First impressions of the Red Sox 7-4 loss to Minnesota:
Rick Porcello delivered when he put himself in jams -- even if the scoreboard didn’t say so.
Although the Twins earned their first run cleanly, the same can't be said about the other three off of Porcello.
The Twins scored on a hard-hit ball misplayed by Xander Bogaerts in the second, a double-play ball he usually converts. Although the double play can’t be assumed, Porcello got the result he wanted on the pitch -- just not the general outcome.
The righty did the same thing in the sixth, getting a routine grounder to Bogaerts with two outs and runners on first and third. Unfortunately, he and Hanley Ramirez couldn’t make the play, allowing another run to score. And the following batter perfectly placed a blooper, allowing another run to score.
Porcello could’ve easily walked away with one run to his name.
Porcello continues to show that six innings isn’t satisfying.
He’s been labeled an innings-eater, and the Sox’ starter showed he’s a little more than that Sunday.
The righty could’ve easily called it a day after his sixth inning. He’d done his job -- even if the defense wasn’t always there. Plus, the top of the Twins order was due up in the seventh for the fourth time -- dangerous territory for any starting pitcher.
But he went out again in the seventh, held Minnesota scoreless, and was rewarded when the Sox tied the game with three rusn in the top of the eighth.
He got the raw end of the subsequent bullpen battle, but definitely did enough for a typically deadly Red Sox lineup.
The bullpen had another relatively mild day.
Red Sox relievers were called on to perform in a closely contested game, but they didn’t have cover an extensive amount of innings -- like they did in Saturday’s game.
The rest they’ve received over the Minnesota series -- sandwiched by two off days -- will prove helpful when they host the Orioles starting Tuesday.
Boston put pressure on Minnesota all day.
Even though the Red Sox had a low run total by their standard, their leadoff runner reached base six times, constantly forcing the Minnesota pitchers to throw out of the stretch and focus on something besides the batter.
They didn’t take advantage of it often enough, stranding the runner or grounding into the double play in five of those six opportunities. But they constantly put the pressure on the Twins -- and a scuffling team is always bound to. crack when the pressures on.
Chris Young stays hot.
The left fielder has stepped up big for Boston, especially with Travis Shaw and Hanley Ramirez slumping. It seems like he does in fact have significant value.