conditions.

Photo via Twitter/@SInow

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