BOSTON -- It’s not the first time Red Sox starter Brandon Workman has been in this situation, but it still comes as a disappointment.
The decision had to be made with the team needing a starter for Wednesday’s game. And with Rubby De La Rosa back on his way to Boston to fill that void, Workman was once again the one called into manager John Farrell’s office to hear the bad news.
“It’s not ideal,” Workman said. “It’s not what I was hoping to hear after the game.”
And yet, it was seemingly unavoidable for Workman. With five games remaining before the All-Star break and five starters now lined up before he would have his next turn in the rotation, the 25-year-old found himself a victim of circumstance.
A tough break for the young right-hander who felt he was making strides on the mound.
“I thought it was a step in the right direction off of last time,” Workman said. “Obviously I can still be sharper. There are still pitches I need to make that I didn’t make.”
After matching a career high by allowing six runs in four innings in his last start against the Chicago Cubs, Workman showed improvement Tuesday, matching a career-high seven innings pitched and allowing five runs (three earned) in the Red Sox’s 8-3 loss against the Chicago White Sox. Workman surrendered a career-high eight hits, but struck out five and walked two.
“You’ve got to look beneath the line score on Workman here tonight,” Farrell said.
Unlike last time out, Workman started strong in the first inning. He retired the side in order, needing only 10 pitches. In the second, however, things quickly came undone for Workman and the defense behind him.
After a walk and two singles loaded the bases with no outs, Workman got Dayan Viciedo to ground to Mike Napoli at first for a potential 3-2-3 double play. But Napoli bobbled the ball on the transfer, losing any opportunity of getting an out at home in addition to missing the easy out at first. The first White Sox run came across to score, another being added on a double-play grounder to second by Alejandro De Aza to give Chicago an early two-run lead.
“Errors are part of the game,” Workman said. “You’ve got to bounce back from them on the mound. That’s part of it.”
A De Aza RBI single in the fourth gave Chicago a 3-0 lead, one that would disappear an inning later as the Red Sox rallied to score three runs on five hits to tie the game.
In need of a shutdown sixth inning, Workman allowed a leadoff single to Jose Abreu before retiring the next two batters. Facing Conor Gillaspie with a full count, Workman left a cutter over the plate that Gillaspie shot down the right-field line for his second home run of the season.
“If I could take back one pitch, it would be that one,” Workman said. “We just gathered some momentum in the bottom half. It’s definitely a situation where you want to go out there and put up a big zero right there. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that.”
Although Workman was hard on himself, battery mate David Ross accepted responsibility for what he felt wasn’t a great team effort behind the right-hander.
“He pitched really well,” Ross said. “We had a chance to get out of some things. Didn’t play great defense here tonight, but we’re grinding.”
Farrell shared that sentiment.
“The two unearned runs in the second -- they then extend the lead to 3-0. We battle back, tie it up,” Farrell said. “Seven solid innings other than [the home run] and we contributed to that cause in the second inning.”
Heading back to Triple-A Pawtucket for the second time this season, the first coming when Craig Breslow was activated from the disabled list in early April, Workman said he had yet to be told if he would get a start while in the minors. If he does, he plans on continuing to make progress as he looks to work his way back to the Boston rotation.
“There are things you take forward off of every outing to work on in between and try to be better at for the next one,” he said. “Take the good out of today and build off it and get better going forward.”