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Posts Tagged ‘Clay Mortensen’

The inclement weather gave us a spontaneous day off, although the game was postponed, so we’ll have to make it up later.  Speaking of which, that is also what we did today.  It turns out that the extra off day was right on time; making up a game previously rescheduled, we had a twin bill.

We lost the opener.  Doubront took the loss but Morales didn’t help any.  Doubront gave up only three runs in six innings of work; that’s a quality start.  None of the runs scored via the long ball, which means that they were not the products of isolated mistakes.  However, Doubront by no means had a bad day.  He actually looked pretty good.  And if the Angels had been held to three runs, then all else being equal, we would have walked away the victors.

Morales, however, gave up four runs in the seventh inning alone.  Not counting the outs, he gave up a double, an intentional walk, an RBI double, another walk that loaded the bases, and two consecutive walks that both walked in runs and re-loaded the bases each time.  Then he was lifted for Mortensen, who gave up a single that allowed one of his inherited runners to score.  It was awful.  Morales could not find the strike zone at any time.  His terrible performance made the two outs that he managed to record look like accidents.  Mortensen pitched until he allowed two singles and a popup in the ninth, when Miller took over.  Miller gave up a walk to load the bases, which was obviously the theme of our relief corps’s performance.  One force out later, he walked in a run of his own, and a fielding error by Napoli resulted in the Angels’ last run of the morning.

Carp hit a solo shot to lead off the fourth for our first run of the day.  Two outs later, Ellsbury walked, stole second, and scored on a single by Nava.  We were still fighting even in the ninth inning; we hit three straight singles with two out plus a double that scored a total of two runs.  But it wasn’t enough, and we lost, 9-5.

The nightcap got off to an auspicious start.  Victorino singled to lead off the first and scored on a double by Gomes, who scored on a double by Pedroia.  The next inning, Gomes singled and scored on a double by Papi.  The nightcap then continued just as auspiciously; Iglesias led off the sixth with a single and scored two outs later on a single by Pedroia.  And it all cleared when Papi homered for two more runs.

Buchholz gave up his first run in the third thanks to a double-single combination.  He gave up his second run in the sixth thanks to a double and a sac fly.  And that was it for him.  Breslow and Tazawa finished the game, and the final score was 7-2.  So we split.  I would have preferred we sweep, but we’ll take what we can get.

Now that’s what I call quick work.  The Penguins never saw it coming.  It was a clean sweep, culminating in a one-zip win.  That would be twenty-six saves for Tuuka Rask and some timely heroics by Adam McQuaid.  The Eastern Conference is now officially in the bag.

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The Rangers didn’t stand a chance in this one.  Seriously.  No chance.  I thought our run total against the Yanks was epic, but it turns out that I had another thing coming.  And in this case, I am most definitely happy about that.  We scored so many runs last night that if you cut our run total in half, not only would we still have won, but that total alone would have been considered a ton of runs in most situations.

We did not waste time putting ourselves on top in this one.  Really, we didn’t.  From the very first, both literally and figuratively, we were winning and never looked back.  Nava led off the bottom of the first with a walk, followed by a single by Carp.  Then Pedroia struck out, and Papi hit an RBI double.  Then Napoli walked to load the bases, and Carp scored on a groundout by Salty.  Not exactly the response to a bases-loaded situation that we were looking for, but in the long run, we had absolutely nothing to worry about.

Iglesias led off the second with a double, and Bradley promptly followed that with a homer to right on a 2-1 count.  After that came a single by Nava, a walk by Carp, a flyout by Pedroia, a bases-clearing triple by Papi, and a successful sac fly by Napoli.  Then Salty doubled and scored on a double by Drew.  End our six-run second.

Nava doubled with one out in the third and scored on a single by Carp.  And Drew homered to right center field to lead off the fourth; Carp repeated that performance in the fifth.

