Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tigers
Three Things we learned from the Boston Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers...
1) Shutdown innings -- or lack thereof -- are killing the Red Sox.
While there's been plenty of focus on the offense and its inability to score late in games, a bigger issue -- of late, at least -- is the pitching staff not being able to keep the momentum after the offense has scored.
It happened twice Tuesday night in the 9-8 loss, as the Red Sox took a 5-4 lead -- only to give it back immediately -- and then again, after the Sox had tied things up.
It was more of the same Wednesday afternoon. As soon as the Red Sox had used a Mookie Betts triple in the eighth to tie the game, the Sox handed the lead right back when Miguel Cabrera homered off Brad Ziegler three batters into the next half inning.
Last season, this was nearly a year-long issue with Rick Porcello, who fell into the habit of giving runs back as soon as they were scored for him. Of late, it's as if the entire staff has been infected with the same problem.
2) For a team with so much firepower, the Sox haven't had many late-inning comebacks.
The Sox are now 3-36 in games in which they're trailing after seven innings.
Those numbers can be a little misleading, but that's not a good sign. Sure, there were more than a few games there in which the Red Sox got blown out early by poor starting pitching performances, and there have been games -- like Tuesday night and again Wednesday afternoon -- when the Sox come back, tie things up, then give up the lead again.
The blame for those losses can be shared with the bullpen.
But for a team with as many weapons in the everyday lineup, three comeback wins seems inadequate.
Where are the rallies? Where are the last at-bat, or walk-off wins? (For the second, the Sox have just two walk-off wins all season).
And as noted earlier, the Sox have been in position to do the damage. Four times in the series against the Twins and the Tigers, the Sox had David Ortiz -- and others -- coming to the plate in the ninth down by a run or two. And they lost all four of those games.
3) In trade talks, the Red Sox seem to aiming for modest acquisitions.
According to an N.L. talent evaluator who is familiar with some of the Red Sox ongoing talks with teams leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, the Sox seem focused on adding a bullpen piece and/or back-end starters.
The need for the former is rather obvious, given the current injuries to Criag Kimbrel and Koji Uehara. The Sox can use some upgrades and another experienced arm to guide them through the final two months.
As for the rotation, it's not a surprise that the Sox aren't serious bidders for more glamorous names like Chris Sale, since that would require them to gut their farm system.
But the team's starter depth is perilous, with only Clay Buchholz in reserve. It makes perfect sense that the Sox would be seeking someone else to help provide them with insurance against further injuries or under-performance.