Sunday, April 06, 2008
The Red Sox 7-4 loss to Toronto Sunday afternoon was in a single word: disgraceful. Beckett failed to go 5 innings, Manny Delcarmen was owned by Frank Thomas once more, Julio Lugo made three errors, and the three homeruns the Sox hit all came with nobody on base.
For some reason, Toronto beats the Red Sox with regularity. In 2007, the Jays were 9-9 against Boston. In 2006, they were 12-7 against the Sox. In '05, they were 11-7. Over the past three seasons, their record against the Red Sox is better than any other team in baseball.
I have no idea. They just match-up well against the Sox, I suppose. Obviously Roy Halladay helps. For some reason, Red Sox hitters struggle mightily against Toronto pitching. Here's a look at how the regulars in the lineup have fared in their careers against pitchers currently on Toronto's staff:
Coco Crisp - 81 ABs, .210 Avg, .235 OBP, .296 SLG
JD Drew - 71 ABs, .268 Avg, .346 OBP, .394 SLG
Jacoby Ellsbury - 25 ABs, .400 Avg, .407 OBP, .640 SLG
Mike Lowell - 94 ABs, .298 Avg, .330 OBP, .500 SLG
Julio Lugo - 126 ABs, .310 Avg, .356 OBP, .468 SLG
David Ortiz - 167 ABs, .257 Avg, .335 OBP, .527 SLG
Dustin Pedroia - 65 ABs, .235 Avg, .275 OBP, .308 SLG
Manny Ramirez - 137 ABs, .270 Avg, .338 OBP, .504 SLG
Jason Varitek - 130 ABs, .215 Avg, .292 OBP, .354 SLG
Kevin Youkilis - 86 ABs, .186 Avg, .278 OBP, .279 SLG
That's just bad. But this weekend, the problem wasn't hitting. At least, it wasn't JUST hitting. The starting pitching failed in its first and foremost responsibility:
GO DEEP INTO THE GAME
Wakefield went 6 innings Friday night, Buchholz could only manage 5 Saturday afternoon, and Beckett only worked 4.2 on Sunday. This left all three games in the unsure hands of the middle relievers.
Friday, Aardsma, Lopez, and Delcarmen combined for 3 earned runs, which gave Toronto the lead, and insurance.
Saturday, Kyle Snyder and Bryan Corey allowed 6 runs in the 6th to turn a manageable 4-2 game into a 10-2 blowout.
Sunday, Delcarmen only allowed one earned run, but all four of Toronto's runs in the 5th were thanks to a flat fastball from his hand. Then to make matters worse, Aardsma allowed yet another run in the 7th.
After Papelbon and Okajima, the Red Sox bullpen is a quagmire. Delcarmen showed signs of brilliance last year but has been dull since the '07 post-season. Corey, Aardsma, Lopez, are all painfully mediocre.
The lack of faith in the middle relief was demonstrated Sunday when Francona stuck with Beckett for as long as he could. His Ace pitcher hadn't made a start longer than 65 pitches yet this year, but he was still on the mound. He was struggling to get outs, his location was off, his fastball was drifting, his pitch count topped 80, then 85, then 90, before finally being pulled with 2 outs in the 4th, the bases loaded, and 92 pitches thrown.
But it isn't the end of the world. As the season progresses, the starters will be stretched out and should be able to go deeper into games. Timlin will return to the bullpen. Colon and/or Schilling may come back and allow a guy like Wakefield to move into the pen. But until then, the 6th, and 7th innings will be very stressful for Sox fans.
Just in case you were curious, here's what the "scantily clad" woman who ran onto the field during Friday's game looks like:
I bet she looked hot from the upper deck.
The Red Sox begin a very rough stretch after on off-day on Monday. The revamped Tigers come into town for three games, then it's three games with the Yankees. That's followed by a two game series in Cleveland, and another two game series against the scum.
DO NOT LOOK AT THE AL EAST STANDINGS
The world has turned upside down. The Orioles are 4-1 and lead the division, followed by Tampa Bay, Toronto, New York, and Boston. I still think those standings will be flipped by September.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, J.P. Moczulski
Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld