The Boston Red Sox went into the Bronx Friday night to begin a three-game set with the New York Yankees. On the eve of facing Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka for the second time, the Sox bats found themselves facing Whitey Ford. Or at least it looked that way. Again.
The Red Sox were able to muster just three hits, and were shutout on a night in which Yankees fifth starter Vidal Nuno took the hill. It meant no run support for Brandon Workman. Again.
Since Boston was unable to generate any offense in the little-league park known as Yankee Stadium, Workman had to be perfect. A tall task to ask of a 25-year-old pitcher making his seventh career major-league start. A task that gets even taller when you factor in the fact he hadn’t pitched in 12 days.
And that’s just what Workman looked like on Friday night, a pitcher who hadn’t pitched in nearly two weeks.
While he was good, lasting seven innings and throwing 76 of 107 pitches for strikes, he wasn’t sharp.
After striking out Brett Gardner to begin the night, he allowed back-to-back hits to Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury, the latter hit being a double down the right-field line that put runners on second and third with one out. Luckily, Workman was able to get out the inning allowing just one run, when Mark Teixeira drove in Jeter on a flyout to left.
Workman loaded up the bases in the third with one out on walks to Kelly Johnson and Ellsbury while yielding a hit to Jeter. However, he was able to get out of the inning unscathed. He was able to get the much-needed strikeout when he got Teixeira to chase a 1-2 curveball for the second out. He then got Carlos Beltran to ground out to first to end the inning.
In the fourth, Workman allowed back-to-back home runs to Johnson and Gardner. It looked as if the rust was worked off as the night went on, however, as he retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced after the home runs in the fourth.
Workman was good, but he wasn’t great, or perfect. On most Red Sox teams over the years, Workman’s line of work would’ve been more than enough to get the winning decision.
But nowadays, with the batting order the Sox roll out, four runs over seven innings just doesn’t get you what it used to.