BOSTON -- It's still hard to know what to make of Thomas Pomeranz this season, but the lefty at least kept the Red Sox in the game on Tuesday night.With the bats unable to generate much against Jacob Arrieta or the Phillies' bullpen, the Red Sox took a 3-1 loss
BOSTON -- It's still hard to know what to make of Thomas Pomeranz this season, but the lefty at least kept the Red Sox in the game on Tuesday night.
With the bats unable to generate much against Jacob Arrieta or the Phillies' bullpen, the Red Sox took a 3-1 loss at Fenway Park.
As for Pomeranz (1-5, 6.56 ERA), there isn't much he can do but take some positives out of slight progress. The lefty threw 95 pitches over five innings but minimized the damage, allowing only two runs. He walked four, struck out three and hit two batters.
"From the third inning on, I felt like my curveball got a little better, my fastball had a little more ride to it," Pomeranz said. "Something I've been working on is using my legs a bit more, and I kind of figured something out there. I still walked a few guys, hit a couple guys, but I'd much rather walk a guy or hit a guy than give up a double off the wall. Felt like I made pitches when I needed to."
To say that 2018 has been disjointed for Pomeranz would be an understatement. He started the season on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his left elbow. After returning to action on April 20, Pomeranz made eight mostly ineffective starts before suffering left biceps tendinitis, which kept him out of action from June 1 to July 23. His first start back in Baltimore wasn't good, and Tuesday was, well, OK.
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"It's a little frustrating with all the stopping and starting I've had and all the annoying injuries," Pomeranz said. "It's hard to find consistency in that. It's no mystery something has been off this year from last year and the last couple years. Just trying to hone in on that one thing. Today I made good strides, and you just try to run with that, not try to change too many things up and see what happens."
It remains to be seen how long Pomeranz stays in the rotation. Chris Sale was placed on the DL before Tuesday's game, and Christopher Johnson will take his slot on Thursday against the Yankees, so that could buy Pomeranz a little more time to fix himself.
"It doesn't look great, but for him to go out there and give us a chance to win, we'll take that," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Obviously we were a little bit short today as far as our bullpen, but still, it was better than the one in Baltimore. We'll go to the tape and keep working and try to keep getting better."
At 75-34, the Red Sox lead the Yankees by five games in the American League East.
The Red Sox made it interesting in the ninth, putting runners at first and second with nobody out against Phillies righty Seranthony Dominguez. But Dominguez was able to wiggle his way out of it.
On a night Mookie Betts was out of the lineup to rest, the entire lineup was quiet, going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Betts did pinch-hit and popped out for the second out in the ninth. In his Red Sox debut, Ian Kinsler went 1-for-4.
The Phillies held Boston to a total of three runs in 22 innings in this two-game series, which the teams split.
"Well, they pitched their two horses, and they've been good against everybody," said Cora. "They're a good young team and put in good at-bats, good defense. Their guys in the bullpen got stuff. Those two guys, Aaron Nola and Arrieta, they're pretty solid."
Shut down by Arrieta for much of the night and trailing 2-1, the Red Sox finally got a run home in the sixth when J.D. Martinez smashed a double that moved Blake Swihart to third, and Xander Bogaerts followed with a fielder's-choice groundout to short. Kinsler tried to tie it up with a hard liner to right, but Nick Williams came on for the catch.
FROM THE TRAINERS ROOM
There was some cause for concern in the ninth, when Bogaerts got belted on the right hand by a pitch from Dominguez. Though X-rays were negative, Bogaerts was in pain after the game. He has a right hand contusion, the same injury he suffered in July 2017. It is unclear if Bogaerts will be ready to return on Thursday, when the Red Sox open a four-game series against the Yankees.
"I got hit good," said Bogaerts. "Let it heal. The swelling is down. I iced it already. Just talk to the trainers and see whatever they have in mind."
Though president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski endured some second-guessing for not upgrading the bullpen prior to Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, it should be noted that Boston relievers have allowed just one run in the last 15 1/3 innings.
HE SAID IT
"It's that big, green wall staring at you. I tend to hit a lot of balls that way so it works out well. Obviously the fans, it's the intensity of every single game. Every game played at Fenway is a special game, so it's a lot of fun to be on the field here." -- Kinsler, when asked why Boston has always been one of his favorite cities to travel to
After an off-day on Wednesday, the Red Sox will open their latest rivalry series against the Yankees on Thursday night at Fenway Park for the first of a four-game series. Sale was originally supposed to start, but he is now on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. Johnson, who will fill in for him, is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in six starts this season. The Yankees counter with veteran lefty Carsten Sabathia. 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.