Welp, we knew Monday would be a bullpen day and that it was. Ricky used five of the team’s seven available relievers against the Major League’s hottest team and it went better than just about anyone expected. The main story of the night turned out to be the lack of offense that the Sox generated, the real reason for the loss. Here’s a breakdown of some of the key players in Monday night’s game.
Jose Abreu: 1-4, 2B
In the top of the fourth inning, Jose smoked a ball 104 MPH off the wall in left-center for a double and the team’s first hit of the night. Prior to the at bat, Brad Peacock was unhittable for the Astros, allowing just one base runner (Yolmer Sanchez) on a hit by pitch.
Charlie Tilson: 2-4, 2 singles
Since joining the club on May 6th, Charlie has done nothing but hit the ball. After leading the team in hits tonight with a pair of singles, Tilson’s average raises to .327 over the course of 14 games. Yes, this is a small sample size but the Sox need people who can generate offense so they’ll be riding the Chuck wave as long as it lasts.
On the field, it was a little bit of a different story as Charlie essentially cost the Sox a run in the first after a fielding error allowed Bregman to advance an extra base, and later score on a sac fly.
Eloy Jimenez: 0-4
Eloy was challenged with two-seam fastballs, sliders, and a knuckle curve in his first at-bat back from his rehab assignment. On a 3-2 pitch, Brad Peacock threw a deadly slider on the inside of the plate that was just flat out unhittable.
Brad Peacock, Filthy 80mph Front Hip Slider. 🦚 pic.twitter.com/ZRevQyEUv1
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 21, 2019
In his other three at-bats, Eloy managed to lay off some out of the zone off-speed pitches and work the count at times. He did put the ball in play often, but his first hit back from his IL stint will have to wait.
Just one more note, Eloy’s defense still showed it needs work after he misplayed a ball in the 8th inning. To his credit, like Steve Stone mentioned on the broadcast, the ball was hit into the strange left field corner by the bullpen door that is extremely difficult to prepare for. Since Minute Maid Park is a unique field, some slack can be given to Jimenez with it being his first time playing there, though improvement is undoubtedly needed.
Rest of the offense: Quiet
Brad Peacock had about a handful of blemishes on an otherwise dominant five innings of work. He limited the Sox to just four baserunners, two of which came on hit-by-pitches, while striking out nine. At the end of the day, the team had six hits and could not capitalize during the few key moments when they needed to rally.
Ryan Burr: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (28 pitches – 16 strikes, 12 balls)
After Ricky Renteria declared Monday a bullpen day, Burr was given the nod as “The Opener” for the Sox. This was Burr’s first start since February 28, 2014 during his college days at Arizona State. In the first, the Astros gave him a test after a Michael Brantley single allowed Bregman to reach third on a fielding error by Charlie Tilson. Carlos Correa promptly hit a sac fly in the next at-bat to give Houston an early 1-0 lead.
Once he got past some of the sloppy play in the first, Burr managed to settle down and find his groove. The righty retired the last five batters he faced and had a quick 1-2-3 second inning to close out his day.
Ryan Burr postgame pic.twitter.com/57P5zVJTCE
— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) May 21, 2019
Rest of the bullpen: Could’ve been a lot worse
It didn’t look great right off the bat, literally, as Jace Fry’s first pitch of relief sailed 422 feet off the side of the ballpark. After two more hits, Ricky brought in Jose Ruiz who walked the first batter he faced on four pitches. Somehow, he managed to get out of it unscathed to keep it a two-run game after three.
In the fourth, Ruiz returned to his normal form by allowing a moonshot to Tyler White that sailed over the train tracks for a 3-0 Astros lead.
All aboard. 🚂 pic.twitter.com/Fy1vl9UUQs
— MLB (@MLB) May 21, 2019
Next up was Josh Osich, who was essentially the player of the game based on overall performance. He threw 10 of his 11 pitches for strikes over two perfect innings. Then, Juan Minaya rounded things out with two innings of two-hit baseball.
At the end of the night, the pen finished with a combined line of 8.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, and 2 HRs. Overall, things could’ve been a lot worse against the Stros, especially considering how shaky the bullpen has been. This appeared to be the most vulnerable Ricky Boy’s would be during this four game series so to limit Houston to just three runs is quite impressive. The main concern that comes from the use of the bullpen now shifts to how the pitchers will fare during the remainder of this series.
For the full box score from tonight’s game, click here.
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