Then Salty led off the sixth with a solo shot.  Drew singled, Iglesias reached on a throwing error, and both runners ended up in scoring position.  Drew scored on a groundout by Bradley, and Nava hit a successful sac fly but ended up on third thanks to a fielding error, and he himself scored on a sac fly by Carp.  A single by Salty, a double by Drew, and a bases-clearing single by Iglesias resulted in yet two more runs.

While the offense was getting busy at the plate, Dempster was mighty busy on the mound.  This, I have to say, was a quality start.  The numbers don’t lie.  He gave up a double and consequently a two-run home run in the fourth as well as a solo shot to lead off the sixth.  All told, he pitched a nice, long seven innings.  He gave up just the three runs on five hits while walking only one and striking out six.  Easily one of the best starts we’ve seen from him this year.

Mortensen came on for the eighth; he gave up a single and subsequently a two-run home run of his own.  After that he gave up two singles and a walk and was subsequently replaced by Miller, who ended the inning.  He aced the ninth.

Well, we finally won by a score of 17-5.  There was only one inning during which we did not score: the eighth.  Obviously there was no need to play the bottom of  the ninth.  In the end we racked up nineteen hits.  Thirteen of them were for extra bases: eight doubles, one triple, and four homers.  And that, my friends, is how you play baseball.

In other news, the Bruins completely knocked down the Penguins, 6-1.

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I loathe losing to the Yankees.  I loathe losing in general, but if we absolutely must lose, then can’t we just lose to some other team? Does it really have to be the Yankees? Does beating the Yankees have to be so complicated? We’ve played way better in the past than we played yesterday; I just don’t see why we had to lose to the Yankees.

Lester received one above the bare minimum of run support, the bare minimum obviously being zero.  That’s right; we scored only one run during the entire game.  It was awful.  We had to sit through six innings of shutout agony until we finally got on the board in the seventh, one of only two innings during which we had more than one runner on base.  Pedroia doubled to lead it off, moved to third on a groundout by Papi, and scored on a double by Napoli.

Pedroia and Papi hit back-to-back singles in the ninth, and I guess that would have been our best chance to score, although in previous innings we had runners on second thanks to doubles, specifically Pedroia in the first and Ross in the second.  But at no point did we get a really solid rally going.

The same, very unfortunately, can not be said of the Evil Empire.  Even if Lester had pitched better than he did, without more run support it wouldn’t have mattered.  But I would have appreciated the additional dignity that comes with a loss at least being a well-matched pitcher’s duel.  It was just so obvious that Lester was grinding through this one; he never really seemed at ease.

Lester gave up a walk in the first but turned it into a one-two-three inning thanks to a double play.  He opened the second by issuing a walk and giving up a double.  He then gave up two RBI singles, separated by an out but accounting for two runs between them.  He had a one-two-three third and fourth, the latter consisting solely of groundouts.  He hit his first batter of the fifth, induced a force out, issued a walk, recorded a strikeout, and then who but Kevin Youkilis comes up to bat.  Honestly, I am still trying to get used to it.  Anyway, he batted in a run before the rally was cut short by a fabulously precise throw home by Nava.

His only blemish of the sixth was a walk.  He recorded the first out of the seventh but then gave up two consecutive singles, at which point he was replaced by Miller.  Miller promptly gave up a third single, which scored only one of the inherited runners.  Miller ended the inning with two K’s.  Mortensen had a one-two-three eighth.

And that’s how we ended up losing to the Yanks, 4-1.  All in all, it was a sad performance.

NBC Sports

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Let’s start with the good.  Morales made his 2013 debut, and I have to say that it went decently.  He pitched five solid innings, giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out two.  The runs he allowed were the result of a mistake: a two-run home run hit in the first with two out.  Other than that, he was great.

Even the relief corps pulled it together; none of our five relievers gave up a run.  Breslow pitched the sixth, and he and Mortensen teamed up for the seventh.  Tazawa pitched the eighth, and Bailey pitched the ninth.

Let’s end with the better.  Namely, our offense.  We scored our first run in the first; Ellsbury and Nava hit back-to-back singles, and Ellsbury scored on a groundout by Pedroia.  Then Papi walked, Carp singled in Nava, and one out later, Salty batted in two runs with a double.

