On a day when the wild card-chasing Rangers turned in a 10-0 thrashing of the Indians, Byrd lasted five innings against Baltimore, allowing two runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out one, leading the Red Sox to a 7-5 win over the Birds.
Yes, the Boston bullpen had to do quite a bit of work — manager Terry Francona was forced to use five relievers, including Manny Delcarmen, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon — but with Thursday’s off day, that didn’t particularly matter. Billy Wagner earned the win — his first in a Red Sox uniform — after a perfect seventh that featured two strikeouts.
It would have been encouraging to see Byrd last longer, but for now, Francona will take it.
“I’ll tell you what, he got through five, and with a day off tomorrow, it’s probably a little bit different than a normal day during the summer, when you’re not wanting to get into the bullpen,” Francona said during Wednesday’s edition of Red Sox Extra Innings. “We were more than willing to go to the bullpen.”
It was a good thing the bullpen was ready for the extra work: Five relievers combined for four innings of two-run ball on a night when Francona wishes he had seen better stuff from his fifth starter.
“I didn’t think he commanded real good,” Francona said. “The way he throws, he doesn’t need to walk people, and I think he felt like he wasn’t commanding real well. But he competes.”
And when the Red Sox are doing everything they can to stave off a Texas lineup that scored 31 runs in its last three games, that’s all Francona can ask for.
You can watch his full postgame news conference here: