Tuesday, June 05, 2007
This game was conceded to Oakland before it even started. Julian Tavarez, although pitching well lately, up against the best pitcher in baseball right now: Dan Haren. Lowell, Varitek, Lugo, and Crisp were out of the starting lineup. The team had just taken a red-eye flight from Boston to Oakland. Okajima, and Papelbon would also not be available.
Nevertheless, we nearly one the game. Haren pitched very well, but we scored 2 off him. Tavarez only allowed 3 in 5/2 innings. The run Pineiro allowed in the 8th was huge.
Perhaps the biggest play of the game occurred in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Tavarez walked Bubba Crosby. On a 3-2 pitch, Crosby was running, Cora went over to cover 2nd, leaving a hole in the left side, Kotsay hit a grounder right to where Cora had been, and it rolled into left for a single. Had the runner not been sent, or Cora not been the one to cover the bag, it would have been an easy double play. So instead of nobody on and 2 out for Mark Ellis, it was 2 on and none out. Ellis eventually hit a triple that gave Oakland a 2-1 lead. That entire inning, and the game itself, changed on that one play.
But we were living on the edge all night. Tavarez allowed 11 baserunners in 5.2 innings, and only 3 scored. Oakland only got 1 run out of a bases loaded situation in the 8th. They got nothing from a 0 out, bases jammed situation in the 9th. They had two on in the 10th and failed to score. Finally, Chavez ended it with a homer. Oakland left 13 men on base. Eight of those were left in scoring position.
Just a quick question. When Pineiro struggled through the 8th, and we tied it in the 9th, why the hell did he come on to pitch the bottom of the inning? And how come NOBODY was warming in the pen to begin the inning? It nearly cost us the game, because Joel couldn't get anyone out.
The past few games have exposed a weakness in the Red Sox that has been able to be hidden for most of the season: middle relief. We've got Papelbon and Okajima for the late innings, and Donnelly's been okay. But do you really trust JC Romero, Joel Pineiro, or Kyle Snyder with a close game? I don't. But we haven't seen most of these guys in such important roles, because the starting pitching has gone deep. Guys like Okajima and Papelbon have been given days off in between pitching. But our bullpen seriously lacks depth, right now. I'm not worried, though.
Jon Lester pitched a 7 inning, 1 earned run, complete game for AAA Pawtucket last night. In four starts since his forearm cramping, he has a 0.97 ERA, and a 1.26 ERA in 6 starts with the PawSox. Lester will make at least one more start for Pawtucket before joining the big club, and replacing Tavarez in the rotation. Tavarez, I think, will be a major asset in the bullpen. He has done very well against opposing hitters in their first at-bats against him. He could be a long man, a middle-reliever, and a right-handed set-up pitcher.
Also, Mike Timlin started the second game of Pawtucket's doubleheader, pitching 2 scoreless innings and throwing 21 pitches.
The Man of the Game for last night's extra inning loss is Mark Ellis. He went 4 for 5 and hit for the cycle. He very well could have gone 5 for 5 had the official scorer given him a hit, instead of giving Youkilis an error. Ellis also had 3 RBI.
Dan Haren: 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, BB, 9 K
David Ortiz: 3/4, HR, 2 2B, RBI, 2 Runs, BB
Wily Mo Pena: 2/5, HR, 2 RBI
Tavarez: 0.1 - 5.2 IP, 3 ER
Pineiro: 0.3 - IP+, Run, 3 BB
Snyder: 0.3 - 1.1 IP, ER, HR
Cora: 0.1 - 0 for 3
Mirabelli: 0.1 - 0 for 4
Hinske: 0.1 - 0 for 3
Matsuzaka against old friend Lenny DiNardo tonight.
The Yankees lost to the white Sox 6-4, and Baltimore fell to Seattle 7-4. The Red Sox lead in the East is down to 10 games.