BOSTON -- The sun was not only shining brightly at Fenway Park early in Game 1 of Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader, but it also seemed to be shining on the Red Sox.
In the second inning, Boston had the bases loaded and seemed ready to jump out quickly with a crooked number. But in the Red Sox’s eventual 4-1 loss, that big missed opportunity was something that proved to be irrecoverable.
Michael Chavis struck out on four pitches. Kiké Hernández worked a much better at-bat, battling for eight pitches, but he went down swinging on a 92.8 mph fastball by Blue Jays starter Robbie Ray.
Then it was up to Rafael Devers, the most dangerous hitter for the Sox in 2021. The drama built as Devers worked the count full. And the fans stood when the slugger hammered one to center field at an exit velocity of 104.9 mph. However, he got under it just enough (launch angle of 34 degrees) for it to be a 379-foot flyout to the warning track, rather than a homer or a bases-clearing double.
“We had the bases loaded and no outs. We didn’t put the ball in play and we don’t score,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “We had a chance to put them away and we did not. He’s a good pitcher. He made some adjustments. He used the changeup more than usual. There was traffic, but I think that [second inning], we didn’t cash in. Offensively, that was it.”
Of the 16 times the Red Sox have had the bases loaded with nobody out this season, that was the second time they didn’t come away with at least one run.
There were a couple of other missed opportunities that rubbed some salt in the wound. In the first, the Sox had runners on first and second with nobody out and managed only one run on a fielder’s-choice RBI by J.D. Martinez.
After Devers got a gift double when Randal Grichuk and George Springer lost his fly ball in the sun and Martinez followed with a bloop single, the Sox had men on the corners and one out. Again, it was a squander, with Hunter Renfroe and Christian Vázquez both striking out to end the frame.
“We have to make adjustments. We’re going to face a lot of lefties this week,” said Cora. “Overall, we’re good against lefties. We’re not great. So some of these guys, they have to step up, put up good at-bats and help us win ballgames.”
On a day Garrett Richards (four runs on eight hits in four-plus innings) was once again decent but not great, the Red Sox simply couldn’t overcome so many missed opportunities on offense.
“Threw some good ones, threw some bad ones,” said Richards. “Right now, I just seem to get beat hard on my mistakes. You know, just continuing to fine-tune some stuff. Threw a lot of strikes today, had really good stuff, just couldn’t keep any runs off the board.”