Saturday, April 15, 2006
Wakefield was all by himself today. No offense supporting him, no defense behind him. Wake went the full 9, allowing 2 earned runs. Normally, that'd be good enough to win. However, the Red Sox effort at the plate and in the field was, in a word, insignificant.
At the plate, the Red Sox went 5 for 32. The 1 thru 6 hitters went 2 for 22 with no extra basehits.
The Red Sox had a threat in the first. Ortiz singled, Ramirez singled. With runners on the corners and two outs, Youkilis grounded out to end the inning.
In the 2nd, Snow led off with a walk. Pena hit what might have been a triple, and what would have at least been an RBI double, but it bounced on the warning track and into the stands for a ground rule double. Bard worked a walk in a 12 pitch at-bat. Bases loaded and nobody out. Gonzalez struck out, Stern struck out, and Cora grounded out.
The Sox wouldn't threaten again until the 7th when they had 2 on and 1 out. But that rally never got past second base.
The Mariners rally came in the 2nd inning. Betencourt led off with a double. Wakefield struck out Ichiro, but Bard let the ball get away. Betencourt advanced to 3rd and Ichiro reached. Ichiro promptly stole second base. Another passed ball allowed Betencourt to score and Ichiro to move to 3rd. Ibanez hit a long shot to right that probably should have been caught but Pena took a strange route to the ball. It bounced into the stands for a ground rule double. Sexson then hit a single to knock in Ibanez.
In the inning, there should have been 1 out with the K of Ichiro. Another out should have been the catch of Ibanez's fly ball. Throw that in with Youkilis's nice catch on a liner and that is 3 outs. The defense just wasn't there for Wakefield.
The Man of the Game goes to Wakefield who went 9, allowed 2 earned runs, and probably shouldn't have allowed any if his defense supported him.
Now for the B*tch-Goat:
Stern: 0.2 - 0 for 5, 3 K, 5 LOB
Cora: 0.2 - 0 for 5, 5 LOB
Youkilis: 0.1 - 0 for 4, 2 LOB
Gonzalez: 0.2 - 0 for 3, 5 LOB
Bard: 0.2 - 1 for 4, 2 Passed Balls
Pena: 0.1 - misplayed fly ball turned into double
Beckett vs. Washburn tomorrow afternoon.
I think Curt Schilling may be the best starting pitcher in the early season. He's the only starter with 3 wins, his ERA is a mere 1.64 and only Roy Oswalt has pitched more innings than him.
Last night was Schilling's best start of the season. He went 8 innings allowing only 1 earned run and striking out 7. He didn't walk anyone and he allowed only 3 hits.
The only Mariners run came off a Richie Sexson double followed by consecutive groundouts that drove him in. In the 6th, the Mariners threatened again. Jeremy Reed hit a leadoff double. He probably should have been erased at 2nd, but Willy Mo took a long time to get rid of the ball. Reed advanced to 3rd on a groundout. Then up stepped probably the best contact hitter in baseball: Ichiro Suzuki.
The Sox were in desperate need of a strikeout with a runner on 3rd, 1 out, and a 2-1 lead. The problem is, Ichiro is hard to strikeout. In fact, in 3,447 career MLB at-bats, Ichiro has been struck out only 321 times. That is 9.3% or a strikeout every 10.7 ABs.
It took 6 pitches, but Schilling sent down Ichiro swinging. Then he got Josie Lopez on a foul tip into Varitek's glove to end the inning and the threat. Schilling retired the side in order in the 7th and 8th, getting his last 9 batters out in a row.
Papelbon came in to close it. He got Roberto Petagine to pop out, then he impressively struck out Ichiro Suzuki. Lopez got a single, but Raul Ibanez grounded out to end the game.
The Red Sox got their 2 runs off Jamie Moyer, who had a typical "how did he pull that one off" start, scattering 8 hits in 6 innings but not yielding too many big hits. On any other night, he probably pitched well enough to win the game. The Sox had ample opportunities against him but couldn't do anything significant until the 4th.
The bottom of the lineup provided the offense again. Mike Lowell singled, Dustin Mohr doubled. After Pena struck out, Alex Gonzalez - who went 3 for 4 - hit a 2 run double to knock in Lowell and Mohr. That was all the offense the Sox needed.
The middle of the lineup was absent from any offensive production last night. Loretta, Ortiz, Ramirez, and Varitek combined for a 1 for 14 performance. Ramirez has still yet to get an extra base hit. We're going to need that middle of the lineup because we're not always going to get 8 inning starts out of our pitchers.
The Man of the Game is obviously Curt Schilling. Curt went 8 throwing 104 pitches, 73 of which were strikes. He struck out 7, allowed only one run, and only 3 hits. He didn't walk anyone.
The Sox send Tim Wakefield to the mound against 1-1 Joel Piniero in just over an hour.
WELLS RETURNS TO DL
With a right knee injury, Wells has been placed on the 15 day DL retroactive to Thursday. He received an injection of lubricant in his knee last night. He will not be able to return until at least April 28th. Jermaine Van Buren, a 25 year old righty with 6 innings of Major League experience with the Cubs has been recalled from AAA Pawtucket to take Wells's roster spot. Van Buren has made 2 relief appearances in Pawtucket this season, pitching 4 scoreless innings.
Wells's spot in the rotation will come up Monday for the Patriots Day game. I doubt the Red Sox will use Papelbon for that game, but they might. They could also use Lenny DiNardo to start it. Another option could be Abe Alvarez who is 1-0 in AAA with a 1.50 ERA in 2 starts. Alvarez's last start was on the 11th of April. Last year Alvarez made 2 relief appearances. He made a spot start in 2004 going 5 innings, allowing 5 runs. But that was 2 years ago.