Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Before the 8th inning last night, Manny Ramirez had only hit 1 homerun in his last 77 at-bats. The 2 run Monster shot was part of a 4 run inning for the Sox, and tied the game at 5-5. Later, with 2 outs, Brandy Moss knocked in Youkilis to make it a 6-5 game.
Lester pitched decently. He allowed 5 runs in 7.1 innings. He threw 117 pitches, the 2nd most of the season (his most was 130 in the no-hitter). He had reached 100 pitches after 7 innings, but Francona had him start the 8th. That's an unusual move for Francona, who doesn't like to pull pitchers in the middle of an inning. But with the bullpen in the state that it is, you can't blame Tito for trying to stretch his starters.
Another interesting managerial decision was starting Kevin Cash. Francona hasn't benched Varitek, he simply gave him a day off. And maybe that's what Tek needs right now. Hopefully he used the off-day wisely. Cash went 0 for 2. But if Varitek continues to struggle, I'd like to see Cash given more at-bats, particularly against lefthanded pitchers. He's 6 for 17 against lefties this season.
Tampa Bay lost to the Yankees last night, cutting their divisional lead to 3 games.
The Sox go for the sweep this afternoon as Beckett faces Livan Hernandez.
AP Photo/Winslow Townson