"THE FUTURE AIN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE"
Henry Owens pitches a very
2015 ... Right
after Henry Owens retired the side on nine pitches in the seventh
inning, the conversations started in the dugout. Even though Owens
hadn’t lasted longer than six innings in any of his previous three
major league starts, Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo decided
the 23-year-old lefthander had earned another inning.
A light rain fell most of Friday night, but it never seemed to faze Owens. After
giving up a four-pitch walk to the Royals’ Alcides Escobar to start the game, he
did nothing but fire darts at the strike zone. When he came back out for the
eighth, he buzzed through Kansas City’s 8-9-1 hitters in 10 pitches. Owens left
the mound with the longest start of his short major league career. He allowed
four hits and one earned run, striking out four and walking one in a 7-2 Red Sox
win at Fenway Park.
As soon as Owens gave up the leadoff walk, the adjustments began. Blake Swihart,
the catcher with whom Owens had played since their days in Single A Greenville
in 2012, talked him through things. It wasn’t a matter of getting on the same
page. Owens retired the next nine Royals. Of his 103 pitches, 64 were strikes.
He wasn’t the same pitcher who struck out 10 batters but allowed 10 hits in his
last outing. He was sharper, crisper.
With the Sox facing hired gun Johnny Cueto, the game had the makings of a
pitchers’ duel, but Owens turned it into a no-contest. In four starts since
joining the Royals at the trade deadline, Cueto had been 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA,
and his unpredictable delivery presented a unique challenge.
The Red Sox banged out 14 hits, led by Blake Swihart, who was 4 for 4 with three
runs and two RBIs. Mookie Betts went 3 for 5 with an RBI. Josh Rutledge went 2
for 4, cracking a two-run homer in the sixth inning, his first in a Sox uniform.
And Rusney Castillo was 2 for 4 with a triple and two runs.
In his first career start against Boston, Cueto lasted only six innings,
allowing a career-high 13 hits. The seven runs were the most he’s allowed all
Owens, meanwhile, rebounded after giving up seven runs on 10 hits (the most he’s
given up on any level) in his Fenway debut.