Red Sox Notes: Pitching Bounces Back In Series Vs. Tigers

Alex Cora was pleased with the staff's contributions in Detroit


Apr 9, 2023

Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale set the tone in the series opener and right-hander Kutter Crawford concluded the three-game set in a similar fashion Sunday with his own much-improved outing as Boston swept the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Crawford allowed one run on five hits in five innings of work before Boston’s bullpen shut out the Tigers over the next four innings in the 4-1 verdict.

“He was good, gave us what we needed,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters of Crawford, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Five innings then we went to the bullpen and every one of them they did an outstanding job. It was a good-fought series, the starters did what we asked them to do, the bullpen did an amazing job and now we just got to go to Tampa and play good baseball.”

Crawford was responsible for Boston’s third respectable start against the Tigers after both Sale (three runs on five hits in five innings) and Tanner Houck (two runs on three hits in five innings). It served as a bounce-back outing both for himself personally — he allowed seven runs on eight hits in four innings last week against the Pittsburgh Pirates — and for the group.

Cora acknowledged one “key” difference in his performance.

“Elevated fastballs, he got a few swings and misses up there,” Cora said. “I think that was the key. Obviously we didn’t make one play up the middle and then the strikeout, you know, and then they score in that inning. But after that, he settled down, make pitches and gave us a chance.”

Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, was impressed by the staff as well.

“Our starting rotation did well throwing strikes and our bullpen was amazing today and the whole series,” Casas told NESN’s Jahmai Webster. “I think it was complete team effort to get this sweep.”

Here are more notes from Red Sox-Tigers:

— Cora revealed after the game that Red Sox outfielder Adam Duvall was getting X-rays on his wrist after leaving in the ninth inning. Duvall rolled his wrist as he dove for a line drive in center field, and upon returning to his feet, immediately took off his glove and started making his way to the Red Sox clubhouse.

“We’ll know more tomorrow,” Cora said.

— Josh Winckowski continued his strong start with a scoreless seventh inning. He didn’t allow a single hit while seven of his 12 pitches were strikes.

“The stuff is really good,” Cora said. “… The strike-throwing ability it plays, it plays. And he did an outstanding job like I said in the offseason, you see his body and his delivery and the action of his pitches, they’re really good. And when he comes from the bullpen he’s pounding the strike zone with good stuff, which is what we’re trying to preach and actually do.”

— Cora mentioned the Red Sox likely will be seeing a lot more of Rob Refsnyder, who reached base on three of his five plate appearances Sunday with a pair of walks. Cora was pleased with Refsnyder’s approach at the plate, leading him to see eight pitches in his first-inning at-bat and another six pitches in his seventh-inning appearance.

— The Red Sox have won all three games against left-hander pitchers this season. Boston is expected to see three more lefties in its upcoming series against the 9-0 Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays will welcome the Red Sox to Tropicana Field on Monday for the first game of the four-game set, which you can watch on NESN with first pitch scheduled for 6:40 p.m. ET.

“I think they’re off to a pretty hot start so hopefully we can cool them down,” Casas said of the Rays.

Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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