Seriously? We won and all, but it’s just ridiculous that we didn’t blow Kansas City right out of the water. Beckett should have been mowing through their lineup, and our lineup should have been mowing through their pitchers. I fully expected to see a shutout slugfest. The hit counts weren’t even lopsided; we collected nine hits to their eight. That is not what happened.
Technically Beckett’s start was a gem. He pitched seven innings, gave up three runs, walked none, and threw seventy-seven pitches. But he gave up seven hits including a two-run home run, struck out only four, and threw 110 pitches. All five of his pitches were fantastic. His highest pitch count in an inning was twenty-five in the third, but he made up for it by getting through the second and seventh using just eight pitches each. So the reason why I’m saying that his start is technically a gem and not an outright gem, period is that the high hit count bothers me. If it were Lackey, it wouldn’t be much of an issue because it’s expected due to how he pitches. For Beckett, it could have inflated his pitch count even more, and it could have allowed some damage to be done if he made a big enough mistake. It’s true that nothing happened; the Royals only put four runners in scoring position. But it makes me uncomfortable that, maybe an error here, a mistake there, a walk there, and all of a sudden we’d be in a hole. With the offense collectively slumping as it is, a mistake by a pitcher looms even larger and the stakes are even higher because, in the lineup’s current lethargic state, it wouldn’t necessarily be so easy to come back.
Nevertheless, overall he did pitch very well, and he notched his first win since July 23. Bard teamed up for the hold and the save.
We won by a final score of 4-3. Why? Because we left five on base and went only three for thirteen with runners in scoring position. But hey, we won. That’s a phenomenon that we’ve been hard to come by this month, so we’ll take it, even if we didn’t exactly issue a beating.
In the second, Reddick doubled and scored on a single by Tek. After that, it was all Pedroia. The game was one huge manifestation of why Pedroia deserves the MVP Award. (Of course, I’m sure that within the week we’ll see manifestations of why Ellsbury deserves the MVP Award, and I hope we see the same for Gonzalez, but still.) He brought in two on a single in the third and one on a single in the fifth on a similar scoring play to Tek’s in the second. And that was it. That was all the damage we managed to do. Pedroia went three for three with one of our three extra-base hits, all three of which were doubles. Also, the team stole four bases; it was nice to be the ones running for a change.
Be happy about the fact that we won because there’s more bad news today. Youk is officially on the DL with a sore back. Ordinarily, I would say it may be just a move to rest him up for the playoffs since it’s August and we’ve built a strong record already. But he hasn’t been doing well at the plate recently, which makes me think that this was an ongoing problem affecting his performance, and he also received an injection, so you know something’s going on. Ryan Lavarnway got called up to take his roster spot; Lowrie moved to third, Aviles moved to shortstop, and Lavarnway DHed. Pedroia slid into the cleanup spot about as seamlessly as you could possibly imagine for us. Not so for opposing pitchers. Of the nine lineup spots, he has posted his highest average while batting cleanup: .491. That’s ridiculous. With the exception of his home run total from cleanup, which ties his home run total from leadoff, the rest of his numbers in cleanup are obviously way behind those of first, second, and even ninth because he hasn’t done it that often. But when he does, you expect a pretty bright laser show.