Thursday, July 22, 2010
It was one of the weirdest looking events I've seen on TV. Maybe that's because Fenway looked backwards from the angle the camera shot the game. Maybe because the field looked 20 yards shorter and 20 yards thinner than a regulation soccer field.
In front of a sellout crowd, Glasgow Celtic defeated Sporting Portugal on penalty kicks (6-5).
I have to say the Sox did a fantastic job putting on this event. The timing was perfect, with the Red Sox out West and playing at 3:30 local time. The World Cup just ended so lots of people who aren't big soccer fans might tune in to see these two European teams play. And they picked a perfect team to come to Fenway. While Celtic aren't one of the elite teams in the world, they have a fanatical following almost everywhere.
I think you'll see the Sox stage another international exhibition game at Fenway next summer.
Clay Buchholz returned from the DL, but was visibly rusty. For the most part, he was fine, but a few pitches were left in juicy spots of the strike zone, and he paid for it. This was the first time Buchholz allowed multiple homeruns since September of '09.
But for me, the story of this game was the injuries deadening the lineup, along with the lack of bullpen depth the Sox have featured all season.
Apart from Adrian Beltre and his 3 RBI afternoon, the Sox offense was hardly noticeable.
The Sox continue to struggle against bad and mediocre teams. And this has me concerned as they go up to Seattle for 4 games. Think about this, the Sox are responsible for 1/5 of Baltimore's total wins this season.
But I'm sure Buchholz will be sharper in his next start. He was fresh off the DL, so the occasional knee-high fastball over the middle of the plate is excusable.
Lackey faces the 1-9 Ryan Rowland-Smith, who's Australian and has a 6.18 ERA, mate.