BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Toronto:
This one can be laid squarely at the feet of the bullpen.
With six outs to go, the Red Sox led 1-0, but Koji Uehara and then Craig Kimbrel lit the fuse with poor command -- made worse by some sloppy defense behind them.
Uehara, who had been terrific in his first seven outings, was unusually wild with two walks and a hit batsman in the span of five hitters.
Kimbrel came on with one out and the bases loaded and when he fanned Edwin Encarnacion, it seemed like he might get out of the inning without further damage. But with a full count, he walked Troy Tulowitzki on a pitch that was nowhere close to being a strike to force in one run, then gave up a two-run bloop single to Russell Martin.
The Sox had been 6-0 when leading after seven innings.
Carson Smith can't get here fast enough.
Through 12 games, Uehara has pitched in eight games and Junichi Tazawa seven. Together, they're the high-leverage set-up men for the seventh and eighth innings, When they're in the game, it's a sign the Red Sox lead in the late innings.
But Uehara is 41 and Tazawa has run out of gas in each of last two seasons, thanks to his workload. And Uehara was atypically wild today, with two walks and a hit batsman in one-third of an inning.
Smith was obtained last winter to give the Sox another dependable late-inning bullpen arm, and one capable of swings-and-misses. But a forearm strain forced him to the DL in spring training and while he's made progress in extended spring, he's still not appeared in a rehab game.
Clay Buchholz was particularly efficient in his start, relying on the double play to bail him out of what little trouble he encountered.
In 6 2/3 innings, Buchholz got the Jays to ground into four double plays, three of them from Jose Bautista. The last Red Sox starter to induce four GIDP in a game was Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2008.
Buchholz didn't have overpowering stuff, with just two strikeouts along the way. But Toronto didn't have a lot of hard-hit balls against him and only 6 of the 20 outs he recorded were in the air.
Josh Rutledge's first at-bat of the season was a successful one.
After being promoted last Friday, Rutledge got the start at third and delivered a double to right-center, scoring Hanley Ramirez from second with the first -- and only -- Red Sox run of the afternoon.
Rutledge represents a nice right-handed bat off the bench, though he's somewhat limited defensively. Theoretically, he can play all four infield position, giving him versatility. But his throwing error in the top of the eighth, allowing the Jays to put the leadoff man in scoring position, was a reminder that he's limited in the field.
After everyone raved about Christian Vazquez's immediate impact on the staff Friday and Saturday, he had a decidedly off-day behind the plate Monday, committing two passed balls in a game for the first time in his career.
The first one was relatively harmless in the fifth inning, but the second helped result in the Jays scoring the tying run.