Wednesday was just not Garrett Richards’ night.
The Red Sox pitcher lasted 1 2/3 innings in Boston’s 8-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Richards surrendered four earned runs on three hits and gave up four walks.
Richards was vocal about Major League Baseball’s new rules cracking down on pitchers using sticky substances such as sunscreen and spider tack. He went as far to say the rosin bag on the mound was “useless,” and said he may need to develop another pitch.
Manager Alex Cora said pregame he was happy with the adjustments his pitcher has made, but it didn’t quite work in his favor.
“Going through a little transition period right now,” Richards said after the loss. “Changing some grips on some of my pitches, learning new pitches, just trying to figure this whole thing out. Still determined to get it figured out. Just on the fly having to kind of figure out how to get through it.”
But as he works through it, Richards knows the rules have changed quite a bit for him as to how he goes about his outings.
“It’s changed pretty much everything for me,” Richards said of the new rules . “It’s changed a lot for me.”
So much, in fact, that Richards thinks he needs to change everything that he’s done over his nine-plus year career.
“I feel like I need to be a different pitcher than I have been the last nine-and-a-half years,” he said.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rays game:
— Despite his struggles, Richards still is expected to make his next start. But Cora has noticed a few thins about Richards’ fastball of late.
“I’ve been noticing lately that his fastball has been cutting a lot,” Cora said. “It’s been three or four starts that that’s been happening. His stuff wasn’t great. That’s something we have to work on, just to find that fastball again.
“We can talk about breaking ball and slider, but in this league if your fastball is not playing, you’re going to have trouble. I feel like he got beat with that fastball right away. … Hopefully we can find something during this week and get him ready (for his next start.)
— This was the first time the Rays beat the Red Sox this season. Tampa Bay also snapped its seven-game losing streak.
— Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush, who has been working with Richards, doesn’t seem overly concerned.
“We’re not talking about an overhaul here,” he said. “I think it’s just an adjustment to different circumstances right now. It’s not like we’re asking him to throw sidearm or asking him to throw a completely different mix of pitches.”
— Diego Castillo had his hat tossed by umpires during the game because it didn’t pass their inspection. Cora went over to them for an explanation, not because he was hoping to get the Rays pitcher ejected.
“It wasn’t sticky, it was just discolored,” Cora said. “They wanted to make sure there was nothing weird going on, so they decided for him to change the hat. … They explained to me the whole thing. No big deal. …”
Castillo had to switch hats, but was allowed to stay in the game.
Cora said he was “just confused” because Castillo was checked on his belt and glove, but it was his hat to get tossed. If a pitcher gets caught with a substance on them, they are to be ejected from the game.
— Boston still holds a slim, half-game edge over the Rays in the American League East Division.
— The Red Sox still can win the series Thursday night when they wrap up the series with Nick Pivetta on the hill.