BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox needed to keep the Brewers’ high-powered offense off the scoreboard anyway. But considering the Brewers’ offensive success in the first three innings, the Red Sox especially had to keep it close in the early innings.
Drew Pomeranz did the exact opposite on Tuesday night in Milwaukee.
The Brewers pummeled Pomeranz for five runs in the first inning of the series opener at Miller Park, and their early onslaught turned out to be the difference in their 11-7 win over the Red Sox. Milwaukee has now scored 33 first-inning runs, the most in the National League. One of the keys to the series for the Red Sox went out the window in a hurry.
Pomeranz also had to do his best to particularly keep Brewers slugger Eric Thames (12 home runs entering Tuesday) off the bases. He couldn’t do that, either, as Thames cranked a 1-0 fastball (that was right over the plate) to center field for his 13th home run to get the Brewers’ big first inning started. The two-run shot put the Brewers up 2-1 after Pomeranz had thrown just 10 pitches.
In total, Pomeranz allowed six runs on seven hits and two walks in just four innings as his ERA ballooned to 5.23. It was Pomeranz’s first real clunker since his April 16 start against the Rays, in which he allowed five runs in 4.1 innings. But even though Pomeranz had kept the run totals low in his previous three starts, he still had trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark; he’s now allowed seven home runs in six starts on the season.
The loss to the Brewers is sure to raise further concerns about Pomeranz moving forward. He continues to tax the Red Sox bullpen, approaching or passing 100 pitches by the time he gets into the sixth inning. Hitters are making hard contact against him at the highest rate since 2013, according to Fangraphs. Opposing hitters’ contact rate on pitches inside the strike zone (89.4 percent) is at its highest since Pomeranz’s rookie year in 2011, when he made just four starts.
[graphiq id=”f7HxXW1qVZX” title=”Drew Pomeranz Career ERA, WHIP and K/BB” width=”600″ height=”523″ url=”https://sw.graphiq.com/w/f7HxXW1qVZX” frozen=”true”]
There are still some things to like about Pomeranz’s season so far. His strikeout rate (26.7 percent) is at an all-time high and his walk rate (8.2 percent) is at its lowest since 2011. But when opposing batters have hit the ball, they’ve hit it hard and far.
Pomeranz’s continued inability to keep the ball in the ballpark or pitch deep into games will continue to be a major concern for the Red Sox rotation until he can turn things around.