BOSTON -- There are many around New England who believe the Red Sox should have already run out of patience with Drew Pomeranz and left Brian Johnson in the Red Sox rotation.
But the team, knowing how Pomeranz came on and wound up a 17-game winner last year, remain confident the left-hander will again find his way. That's why he starts against the Philadelphia Phillies in the second game of a two-game interleague series at Fenway Park Tuesday night.
Pomeranz, hit hard in Baltimore last week in his latest return from the disabled list, will face Jake Arrieta after the Red Sox pulled out a 2-1 victory in the 13th inning Monday night.
Before that return by Pomeranz, manager Alex Cora said, "Now that he is back, we have to forget about what happened earlier in the season. It's like trading for somebody right now. If he throws the ball the way he did last year, he's a big plus for us."
Then, the Red Sox did trade for a pitcher, bringing Nate Eovaldi in from Tampa Bay for prospect Jalen Beeks. Johnson, who has been strong as a starter this season, was shifted back to the bullpen. At least for now.
Pomeranz, 0-2 with a 3.60 ERA in four career starts against Philadelphia (allowing two earned runs or less in each of the last three) comes into this start 1-4 with a 6.91 ERA on the season.
He faces Arrieta, looking to finish off a strong July.
The veteran righty, a late signing by the Phillies, is 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA in five July starts -- the Phils winning all five games. He is 1-4 with a 5.27 ERA in eight games -- seven starts -- lifetime against the Red Sox, 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five games -- four starts -- at Fenway.
Tuesday's game will begin some three hours after the non-waiver trade deadline and both first-place teams have been involved in deals, rumors and reports concerning additions that could help in the final two months.
Kinsler provides a replacement for Dustin Pedroia for the rest of the season -- it's not known if Pedroia will return. Kinsler, who hasn't had a great year but does own an .859 OPS since May 28, can be a free agent after the season.
"That puts us in the spot where Brock (Holt) can be the utility guy where we think he plays a very good role," said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "As does (Eduardo) Nunez -- he can play all over the field for us. Then when (Rafael) Devers gets back we have the ability to go down to 12 pitchers.'
Blake Swihart, who came off the bench late, extended his hitting streak to 10 games (only two plate appearances) with a game-winning ground-rule double Monday night -- his first career walk-off hit.
"We find ways," Cora said after his team increased its lead over the idle New York Yankees to six games atop the American League East -- matching Boston's biggest lead of the season (the Yankees were 7 1/2 games back in April but were in third place).
Red Sox starting pitchers have posted a 1.41 ERA (11 ER/70.1 IP) in their last 12 games. According to Elias, that marks the lowest ERA by a Red Sox starting staff over a 12-game period since 7/20-8/3/1933 (1.31).
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Phillies, who have scored seven runs in the four games (after hitting a club-record seven homers in their last win) and saw their NL East lead over the winning Atlanta Braves shrink to a half-game.
General manager Matt Klentak, who has already acquired Asdrubel Cabrera from the Mets, was working the phones heading toward the deadline. But manager Gabe Kapler said, "I will reiterate what I've said for the last 10 days: Everything that we need to be successful going forward is in that (clubhouse). We are here in first place because of the men in that room, and, again, if they take a small step forward, continue their development and get a little better, we win a lot of games from here on out."
The current Phillies roster is just a combined 5-for-23 (.217) against Pomeranz, with Trevor Plouffe 1-for-6 (.167).
The interleague series marks the return of 2004 champion and Phillies rookie manager Kapler to Fenway -- where he's working against ex-teammate Cora.
"I love this ballpark," said Kapler, who played four seasons with the Red Sox. "This is a very special, powerful place."