The Boston Red Sox bullpen wasn’t put in the greatest position Saturday night, but that can’t really excuse the way they pitched in big moments.
Although Colten Brewer kept the Houston Astros scoreless over 2 1/3 innings, the ensuing relievers got themselves into trouble.
David Price lasted just three batters in the 4-3 loss at Minute Maid Park due to flu-like symptoms. He should be fine, but it did gas the Sox bullpen a bit. Brewer replaced Price in the first, and Travis Lakins replaced Brewer to begin the fourth. Lakins was good for two innings, but allowed things to unravel a bit in the sixth, giving up an RBI single to Josh Reddick. Heath Hembree then took over and was of little help, allowing Yuli Gurriel to smack an RBI single as well.
Things kept getting worse.
Alex Cora made the somewhat perplexing decision to turn to Hector Velazquez — one week removed from getting pounded by Houston — in the seventh instead of Brandon Workman. The Astros got a run in the frame to go up by a pair.
And with the game tied at three in the ninth, Matt Barnes had a meltdown, loading the bases before allowing Carlos Correa to hit a walk-off single. Barnes didn’t record a single out.
In the Red Sox’s 13-inning win over the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this week, we saw the bullpen give up chance after chance. Boston prevailed, so the shortcomings of the relievers were more easily overlooked. That wasn’t the case Saturday night, and it’ll remain the case so long as the Red Sox play good teams.
Marcus Walden isn’t going to be able to save the day all the time, and the poor execution in the late innings recently should make Cora and Co. at least a little bit uncomfortable.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Astros game.
— Rafael Devers had a homer stolen from him in the loss.
The third baseman drilled a ball that looked like it would clear the fence with ease. However, it struck the Minute Maid Park roof and fell to the turf, which according to the ground rules allowed Devers to reach with a double, not a homer since it didn’t clear the fence.
Nevertheless, Devers had yet another great night at the dish, smacking a team-high three hits.
— The New York Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals in both games of a double-header Saturday, so the Red Sox now trail them by 7.5 games in the standings.
— The Red Sox now will try to avoid the sweep when the play the finale of the three-game set Sunday afternoon.