Closing Time: Nick Swisher’s 11th-inning home run dooms Junichi Tazawa, Red Sox
|06.15.14 at 5:41 pm ET|
For four strong innings, the Red Sox bullpen looked like it has most of the season: a dominant group that gave the offense a chance to win the game. So when Junichi Tazawa came into the game in the 11th inning, it was hard to imagine anything other than a clean inning from the righty.
Tazawa has been one of the best relievers out of the bullpen this season while setting up for Koji Uehara. He came into Sunday with a 2.17 ERA with 29 strikeouts and a 1.138 WHIP.
After falling behind 2-1 to Indians designated hitter Nick Swisher, Tazawa did something he has seldom done in 2014 — leave a fastball over the heart of the plate. Swisher subsequently took advantage of the mistake and deposited the pitch into the right-field bleachers, giving the Indians a 3-2 win over the Red Sox.
The home run to Swisher marked the second day in a row that the bullpen, which had the sixth best ERA as a group at 2.86 coming into Sunday, coughed up the lead.
Brandon Workman turned in another solid outing for the Red Sox, going six innings and allowing two runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts and one home run. The outing marked Workman’s eighth start in the majors.
As a major league starter, Workman has a 2.91 ERA and has allowed three runs or less in all of his starts. With the decision on Workman’s suspension appeal likely coming this upcoming week, the righty could miss his next start.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– The Brock Holt show continues. The Red Sox‘s leadoff man singled down the left-field line to open the first inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored from third on a David Ortiz single off the Green Monster. Holt came into Sunday’s contest hitting .336/.366/.474 with 11 doubles, one triple, a homer and 11 RBIs since being recalled from Pawtucket on May 17.
Holt turned in another strong effort at the plate, going 2-for-4 with one run scored. Holt’s two hit output marked the 14th time this season the utility man has garnered multiple hits in a game this season.
– Holt and Dustin Pedroia displayed excellent hustle in the fifth inning when the second baseman grounded a ball to Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. With runners on first and third and one out, Holt slid hard into second baseman Jason Kipnis, slowing the relay to first base and allowing chugging Pedroia to reach first base safely, thus allowing Jackie Bradley Jr. to come in and score the Sox’ second run, which gave the team a 2-1 advantage at the time. .
– Stephen Drew had a strong day at the plate in his return to the lineup. The shortstop had two hits in three at-bats. The three hit output tripled his season production entering Sunday’s game.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Michael Brantley wrapped a home run around Pesky’s Pole in the first inning off Workman. Coming into Sunday’s contest, Brantley was 3-for-3 lifetime against Workman with an RBI and notched another two hits against the righty.
– Daniel Nava was caught stealing second base on a failed hit-and-run in the fourth inning. This was the first time since June 25, 2013, that Nava was caught stealing. The Red Sox currently rank 27th in the majors with a 64 percent stolen base success rate.
– Pedroia had a tough day at the plate, going 0-for-5. In the last week coming into Sunday, Pedroia was hitting .174 with three RBIs, two doubles and four runs scored.
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