'What we learned': Red Sox’ 3-1 loss to White Sox
BOSTON - Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox' 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Monday. . .
1) Steven Wright's spot on the All-Star team can't be denied
There's still a few weeks to go before manager Ned Yost puts together his American League pitching staff for the July 12th All-Star game in San Diego, but Wright is most deserving of a spot -- and maybe, the logical choice to start.
Wright was saddled with a no-decision Monday night, but he allowed just run -- unearned -- over nine innings. Had the Sox managed to get a run out of their bases-loaded, no-out opportunity in the ninth, he would have picked up his ninth win and fourth complete game.
As it is, Wright sports the best ERA among A.L. starters with a 2.01 ERA. He also has the lowest home run ratio among A.L. starters and is among the league leaders in batting average against and slugging percentage allowed.
Moreover, Wright has been the picture of consistency. In 14 starts, he's allowed three earned runs or fewer 13 times. In 11 of those starts, he's allowed two runs or fewer.
Barring something completely unforeseen, Wright has earned his spot.
2) Putting Brock Holt back in his super-utility role is the right thing to do
Holt won't rejoin the Red Sox until next week, probably, but when he does come back, John Farrell has already said that he won't automatically go back to being the starting left fielder against righthanders.
That was the job Holt had for the first two months, but in the interim, Chris Young has done a decent job in left.
Holt was and is more valuable when he's moving around the diamond, filling in at all four infield spots, while also being available in the outfield. When he plays every day, he can get exposed.
But when Holt is used at different spots four or so times per week, his bat plays up and his value increases. He can reliably spell Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia in the middle of the infield, give Travis Shaw some time off at third and still get the occasional start in left against a tough righthander.
3) Craig Kimbrel needed to be in the game
Kimbrel was pitching for the third straight day, but as John Farrell pointed out, Kimbrel had thrown only 24 pitches in the previous two appearances. Farrell and Kimbrel regularly communicate before games to determine his readiness and availability and Kimbrel had told the manager he was capable of pitching.
Farrell took a lot of criticism eight days ago when the Sox went into an extra inning game on the road and Kimbrel wasn't used, as the Sox lost in 10 innings with Matt Barnes on the mound.
If you took issue with Farrell not getting his best reliever into a tie game late, you can't then turn around an criticize him for using him in a tie game at home.
If Kimbrel remained in the bullpen and another reliever gave up the lead in the 10th or some other inning, Farrell would be roasted for not using his best weapon.
Sometimes, the wins and losses come down to players executing more than managers strategic moves. Monday night was just such an example.