Henry Owens someday will have an interesting story to tell.
Owens was solid Tuesday night for the Boston Red Sox in his major league debut against the New York Yankees, yet the box score forever will indicate that the left-hander suffered the loss in a 13-3 drubbing at Yankee Stadium.
A more thorough look at the stats, of course, reveals Owens pitched well and that Boston’s bullpen was to blame for the lopsided final. The eyeball test backs up that notion. The Sox’s ‘pen was really bad.
Let’s run down some notes from Tuesday, which featured one high and a whole bunch of lows.
— Owens’ poise and laid-back demeanor stood out the most. While it’s not like he was thrown into the thick of a pennant race, he still debuted under the bright lights at Yankee Stadium. And he handled it admirably, even after a shaky first inning in which he allowed a run and threw 34 pitches.
“I was anxious to be out here, very excited, very pleased with the opportunity,” Owens told reporters in the Bronx after the game. “I tried to seize it the best I could. I ran into a couple of tough innings, but hopefully there’s more to come.”
There will be more to come, as Red Sox manager John Farrell indicated after the game that Owens will remain in Boston’s rotation.
— Owens became the first Red Sox pitcher to make his major league debut in a start on the road versus the Yankees since Robinson Checo on Sept. 16, 1997.
— Robbie Ross Jr., who replaced Owens in the sixth inning, allowed two inherited runners to score, setting in motion an awful night for Boston’s bullpen. Red Sox relievers allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on eight hits, including two home runs, and four walks over three innings.
Most of the damage came against Craig Breslow (charged with five runs in two thirds of an inning), but Ross, Jean Machi and Alexi Ogando weren’t much better, begging the question: Are the Red Sox going to start looking at other relief options with so many pitchers failing to produce quality innings?
“I’m not going to rule it out,” Farrell told reporters. “But to answer that with specific names at this point is a little premature.
“But you’re looking for better, you’re looking for more, particularly from guys that have had some stretches of success this season. That was a rough night.”
— The first four hitters in Boston’s lineup — Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez — went a combined 0-for-15.
— Second baseman Dustin Pedroia and/or outfielder Mookie Betts could begin baseball activities during the team’s three-game swing through Detroit over the weekend.
Pedroia has been on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain since July 25 (retroactive to July 23). Betts was placed on the seven-day concussion DL last week after tumbling over the right field wall and into the Red Sox’s bullpen at Fenway while trying to make a running catch.
— Betts’ return will add to Boston’s outfield logjam. Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Alejandro De Aza all are vying for playing time in addition to Betts and Hanley Ramirez.
Castillo will continue to receive regular at-bats, if not everyday at-bats, according to Farrell. This marks an important stretch for the 28-year-old Cuban outfielder, who continues to make adjustments.
The Red Sox simply could send down Bradley, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket when Betts landed on the DL. But the Red Sox are better off seeing what they have in the 25-year-old — read: can he hit at the major league level? — over the final two months. De Aza is slated to become a free agent.
“We’re still in a situation that when I look at it, there might be two players that right now are going to be in the mix as well, and that’s (first baseman Mike Napoli) and De Aza, unless something changes to our roster,” Farrell said. “So just trying to balance their situations, as well as trying to gather as much information on our young players.
“That’s one of the main objectives that (general manager) Ben (Cherington) and I have discussed at length and how do we achieve that is going to be through kind of mapping out a five-to-seven-day stretch for each just to make sure that there’s regular at-bats for all of them.”
— The Red Sox released right-handed reliever Ronald Belisario. The 32-year-old appeared in five games with Pawtucket after signing last month, allowing no runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Belisario has made 341 appearances over parts of six major league seasons. He last pitched in the majors earlier this season with the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing seven runs on eight hits over eight innings.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images