The Boston Red Sox couldn’t close out Sunday’s game against the Texas Rangers, but the 5-3 loss wasn’t for lack of trying on Garrett Richards’ end.
Before the bullpen gave up the advantage Boston earned mostly thanks to Xander Bogaerts’ bat, the starter threw five innings and gave up a single earned run off four hits and a walk. He struck out seven, and despite having to throw a lot of pitches with the Rangers fighting through at-bats, his stuff was on.
It cut his outing a little shorter than he’d hoped, though.
“It was a good outing, not obviously the best one,” Richards said in his postgame Zoom availability. “Nobody really wants to go five-and-dive, you know? I was looking to go a little bit deeper in the game but, like I said, they fouled off a lot of pitches. So, you know, a nice little building block outing. The last one was good, this one was decent, so we’re moving in the right direction. There’s still work to be done but I’m starting to feel some familiar stuff of when I’m doing good.”
Thanks to his last two outings, Richards has dropped his ERA from a 6.48 to a 4.00 by the end of his day against the Rangers.
Over that two-start stretch, and since he changed something in his mechanics, he’s thrown 12 innings with 17 strikeouts, having given up just two earned runs and a single walk.
“He was in command, obviously the pitch count was up, but that’s credit to the Rangers, but that’s really good,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said after the game. “It seems like he’s under control, the game which is just not going fast for him. He is repeating his delivery, good breaking ball, good slider, good fastball. Probably the best fastball of the month and we’re very pleased with the way he’s throwing the ball.”
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Rangers:
— The series against the Rangers was the first one the Red Sox lost since their first against the Baltimore Orioles to start April.
We’d say averaging one lost series a month is pretty good, though.
“Today we weren’t able to close out the game so it’s just part of 162 (games), you know, but we’ll be okay,” Cora said.
“We’re still a good team, and nothing has changed. Like I told you guys when we started 0-3, we thought we had a good team and after we won all those games, we still have a good team. So, now we split the road trip. We hate to lose a series, right? This is the first series we lost since the first one. We reset tomorrow, enjoy the family. Hopefully, it’s a sunny day in Boston, we can enjoy it and be ready for Tuesday.”
— Garrett Whitlock finally gave up a run.
The first batter the Rule 5 reliever faced on Sunday took him yard, breaking up a scoreless streak of 13 1/3 innings.
He gave up another hit, but got out of the running without giving up Boston’s lead.
“Just the fact that he gave up a home run the next pitch was 96 right down the middle, it tells you a lot about him,” Cora said after the game. “So we’ll keep running him out there and he should be okay.”
— Of course it was Brock Holt who led the way in the comeback for the Rangers. A fan favorite formerly with the Red Sox, he slapped a single to center field to give Texas the go-ahead run, and it didn’t surprise Cora one bit, either.
“He’s a championship caliber player, you know, he’s done it before,” Cora said of Holt. “He put a good swing on a fastball-up, and he found green. He’s a good player.”
— The go-ahead runs came against Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino, who was pulled after recording two outs in the eighth. He gave up a hit and two walks for three earned runs in the blown save.
“I mean obviously the leadoff walk, that’s game,” Ottavino said after the game. “So, I’m not trying to do that, but, uh, pretty disappointed that I did. And, you know, after that, I mean I got to the spot where I could have gotten out of it but I made a bad made a bad pitch and give up a hit there. And yeah, I mean it’s that it’s that simple, you know leadoff walk, and your margin for error really shrinks.”
— J.D. Martinez (35 hits) has been almost a lock at the plate lately, trailing only teammate Xander Bogaerts (37 hits) for most hits in Major League Baseball.
Sunday, however, he was 0-for-4. Cora doesn’t seem worried about it, though.
“He’s only human.”
— The Red Sox get a day off on Monday before heading home to Boston. They begin a three game series with the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park on Tuesday.