Game 58: Red Sox at Houston Astros (June 1, 2018)

So much for winning this series...hopefully the Red Sox can salvage it and get a split, right? I had a rare night with no practices or games to coach, so I enjoyed a nice family dinner with my wife and kids before sitting down to watch the game. With Chris Sale on the mound, I'm sure I wasn't alone in thinking that the Sox were in good shape to win the game, even with Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia out again. How wrong I was...

Sale has historically been very good against Houston, but for whatever reason he just didn't have it in this one. It's part of a more concerning pattern where he's given up twelve runs over his last two starts. A bizarre wild pitch strikeout led to the first Astros run in the bottom of the first which was followed by an RBI single from Yuli Gurriel. Just like that, the Sox were down 2-0. They got one back in the second when Brock Holt drove in Eduardo Nunez with an RBI double, but the Astors got it back off of George Springer's solo homer in the bottom of the third. Gurriel struck again with another RBI to make it 4-1 Astros and it looked like the rout was on. However, Mitch Moreland and JD Martinez hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth to pull the Sox within one. It seemed as though the Sox were going to finally break through and take a lead until the wheels fell off in the eighth inning. Carlos Correa, who has been killing the Sox this series, hit a homer in the eighth which was followed a bit later by Evan Gattis' two-run homer to blow it open for the Astros, 7-3. That's how it ended as the Sox dropped their second straight. With the Yankees winning, the Sox are now a half game out of first place in the division.

There were a number of concerning things to come out of this game. Chris Sale again didn't pitch up to his high standards. He went six innings and struck out six while only walking one, but the four runs he gave up were not what we expected at all. Joe Kelly seemed to revert back to his early season form, giving up three runs on two homers. Offensively, there wasn't much to write home about apart from Moreland and JD going back-to-back and Jackie Bradley pushing his season average to .200 with another hit. Even more bad news came out after the game when it was announced that both Mookie (oblique strain) and Pedroia (left knee soreness) were placed on the 10-day DL. For Mookie, I am hoping this is just precautionary and I'm not too worried (at the moment) given how young and durable he is, but for Pedroia I can't help but wonder if this is the end of the road for him. This is the knee he had surgery on and rehabbed all winter and spring and for him to go on the DL only a week after coming back, especially given his age, is very worrying.

It won't get any easier tonight with David Price going up the always-tough Justin Verlander. Even by his historically high standards, Verlander is pitching incredibly this season. We in Red Sox Nation hope Price and the bats are up to the task because if not, the Sox are going to drop this series and fall further behind the Yankees in the division.