BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Detroit on Wednesday afternoon:
1) Eduardo Rodriguez pitched pretty well, but not well -- or deep -- enough.
Rodriguez has now made three starts since coming back from Pawtucket and any one of them was better than his starts from earlier this year.
He's no longer tipping his pitches, he's commanding better in general and his fastball has been more powerful.
But he's also giving up a lot of hits (19 in 18 innings) and he's gotten through the sixth inning just once in his three outings. For a team short in its bullpen, that's leaving a big workload for the relievers.
2) The late-inning comebacks have been in short supply.
Yes, the Red Sox have scored runs by the boatload at times. And yes, they've mostly played hard this season.
But before Wednesday, the Sox had been just 3-35 when trailing after seven innings and they had enjoyed only two walkoff wins all season.
Those numbers can be misleading, of course. Teams can dig out from early holes -- as the Red Sox did Tuesday night.
But the ninth-inning rallies haven't happened much. In fact, on the current home stand, the Sox have had the top-to-middle part of the order up in the bottom of the ninth -- with David Ortiz getting an at-bat each time -- on four separate occasions, trailing by a run or two, and couldn't produce a winning rally.
3) Clay Buchholz may be pitching himself out of the doghouse
After going weeks -- literally --between appearances, Buchholz has been called upon four times in the last seven games.
Granted, in most of those games, the Red Sox have been trailing. But the games were such that they were still within reach, contradicting John Farrell's remarks late last week when he broadly hinted that he didn't trust Buchholz in games that were close.
Slowly, however, Buchholz could be earning some trust coming out of the bullpen. He had a perfect inning Wednesday with the Sox trailing by a run at the time.