The Red Sox’s bullpen caught a lot of flack after Boston’s 5-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday night, and for good reason.
Boston entered the eighth inning leading 3-0 and called upon Addison Reed to hold the lead and set things up for closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning. Reed couldn’t get the job done, though, as he allowed four runs on two hits without recording an out. Joe Kelly followed and received a similar fate as Reed, as he allowed a run on three hits and only recorded two outs in the frame.
But the Red Sox’s bats appeared to be well on their way to bailing out the bullpen in the top of the ninth inning. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman couldn’t find the strike zone and walked the first three batters of the inning. But Chapman held on for the save thanks in large part to lousy base running from the Sox.
With the bases loaded, Andrew Benintendi flared a sacrifice fly to left field to get Boston within in a run. But while Jackie Bradley Jr. scored with ease, Eduardo Nunez tried to push the envelope and tag up from second base. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Nunez’s risk did not pay off, as New York left fielder Aaron Hicks hosed Nunez at third base for the unconventional double play. One batter later, Mitch Moreland looped a fly out to center to send the Yankees home winners.
After the game, Red Sox manager John Farrell broke down Nunez’s aggressive base running.
“Eduardo is such a good base runner with the speed that he has,” Farrell said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “The height of the ball, he was back with plenty of time to read it, and if he doesn’t feel like has a chance to get there, he’s probably not going. But given where he was in the position of it, he took a calculated risk.
“They ended up turning a double play, a unique one. I don’t know if it let him (Chapman) off the hook, they recorded two outs.”
Base running has been an area of struggle for the Red Sox this season, as they’ve given up plenty of outs on the base paths. For a team that has struggled to produce runs in spurts this year, squandering opportunities is a trend that needs to be curbed.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Yankees.
— Andrew Benintendi launched a solo home run in the fifth inning, his first career homer off of a left-handed pitcher.
— The Yankees have won seven of their 10 meetings with the Red Sox this season.
— Eduardo Rodriguez tossed six scoreless innings in which he only allowed two hits while striking out seven and walking one. The left-hander now is 2-1 with a 1.38 ERA in four career starts at Yankee Stadium.
— Reed’s numbers in the American League compared to the National League are vastly different. He currently owns a 4.39 ERA in 137.1 innings pitched in the AL as opposed to his 2.98 ERA in 242 innings pitched in the NL.
— Boston has received six consecutive quality starts from its starting pitchers.
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