Saturday, August 04, 2007
DEALING WITH DISAPOINTMENT
Seattle owns us. Ichiro has a seat reserved for him in the owner's box at Fenway. Kenji Johjima gets quarterly financial reports. Theo Epstein calls JJ Putz when he needs financial approval for a trade.
The Red Sox always seem to have hard losses against Seattle. There was that stretch of 1 run losses a few weeks ago that were just brutal to watch.
Last night's loss was also difficult. We had 15 baserunners, and only scored 4 of them. Eight were left on base, one was thrown out and two were eliminated by double plays.
The two double plays we grounded into were huge. We loaded the bases with no outs in the 2nd, with the top of the order due up. But Pedroia hit into the classic 6-4-3, which knocked in a run, but crushed what could have been a big rally. In the 5th, the Sox hit three consecutive singles to start the inning. They had scored a run, and there were runners on 1st and 2nd. Manny grounded into another 6-4-3, crushing the rally.
You can look at the offense, point at the 5 men left in scoring position, and the two big double plays, but this game was lost by our pitching.
Lester had a strictly mediocre, if not below average start, going 5 innings and allowing 4 runs. The big hit he allowed was Betancourt's 3 run homerun. Once again, he got his pitch count up early and was unable to go deep into the game. Here were his pitch counts inning by inning:
1st - 17 pitches
2nd - 14 pitches
3rd - 29 pitches
4th - 29 pitches
5th - 11 pitches
This is his thing. Even when he doesn't give up runs, he throws a lot of pitches and can't go deep into games.
Lester left after 5, and the score was 4-4, so we were definitely in the game. Timlin had a shaky 6th inning, causing some trouble for himself. He made a throwing error, which moved a guy into scoring position. Then on a bunt, he tried to throw a runner out at 3rd, when there was no force out at 3rd. He made a bad throw, but the decision was even worse. He got out of it having only allowed 1 run, and was very fortunate to get a line out double play to end the inning.
For some reason, Timlin started the 7th as well. This makes little to no sense to me. He's been hurting all season, he pitched somewhat poorly in the 6th, and we have other pitchers out there that could have been better options. We have Tavarez, Snyder, Delcarmen, Okajima, Gagne, and so on. I think Snyder would have been a good option to start the 7th.
In the 7th, Timlin allowed a 2 run homer by Johjima, which effectively ended the game. The Red Sox weren't going to come back from a 3 run deficit against Seattle's bullpen.
So you can blame the offense, but this game was lost by our pitching.
One bright spot is that Ortiz hit another homer. He seems to be hitting his stride, finally. Now, if we could just stop hitting into double plays before he comes up, we'll be in great shape.