Bruce Chen wondering if that smell is coming from his shoe
Bruce Chen, the Sino-Panamanian Loki, decided that he was going to choose the 27th of July to be the day that he would regress his season stats to the mean. Regression can be a cruel mistress, as Chen's ten earned runs in four innings of work would bear witness to. It is also cruel if you actually had to sit there and watch it happen in real-time.
Heading into the Boston Massacre v. 2.0, Chen's ERA was a sterling 3.30. Of course, his FIP, xFIP, tERA, and SIERA were 4.48, 4.47, 5.04, and 4.51, universally suggesting that his ERA was a mirage. It took a mere four innings to right that statistical wrong. His brand new ERA of 4.29 jives just a little bit better with those fielding-independent run averages.
Detailing what actually happened in the first four innings is essentially pointless. If it is nearly August and the starting pitcher saw his ERA jump 0.99 points in less than a handful of innings, that should say plenty.
The unfortunate thing is that Eric Hosmer hit a three-run moon shot in the top of the first, spotting Brucie Chen a three-run lead. After The Son of God homered, the Royals managed to get two more runners on before mistake-free Chris Getz stranded them. That lead was squandered by the end of the second inning, and the Red Sox had already seen 114 pitches by the end of the fourth.
There was no looking back.
The Royals had base-runners, stranding 12 in all with the indefatigable Getz being responsible for seven of those stranded runners. Solid nights for Hosmer (2 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI), Billy Butler (3 H, 1 monstrous HR), Alex Gordon (3 2B, 2 R, 2 OF assists), Jeff Francoeur (2 2B), Brayan Pena (2 H, 1 2B), and Moustakas (1 H, 2 BB) were overshadowed by Chen's horrible start and the bottom two-ninths of the line-up combining to go 0-for-8 before Getz crushed a single to shallow center field with two outs in the top of the ninth followed immediately by a weakly hit grounder from the bat of Mike Aviles that he beat out for an infield single. Of course, the seven-run deficit they were facing in the top of the ninth was insurmountable, so the late flash of production was too little, too late.
Yes, clutch hitting is not quantifiable. Maybe it's even an imaginary skill that the stodgy traditionalist intelligentsia want to believe they can somehow measure by an eye-/gut-test. Regardless, the saintly Christopher Getz was so decidedly un-clutch on this horrific evening that Hosmer had to pull him aside as he was absolving Chen of his sins and tell him that all was forgiven as "A Quick One, While He's Away" played from an unidentifiable source in the visitors locker room at Fenway. Perhaps Getz's failings were evident enough to warrant a long-desired call-up of the un-slick-fielding Johnny Giavotella. Maybe the recent praise of Chris Getz was the equivalent of the dreaded 'vote of confidence' for the manager/head coach.
Oh, who am I kidding? Getz will probably get to lead off tomorrow.