Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the Boston Red Sox bullpen almost blew it Monday night.
Joe Kelly enjoyed another good start for the Red Sox, this time in their series opener against the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander was able to get himself out of a couple jams and ended the night with just two earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Kelly even managed to make it into the eighth inning.
Kelly’s 7 1/3-inning effort also earned him his fifth straight win, but it nearly was ruined in the ninth.
The Red Sox called upon Jean Machi, and the right-hander quickly showed that the closer role was not for him. Machi allowed two runs to put the White Sox within spitting distance of coming back. Luckily, Boston’s defense had his back, and the Red Sox pulled out the 5-4 win.
Here are some notes from Monday night’s contest.
— Machi’s implosion only highlighted Boston’s bullpen problem once again. The Red Sox lost Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Royals when Junichi Tazawa blew his save opportunity, and Machi came dangerously close to making that happen two days in a row.
The bullpen has been taxed thanks to some lackluster starting pitching this season, but at this point, the group simply isn’t getting the job done.
— Nearly one year to the day after Boston signed Rusney Castillo, the outfielder is showing his worth. Castillo became a Red Sox on Aug. 23, 2014, and he’s paid them back with a phenomenal month. The 28-year-old is batting .391 in August and .293 overall.
Castillo added to that Monday by knocking in all of the Red Sox’s five runs — a career high — including a three-run homer.
— Pablo Sandoval flashed the leather with a great catch over the tarp on the third base line in the second inning, showing that he can be pretty nimble for a 255-pound guy.
— It was a rough night for Travis Shaw, who had been batting .385 in August headed into Monday’s game. The first baseman never had faced Jeff Samardzija, and he ended his night 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
— Speaking of Samardzija, he didn’t have a very good night, either. The right-hander struck out seven, but he gave up five earned runs to add to his lackluster season with the White Sox. Monday’s loss was the Shark’s fifth straight, and Samardzija has a 9.00 ERA in his last five outings.
— Acting manager Torey Lovullo is showing his respect for John Farrell — who announced he had lymphoma on Aug. 14 — in a really nice way.
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Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images