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Friday, August 9, 2013

It's Never A Good Sign When A Scrub Like Bruce Chen Shuts You Down

The Red Sox have made it a habit this season of coming from behind to win games. That has been thrilling for sure but it's not exactly how you want to play every night: finding yourself down by multiple runs and being forced to battle back. Tonight in the series opener at Kaufmann Stadium-home of the multi-colored water fountains-the Royals (59-53 overall, 30-25 home) topped the Red Sox (70-47 overall, 31-26 away) 5-1.

Kansas City only scored in two innings: the first and eighth but that was more than enough to beat Boston when the Red Sox chose to sit red-hot David Ortiz. Perhaps the most telling sign of their struggle at the plate was the fact that Bruce Chen (5-0), one of the only MLB pitchers that I think I could honestly get a hit off of, was dealing like you read about: 7.2 scoreless innings, five hits, two strikeouts and a walk.

This was not vintage Jon Lester (10-7) either, like when he no-hit the Royals back in 2008. Nope, this was the guy that throws way too many pitches (121) and gave up three runs right off the bat. Alex Gordon hit a sacrifice fly and Mike Moustakas (2 hits) drove in two with an RBI single. I'll give him credit for lasting seven innings (3 runs, 1 earned, 4 hits, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks) but last time I checked this isn't Little League so he won't be receiving a trophy of any kind.

Chen made that hold up as Boston only managed seven hits, two each for Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew. Rubby De La Rosa looked great on Tuesday in Houston but predictably against a real MLB team, he struggled big time. Any chances of a Red Sox rally were put to bed as he served up solo homers to Billy Butler and Justin Maxwell.

The only embarrassment that Boston saved themselves from was avoiding a shutout. Jonny Gomes (who batted fourth) doubled with one out in the ninth and Drew (who batted fifth) knocked him in with an RBI single. No worries though as Mike Napoli (dropped down to 6th) proceeded to ground into a double play to end it. He continues to be mired in a soul-crushing slump.

Jake Peavy (9-4) will try to get his new team back on the right track tomorrow night (8:10, NESN) as he takes on Ervin Santana (8-6). Expect Ortiz to be back in the lineup and he'll probably produce too.

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