Thursday, July 26, 2007
These two good teams finally exploded at the plate, scoring 23 combined runs, and recording 23 combined hits. Every Sox batter but Youkilis had a hit, and every Sox batter reached base. Manny Ramirez and Wily Mo Pena were the stars of the show. Manny went 3 for 4 with 2 homers, a double, 4 RBI, and 4 runs. Pena went 4 for 5 with a homer, 2 doubles, and a single. He scored twice and knocked in 4. His 3 run shot in the 7th appeared not to mean that much with the Sox winning 12-5 at the time, but after Cleveland scored 4 runs in the bottom of the inning, it proved to be huge.
Tavarez made his first relief appearance of the season. He pitched well in the 5th and 6th, but allowed 4 runs in the 7th. They were all unearned as Lugo made a throwing error to begin the inning, and there were 2 outs at the time the runs scored, making all those runs theoretically wiped out if Lugo had made the play. But Julian still gave up a 2 out walk, followed by a single, followed by a homerun. Nevertheless, he gets the win.
Gabbard pitched well for 4 innings. He only allowed 1 hit in the first 13 batters he faced, a Gutierrez solo homerun. He was given a 9-1 lead in the top of the 5th, but everything came undone for him. Maybe it was the long wait in the top of the inning, maybe with the big lead he lost focus, I don't know.
Even though he didn't pitch great, it's nice to have a guy like Tavarez in the pen, who can go a few innings. We're not going to use Papelbon for more than an inning, we'd like to keep Okajima fresh, Timlin isn't someone you want out there for 2 or 3 innings, Snyder is good, but it's definitely a plus for our bullpen to have Julian out there.
Coco Crisp rebounded nicely from what was an overplayed, and overly hyped baserunning mistake the night before. He went 2 for 5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. It's nice to see he doesn't read and/or care about what's in the papers
So in this series, the Red Sox took 3 of 4 from the Wild Card leading Indians. I'll take that, especially considering Cleveland was 34-15 (.694) at home coming into the series. We also split games with Sabathia and Carmona, which ain't half bad. We've beaten Cleveland 4 times out of 6 this season. And guess who we would play if the post-season started right now...
In other news, Joel Pineiro accepted an assignment to AAA Pawtucket after clearing waivers. I guess this is good news. Mind as well have the guy available since we're paying him.
Brendan Donnelley began throwing from 90 feet on Wednesday. Terry Francona says that Donnelley is throwing "Not real aggressive...but he's throwing."
Curt Schilling made a rehab start in Toledo for the PawSox. He was very impressive. He went 5 scoreless innings, retiring the first 14 men he faced. He allowed 2 hits, no walks, and struck out 8. He threw 66 pitches, 44 of which were strikes. The stadium radar gun clocked his fastball as high as 93, and it frequently was in the low 90s range. He will make at least one more rehab start at AAA before returning.
It's July 27th tomorrow, and the Red Sox will be making their first appearance at the Fenway Dome in Tampa Bay. Wakefield goes against converted reliever Jason Hammel.
In 1-0 losses, you can look at EVERY single play in the game and say "Well if this was a bit different, then we'd win." If any Red Sox batter hit a homerun in any at-bat, the game gets tied and the Sox might win. If Beckett doesn't allow the solo homerun, the game stays at 0-0. If Crisp doesn't slow down a bit rounding third, he might not get thrown out, and the Sox might have tied.
Coco's getting thrown out might have been the play of the game. There were 2 outs, Crisp was on 2nd, and Ortiz hit a soft grounder to the second baseman, who was playing deep in the overshift. He had no chance at throwing Ortiz out at first, so he threw home. With two outs, Coco was off on contact but he seemed to hesitate a bit on his way home. Victor Martinez caught Barfield's perfect throw, blocked the plate, and may or may not have tagged Crisp out. What matters, though, is that Crisp was called out.
The inning was strange from beginning to end. Cora hit a hard liner, but right at third baseman Casey Blake. Hit just a few inches away, and it's at least a single. Crisp hit the ball much more softly, but right up the middle in no man's land, so he reached on an infield single. Pedroia grounded out. Ortiz hit a very weak groundball. Now, he went 1 for 4 with this infield single being his only hit. If he had gotten a true single, into the outfield, Crisp scores easily and Boston Dirt Dogs isn't making him the goat of the century today. Or let's say Barfield hesitates, or his throw is slightly offline, or the umpire calls Crisp safe, then we aren't bitching and moaning about a hesitation.
I'm one of the most critical Red Sox fans there is. But I'm not all that mad at Coco. He screwed up and slowed down a bit. He made a mistake, let's move on. In 162 games, players will make the occasional mistake. We've all seen Coco's outfield play this season. He's a hustler out there. We've all seen him raise his average from below .200 up near .300 this season. He screwed up, let's move on to the next game.
Let's look at the real reasons we lost this game. We had 7 total baserunners. We struck out 8 times. We grounded into a double play. We had 3 runners thrown out on the basepaths. We went 4 for 27 as a team.
And give credit to Fausto Carmona. He threw a gem. Eight innings, allowed 4 hits, 2 walks, struck out 6, had 11 ground ball outs, and 4 fly outs. He beat us, it's that simple. Beckett pitched great as well. His only real mistake was the homerun. He also went 8 innings, also allowing 4 hits. He walked none and struck out 7. It was one of his best starts of the year, but it was also one of Carmona's as well.
Let's not go nuts about this game. It was a 1-0 game, which always leads to the "We could have won it if..." discussions. But let's consider the previous night's 1-0 win. We would have LOST that if...whatever.
Also, this was the first time two AL teams played 1-0 games against each other, back-to-back, since 1975.