Three things we learned from Red Sox' 4-1 loss to White Sox
Three Things we learned from the Red Sox' 4-1 loss to the White Sox
CHICAGO -- Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox' 4-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. . .
Sometimes, the problem with a knuckleball is the pitch has too much movement. This was not one of those nights for Steven Wright.
Make little mistake: Wright pitched well - allowing two runs on just three hits in six innings -- and once again, deserved better than to be hung with a loss. The Sox just didn't produce much support for him, which is how he has three losses to go along with a 1.67 ERA.
He gave up a run-scoring triple to Jose Abreu in the first, but what frustrated him a lot more was the third inning, when he walked the first two hitters he faced.
After a groundout and an intentional walk to fill the bases, the White Sox then manufactured a run on another infield groundout.
Wright was still upset about the two walks well after the game, and blamed his temporary control issues on a mechanical glitch.
"I just had trouble finding my release point,'' said Wright. "I had trouble keeping it over the plate. I felt like the movement was there, but it was inconsistent as far as the starting point, which made it really hard for me to repeat it in the strike zone.''
Thanks to some input from David Price, Wright started pitching out of the stretch thereafter and had much better command. After he made the adjustment, he retired 11 of the next 12 hitters he faced.
"Later in the game,'' he explained, "I got a lot of mis-hits, which is what I'm always shooting for.''
It seems inconceivable that someone as strong as Hanley Ramirez could go 96 at-bats between homers. And yet. . .
Until the fifth inning Tuesday, when he drove a pitch from Jose Quintana into the visitor's bullpen in right, Ramirez had gone almost a month without a homer.
Some of that could be attributed to Ramirez's approach, which is to use the entire field. Last year, he was pull happy, but, early in the season, it resulted in far more power, with 10 homers in the first month.
Ramirez has been making hard contact for much of the season, but for whatever reason, there hasn't been as much carry on the balls he hits.
One member of the organization, speaking before the game, theorized that Ramirez may feel a little "in-between'' on pitches. He's so focused on trying to take the ball the other way that when he gets something in that he might otherwise pull, he jumps at those balls and doesn't produce the same swing path.
Another issue, which dates back to last year: Ramirez doesn't draw anywhere near the number of walks he once did. As recently as two years ago, he had a 10.9 percent walk rate; last year, that dipped to 4.9 percent. This year, going into Tuesday night, it was 3.8 percent.
The Red Sox aren't hitting lefties. It's unclear whether this is due to lack of exposure to them, or something else
Tuesday marked just the third time in 26 games that they've faced an opposing lefty starter. They're 0-3 and have hit just .108 in those games, scoring two runs in 23 innings.
It certainly helps lineups get accustomed to hitting lefties when they face lefties more frequently.
But John Farrell wasn't about to use that as an excuse.
"We have such a heavily righthand-hitting lineup, you would think that our guys would be able to handle the off-side pitching coming at them,'' said Farrell. "We're capable of more.''
Some have scapegoated Chris Young for the lack of production, but even as Young has struggled in those losses, he's just one of nine hitters.
(As for those complaining that Brock Holt should be in left field, regardless of who's pitching, realize that Holt is hitting .220 since the third game of the season).
What about capable everyday players like Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Hanley Ramirez - all righthanded, and all pretty much ineffective against lefties to date.
There will be more opportunities in the next week or so to face more, so that could change the result.
But for now, the output is alarming.