Red Sox Notes: Pablo Sandoval’s Bunt Miscue In Loss ‘Part Of The Game’


Apr 19, 2015

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BOSTON — The Red Sox have bumped into a losing streak for the first time this season.

Boston had avoided dropping back-to-back games until an 8-3 loss Sunday to the Baltimore Orioles marked the Red Sox’s second consecutive defeat at Fenway Park. Both the Sox and O’s will enter Monday’s series finale with a 7-5 record overall.

The Red Sox led 3-2 after one inning Sunday, but it was all Orioles from there. Rick Porcello had his worst start with the Red Sox and made clear after the game he’s wasting no time in turning the page.

Let’s dive into the positives and the negatives from the Red Sox’s fifth loss of 2015.

— Porcello, who was charged with all eight runs, allowed a career-high 12 hits for the fifth time. It was the first time in three starts with Boston that he failed to log a quality start.

— Porcello joined the Red Sox with the reputation of being a ground ball pitcher, so it’s surprising he has allowed five home runs in 19 innings this season.

Pitching at Fenway makes one more susceptible to home runs than pitching at Comerica Park in Detroit (Porcello’s home for seven seasons), but the right-hander blames mislocation of pitches for the uptick in homers.

“Just pitches up in the zone. Good pitches for them to drive,” Porcello said. “I’ve got to work on keeping the ball down.”

— The Red Sox’s starting rotation has a combined 6.24 ERA through 12 games. That’s the worst mark in Major League Baseball, which certainly is troubling for a team that entered the season amid questions about its pitching.

— David Ortiz was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes and was unavailable for comment after the game.

Both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval declined to comment on their teammate’s ejection, though Ramirez did stress he has Ortiz’s back.

— Ramirez, who scorched a three-run homer in the first inning, has five home runs in 11 games. It’s the fewest games it has ever taken Ramirez to reach the five-homer mark in his 11-year career.

Ramirez didn’t hit his fifth home run of the 2014 season until May 11, which was his 38th game.

The last Red Sox player to hit five or more homers in Boston’s first 12 games was Dustin Pedroia, who smacked five homers in the club’s first 11 contests in 2010. Fred Lynn is the only Red Sox player to hit more homers in Boston’s first 12 games of a season, as he drilled seven in such a stretch in 1979.

— Ramirez has been very impressive at the plate, but his defense remains a work in progress. The converted infielder misplayed another ball in left field, though he wasn’t charged with an error.

— Sandoval made a defensive miscue in the sixth inning before the Orioles broke open the game with three more runs against Porcello.

Everth Cabrera dropped a beautiful bunt down the third base line with Caleb Joseph on first. It initially appeared Sandoval would let the ball roll with the hope it’d go foul, which would have been the correct move, but the third baseman changed course and scooped it instead.

Sandoval acknowledged there was some confusion after he saw Joseph round second base and shortstop Xander Bogaerts run over to cover third. Either way, Sandoval wasn’t going to make excuses.

“I should have made that play,” Sandoval said.

“It was a great bunt,” he added. “In that situation, you try to let it and go and see what happens. It’s part of the game.”

— Craig Breslow provided Boston’s bullpen with a much-needed pick-me-up after Porcello departed. The left-hander threw three scoreless innings, marking just the third time in his 10-year career he pitched at least three innings.

Breslow, who signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Red Sox over the offseason after a disappointing 2014, has not allowed a run in 9 2/3 innings this season. Opponents are hitting just .097 (3-for-31) against the lefty.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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