'What we learned': Red Sox’ 6-3 loss to Royals
BOSTON - Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals
1) Steven Wright wasn't sure how his shoulder was going to feel in the first inning -- and that cost him
Wright had pitched in three weeks, after jamming his shoulder during an ill-fated pinch-running appearance at Dodger Stadium and was unsure how the shoulder would respond under game conditions.
"I got a little antsy, too much adrenaline,'' said Wright. "In the first inning, I didn't really know (what to expect). For me, it's the first time I ever had anything go on with my shoulder, so trying to find the release point, how much effort to use...The fact that I felt good kind of made me overthrown a little bit because it was the first time I felt really good in a while.''
In time, Wright convinced himself that he was fine and settled into a consistent release point. But that didn't happen until the second inning, by which time he had already dug a deep 5-0 hole, out from which the Sox couldn't climb.
2) The lineup was top-heavy
Leadoff man Dustin Pedroia was 4-for-4 with a walk. No. 2 hitter Xander Bogaerts was 3-for-5. David Ortiz had a double. Mookie Betts was 5-for-5.
But after that? The Sox couldn't seem to buy a hit. Though Hanley Ramirez supplied a run-scoring single in the ninth, the No. 5-9 hitters in the lineup were a combined 2-for-21.
The Sox had plenty of baserunners, or as John Farrell likes to say "continually created (scoring) opportunities.''
But the Sox were a woeful 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position. They stranded at least one baserunner in seven of the nine innings and, frequently, stranded them in scoring position.
That included yet another in a long series of bases-loaded situations in which the Sox failed to collect even a single run.
Farrell has been critical of the Sox at times in those spots for getting away from the "all-field'' approach, with a propensity for trying to pull the ball.
But on Friday night, he didn't see the hitters expanding the strike zone, or getting themselves out. Instead, he credited Royals starter Ian Kennedy for challenging the Sox and making quality pitches when he needed to most.
3) Jackie Bradley Jr. needs some time off, but now is a hard time to provide it
Were Andrew Benintendi healthy, it would be easy for the Sox to sit Bradley, with Benintendi available to fill in in center and either Brock Holt or Chris Young in center.
But with Benintendi on the DL with a knee injury, the Sox don't have as many available options. Young has played plenty of center in his career, but he's slowed some and doesn't cover the ground he used to. Holt, too, has played center on occasion, but represents a steep dropoff from Bradley or Benintendi.
Still, Bradley is one of those funks that plagued him for parts of the last two seasons - over-eager at times and expanding the strike zone, or, too passive, resulting in a lot of called strikes.
Over his last 17 at-bats, he's fanned 10 times.
Kansas City will start tough lefty Danny Duffy Saturday, and that would seem a perfect spot to give Bradley a day -- even if the defensive alignment in the outfield won't be as strong as the Sox would like.