Red Sox Notes: Why Alex Cora Didn’t Pinch Hit Mitch Moreland In Loss To Yankees

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Mitch Moreland

Photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images

It is no secret that the bottom of the Boston Red Sox’s order has had some struggles.

For that reason, it was a bit perplexing as to why Sox manager Alex Cora let the likes of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez hit in key moments of Boston’s 3-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.

Both Bradley Jr. and Vazquez have struggled mightily this season at the dish, with the two possessing .173 and .196 batting averages, respectively. However, both hit in the seventh and ninth innings with Boston at a deficit, while Mitch Moreland and Brock Holt remained on the bench.

Following the game, Cora explained why he neglected to go to Moreland in particular.

“Yeah, in a few spots, it’s just the spot,” Cora said of giving thought to inserting Moreland, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “It’s kind of hard just to burn (Moreland) in certain situations. But we thought about it. Him, even Brock, they were ready. I think at the end, man at first, one out, it’s a tough one … I think the situation didn’t come up for (Moreland) to go out and hit.”

In the four at-bats between Bradley Jr. and Vazquez in those two frames, Bradley was the only one to reach base, getting hit by an Aroldis Chapman fastball with two outs in the ninth. Vazquez followed up by grounding out to end the game.

Moreland has been on a tear to start the season, hitting .347 with five home runs and seven doubles. And though Holt was activated from the disabled list earlier Tuesday, the utility man is hitting .340 with one home run and six doubles so far.

Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Yankees:

— Drew Pomeranz delivered his best outing of the season Tuesday night.

Though the Red Sox entered Tuesday 2-1 with the southpaw on the hill since he was activated from the disabled list, all three of Pomeranz’s outings had been pretty rocky. His command was lacking, his fastball often was misplaced whilst displaying low velocity and his go-to breaking ball didn’t have much bite.

There still was some drama Tuesday, but things visibly were much better for Pomeranz in outing No. 4. The lefty allowed two runs — both via Giancarlo Stanton solo home runs — on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks over six innings. His fastball still didn’t have much giddy-up, but it was commanded well, while his breaking ball was the best it has been all season.

The concern came in the second inning, when Pomeranz signaled for the trainer to come out due to an issue with his left index fingernail. It was quite bloody, but it was swiftly taken care of and Pomeranz finished the following innings seemingly without pain. Cora noted there was no worry of needing to take him out of the game during the ordeal.

— Heath Hembree had a rough outing Tuesday, loading the bases before getting replaced with just one out in the seventh.

With runners on first and second and the game tied, Hembree balked to move the runners over before walking the following batter. The reliever then was replaced by Joe Kelly, who allowed a single to Aaron Judge to plate the go-ahead run, which was charged to Hembree.

— David Price flew back to Boston to get testing on his hand and will miss Wednesday’s start. While Cora did have much of an update, he did have this to offer:

“It seems like hopefully he’ll be back with us throughout the trip,” Cora said. “I think the feeling is that he’s going to be back with us during the trip.”

Cora did not offer anything further when asked if Price would rejoin the team on the trip with the intent to pitch in one of the five games before Boston heads back home. He did say, however, more information should be available Wednesday.

— Steven Wright threw six innings during an outing with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. Wright currently is serving a 15-game suspension, but is allowed to pitch for an affiliate during that time.

The Sox knuckleballer allowed one run on eight hits while walking and striking out one. Wright is eligible to return to the Red Sox on Monday.

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