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Pomeranz has rough outing as Sox fall to O's

Wright solid in 4 2/3 innings out of 'pen; Betts hits 14th homer
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- Another spotty performance by Drew Pomeranz in Friday night's 7-4 loss to the Orioles on Friday night at Fenway Park created an opening for knuckleballer Steven Wright to eat up some innings in the bullpen.

And Wright did so in impressive (4 2/3 innings, 2 ER, 5 K's) fashion, creating at least a possibility he could enter the rotation if Pomeranz doesn't gain some momentum soon.

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BOSTON -- Another spotty performance by Drew Pomeranz in Friday night's 7-4 loss to the Orioles on Friday night at Fenway Park created an opening for knuckleballer Steven Wright to eat up some innings in the bullpen.

And Wright did so in impressive (4 2/3 innings, 2 ER, 5 K's) fashion, creating at least a possibility he could enter the rotation if Pomeranz doesn't gain some momentum soon.

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"Not right now," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of a potential rotation switch. "But [Steven] knows his role, and the two times he's come in in the middle of a game, with Eduardo Rodriguez and with Drew today, he's given us a chance to win the ballgame. That's what we're asking right now. Obviously we'll see with time, but we expect these guys to be consistent and for him to keep doing a good job in his role."

Video: BAL@BOS: Cora on Pomeranz's tough start in loss

After starting the season late due to a flexor strain in his left forearm, Pomeranz hasn't been sharp in his return to action, going 1-2 with a 5.97 ERA in six starts.

"I'm working on a lot of stuff especially this week, just mechanically trying to clean things up," said Pomeranz. "I felt my stuff was a little better, but I just didn't make pitches. It's frustrating to try to make a pitch and not be able to do what you want to do. I've been walking a lot of guys these last two starts, it's really hurting me, it's just pretty frustrating.

"You put so much time and effort into it and you want to throw a good game for your team, especially the way our offense is trying to keep us in the game, and I just didn't do that tonight."

Video: BAL@BOS: Pomeranz freezes Schoop in the 4th inning

What did Cora see as Pomeranz's biggest problem on Friday?

"Command in the beginning," Cora said. "He hung a breaking ball to Manny Machado with two strikes. He wasn't able to put away Trey Mancini with a two-strike fastball up 2-2."

Down 5-1 after four, the Red Sox chipped away. By the eighth inning, they were down by two and had red-hot leadoff man Mookie Betts up with the bases loaded and two outs. But Betts, who homered (his first in two weeks and 14th of the season) and roped two doubles earlier in the game, popped to second against reliever Brad Brach to end the promising threat.

Video: BOS@BAL: Betts jacks 14th homer over the Monster

Pomeranz lasted just four innings for the second outing in a row, giving up seven hits and five runs (four earned) while walking three and striking out two. His fastball topped out at 90.4 mph.

"He can't be happy with his performance," said Cora. "I think location-wise, he wasn't great. He has to keep working."

For whatever reason, Pomeranz simply hasn't had the same velocity or command as he did in his terrific 2017 season, when he went 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA.

Video: BAL@BOS: Betts collects 3rd hit, 2nd RBI of the game 

"I saw something already on video after the game that I think is a big part," said Pomeranz. "I'm having a lot of trouble staying back. I saw something that is probably a big factor in that. I'll get here tomorrow, and we'll work something out."

And there is something else that is worth noting. Pomeranz also started last season on the DL and his first seven starts had a similar stat line to his first six (3-3, 5.29 ERA) this year.

"It's really similar to last year," said Pomeranz. "I think I got a slightly later start this year, but some of the things I'm going through right now are very, very similar. I think I was probably doing about the same things I am right now pretty much this time last year. Just gotta keep fighting to get out of it."

Video: BAL@BOS: Nunez drives an RBI double to left

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Mookie almost had a moment: If the Red Sox were going to come back on Friday, it was going to be when Betts stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth. The Fenway crowd was up in anticipation of a big moment, the likes of which Betts has already created a lot of this season. But this time, he popped up a 93.9-mph fastball from Brach on a 1-2 count, ending the threat. In the game, the Red Sox left 10 men on base.

"It was a good pitch to hit and I've been feeling good throughout the day, so I just continue to try to put good swings on good pitches, and I just missed it," Betts said.

SOUND SMART
Andrew Benintendi's error on a throw in the fourth was the first error by a Red Sox outfielder this season. The only other team to come into Friday with no outfield errors? The Angels. 

Video: BAL@BOS: Jones plates 2 with a single to left

HE SAID IT
"I guess that's the point of working throughout the whole day, to try to keep what I got. Some days I feel it more than others. The days I feel like I got it the most, I take the least amount of swings. I know it's there, it's just a matter of getting the right feel and that confidence." -- Betts, on how his preparation is paying off during games

UP NEXT
After opening the season with seven consecutive solid starts, Rick Porcello struggled his last two times out. The sinkerballer looks to get back on track when he starts Saturday's third game of this four-game set against the Orioles and Dylan Bundy. Lifetime against Baltimore, Porcello is 4-11 with a 4.88 ERA. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts, Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright