Thursday, April 10, 2008
Poor starting pitching, poor relief pitching, and a lack of timely hitting combined for a wretched 7-2 loss to Detroit last night.
The Red Sox failed to capitalize on their offensive opportunities in the season opener Tuesday night, but were bailed out by Matsuzaka's brilliant work on the mound. But Wednesday night was a very different story.
With 2 outs in the 3rd, Sean Casey pulled a double down the right-field line into the corner. Youkilis had been on 1st, but instead of sending Youk home, 3rd base coach DeMarlo Hale held him up. The throw might have gunned down Youkilis, it certainly wasn't a no-brainer. But with 2 outs, and up 2-0, I think you have to send the runner. Force the defense to make a perfect throw, relay, catch, and tag. With Drew on deck, you've got maybe a 30% shot at scoring a run in the inning. The play at the plate probably would've been about 50/50. And of course, Drew grounded out, stranding a pair of runners in scoring position.
Right away, Detroit pounced on the Sox. Lester had navigated the first 3 innings with ease, but stumbled in the 4th. Back-to-back 1 out walks led to a 2 run Edgar Renteria double that tied the game. Then Marcus Thames hit a two run shot that gave Detroit a 4-2 lead.
Aardsma came in for Lester with 1 out in the 6th. In the 8th, Brayn "designated for assignment" Corey came in and ended any chance the Sox might have at a late inning rally. This is what the Tigers did against Corey:
The Sox threatened in the 9th, loading the bases with 2 outs. That's the thing about Todd Jones: he allows a good number of baserunners. Had it been a 4-2 game in the 9th, the Sox could have easily gotten the tying or go ahead runs to the plate. Instead, even a 2 out Grand Slam would have left the Sox a run shy of tying.
Lester gets the loss in this one, but he didn't pitch horribly. Don't get me wrong, his performance contributed to defeat as he walked far too many batters and failed to go deep into the game. However, Bryan Corey didn't do his job, which was to keep it a close game. And the Red Sox offense failed to take full advantage of their abundant opportunities to score runs.
The Sox also lost Mike Lowell due to a sprained left thumb. Lowell injured the thumb on his glove hand when diving for a ball at third base, and appearing to roll his wrist while doing so. He was replaced in the lineup by Sean Casey, who took over at first while Youkilis shifted to third. Lowell is listed as day-to-day.
This injury makes the Sean Casey signing look pretty intelligent.
The Providence Journal
AP Photo/Charles Krupa