Red Sox Notes: Connor Seabold Shows Encouraging Signs In Return

Connor Seabold hadn't pitched for the Red Sox in over two months

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September 21

Connor Seabold’s return to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds didn’t come with the best fortune.

The right-handed pitcher, who made his first start for the Red Sox since July 8, cruised through the first four innings before a lot of weak contact led to a three-run fifth inning, which put the Reds over the top and on their way to a 5-1 win at Great American Ball Park.

Seabold’s outing was done after that frame as in the five innings pitched he surrendered four runs on six hits while striking out four and walking one. But in just his fourth career start at the big-league level, Red Sox manager Alex Cora liked what he saw out of the 26-year-old.

“It was good, man,” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “Good fastball, good off-speed pitches. The slider was better than what I remember early in the season. It was bad luck. A lot of, I think it was 85 mph off the bat (hits). … You cannot control that. You can control attacking the zone, and he did a good job with that.”

Seabold got off to a strong start against the Reds and showed encouraging signs of improvement after he was sent down to Triple-A Worcester in July. Seabold struck out the side in the bottom of the first as he registered swings-and-misses that he wasn’t getting during his first stint with the club.

“I don’t know what the (velocities) were, but it felt like it was coming out good,” Seabold told reporters, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “… Overall, I thought the stuff was good, I thought the locations were good. Just got beat a couple of times.”

Seabold’s outing did come with some blemishes as he issued four wild pitches, which tied the franchise record for most in a single game with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Milt Gaston, according to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

“I spiked a few change-ups and created some wild pitches,” Seabold said. “That can’t happen.”

Going forward, Cora is looking for Seabold to utilize his full array of pitches to keep opposing offenses more off-balanced.

“The pitch mix we still have to work on it,” Cora said. “We cannot be so fastball heavy, especially in the division that we play (in). It’s a good first step. The fastball played early on. The slider was better than expected than the one I saw early in the season. The change-up is still one that we want to see a little bit more often. But overall, a solid (outing).”

Cora said Seabold, who is still searching for his first major league win, will be in line to get another start on Monday when the Red Sox host the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.

Here are more notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Reds game:

— Boston’s offense fell flat as it didn’t pack the same punch it had in the series opener when the Red Sox hit three home runs. The Red Sox generated just six hits against Reds pitching, all of which were singles. Boston’s lone run came on a sacrifice fly from Alex Verdugo, which plated Rafael Devers in the top of the fourth.

— After a rough major league debut, Frank German was back on the mound in the eighth inning. While the hard-throwing right-hander allowed a homer to Donovan Solano in the frame, German did record his first strikeout in the bigs by throwing a 99.4 mph heater by Jake Fraley.

“Obviously, Solano, he’s a good hitter. He’s been doing damage for the last two or three years and he put a good swing on it,” Cora said. “He was around the strike zone, which is very important. You see the stuff, we still got to work on a few things, but that’s part of being a big leaguer and I’m glad that he was able to go out there and perform.”

— The loss marked Boston’s first defeat against the Reds at Great American Ball Park since 2008, according to Abraham.

— The Red Sox begin a four-game set with the New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium on Thursday (7:15 p.m. ET) with the series opener being televised on FOX. Friday’s matchup between the rivals, which is a 7:05 p.m. start, can be viewed on Apple+. The Red Sox return to NESN airwaves on Saturday as they continue their series with the Yankees. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m., and you can also catch an hour of pregame coverage on NESN.

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