Red Sox

Highlights of Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Astros

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Highlights of Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Astros

FINAL SCORE: Astros 4, Red Sox 3

IN BRIEF: The Red Sox made three errors and Chris Sale allowed four runs  (two earned) in six innings and saw his double-digit strikeout streak end at four starts as Boston fell 4-3 to the Astros in the opener of a three-game series in Houston. BOX SCORE

RED SOX RECORD: 27-24

HIGHLIGHTS:

2nd inning:
Diaz singles to center, moves to second on a wild pitch, scores on first baseman Pearce's throwing error (after replay review) (HOU, 1-0).

3rd inning:
Marisnick homers to left off Sale on a 2-2 pitch (HOU, 2-0).

 

4th inning:
Chirinos walks, moves to third on Reddick's single, scores on shortstop Bogaerts error on a fielder's choice (HOU, 3-0).

Springer's sacrifice fly scores Reddick (4-0, HOU).

6th inning:
Bogaerts homers to left off Miley on a 2-1 pitch (4-1, HOU).

7th inning:
Bradley Jr. homers to center off Pressly on a 0-0 pitch (4-2, HOU).

9th inning:

Vazquez homers to left off Osuna on a 3-2 pitch (4-3, HOU).

UP NEXT:

@Astros, Saturday, 7:15 p.m., FOX
@Astros, Sunday, 2:10 p.m., NESN
Vs. Indians, Monday, 4:05 p.m., ESPN, NESN

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Chris Sale's injury is only the start of a potential catastrophe in the Red Sox rotation

Chris Sale's injury is only the start of a potential catastrophe in the Red Sox rotation

BOSTON -- It turns out Dave Dombrowski flunked a test with only wrong answers, unless you count nihilism, and who chooses that? It would be like sitting for the SATs and immediately setting the Scantron sheet on fire.

Was Dombrowski really supposed to walk away from every member of a World Series-winning rotation? Of course not. But it's looking more and more like he shouldn't have kept any of them, either. That's what Starfleet cadets would call a Kobayashi Maru -- an unwinnable scenario that may very well cost Dombrowski his job.

Saturday's news that erstwhile ace Chris Sale is headed to the injured list with elbow inflammation surely set off the hull breach alarms at Fenway Park. Not only has Sale endured a trying season -- posting the worst record (6-11) and ERA (4.40) of his career -- but his $145 million contract extension doesn't even kick in until next season.

Next on Sale's agenda is a visit Dr. James Andrews, the famed orthopedist. Sometimes those exams yield good news, like when David Price learned about his unique Wolverine elbow, which has mostly held up since 2017. But Andrews is often a harbinger of Tommy John doom, which means we must steel ourselves for the possibility that Sale doesn't pitch again until 2021.

Nothing like writing off Year 1 of a nine-figure investment. The issue extends well beyond Sale, though, because outside of cost-controlled left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, every member of the rotation looks like a bad investment. The Red Sox will feel the repercussions of those decisions for years to come, with the unreliable and overpaid trio of Price, Nathan Eovaldi, and Sale on the books through 2022, 2022, and 2024, respectively.

We can't sit here and say no one saw this coming. Those of us who hated the Sale contract when he signed it this spring pointed to the way last season ended, with the left-hander virtually useless for the final three months because of a shoulder injury. He closed out the World Series, but it's telling that the Red Sox weren't comfortable using him until they had built a four-run lead in the ninth.

Owner John Henry had long opposed long-term contracts for pitchers in their 30s, at least until he blew the John Lester negotiations in 2014. Since then he has committed $217 million to Price, $145 million to Sale, and $68 million to Eovaldi, who doesn't turn 30 until February, but came with more red flags than a Chinese military parade.

Price represents a sunk cost at this point, and at least he played a starring role in last year's title, but the odds of him becoming more durable over the final three years and $96 million of his contract feel remote. His misanthropic behavior has turned off members of the organization at every level, but good luck moving on from that money. Despite his ability, he might as well be radioactive, especially with wrist tightness sending him to the IL and durability concerns following him like Pigpen's cloud of dust.

Then there's Eovaldi. For eight years, he delivered more promise than results. Then came three magical weeks in October, when ability and opportunity coalesced into a run of dominance that transformed him from a fringe free agent swingman to a starter in demand. The $68 million contract he signed is probably triple what he would've commanded if the Red Sox had missed the playoffs.

The Eovaldi deal felt like an overpay based on the emotion and euphoria of a title. The Red Sox ignored not only a history of arm surgery, including two Tommy Johns, but one of mediocrity, too. Eovaldi's lifetime ERA of 4.22 and strikeout rate of 6.9 suggested a pitcher whose results never matched his talent.

He lasted only four starts this April before undergoing yet another surgery to clean loose bodies out of his elbow. He has bounced around the bullpen since returning and is now being used as an opener, no one's idea of a good use of $17 million.

The only pitcher Dombrowski got right was Rick Porcello, whom he never seriously considered re-signing. The 30-year-old right-hander is statistically one of the worst starters in baseball, and the Red Sox will look to upgrade his rotation spot this winter.

Unfortunately, with the benefit of hindsight, we now know that Dombrowski's best approach would've been entirely impractical: let Eovaldi walk, watch Sale pitch out his contract, and try to find takers for Price and Porcello.

With the Duck Boat tracks still fresh on the warning track and champagne still soaking everyone's hair, Dombrowski decided to bring the band back.

It's hard to blame him, but oh man, has it cost him.

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Alex Cora: 'We've got to keep going' after Chris Sale's injury

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Alex Cora: 'We've got to keep going' after Chris Sale's injury

The Boston Red Sox won on the field Saturday night, as they defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-0. However, they lost off the field, as Chris Sale was placed on the 10-day IL with left elbow inflammation. Dr. James Andrews is going to be looking at Sale's MRI in the coming days and Sale could meet with the noted orthopedic surgeon. So, this injury could keep him out long term.

After the Red Sox win, manager Alex Cora opened up about Sale's injury and said that the Red Sox have "got to keep going" even with their ace sidelined.

"We've got to keep going," Cora said on NESN's postgame coverage. "That's the way it is. We'll find out more during the upcoming days. But as of now, somebody has to step up. That's the way it works in this business. And we know it."

Right now, it's unclear exactly how the Red Sox will replace Sale. They have already been operating without David Price, but he could return to the squad soon.

Meanwhile, it appears that Cora is ready to reintroduce Nathan Eovaldi to the starting rotation. Eovaldi began the year as a starter before missing a few months with an injury. After a month in the bullpen, he will finally make his return to the rotation. And Cora is confident that Eovaldi will fare well in that role.

We'll soon see how Sale's injury impacts the Red Sox. But with the team sitting 6.5 games back in the Wild Card race, it will be crucial for them to a find a way to stay afloat with a makeshift rotation if they want to make it back to the postseason.

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