Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 10-5 loss to the Tigers
Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 10-5 loss to the Tigers on Sunday in Detroit...
1) Same old Owens
Another full season with Pawtucket didn’t resolve Henry Owens’ issues. At first the lefty was effectively wild Sunday, striking out five in the first two innings, while walking two. But then the game got away from Owens, who finished with five walks and eight earned runs allowed on six hits.
It’s not hard to identify his biggest problem either: fastball command, which is an odd trait for him to have, given he only broke 90 mph a handful of times Sunday.
“I’ve still worked tirelessly trying to command the fastball,” Owens said after the 10-5 loss. “[It’s] been better lately, so I’m not going to be negative here. I’m going to continue to be positive and work hard and try to find that consistency.”
As a result, he relies heavily on his change-up, which is a good pitch. But he winds up using his fastball like he’s supposed to use his change-up and vice versa. As a result, hitters figure him out very quickly and show no mercy. He has 18 walks in 17 2/3 major league innings and 74 in 119 1/3 minor league innings in 2016. Although he’s still only 24, it doesn’t seem like Owens will ever figure out his fastball.
2) The bullpen can even have a negative effect when entering blowouts
Junichi Tazawa entered the game with the Red Sox down seven runs -- bumping the deficit to nine in sixth inning.
Justin Verlander exited the game the following inning, and that’s when the “Never Say Die” Boston offense decided to make a run for the lead, scoring four runs in the seventh.
Tazawa and Fernando Abad (who also pitched an inning Sunday) need work if they hope to help the Red Sox down the line -- or at least continue to serve as mop-up duty.
Fortunately, and unfortunately, for John Farrell and the two scuffling relievers, this offense is never out of a game.
Had Tazawa not given up the two runs, Boston would’ve only been down 8-5 following Andrew Benintendi’s first career home run in the seventh -- giving the lineup plenty of time to tie the score.
3) Nothing can cool down Sandy Leon
The catcher did it all in Sunday’s loss, throwing out his tenth baserunner of the season and notching another multi-hit game. Leon’s been praised for his performances at the plate in 2016, but his defense had been his calling card prior to this season -- and he hasn’t lost a step there either.
After throwing Cameron Maybin out at second base in the first, Leon is now 10-for-24 on throwing out base stealers. His caught stealing percentage, 41.7 percent, ranks 11th in all of baseball and 10th in the American League.
His offense is still the story.
Leon had his 18th multi-hit game of the season Sunday, his third in his past four starts.
In fact, Leon has picked up his game of late -- if that’s even possible -- and batting .438 (7-for-16) in his past four games, bumping his average to .386.
Everyone’s waiting for reality to hit Leon, but maybe this is more of what Boston should expect from the 27-year-old catcher.