Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 10-9 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays…
1) Toronto’s offense can never be taken lightly.
Coming into the series, the Blue Jays had scored 197 runs, putting them in the middle of the pack among all Major League teams and averaging four runs per game. In the two games against Boston, they’ve scored 17 runs.
So an offense that had appeared to be dormant has been woken up thanks to some subpar Red Sox pitching.
It seems like these two teams are very similar and could be in opposite positions just as easily. The Blue Jays are only three behind in the win column (five in the loss), so Boston needs to win David Price’s Sunday start to widen the gap and cut their three-game skid.
2) Craig Kimbrel is only effective for so long.
Boston’s closer wasn’t giving excuses following Saturday’s game -- and this isn’t one either.
Saturday’s 39-pitch performance wasn’t just his season-high, but his career high in pitches.
This not only resulted in a drop in Kimbrel’s velocity, but it exposed flaws in the Red Sox’ pen. Kimbrel is truly a one-inning guy, so if Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara can’t get him the ball, he’s useless.
And it seems like Uehara won’t be used on back-to-back days frequently in the near future, so Boston won’t be able to use Tazawa in a seventh inning role with much consistency.
Somewhere along the way Dave Dombrowski will need to find another reliever for the back-end of the bullpen.
3) Offense can only take a team so far.
Both teams had big offensive days, in large part because pitchers from both sides made a lot of mistakes -- but they still took advantage of them.
Had the Red Sox been the home team in this contest, there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t have won -- just based on the progression of the game and ignoring any statistical splits.
If the Red Sox are serious about making the postseason, they need pitching to pick up the slack once in a while. Because when they hit the road late in the year, games like will slip away when quality pitching is lacking.