It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Drew Pomeranz this season, and that remained the case Tuesday night.
Fresh off his second disabled list stint this season, the Boston Red Sox left-hander was knocked around a bit in a 7-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
In the loss, Pomeranz was tagged for four runs on six hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings. All of the O’s runs were scored by way of the home run, with Jonathan Schoop and Tim Beckham each blasting two-run shots.
Some of the issues that have plagued Pomeranz this season were apparent in Tuesday’s outing. Though his curveball was better — something both he and manager Alex Cora agreed on — he did make mistakes with it, with both of Baltimore’s homers coming off hanging breaking balls. Plus, his fastball velocity remained down, topping out at 89 mph. The loss dropped him to 1-4 this season and also elevated his ERA from 6.81 to 6.91.
“Actually, better breaking ball than earlier in the season,” Cora said after the game, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “He made two mistakes to Schoop and Beckham, breaking balls up. Fastball was OK, and that last inning he lost his command, made some pitches 0-2 up in the zone that he wasn’t able to get it where he wanted. But he was OK.
“His stuff was better than what we saw earlier,” Cora added. “The breaking ball was a lot better, so that’s a positive.”
Cora also noted that he’s not worried about Pomeranz’s fastball velocity so long as he commands it well, something he didn’t often achieve Tuesday.
The Red Sox don’t have much wiggle room with their starting pitching given Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright both are on the disabled list. As such, Boston likely will continue to roll out Pomeranz for at least a few more outings to see if they can iron out his mechanics and in turn elevate his effectiveness.
Lest we forget we’re just one season removed from Pomeranz going 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA, so it’s clear he can be an important arm in the rotation. But he’s clearly not that right now, which certainly will make things interesting for the Red Sox down the stretch.
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Red Sox-Orioles game:
— Pomeranz is not the only pitcher that has been struggling. For nearly two months now Joe Kelly has been a disaster.
The hard-throwing right-hander has lost his role as the high-leverage eighth-inning reliever, and he’s allowed runs in three of his last four outings. In Tuesday’s game, he appeared in the sixth inning, marking just the second time this season he’s entered the game earlier than the seventh.
In 25 games before June 1st, Kelly had a 1.73 ERA over 26 innings, striking out 28 and walking just nine. But in his 20 appearances since, he owns an 8.83 ERA over 17 1/3 innings, walking 13 and striking out equally as many.
“Can’t walk people,” Cora said. “It seems like when he was on he wasn’t walking people, he was attacking people and getting swings-and-misses and he’s not doing that now.
“We need to get better, he needs to get better. I don’t know how we’re going to do that, but that’s a guy that’s very important to what we’re trying to accomplish, and right now we don’t have that guy. So we’ve got to keep working, get him right. His stuff is there, it’s just a matter of trying to get him back to what he was.”
Matt Barnes has continued to be stable, but Kelly’s struggles are leaving some uncertainty regarding Boston’s late-inning relief situation.
— J.D. Martinez reclaimed the Major League lead in home runs Tuesday with a pair of blasts.
The Sox slugger hit home run No. 30 in the top of the first, smacking a solo shot 390 feet into right-center field. Then, with Boston down 7-3 in the eighth, he responded by cutting the lead to a pair with a two-run shot.
The latter homer put the designated hitter past Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez for the league lead.