This team is just brutal to watch. They got another phenomenal start on Saturday, this time from Nick Pivetta, who was in desperate need for a day like this. He tossed six shutout innings, and the bullpen tossed a couple scoreless frames behind him. Unfortunately, the offense is still in hibernation and scored just one run, leaving the door open for Chicago. Sure enough, Hansel Robles blew the save in the ninth, then Bobby Dalbec and Trevor combined to blow a prime chance to walk it off in the bottom half. As everyone in the world expected after that, Matt Barnes gave up multiple runs in the 10th, and that was that. This team can’t get out of its own way.
More robust game notes below.
At the start of the NESN broadcast on Saturday, Dennis Eckersley mentioned that it was a pitchers kind of day at Fenway, not strong wind blowing directly into the outfield. That wind would surely prove to hold up and knock down balls throughout the game, and indeed to lend itself to the pitching. That doesn’t take away from the work done by Nick Pivetta and Dylan Cease, though, each of which had good stuff in this one and kept their opponents off-balance.
For Pivetta, it was a welcome sight to see how rough his start of the 2022 season has been to this point. He looked like he was taking a step in the right direction his last time out, not issuing a walk for the first time this year. This time he still had that same control, and he was able to pair it with the crispest stuff I can remember seeing him from starting this year. His slider was particularly nails, and he kept the White Sox off the board through the first five innings.
He did get a couple bits of trouble throughout the game, to be fair, though it wasn’t always his fault. In the first, Tim Anderson got into the scoring position on a single and a steal, the latter being well-timed on a slow curveball. He was stranded. In the third, the wind came into play when Leury García hit what looked like a regular fly ball to left field, but instead died right after the infield. Alex Verdugo had a change course and sprint in, and came up short on a diving attempt. Chicago got two runners in the inning, but they were stranded again.
But things weren’t going much better on the other side, with Cease being one of the hottest pitchers in the game and pretty much looking into the game. The mustachioed righty did let runners get on the corners in the first inning thanks to a pair of singles, but Verdugo couldn’t get the final hit he needed and left the runners standing there. That was the team’s best chance early on, with frustration really mounting in the third after the Trevor story struck out looking for the second time. He went down on the borderline calls, but the zone was big all day and frankly he needed to swing, especially in the second at bat. Alex Cora disagreed, and was eventually tossed for arguing balls and strikes.
Boston would get their next chance in the bottom half of the fifth after Franchy Cordero blooped a one-out single and the story drew a walk, putting two on one down for the heart of the order. Rafael Devers was able to come through, smacking a double off of the Monster to bring Cordero home and leave two in the scoring position for Xander Bogaerts, still with one out. Bogaerts put the ball in the play, but it was a grounder with the infield, and Boston hd the contact play, meaning Story broke for the plate. It ‘sa play that I personally despise, And he was gunned down for the second out. JD Martinez struck out in the next at bat, and the Red Sox settled for just the 1-0 lead.
Pivetta then came back out for the sixth, finally pitching with a lead, but immediately gave up a single. A few weeks ago, it seemed like snowballs, but on Saturday he was able to bear down, ending the inning on a huge strikeout to end a nine-pitch at-bat, keeping the Red Sox up by a run.
That would end the day for Pivetta, getting through six strong, shutout innings, and Ryan Brasier got the first call out of the bullpen to protect the 1-0 lead. After striking out the first two batters, there was some potential for trouble when Leury García hit a single and then stole second with the ball getting into the center field. Fortunately, García slipped around the base and had to stay at second, and Brasier eventually got out of the inning with a ground ball to keep the lead in hand.
After a second straight 1-2-3 inning, it was still a one-run game and the Red Sox turned to John Schreiber to protect the lead with Chicago’s order coming up. It looked good early with two quick outs, but then he just had some bad luck. First, Luis Robert reached a weak grounder to third base at Devers, and then José Abreu reached when Trevor’s story failed to make a play going into his left, being charged with an error. That was the end of the day for Schreiber, with Matt Strahm coming in to try and finish the inning. He got the job done, inducing a ground ball to strand the runners.
The offense again failed to provide insurance, leaving a one-run lead to be protected by Hansel Robles. It didn’t go well. The righty walked the first batter he faced, even with something of a gift call mixed in, before giving up a double to put in a pair of scoring positions, still with no out. García followed that up with a line drive out to the right field for a sacrifice fly, and we were all tied up. Fortunately, he limited them to just one run, but now the offense has had to score again to pick up the win.
They got their chance in the ninth, with Jackie Bradley Jr. Starting with a rally one-out single, which was followed by a double from Christian Vázquez, putting on a pair of scoring positions for Bobby Dalbec. He couldn’t get it done, striking out to leave it all up to the story. Instead, he swung at the first pitch he saw and popped it up, winning a prime chance and sending extras to the game.
Matt Barnes came in for the 10th, coming off what Chaim Bloom called his best outing since the first half of last season. He didn’t pick up where he left off. Instead, he immediately gave up two straight doubles and the White Sox had a 3-1 lead after the top half of the 10th. You ‘ll be shocked to learn that the Red Sox then went down in order in the bottom half, and that was that. Another excruciating loss for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox are now starring at a fifth straight loss and a sweep straight into the eyes if they can’t recover on Sunday. They’ll have their hottest pitcher in Michael Wacha on the mound, and the White Sox counter with an ice-cold Dallas Keuchel. First pitch is set for 11:30 AM ET.