‘It feels like the last few, I just haven’t quite had it’: James Paxton takes ownership of rough start against the Royals

Red Sox

Paxton surrendered six runs in 1 1/3 innings of work.

James Paxton allowed six runs in less than two innings of work on Friday night. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
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Friday was a night to forget for the Red Sox, losing 13-2 to the Kansas City Royals, and a start to forget for Boston starting pitcher James Paxton.

Paxton allowed six runs in 1 1/3 innings of work, his second-shortest career outing as a starting pitcher. During the stint, he failed to record a strikeout and walked a pair of batters. He also gave up two home runs in the first inning.

Locating pitches was a struggle for Paxton, who missed his spots fairly regularly on Friday.

“Separation is key for [Paxton],” Boston manager Alex Cora said after the game. “He can go up in the zone, but if he doesn’t have one of the two pitches that he can expand down and in to righties, then they start hunting up in the zone.”

Paxton didn’t have either of his primary pitches going on Friday night, and he took ownership of that.

“Not a lot of feel of the breaking ball right now, fastball just feels kind of lifeless, too,” Paxton told reporters after the game. “Trying to figure some things out mechanically … it’s just not feeling good right now.”

At 34 years old and throwing his highest volume of games since 2019, some have begun to question if Paxton has anything left in his arm. Cora told reporters he is “taking care of” Paxton, and the veteran pitcher is hoping to find his groove again before the end of the season.

“I’m going to do everything I can to try and get it back,” Paxton said. “Just not feeling as crisp, doesn’t feel like the life is there, seems like the life is just gone out of my stuff right now and I’m trying to find it again.”

Paxton has a 4.5 ERA in 19 starts this season.