Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Saturday night's tough extra inning defeat, coupled with the Patriots' hardships in California were made bearable because Jon Lester was pitching on Monday. Jon Lester would make things good again for Boston sports fans. Jon Lester would shut down the Rays, and the Sox would be up 2-1 in the ALCS.
Jon Lester came, he saw, he got knocked around.
He dominated the first two innings. The Rays drew a cheap run in the 2nd thanks to a missed strike call, a passed ball, and a bloop single. But Lester fell apart in the 3rd, giving up a single, a double, and a pair of homeruns. He put himself together and pitched well after that, but sufficient damage had been done.
Why was 5 runs enough to end a game in the 3rd inning?
Because this offense has decided not to hit, or at least not to hit at the right times. Ortiz + Youkilis + Drew = 1 for 12 with a single and 5 Ks. Ellsbury is 0 for his last 20. Ortiz is 1 for his last 17. It's one thing to have Varitek and Cora struggling, it's something entirely different to have your leadoff hitter and middle of the lineup slugger unable to do anything at the plate.
The offensive woes have been frustrating. But the starting pitching has given two very shabby performances the last two games. Had Beckett made a solid start Saturday night, the Sox would be up 2-1, not down 1-2. Playoff baseball is won and lost by pitching, not hitting. And for the last 19 innings, that pitching has been dreadful.
The news doesn't get much better. Andy Sonnanstine takes on Tim Wakefield Tuesday night. Sonnansitine pitched 13 innings against the Sox this year without allowing an earned run. Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, and Youkilis are a combined 10 for 55 (.182) against him. Wakefield, on the other hand, was 0-2 against Tampa, with a 5.87 ERA.
But anything can happen. And at the very least, we won't have to suffer through 4 Jason Varitek at-bats. And at least none of our pitchers worship Satan.
Finally, did you know that Rocco Baldelli is from Woonsocket, RI? You'd think the TBS guys might have mentioned it at least once.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
AP Photo/Winslow Townson