Garrett Richards fell to 4-4 on the mound this season Tuesday, but can’t be faulted for the Boston Red Sox’s 5-1 loss to the Houston Astros.
By the time he handed the game over to relievers for the seventh, it was a one run game, despite a tough start where he gave up a leadoff home run to José Altuve.
“He gave us a chance to win,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Richards during a postgame video conference. “He made some good pitches when he counted. He battled. He didn’t have his best stuff but, against a tough lineup, they only scored two in six innings. Obviously the walks and all that put him in a bad spot, but I think he was outstanding.”
Richards went six full innings Tuesday and gave up just two runs with five strikeouts. Beyond the four hits, four walks did get him into trouble.
“Yeah, if I can figure out how to not walk people anymore and I’ve said that before, or at least limit the walks, I’m going to go deeper into games,” Richards said postgame, after allowing his 30th walk of the season.
“And that’s kind of our goal, I’m kind of my own enemy at this point, as far as that goes. I could be eating up a lot more innings, but I’m not. So that’s something I’m trying to get better at. Every night you’re gonna be dealt a different hand and you got to kind of make it work. So, I’ve been pleased with the way that I’ve been able to make adjustments on the fly and keep the ball in the zone for the most part, make pitches when I need to and give us a chance to win.”
As an 11-year veteran, Richards priorities have evolved in wanting to be healthy and ready to compete every five days. He also had the perspective to know he’s still a work in progress this season.
“I’m just about being healthy and just being able to compete every five days,” Richards said. “You know, some familiar things are coming back to me, I’m far away from a finished product right now.”
Here are other takeaways from Red Sox-Astros:
— The Red Sox are having a hard time hitting in this series. In two games against Houston they’ve recorded 10 combine hits, failing to really capitalize. That was the case Tuesday as Boston had runners on first and third with no outs in the fifth.
“Haven’t been able to do too much,” Cora said. “We struck out nine times today, we walked once. There was one threat there, right? First and third with no outs, we ended up scoring one, but so far in this series we haven’t done much. They’ve been doing a good job, using their fastballs in certain spots and expanding with their breaking balls and we haven’t been able to make adjustments.”
— Rafael Devers went 0-for-4 tonight, with each of the 20 pitches thrown at him being a fastball. Going into the game he was hitting .167 against that pitch. Good strategy from the Astros.
— Hunter Renfroe went on an absolute tear in May. He continued that into June, going 1-for-4 with a run.
— The Red Sox still can tie the series, at least.
Two more games against the Astros on Wednesday and Thursday can even things up for Boston. First pitch from Houston is at 8:10 p.m. ET, which you can watch on NESN.