After a convincing 19-3 win in Game 1 of the Red Sox’s doubleheader against the Orioles at Fenway Park, it likely was thought that home team would complete the three-game series sweep when the two teams squared off for the final time this season.
But that wasn’t the case, as Boston dropped the night cap 10-3 after the bullpen surrendered seven runs.
Chris Sale struck out eight over and gave up three earned runs over 4 2/3 innings of work in his final regular-season start. Sale’s velocity seemed lower than usual, and Sox manager Alex Cora noted after the game that the southpaw is fighting his mechanics and will work on righting what’s wrong in the coming days.
“We don’t have too much time. So he’ll work on it this weekend,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “Probably Monday he’ll throw an aggressive bullpen and see where he’s at and we’ll go from there. … Hopefully he finds his mechanics again and he’ll be ready to go.”
While Cora acknowledged Sale’s velocity “wasn’t there” Wednesday, he did hit 94 mph a few times in the fourth and increased his pitch count from his previous starts. Despite the decreased velocity, the skipper doesn’t have any concerns going into October, saying the southpaw is where he should be.
“The only thing we didn’t accomplish through the whole program is for him to get six innings,” Cora said. “But we’ll see what we wanna do over the weekend … as far as pitches, although he didn’t look great, he got up over 90, which is right where we wanted him to be.”
Although Sale’s final regular-season outing might have brought on some concern for Sox fans, Boston’s ace vows to be his usual self once the postseason rolls around.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s doubleheader:
— Rafael Devers was the story of Game 1. The 21-year-old had himself a game, going 4-for-5 with two home runs, six RBIs and two runs scored.
“He’s been very solid in the strike zone,” Cora said after Game 1. “When he does that, he can do some damage.”
— Eduardo Rodriguez impressed out of the bullpen in Game 2, collecting three strikeouts over 1 1/3 innings of scoreless work.
— Jerry Remy, who finished his final radiation treatment for lung cancer Tuesday, was in the NESN booth for an inning of Wednesday’s Game 2. He received a massive standing ovation from the Red Sox crowd and a tip of the cap from Cora.
— David Price pitched Game 1 and gave up three earned runs on six hits with as many strikeouts over five innings. Though it wasn’t his best start, the left-hander said he felt good.
“I didn’t throw the baseball the way I wanted to or expected to throw the baseball today, but that’s baseball,” Price said after the game. “I feel good, I feel like I’m ready to continue forward.”
— Craig Kimbrel couldn’t get out of the ninth in Game 2, as the closer walked three batters to load the bases before being pulled from the game. Despite Kimbrel being tabbed for four earned runs, Cora chalked up the outing up to “just a bad one.”
— Mookie Betts became just the second Red Sox player to hit at least 30 home runs and steal at least 30 bases in a season with his theft in Game 1. The last and only other Red Sox player to accomplish the feat was` Jacoby Ellsbury in 2011.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images