Before Saturday’s game, Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom offered his outlook on the team’s disappointing start to 2022.
“Obviously, we’ve had some tough losses late, you know, more than more than our share,” Bloom said. “But they happened. We don’t have a time machine. We can’t go back and change them.”
Ten innings later against the Chicago White Sox, another tough loss. Boston lost a 1-0 lead in the ninth and fell 3-1, its sixth loss in as many extra-inning games.
The next challenge is avoiding a three-game series sweep at home in a Sunday morning affair.
“We had a chance to finish the game in the ninth,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, whose team had two runners in scoring position with one out after Jackie Bradley Jr. singled and Christian Vazquez doubled but couldn’t score. “… Where we’re at right now, any chance we have, we have to take advantage.”
Starting pitching hasn’t been an issue, as Nick Pivetta pitched six shutout innings and struck out eight.
Now, Michael Wacha (3-0, 1.38 ERA) will look to continue Boston’s recent trend of starting pitchers allowing two or fewer runs in 13 of the last 15 games.
Wacha dealt 5 2/3 shutout innings Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels. Just one baserunner reached scoring position against Wacha, who retired 15 of the 20 total batters he faced.
The right-hander hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his five starts, the last three of which he has won. For the season, his .148 opponent’s batting average is the lowest in the American League.
“(Wacha) was pounding the strike zone with good stuff and got some quick outs,” Cora said. “For a defender, he’s a dream come true. His pace, throwing strikes, you have to be ready because the ball will get hit. So far we’ve done an outstanding job defensively behind him. He’s been great.”
Saturday’s resilient effort helped Chicago extend its win streak to five straight.
The White Sox, who have allowed two runs or fewer in four of those five games, were previously 0-10 when trailing after eight innings.
“This kind of game, that’s what we need to get our confidence up,” center fielder Luis Robert said. “We had a really rough April and to win this kind of game gives us hope.”
Jose Abreu and Robert had back-to-back RBI hits to begin the 10th after Leury Garcia hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
“It proves what I’ve been telling you all about them all along — heart, guts, talent,” manager Tony La Russa said.
Chicago’s pitching plan for the final two games wasn’t determined before the series, as the team still awaits the return of Lance Lynn (right knee tendon tear) which is expected at some point in May.
Dallas Keuchel (1-3, 8.40) will get the ball despite struggling mightily with command in recent starts.
Last Sunday against the Angels, the big southpaw allowed four earned runs on six hits and five walks. It was his second straight start with five free passes and his third consecutive loss.
Following his last outing, Keuchel had allowed more hits (24) and earned runs (14) than any White Sox starter.
“I still feel good,” Keuchel said. “That’s the main thing and I’m upbeat with how things are progressing. Obviously, I want to win every start, that’s not likely. But at the same time, I gotta give six, seven innings instead of five.”
–Field Level Media