‘It wasn’t bad’
The Boston Red Sox came up short throughout their nine-game West Coast road trip, ending it off on the same note on Sunday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
With a chance to sweep the Diamondbacks in three games and head back to Fenway Park with a winning record to end the trip, Boston was once again haunted by a costly shortage of offensive production.
Through the nine-game stretch, the Red Sox batted just .213 and recorded a minus-five run differential. They were also held to three or fewer runs on six occasions, despite a solid showing from Boston’s bullpen, which notched a 2.35 ERA on the trip.
Heading back home just a game shy of falling to dead last in the American League East, Red Sox manager Alex Cora took the positives after Boston’s 4-2 loss in Arizona.
“It wasn’t bad,” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Of course, we wanted to go 5-4 or win every series, you know, we won two. The one in Anaheim, the first two games we pitched great. We were able to win games, so that was the pickup of the whole trip. We came in here, beat them two out of three, we went to San Diego, beat them two out of three. We gotta figure out Sundays. That’s the next step.”
In searching for a sweep of the Diamondbacks, Arizona pitcher Merill Kelly stepped in Boston’s way. The right-hander pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing just one earned run off four hits while walking one and striking out 10 hitters. That’s the second time this season in which Kelly racked up 10 strikeouts in a game.
“You gotta tip your hat,” Cora said. “He’s one of the best in the league.”
Here are more notes from Sunday’s Red Sox-Diamondbacks game:
— The Red Sox were struck out 10 times by Kelly, the most by any starting pitcher this season when facing Boston. They also finished with 15 strikeouts in the end, the most times they’ve struck out in a game this season.
“We put good at-bats,” Cora explained. “We got to 3-2 counts and all that, but he made pitches. He started mixing it up with the backdoor cutter and then the four-seamer away, then he threw a two-seamer in to (Alex Verdugo). The breaking ball to Jarren (Duran). He can pitch.”
— Connor Wong, who went 1-for-3 with one of two Boston extra-base hits, doubled to extend his hitting streak to six games.
— Rafael Devers made his return to the line after missing two games with left calf tightness. He went 0-for-4 on his return and ended the night striking out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and Boston trailing 4-1. Upon striking out, Devers slammed his helmet in frustration.
“I think it was a bad and that’s why I got a little frustrated over there,” Devers told reporters through a translator, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “… It’s been a long road trip and some of the guys are tired. But this is baseball, there’s ups and downs. We’re just looking forward to getting back home and get back together.”
— Boston ends the road trip at 4-5 after starting off 2-0 in San Diego.
— The Red Sox open up a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds, returning to Fenway Park on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game, and a full hour of pregame coverage, live on NESN.