Wednesday, March 26, 2008
SOX BATS SOFTEN AGAINST HARDEN
Rich Harden and Emil Brown led the Athletics to a 5-1 victory this morning. Harden went 6 innings, allowing 1 earned run, 3 hits, and striking out an impressive 9. Brown provided the offense, hitting a 3 run homer in the 4th to put Oakland up 4-0. The Oakland bullpen (comprised mostly of former Sox relievers), did not collapse this time. Santiago Casilla, BK Foulke, and Alan Embree combined for three scoreless innings to close the game.
The only offense for the Sox came off the bat of Manny Ramirez, who hit a solo shot in the 6th. Other than that, a few hits and walks scattered here and there was all the Sox could produce.
Lester didn't look very sharp. He had difficulty with his command, with his pitch to Brown the most glaring example of his many mistakes. It was a cut fastball that didn't cut, and wasn't all that fast. Lester went 4 innings, allowed 5 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks, and struck out 4.
But there were some silver linings to the game. David Aardsma made his Sox debut and pitched 1.2 scoreless innings with 3 strikeouts. Javier Lopez didn't allow any inherited runners to score. Manny seems to be starting the season off in stride, as is Julio Lugo.
But there is one huge negative from this series, and that was the performance of Jason Varitek. He was 0 for 8 with 6 strikeouts, and grounded into a double play. That's pathetic.
David Ortiz also didn't do much offensively (0 for 7 in the series), but he at least was able to work two walks. He also had two at-bats shortened thanks to the abundant foul territory of the Tokyo Dome.
The Man of the Game for Wednesday morning was Rich Harden, who struck out 9 men in 6 innings. It was the best pitching performance of the young season.
AP Photo/Koji Sasahara
AP Photo/David Guttenfelder