Sox set to 'turn the page' with Rays on tap

Arroyo, Plawecki injuries, Eovaldi's short start are costly in KC rubber match

June 20th, 2021

A limited set of off-days are sprinkled throughout baseball’s bustling six-month season, and teams usually appreciate each one they receive. The Red Sox just had a breather on Thursday, but they’ll certainly cherish the one coming on Monday, too, after the way their series ended at Kauffman Stadium.

“We had a day off three or four days ago,” outfielder Kiké Hernández said, “but it kinda doesn’t feel like it right now after those last three games.”

Hot, humid weather stuck to the Sox all weekend, which culminated in a clunker: Nathan Eovaldi’s shortest start of the year, combined with a pair of in-game injuries, made for a messy 7-3 loss to the Royals on a Father's Day afternoon. Boston dropped two of three in Kansas City for just its third road series loss of the season.

Then again, the losses on the field could be greater: Catcher and second baseman both exited with leg injuries.

Plawecki, who was lifted due to left hamstring tightness, initially showed signs of discomfort while tracking down an errant throw home from the outfield in the third inning. He hopped around on one leg momentarily, was checked on by a trainer and ultimately stayed in the game. But when Plawecki’s spot came up to hit in the fourth, he was removed for fellow catcher Christian Vázquez.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said the team will “know more tomorrow” regarding Plawecki, though his attempt to gut it out is a positive sign.

As for Arroyo, who sustained a right shin bone bruise in the fifth, there could be some good news as well. Though the second baseman is sore, X-rays came back negative and there’s no structural damage, Cora said.

“They moved his knee around,” the manager added. “It seems like he’ll be OK.”

Arroyo’s shin bone bruise was sustained in the fifth, when a shallow fly ball sent him out into center field. He and Kiké Hernández charged toward each other and collided, with Arroyo’s right leg hitting Hernández’s right shin. Arroyo laid on the grass in pain and required assistance from a trainer to leave the field. He was able to put some weight on his right leg.

“I wasn’t able to get out of the way because I was trying to keep up with the ball,” Hernández said, before adding that he feels “fine.”

By the time Arroyo was removed, a struggling Eovaldi had already been pulled from the game. His four-inning start was the shortest of his season, due in large part to laborious second and third innings.

Bobby Dalbec booted a second-inning grounder that brought in a run instead of ending the frame. In the third, Eovaldi juggled a comebacker that should’ve produced two outs, and instead turned into just one. Two batters later, Arroyo couldn’t come up with a hot shot to second, which ricocheted off him and under the tarp for a ground-rule double.

“I thought Nate was good; I thought our defense was horrible,” Cora said. “ … Just a grind all over. We still had a chance to win the ballgame, but I think our defense wasn’t good enough and that put us in a bad spot.”

Then came one particularly grinding at-bat, when Eovaldi lost a 10-pitch battle to Jarrod Dyson, who hit a two-out, two-run double to give the Royals a lead they would not relinquish.

Yes, the Red Sox brought the potential tying run to the plate with the bases loaded in the eighth. But Marwin Gonzalez hit into a double play to quickly end that threat.

With some missed chances, misplays and a pair of injuries, the Sox left Kansas City with a sour taste in their mouths. No time to wallow, though, with a massive series against the Rays and the top spot in the American League East on the line starting on Tuesday at Tropicana Field. Boston enters with a half-game lead after Tampa Bay was swept in a four-game set at Seattle.

“Now we’ve just gotta turn the page and get ready for Tampa,” Eovaldi said. “Turn the page as fast as we can and get ready to compete.”