We didn’t score again until the sixth.  With one out, Iglesias singled, and Gomes came in to pinch-hit for Morales, whose night was thereby over.  It was a good thing he did, though.  Gomes rocketed the ball out of the park for a two-run homer.  According to the Phillies, Gomes took too long to start his jog around the bases, and the pitcher hit Ellsbury.  Needless to say, both sides were warned.  In the end, it had no affect on us at all.  One inning later, Papi led off with a solo shot of his own, also a rocket in a hurry to get out.

In the end, Ellsbury went three for four and stole a whopping five bases.  Salty and Iglesias both had multi-hit games.

Now comes the best part: the final score.  6-2.

AP Photo

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This one was not dramatic.  It wasn’t a nailbiter.  At no point was it the least bit suspenseful.  No, we just had to deal with the fact that we were on top from the very beginning.  Somehow, it wasn’t that hard to adapt to that kind of situation.  Somehow, when we’re busy cleaning up like that, it just feels natural.

Aceves started this one, and I have to say that he did an absolutely spectacular job.  Just going in there and randomly starting a game when you’re not doing it on a regular basis is no easy task, but Aceves made it look like just that.  He pitched six innings of one-run ball, giving up seven hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.  Even that one run was the result of just one isolated mistake; Aceves missed his spot with a fastball thrown with one out in the third, and it was hit for a solo shot.  Other than that, his start was as solid as solid gets.

So was Mortensen’s seventh.  The same can not be said of the eighth.  Mortensen gave up a double to start the frame.  Then there was a fielder’s choice, and then he was replaced by Miller.  Miller gave up the second home run of the night for the Phillies; this one, though, was a two-run home run that came on a slider that missed.

Fortunately, it didn’t matter.  We were way beyond the point where another two runs would have counted for anything.  The Phillies scored three runs all game, and all three came via the home run.  Well.  We scored three runs in the first inning alone, and all three came via the home run.

First, Ellsbury singled.  Then Nava grounded out, moving to Ellsbury to second.  He took third on a wild pitch, and then on a 2-1 count, Pedroia got a bad cutter and made the Phillies pay.  He rocketed the ball right around the Pesky Pole.  And we all know how small of a guy Pedroia is and, therefore, how awesome it is to see him just unleash on a ball.  And it’s not like the ball took its time leaving the ballpark, either.  It was awesome.

Papi struck out.  And then Napoli went yard on his first pitch of the game, which was also a bad cutter.  This one went beyond the fence in right center.  And we all know the kind of power that Napoli possesses, so he just made it look so easy and so effortless, like it was the most natural thing in the world that he would be doing at that moment.

Then Drew walked, and Carp flied out.  End inning one.

We had two runners in scoring position in the second but didn’t take advantage of that opportunity.  Not that it mattered in the end.  We were back at it in the third anyway, doubling our run total.  Papi doubled and scored on a double by Napoli, who scored on a single by Drew.  Carp struck out, Salty singled, Iglesias popped out, and Ellsbury doubled in Drew.  Unfortunately, Salty was thrown out at home, but again, it’s not like it mattered in the end.

We went down in order in the fourth and resumed in the fifth.  Napoli struck out swinging to lead it off, and then Drew singled, Carp doubled, and Salty hit a bases-clearing single with a little help from a fielding error.

We took a break in the sixth and seventh and padded our lead even more in the eighth.  We had the bases loaded with two out, thanks to a single and two walks, and the pitcher to whom the Phillies had turned that inning walked in a run.  All Drew had to do was stand there, wait, and accept what was given to him.  Fantastic.

Bottom of the ninth? With a score of 9-3? I don’t think so.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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I loathe being on the losing end of lopsided slugfests.  They take long, and there’s no silver lining; the pitchers don’t pitch well, and the hitters don’t hit well.  They’re full of what coaches would call learning opportunities, and they’d be right.  Lopsided slugfests are full of examples of exactly what not to do.

