Red Sox

4 takeaways as Red Sox tumble continues in fifth straight loss to Tigers

The Red Sox are still just a game out of first place.

Red Sox Tigers takeaways
Takeaways from the Red Sox 4-2 loss to the Tigers. Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Red Sox continued to struggle on Tuesday, falling 4-2 to the lowly Detroit Tigers in their fifth-straight loss. Here are the takeaways.

The big picture

The Red Sox plated one run in the first inning and another when Hunter Renfroe homered in the third. But the bats went cold, and Garrett Richards couldn’t hold off the Tigers as they slowly chipped away. Miguel Cabrera homered in the second, the Tigers tied the game in the fourth, Akil Baddoo doubled and drove in a run in the fifth to give the Tigers the lead, and Robbie Grossman’s RBI single in the seventh created a two-run advantage.

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“Teams go through these stretches, no matter how good they are, or how bad they are,” Renfroe said afterward. “This is a tough game. It’s a hard game. When teams go through this, you kind of figure out what we’re made of. I think we’ll come out of this stronger and understand our team better going forward.”

Star of the game

Miguel Cabrera — 2-for-4, one run, one RBI, one homer

The Tigers played a relatively unremarkable game, but Cabrera’s solo shot — the 498th of his career — was a highlight.

What it means

The Red Sox owe the Mariners a thank-you fruit basket for defeating the Rays 4-2 and helping the Red Sox maintain a one-game deficit in the AL East. Quietly, the Yankees and Blue Jays are just six and seven games behind respectively.

Takeaways

1. With Chris Sale’s return looming and Tanner Houck making a strong case for himself, Richards was asked if he believes he might lose his spot in the pitching rotation after another difficult outing.

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“Not at all,” Richards said. “That’s you guys, not me.”

Richards struck out five batters, gave up five hits and allowed three runs. As Cora noted, the Red Sox needed to give him more support.

Still, the Red Sox could have used more innings from Richards.

“We need our starters to go deeper,” Cora said. “They know that. I’m not saying they have to go 7, but I think they did an amazing job earlier in the season going five or six, and it was a relay race.

“We’ve got more guys now, so we can play that relay race with the bullpen, be more aggressive. But at the same time, five would be great for us. Today he didn’t do it.”

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Cora added that Richards is scheduled to start on Sunday. Richards expressed no interest in going to the bullpen.

“I’m a starting pitcher,” Richards said. “I have an ability to show 100 pitches and keep my stuff the whole time. I feel like that in itself is enough to keep me in the rotation. Not many people can do it.”

2. Some good news for the Red Sox: Matt Barnes, who experienced COVID symptoms on Tuesday, tested negative. Cora noted before the game that another player experienced COVID symptoms and tested negative as well. The Red Sox’s goal is for Barnes to be available on Wednesday.

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“Everything went well today,” Cora said. “We’ll see how he feels tonight, how he feels in the morning, probably one more test or something like that, but as of now, that’s the goal.”

3. The Red Sox replaced Richards with Hirokazu Sawamura in the fifth. Dealing with a runner on second, Sawamura struck out one batter, walked another and coaxed Cabrera into an inning-ending double play.

“Because he’s good,” Cora said smiling, when a reporter asked why Sawamura was given the opportunity. “He’s been good the whole season. We were just trying to limit the damage right there.”

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4. The Red Sox have plenty of time but also a heavy amount of pressure from their AL East counterparts.

“The mental side of it, I think we’re really good,” Renfroe said. “I think we’re mentally tough. We have some guys who have been there and done that. We have a lot of guys with a lot of experience in the World Series. This game is very hard, but we have some guys that have the mental fortitude that we can go a long way.”

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