The Boston Red Sox will look for a breakthrough offensive performance when they wrap up a brief two-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
Boston has scored just one run over its past two games, suffering a Sunday shutout loss to Baltimore before being held off the scoreboard until the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 2-1 home loss to the Reds.
“I don’t think we’re chasing pitches. I think (Reds starter Luis Castillo) was outstanding, and (Baltimore’s Tyler Wells) was pounding the zone (on Sunday),” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said after Monday’s game. “We didn’t do too much. I still feel like we’re taking good swings and staying in the zone. … But, you’ve got to score runs to win it.”
Rafael Devers singled in the first inning and then contributed to Boston’s late run. Devers, who finished May with a .381 average, leads the majors with 72 hits, 32 for extra bases.
Wednesday marks Boston’s final game before a 10-game road trip through Oakland, Los Angeles (Angels) and Seattle.
While there is one more opportunity until Boston returns to Fenway Park on June 14, Cora said he hopes the Red Sox can improve upon a 12-14 home record.
“For us to get to where we want to go, we need to be better here (at Fenway Park),” Cora said. “Teams that make it to October are dominant at home and survive on the road. … We’re not playing badly, but we need to pick it up.”
After beginning the season in Boston’s bullpen, Garrett Whitlock (1-1, 3.49 ERA) will make his eighth consecutive start in the finale of the brief Interleague set.
Whitlock hasn’t earned a win since his move to the rotation, but he has allowed more than three runs just once in a start. That stretch continued last Friday when he held the Orioles to two runs on five hits over six innings.
Hunter Greene (2-6, 5.89 ERA) will be the second Cincinnati pitcher in as many nights to make his first career start against Boston. He will take the mound a night after Castillo fanned 10 in six shutout, one-hit innings on the way to Cincinnati’s first-ever regular-season win at Fenway Park.
“Against that lineup, (Castillo) really set the tone,” Reds manager David Bell said. “… That was as strong an outing as he’s had in a long time, and that’s saying a lot.”
Greene will look for back-to-back wins after he was the beneficiary of a season-high 20 runs for the Reds in last Thursday’s 20-5 triumph over the Chicago Cubs.
The rookie right-hander struck out six and allowed five runs on seven hits over five innings in his most recent outing. However, the run support was welcomed as he had received just 24 runs of support in his first eight starts.
“I don’t want to dwell on my performance (on Thursday),” Greene said. “It was not how I wanted it to go. But I’m really happy for these guys. It was really nice to see (the offense) get on the board early, and they didn’t let up. They had really good at-bats and saw the ball well.”
The seven starts between Greene’s two victories resulted in six losses and a no-decision.
The Reds were expected to have outfielder Tommy Pham back after he served a three-game suspension for slapping San Francisco outfielder Joc Pederson over an off-field dispute, but he was a late scratch due to left calf discomfort.
Right fielder Tyler Naquin exited Tuesday’s game in the fourth inning due to a left quad strain.
–Field Level Media