Nava doubled in the first.  Napoli singled and Salty walked in the second.  Nava walked in the sixth.  Nava singled and Lavarnway, in for Papi, doubled in the eighth.

Our one moment of offensive glory occurred in the third.  Ellsbury singled, Nava walked, Pedroia single, Ellsbury tried to score but was thrown out at home, and finally, Papi homered.  If only Ellsbury had been patient.  It was the first pitch of the at-bat, a ninety-two mile-per-hour fastball.  The ball ended up beyond the right field fence.  It was awesome.  It would have been even better had it been a grand slam, but we took what we could get.  Last night, we were in no position to be greedy.  It’s nice that a mistake was made and we were able to even score at all.  I can see why Ellsbury wanted to try to make it home; there was no way to know that Papi would have hit a home run.  Indeed, even if it had been a grand slam, if all else remained equal, then it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

Meanwhile, our entire pitching staff was one enormously epic fail.  We would have needed to score an exorbitant amount of runs to compensate for the load of damage that they allowed.  But no pitcher should ever be so bad that he has to count on the hitters scoring that many runs.  It was so humiliating.

Dempster gave up a single in the first; it was all downhill from there.  He gave up a single and issued a walk in the second.  He got the inning’s first two outs and then gave up a double that was deflected by Pedroia; one run scored.  He got the first out of the third and then gave up a single and issued two consecutive walks to load the bases.  He gave up a single that scored two runs, issued another walk to re-load the bases, and got the inning’s second out via a force out that scored another run.

So that was Dempster’s outing.  Mortensen came out for the fourth.  He gave up a double, issued a popout, and gave up an RBI single.  He gave up another run thanks to a single-single combination in the fifth.  Thanks to two walks and a single, he loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth; Wilson came on and promptly gave up a single that scored one run.  Napoli dropped a popup in foul territory, and then Wilson gave up a two-run double, induced a popout, and gave up a two-run triple and a one-run single.

Breslow came on for the seventh and, thankfully, did not give up any runs.  Same for Tazawa in the eighth and Miller in the ninth.  So those last three were the only ones who didn’t let runs score on their watches.  We lost, 12-3.

In other news, the Rangers picked up their first win of the series, beating us, 4-3, in sudden death.

Boston Herald Staff/Matt Stone

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I suppose that it was bound to happen eventually.  I would have preferred that it didn’t.  If Lester wanted to keep winning forever, that would have been fine with me.  But I guess the fact that he lost his first start of the year makes him human or something.  I don’t know; I just feel like I didn’t really need him to lose to prove that.

With two out in the first, he gave up a single, a walk, and a three-run home run.  With two out in the second, he gave up three consecutive doubles that resulted in another two runs.  He was fine in the third and fourth, but he was back at it in the fifth.  His first batter of the inning reached on a throwing error by Middlebrooks and stole second.  Lester then issued a walk and benefitted from a subsequent double play.  But then he issued another walk, and a run scored on a single.  He had a one-two-three sixth.

All told, he allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits while walking three and striking out two.  He threw 109 pitches.  So he was inefficient.  He got himself into too many jams.  He couldn’t close the deal and got himself in trouble too often.  He had no command, no control, and no knowledge of the strike zone when it counted.  Worst of all, his cut fastball was just lame.  That’s the best adjective I can think of.  It was just lame.  They didn’t move or dance or do any of the things that they’re supposed to do.

Truth be told, six runs isn’t a horrendous start.  We’ve had games where we’ve scored more than double that.  Unfortunately for Lester, yesterday’s game wasn’t one of them.

Drew walked and Salty went yard for two runs in the third.  Papi and Napoli worked back-to-back walks to lead off the seventh, and Middlebrooks hit a bases-clearing double.  And that was it for us.  Mortensen pitched the seventh, and Breslow pitched the eighth.

So the final score was 6-4.  Our winning streak stopped at five.  All because Jon Lester couldn’t get the third out way too many times.

Boston Globe Staff

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