Red Sox Notes: Rick Porcello Falters, But Worn-Out Bullpen Dooms Boston In Loss

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Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Junichi Tazawa

Photo via Jun 2, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Junichi Tazawa (36) pitches during the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Baltimore Orioles defeated Boston Red Sox 12-7. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox scored 16 runs over the final two games of their series against the Baltimore Orioles. And while that would have been enough for most teams to win, that wasn’t the case for Boston.

For the second night in a row, the Red Sox’s pitching failed to deliver as the Orioles sent seven baseballs out of Camden Yards en route to a 12-7 Boston loss Thursday. Starter Rick Porcello gave up three of those on his own, with two-run homers to Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones and a solo shot to Trumbo again.

Porcello said the first two home runs he gave up, both of which came on 1-2 pitches, were an effect of “stupid mistakes,” per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. He threw Trumbo and Jones strikes rather than chase pitches, and the sluggers capitalized.

But at the end of the night, it wasn’t all on Porcello.

While no one is saying giving up three home runs is an acceptable performance from a starting pitcher, Porcello still got through six innings and left with the game knotted at five runs apiece. It was the bullpen that did more damage in a shorter amount of time.

The Red Sox were limited on bullpen resources after Joe Kelly made it through just 2 1/3 innings Wednesday, and it showed Thursday. Robbie Ross Jr. put two runners on in the seventh and clearly wasn’t feeling right, as a trainer had to visit him on the mound. Then, Junichi Tazawa let those runners score with a huge three-run homer to Orioles shortstop Manny Machado, gave up a solo shot in the eighth and was relieved by Noe Ramirez, who gave up two more home runs in 1/3 of an inning.

Tazawa took the blame but he mentioned his velocity was down from warming up without going in a few times this series, per the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato. That could pose a problem down the road if Boston’s starters make short starts a habit.

The Red Sox’s bullpen is good, but even the best bullpen is only as good as its starters. That fact could burn them in the long run with two very strong lineups in the American League East division in the Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.

Here are some more notes from Thursday’s loss.

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— Xander Bogaerts’ hitting streak still is intact at 26 games after he hit a two-RBI single in the sixth inning. And, the shortstop still is thinking about it.

“I know I have it,” Bogaerts said, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham. “That’s the reality, man. We live in a world that you sure know that you have something.”

— John Farrell (obviously) is well aware that his pitchers need to do better.

— David Ortiz hit his 16th home run of the season — a three-run shot in the sixth — and the 519th of his career. He’s 22nd on the all-time list and close to catching up to Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams, all of whom have 521.

— The last time the Red Sox gave up seven home runs was on Aug. 8, 2004, against the Detroit Tigers, and starter Tim Wakefield was responsible for six of them. Boston won that game 11-9, however.

— It’s worth noting Tazawa had a 0.90 WHIP and 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings heading into this game, showing just how important it is that the relievers don’t get worn out.

— Before Red Sox fans start panicking, Boston still has the best record in the American League and a one-game lead over Baltimore for the division. Both the Red Sox and Orioles also are heading into another three-game series against division opponents, so they could make up some ground.

— The Red Sox should be happy that they get to try to bounce back at home Friday, as the team is batting .308 with an 18-10 record at Fenway Park. Their pitchers also have a 4.13 ERA at home compared to 4.78 on the road.

— This also is a team with good chemistry that can pick themselves up, and Mookie Betts gave the world some evidence of that.

— Brock Holt was moved from the seven-day concussion list to the 15-day disabled list Thursday. The move doesn’t change his timeline to return, which is coming along slowly but surely. Holt has been practicing and said overall he feels normal but, per WEEI’s Rob Bradford, he feels “fogginess” when he makes any sudden movements with his head or neck.

— Jackie Bradley Jr. will return to the Red Sox on Friday after he and his wife, Erin, welcomed a baby girl named Emerson Claire Bradley into the world Thursday.

Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images

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