If there was one word to describe the Red Sox in this series against the Detroit Tigers, it would have to be “sick”. The Red Sox came into this series with a number of players with “flu-like symptoms”, leaving them short handed on the roster. In this four game series, the Tigers took advantage of that and went on to take this series 3-1. You really couldn’t blame anyone on the Red Sox; this epidemic happened way before the season opener, reports saying that some of the Sox players and staff had the flu during spring training. Nonetheless it came at a cost and because of it the Red Sox have a 3-3 record and are 3rd in the division.
Game 1: This game didn’t include Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez due to the flu. It seemed, however, that Sandoval wanted to redeem himself in this ballgame; hitting a 3 run home run in the top of the 8th inning to give the Sox a 5-4 lead. Sandoval was 2-4 that day, adding 3 RBIs to his stats. Also adding to the score was Chris Young, who doubled in the 8th as well, and Bradley Jr who singled to score Moreland. But that 8th inning rally didn’t seem to matter; when Hembree, Scott, and Kelly came in and gave up 2 ERs; giving the Tigers the lead by walking JaCoby Jones with the base loaded. With a 6-5 lead heading into the 9th, the Tigers finished the Red Sox and Game 1 went to the Tigers. The starting pitcher for the Sox was Stephen Wright; who at first had a decent start, but then started to collapse towards the 6th/7th inning, giving up 4 runs, 7 hits, and striking out 4 batters. All in all, the bullpen collapsed in this game.
Game 2: This game, again, didn’t include Mookie Betts or Hanley Ramirez. Not much hitting here in this game as well; Bradley being the only one who put up a score for the Red Sox with a sacrifice fly to score Morland in the 2nd inning. Other than that it was up to Eduardo Rodriguez to help the Red Sox; which ended up bad. He only lasted 5 innings, giving up 4 runs, including 2 home runs from Iglesias and McCann. Once the bullpen came in they allowed no hits for the rest of the game. Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann played very well, only allowing 1 run and 4 hits; the Sox couldn’t get much from him. Tigers went on to win this game 4-1, leading the series 2-0.
Game 3: After missing the first two games of the series, Betts finally returned to the lineup, but Hanley was still out. The bats in this game looked to be working; on both sides rather. Sandy Leon gets the praise in this one; tie ball game in the top of the 8th with the bases load, Leon hits a single into center field, scoring 2 runners and helping the Red Sox secure a 7-5 win. Sandoval also had an RBI in that inning as well, making it 7-5. Porcello had a rough start, despite striking out 8 batters. He let up 4 ERs, gave up 11 hits, and Castellanos hit a home run off him in the bottom of the 7th. Once Porcello was taken out, the bullpen went to work; Kimbrel being the only one giving up a run in the 9th inning. Overall it was a tough battle, but the Red Sox were able to pull it off.
Game 4: This was a pitching battle throughout the entire game. Chris Sale vs Justin Verlander. It was sure to be a great pitching battle, and boy was it. Verlander won this match-up, however; pitching for 7.0 innings, giving up 1 run, 3 hits, and striking out 4 batters. Sale, who had another great start, pitched for 7.2 innings, gave up 2 ERs, 5 hits, and struck out 10 batters. Sale did however give up a home run in the 6th inning to Kinsler, which sealed the Tiger a 2-1 victory; giving the the series win, 3-1.
Overview: Overall it didn’t help that some key starters for the Sox were sick, and to make matters worse Jackie Bradley Jr. has been put on the 10 day DL for a sprained ligament in his right knee. Though I have complete confidence that Chris Young can fill that role, he’s been a key player in our hitting lineup. In hindsight, it’s good that the Red Sox are getting all of this sick/injury nonsense early on; though it sucks it’s better this happens early on in the season rather than late in the season. Not very much to complain here; Sandoval did very well in this series, along with Moreland who finally contributed to the hitting. Other than the bullpen collapse in the first game, they had a decent outing.
Hopefully the Sox can get healthy, as now they head home for a two game series against Baltimore, who currently lead the division at 4-1.