SP Brandon Workman certainly doesn’t go blameless in this one. Allowing five runs on five hits and walking three while failing to reach the fifth inning, Workman had his worst start as a big league pitcher in the Boston Red Sox 16-9 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
But when you’re starting pitcher doesn’t deliver, someone in the bullpen needs to step up and stop the bleeding, to keep the team in the game and put them in a position to make a comeback. Had the Red Sox got that Wednesday, there’s a chance they could’ve avoided the sweep at the hands of the Cubbies.
Felix Doubront had a chance to make a statement, entering the game in the fifth in the long relief role and prove himself worthy of a roster spot. He did everything but that, allowing three runs over 1 1-3 innings. He gave up a home run and allowed four hits.
The Red Sox were within striking distance in the ninth, down 10-6 going into the inning. A strong inning sets up a potential rally against a Chicago bullpen that isn’t spectacular. But Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa couldn’t get anybody out, combining to allow six runs on seven hits in the frame. The bottom of the ninth became garbage time.
The final line for the Sox bullpen was 10 runs on 14 hits over five innings, serving up two home runs. The balls were flying off Cubs bats with so much conviction it was as if Sammy Sosa‘s corked bat was taken back out for the night.
Wednesday’s performance was consistent with the narrative of the 2014 Red Sox, being the inability of players to come through when needed to. We’ve seen hitters unable to get a big hit in a potential game-changing situation. We’ve seen the lineup not able to come through when the pitching staff was having an off night. We’ve seen starting pitchers lay eggs when the team needed a big start.
And on Wednesday, it was the bullpen’s turn. On a night when Workman needed to be bailed out, John Farrell was unable to find any pitching to hold the game in the balance and allow the offense to get a rally going.