While Eduardo Rodriguez’s no-hit bid Sunday was without doubt a great sign for Boston down the stretch, the 1-0 loss also revealed some of the Red Sox’ other issues -- issues that have come up over and over again.
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FIRST: The offense scoring almost at will on one day, and then going completely silent the next.
The Sox were facing one of the American League's better pitchers in Kendall Graveman, who is in the top 20 in starters' ERA after the All-Star break (3.03), but they'd scored 27 runs in the previous two games and were as hot offensively as they'd been all year.
On a day when their starter flirted with a no-hitter, they lost . . . even though it was a game in which they didn't have to string together hit after hit, but merely had to manufacture something when the opportunities presented themselves.
Instead, we saw Yoan Moncada get picked off first after leading off an inning with a single. Graveman has a quick move to first and that had to have been in the scouting report, so Moncada should have been aware of it. We saw them waste another bases-loaded opportunity, with both Brock Holt and Moncada failing to drive in even a single run.
SECOND: The bullpen
Walks have been a problem for closer Craig Kimbrel all season, and it was his leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth that turned into the winning run. In tight postseason games, Kimbrel needs to have better control.
And, of course, he failed in another non-save situation, something that has yet to be resolved and will probably be a bugaboo for him the rest of 2016.
“We’ve used him in tie games on the road previously,” John Farrell said on going with Kimbrel following Sunday’s 1-0 loss. “I thought where we were -- middle of their order -- with the power that they have, Kimbrel was the guy to go to.”
THIRD: The Sox' fourth walk-off error of they year.
Holt was the goat Sunday, but it doesn’t matter who’s committing them. It matters that they’ve happened so often.
“They’re frustrating in the sense that guys are busting their humps to execute a play.” Farrell said on the walk-off errors by Boston this season.
There’s that word again: “execute”. Something everyone’s heard a lot this year, first with pitching (mainly from David Price), now with fielding. Might as well apply it to bases-loaded situations, too, if that hasn’t already been done.
Simply put, those errors can’t happen in the postseason, especially if the Sox find themselves in the one-game playoff.
Actually, none of these issues can happen in a one-game, wild-card playoff -- which is where the Red Sox would be if the season ended today.
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While mistakes like these happen throughout a 162-game stretch, it’s surprising how often they’ve occurred this season.
Not to mention how they tend to happen all at once -- something you’d think a playoff contender would avoid.
Follow Nick Friar on Twitter @ngfriar