Wednesday, September 02, 2009
A TEAM LOSS
So who's to blame for the Red Sox 8-5 loss to Tampa Bay Wednesday night? Only Josh Beckett, Jason Varitek, Jacoby Ellsbury, Terry Francona, Alex Gonzalez, Ramon Ramirez, David Ortiz, and Manny Delcarmen. That's about it.
Let's slice up the blame pie...
Beckett was perhaps the primary culprit. He allowed 5 runs (4 earned) in 6 innings. He settled down after the first 2 innings, but still couldn't go very deep into the game, and would have been in-line for the Loss, had the Sox not rallied in the 8th. Beckett hasn't registered a Quality Start since August 12th.
Jason Varitek can't hit. I don't care how good of a game-caller he is, his offensive ineptitude kills this lineup. Especially when you have a guy like Alex Gonzalez hitting 9th, then Varitek 8th, that makes the bottom of the order very easy for opposing pitchers to navigate. Too easy. He's hitting .169 since the All-Star Break, and he hit .135 in August. Dreadful.
Jacoby Ellsbury had multiple RBI opportunities, but failed to cash-in on any of them. He was 0 for 4, and 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position.
Francona bungled the end of this game, although not in a clear-cut way. With the bases loaded and 1 out, he probably should have used Mike Lowell to pinch hit for Alex Gonzalez. But Gonzalez has been hot, and swinging the bat well. Francona also had Ramirez start the bottom of the 8th after 30+ minutes sitting on the bench. Neither decision worked out well, although both were understandable.
The afore mentioned Alex Gonzalez was 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position, including that bases loaded strikeout.
Ramon Ramirez was lights-out in the 7th, then lit-up in the 8th. In only 4 pitches, he'd allowed a double, and a single, giving the Rays' a 6-5 lead.
David Ortiz did have an RBI groundout and a walk, but he failed to get a hit with runners in scoring position, despite having 3 chances to do so.
Manny Delcarmen came in to replace Ramirez. But the quick-step hit parade continued. Declarmen only needed 2 pitches to allow a 2 run homer and a double. In only 5 pitches, Ramirez and Delcarmen turned a 5-5 game into an 8-5 Tampa Bay win.
The Sox lost ground everywhere, as the Yankees and Rangers both won. The AL East race is all but over, as the Sox are 7.5 back. They have a 2.5 game Wild Card cushion over Texas, with Tampa Bay still alive and 5 games behind.
Clay Buchholz faces David Price in the rubber game Thursday night.
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara