Asher fades at Fenway in 2nd MLB start
Rookie surrenders 7 runs as Red Sox pounce in 4th inning
BOSTON -- A rookie making his second career start in the historic confines of Fenway Park would be a natural source of excitement for any young player. For Phillies right-hander Alec Asher, the energy of the moment might have had him a little too adrenalized during Saturday's 9-2 loss to the Red Sox.
The Boston bats rocked Asher for seven runs on eight hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings, with an overwhelming majority of that damage coming in his final frame.
The first three innings were scoreless and allowed Asher to more or less match his dominant counterpart, Red Sox lefty Wade Miley. But in the fourth inning, seven of nine batters reached base against the 23-year-old, erasing his early excellence and instead leaving him 0-2 to start his big league career.
Did his emotions affect the outcome?
"There was a little bit," Asher said. "This is a neat park. It still only being my second start, I think there were maybe still a little emotions. But you just try to work past it the best you can."
With the game's 4:05 p.m. ET start time, hitters from both clubs had to contend with awkward shadows cast over the infield. Their dissipation coincided with Asher's shaky fourth inning, perhaps also explaining the drastic drop-off in his outing.
"The first three innings with the shadow, both sides you could tell they didn't see the ball well," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "Once that shadow got past the mound, then it was a different story and everybody started seeing the ball better."
In addition, Asher was called for two balks -- one in which he started and stopped his delivery, and one in which the ball simply fell out of his sweaty hand. Both were possible indicators of what Mackanin called being "overfocused," though Asher maintained that they were simply accidents.
"I didn't feel like I balked," Asher said of the first call. "I watched video and there was a little sway."
Asher could have stemmed the tides of Boston's scoring in the fourth had he been able to record one more timely out. But he surrendered a couple of hard-hit balls down the foul lines, and ultimately, the rookie accepted the loss as a learning experience and will try to keep from overcomplicating his approach moving forward.
"You try to take the human element out of it," Asher said. "You try to just go see what you need to work on, what pitches you execute and go about it like that."