Beckett only pitched five innings. He threw ninety-nine pitches, sixty-three of which were strikes. He walked one and struck out six. He gave up five runs on eight hits. He gave up two home runs, one on a fastball on his first pitch of the game and one on a cutter. He gave up all five runs and the two homers in a thirty-four-pitch first inning. He also loaded the bases in a thirty-one-pitch fifth, although nothing came of that. Basically, our best pitcher had a terrible day against a terrible team, which is obviously terribly embarrassing.
Now comes the drama. Let’s just get this over with and be done with it.
It was the top of the fourth inning. Ellsbury led it off with a walk. He moved to second on a missed catch. He moved to third on a single by Crawford. Crawford moved to second on a groundout by Gonzalez. Okay, here it is. Pedroia hit a fly ball to right. Ichiro caught it and threw home, where Ellsbury was headed in a hurry. That is one of the fastest hustles I’ve ever seen Ellsbury make. Ellsbury collided with Josh Bard. Home plate umpire Mark Ripperger ruled that Ellsbury was safe, which gave us our first run of the game. Ripperger thought that Bard dropped the ball because, when Bard was on the ground after the play, he didn’t see a ball in his glove. He then realized that that was because, during the play, the ball had stayed in his bare hand. The umpires then had a conference and ruled that Bard did not drop the ball, and Ellsbury was out, which ended the inning and did not give us our first run. Tito came out to argue, was ejected, and then himself ejected Ripperger. Tito was angry because he didn’t get an explanation from Ripperger.
We came back in the top of the sixth with two two-run homers. Scutaro led off the inning with a triple, and then Ellsbury let loose on a sinker to right. Good effort, Ichiro, but no chance you catch that. Ellsbury is now the first in Boston with twenty homers and twenty steals in a single season since Nomar in ’97. Crawford then flied out, Gonzalez singled, and Pedroia let loose on a fastball to right center field. Huge swing.
Albers, Morales, and Aceves delivered a collectively scoreless performance. But we lost, 5-4, because of that play. That play would have given us an extra run. That play would have tied the game at five. Whether Bard dropped the ball or not at some point during the play, whether the umpire had it right the first time or the second time, nothing changes the fact that we lost. We lost to the Mariners, plain and simple. And had the initial ruling stood, we may still have lost, but we could have won. That’s why it’s infuriating. So I guess it really has nothing to do with the play; all I’m saying is that I’m just generally furious about losing to the Mariners of all teams, which is, of course, completely understandable.