ANAHEIM, Calif. — Zach Stewart probably will get another chance with the Red Sox, if for no other reason than they will need extra arms when the rosters expand in September.
But for now, he has been optioned back to Triple A Pawtucket after a discouraging start Wednesday night against the Angels.
Stewart allowed nine runs on 10 hits in three innings in a 10-3 loss. The 25-year-old righthander looked overmatched right away as the first four Angels scored in the first inning.
“He got too many pitches up. He has to pitch down in the zone to be effective,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “He just wasn’t able to do that tonight. It’s tough to come up and make a start against this team and have things go bad from the first hitter.”
Said Stewart: “I’ve had a few bad ones. It’s always difficult, you never want to have a start like that. It’s one of those things, all you can do is turn the page and go from there.”
Stewart appears to be a classic case of a pitcher who can't make the leap from the minors. He has a 3.19 ERA in 112 minor league games — 3.45 in Triple A. But he is 3-9 with a 6.55 ERA in 32 major league games.
The Red Sox are now in a position where they are evaluating their players for next season. Get used to days like this the rest of the way.
"It's life in the big leagues," Valentine said. "You get an opportunity and sometimes you make the best of it and sometimes you have to have more than one opportunity to show what you can do."
You can make a case that Valentine left Stewart in too long. With two outs and a runner on second in the third inning, Stewart allowed two RBI doubles then a three-run homer to No. 9 hitter Chris Iannetta. The game was pretty ugly at that point.
But the Red Sox have seven games in the next seven days, part of a stretch of 16 games in as many days. So Valentine left Stewart in to finish the inning.
"I was deathly afraid of using the entire bullpen," Valentine said.
Does it matter whether Valentine saves a rookie's pride a little or keeps an extra pitcher fresh for the next game?
That such a question even needs to be asked tells you where the Red Sox are right now.