Brayan Bello’s emergence as a dependable starting pitcher has been one of the biggest developments of the Red Sox season, but lately the second-year standout has run into some trouble.
Those struggles continued Saturday as the right-hander labored through his latest outing, allowing four runs on nine hits in Boston’s 6-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers. Red Sox pitchers allowed four home runs in total, including two to outfielder Kerry Carpenter, and the offense couldn’t make the most of the few chances they created, going 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
It was clear early on that Bello didn’t have it, and while he was able to avoid serious damage with a couple of well-timed double plays, the Tigers were all over him throughout.
The trouble started in the second inning, when Bello allowed a leadoff home run to Carpenter and then a single to Spencer Torkelson. He got a double play to end that rally but allowed three more singles in the third, including an RBI knock by Riley Greene, before escaping that jam with another double play.
Bello worked around another single for a scoreless fourth but couldn’t keep the Tigers at bay any longer in the fifth. Eric Haase, Detroit’s nine hitter, took Bello deep for another solo shot, and then Akil Baddoo and Greene followed up with a pair of singles to put two men on with one out.
Bello nearly got the third double play to escape once again, but Matt Vierling was able to beat out the throw from second and Baddoo came in to score from third to make it 4-1. Bello was pulled afterwards, finishing with four runs allowed over 4.2 innings. It was the second time in less than a month Bello failed to get through five innings after going at least six in seven straight starts prior.
Overall, Bello has now posted a 5.67 ERA over six starts since the All-Star break, allowing nine home runs over 33.1 innings during that stretch.
Even if he’d been lights out Saturday, it may not have made much of a difference.
The Red Sox offense fell silent once again, managing only two runs against a Detroit pitching staff that ranks 20th in baseball with 4.81 runs allowed per game. Tigers starter Matt Manning, who entered the day with a 5.06 ERA, held the Red Sox to two hits, and his only run came as a result of a fielding error by third baseman Nick Maton, who let a routine grounder that should’ve ended the inning slip under his glove and allowed Justin Turner to score.
That made it 2-1 at the time, but the Tigers stretched their lead from there and got a pair of solo home runs from Torkelson (4 for 4, 2B, HR) in the sixth off Brennan Bernardino and by Carpenter in the eighth off Kyle Barraclough.
Boston did have a couple of chances late to make things interesting. In the bottom of the sixth the Red Sox got two men on with one out but weren’t able to score. Then in the eighth Justin Turner popped a solo home run to make it 6-2 and Rafael Devers and Triston Casas followed with back-to-back singles, but once again the Red Sox couldn’t take advantage.
With the loss the Red Sox fall to 61-56 won the season and to 4-5 on the homestand. They did at least catch a break with Toronto losing to the Chicago Cubs again, keeping the Blue Jays only three games ahead in the Wild Card standings.
The Red Sox will look to salvage the homestand with a series win over the Tigers on Sunday. Kutter Crawford (5-6, 3.80 ERA) is expected to face off against former Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (8-5, 2.75).
Sunday’s game will be broadcast exclusively on Peacock and first pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.