'What we learned': Red Sox’ 4-0 win over Giants
Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 4-0 win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night. . .
1) It's not John Farrell's fault that Koji Uehara had to leave the game
As soon as Uehara waved out a trainer in the ninth inning, complaining of a sore pectoral muscle, the Twitterverse explosed with the usual: #FireFarrell.
Seems that this was the first time in modern baseball history that a closer has been brought in to a non-save situation.
Some pointed to the upcoming schedule. But never mind that the Red Sox have 20 games in the next 20 days, with no scheduled breaks. The object is to win every night, and Farrell thought that, for any number of reasons, Uehara was the best option.
Farrell wasn't thinking that Uehara might be needed in two more nights, or three times this week. Nor should he have been.
The Giants had the 3-4-5 hitters in their lineup -- Brandon Belt, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford -- due in that inning.
Had the Giants put a baserunner or two on, Uehara would have been brought in anyway. But Farrell correctly noted that Uehara had been far more effective this season when starting a clean inning, rather than coming in in the middle of an inning with men on base.
The Red Sox are in a pennant race. There's no sense "saving'' Uehara for later because you're in the middle of a demanding part of the schedule. You use your best relievers to get the most important outs -- period.
2) If Uehara is lost for any stretch of time, Brad Ziegler will handle the closing duties
The trade for Ziegler is looking better and better all the time.
Initially. Ziegler was obtained to provide some veteran experience at the back end of the bullpen, especially in the wake of the injury to closer Craig Kimbrel.
Now, it's possible that Ziegler could be the closer for a few days, or, if Uehara is placed on the DL, a few weeks.
Ziegler isn't your typical closer in that he doesn't overpower hitters or rack up big strikeout numbers (6.3 per nine innings this season; 5.9 in his career), but he has experience in the role and isn't afraid.
3) Rick Porcello has been indispensable for the Red Sox this season
Steven Wright's ERA is lower and he's been more consistent. David Price has, at times, been more dominant, if not as frequently as the Red Sox had hoped.
But Porcello has, quietly, been incredibly consistent for the Sox. The Sox are 14-5 in his 19 starts this season, a measure of his consistency. And for someone who allows a lot of balls to be put in play, his WHIP of 1.17 coming into the game was ninth best among A.L. starters.
Dating back to May 28, almost two months ago, Porcello has pitched at least six innings nine out of 10 times. And the one time he fell short, he did so by just two outs, in a game the Red Sox won handily.
And Porcello is getting better as the season progresses. In his last seven starts, Porcello has six quality starts and an ERA of 2.47.