'What we learned': Red Sox' 2-1 loss to Angels
Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. . .
1) David Price was brilliant -- and his outing was wasted
This was the kind of game Red Sox fans had, arguably, been waiting all year for Price to pitch: a low-scoring game with no margin for error. The kind of game you expect from your ace.
Price held up his part of the bargain, shutting out the Angels for eight innings. Now, admittedly, Jered Weaver is not exactly a No. 1 starter these days -- far from it, as his 5.32 ERA attests. And the Angels' lineup is hardly fearsome, with the team lodged in the AL West basement.
But those factors aside, Price did what he needed to do. When the Sox couldn't do much against Weaver and a parade of Angels relievers, Price made the one run they did score -- back in the third inning -- stand up through eight innings.
This is obviously a hugely important trip for the Red Sox, and Price will start a number of games out West. On Thursday night, he did everything he could to get the trip off to a good start. It wasn't his fault that it began so poorly.
2) Hanley Ramirez's throwing error spoiled what had been a fine night at first
Ramirez's play has been so good at first that people barely mention it anymore. His glove work -- such a concern at the start of the season -- is taken for granted.
On at least three occasions Thursday night, he dug out out throws from the dirt to save his infielders, and he did so with ease, something that couldn't have been imagined only a few short months ago.
Then, in the ninth, Ramirez couldn't quite scoop Travis Shaw's low throw, though it appeared as though Mike Trout beat the throw anyway.
With the bases loaded and one out and the infield in, Ramirez gloved a grounder from Daniel Nava and was set to throw home to cut down the tying run at the plate.
But his throw sailed way over Sandy Leon and two runs scored, costing the Red Sox the game.
Until then, Ramirez had made just three errors all season. But he couldn't possibly have picked a worse time for his fourth.
3) It was the right choice to lift Price after eight
When closer Brad Ziegler coughed up the lead in the ninth, the response was predictably swift: John Farrell should have left Price in the game.
But that overlooks several factors, not the least of which was that Price had thrown 108 pitches. That number was just six pitches shy of the most Price had thrown all season.
And while Price had had success against Mike Trout, the leadoff hitter, in the past and Trout was 2-for-3 in his career against Ziegler, the fact remains that Ziegler did his job by tying up Trout and getting a high-chopper to third. It wasn't Ziegler's fault that Trout had the speed to beat out a routine grounder, nor that Shaw bounced his throw to first, negating any change to get the speedy Trout.
Further, the smart call was to have Ziegler start the inning clean.
Complaining that the manager didn't let his starter begin the ninth with 108 pitches is the kind of complaint that might have been appropriate a generation ago. But in 2016, the closers get the ninth -- especially when the starting pitcher is well over 100 pitches.