What we learned in Red Sox' 9-8 loss to the Tigers
WHAT WE LEARNED IN RED SOX' 9-8 LOSS TO THE TIGERS
BOSTON -- Three things we learned in the Red Sox' 9-8 loss to Detroit on Tuesday night . . .
1. ON THIS NIGHT, STEVEN WRIGHT WAS ALL WRONG
Wright didn't have his regular catcher, with Ryan Hanigan scratched before gametime with the flu. And with the heat and humidity, it appeared Wright had some issues with his grip, especially late in the outing.
But sometimes, starting pitchers have off-nights, and this was one of them.
He put the Red Sox behind 2-0 in the first and 4-0 in the second. Then, after the Sox scored three in the third and two more in the fourth to give him the lead, Wright was guilty of the cardinal sin: Walking the first two hitters he faced in the fifth, helping to set up a four-run Tiger rally.
Know how many times Wright had given up more than three earned runs in a start before Tuesday night? Three. Know how many times he failed to get through the fifth before Tuesday night? Twice.
It happens. But the timing wasn't good for a Red Sox team that was into its bullpen early on Saturday and got only six innings from its starter Monday.
2. THE SOX HAVE FAILED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE HOMESTAND
The team is 4-4 through the first eight games, and needs a win in the homestand finale Wednesday afternoon to achieve a winning record for the homestand.
Sweeping San Francisco was a nice start, but the Sox had no business splitting a series with the A.L.'s worst team, the Minnesota Twins.
And while the Tigers are competitive and have a winning record, they're hardly a juggernaut. Now the Red Sox need a win Wednesday to avoid a sweep.
This was an especially important homestand because it leads up to a three-city, 11-game West Coast road swing. And that trip signals a start to the final two months of the season, when the Red Sox will play 41 of their final 63 games on the road.
Playing .500 on the road wil be a challenge, making it all that much more imperative that the Sox take care of business at home.
They've failed to do that in the last week-and-a-half.
3. SOMETIMES, THE OFFENSE IS ASKED TO DO TOO MUCH
While a lot of attention has been paid to the Red Sox' poor record when they score four runs or fewer (8-30), the fact remains that, on the current homestand, the Sox have lost one game in which they scored nine runs and another (Tuesday night) when they managed eight.
No matter the opponent, those games have to be won. But the pitching staff -- in both cases, the starter and the bullpen were guilty -- has been involved in too many high-scoring slugfests.
Twice Tuesday night, the Red Sox rallied to overcome leads by the Tigers. They stormed back with three runs in the third and two in the fourth to overcome the 4-0 lead Detroit had built.
And even after the Tigers scored four in the fifth, the Red Sox' bats didn't quit, with three more in the sixth to tie it.
But once more, the Tigers responded as the Red Sox bullpen failed to provide a shutdown inning in the top of the seventh, pushing the go-ahead (and ultimately, winning) run across.