First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:
Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.
Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.
Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.
The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.
To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.
It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.
Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.
In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.
We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.
Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.
Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.
Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.
Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.
Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.
But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.