Well, the euphoria, or whatever there was of euphoria after a mediocre win but a win nonetheless like that, apparently seems to have been short-lived. There was plenty of blame to go around with this one.
Bard took the loss and gave up five runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out six. He threw ninety-six pitches, sixty-five of which were strikes. From his repertoire alone, you could tell that he wasn’t a starter by blood. He only threw three pitches: a four-seam, a changeup, and a slider. He threw mostly four-seams and sliders, which were fantastic; about eighty percent of his fastballs were strikes, and about two-thirds of his sliders were strikes. The few changeups he threw weren’t great, and only a quarter of them were strikes.
Naturally, he was also inefficient as well as erratic. He threw twenty pitches in the first, nine in the second, twenty-eight in the third, nine again in the fourth, eighteen in the fifth, and twelve in the sixth before he was pulled. His release point was not tight at all, which also gave him away.
Remarkably, he only gave up one extra-base hit: a double that turned into a run in the first. His second inning was one-two-three. He gave up two RBI singles in the third. His fourth was, again, one-two-three. His fifth was even one-two-three, and just when it looked like he’d finally settled in for the night and found his stride, his command evaporated.
He gave up a walk and a single to open the inning, at which point Bobby V. pulled him in favor of Thomas, who gave up a single that batted in two runs followed by a sac fly. When Bobby V. saw the first sign of trouble from Thomas, he clearly should have gone with another reliever, perhaps Albers as he himself suggested after the fact, when he took ownership of his mistake. So only two of the runs that Thomas gave up were attributed to Bard; the third was his. Obviously we all know the principle behind attributing runs scored by inherited runners to the pitcher’s predecessor, but you still can’t deny the fact that, if Thomas did the job he was supposed to do, no runs would have scored. Anyway, Bowden came on for the seventh; after securing two outs, he gave up a solo shot on the second pitch of the at-bat, a two-seam. He pitched the rest of the game.
Meanwhile, we failed to score until the sixth inning; before that, we went down in order in three of our innings. Then, in the sixth, Ellsbury walked after a fantastically patient at-bat that lasted for eight pitches, Pedroia doubled, and Ellsbury scored on a sac fly by Gonzalez. At the time, it reduced the deficit by one-third, and it looked like our comeback would have been mounted right there when Papi walked on five pitches, but obviously Youk had to ground into a double play to end the inning. Obviously.
We failed to score again until the ninth, when, after two back-to-back strikeouts, Punto singled, Ellsbury walked, and Pedroia singled to load the bases for Gonzalez. All Gonzalez managed was a sac fly that scored two. Honestly, after Monday’s game, who wasn’t thinking we were going to come back again? The stage was set, and we had a power hitter at the plate in the top of the ninth on the road with two out.
Youk went two for four with a double, and Pedroia went three for five with a double. Ellsbury walked twice. Of our nine hits, five of them were for extra bases, all of them doubles. We left ten on base and went two for twelve with runners in scoring position.
So, in sum, Bard didn’t keep us in the game, Thomas didn’t prevent Bard from not keeping us in the game, Bobby V. didn’t prevent Thomas from not preventing Bard from not keeping us in the game, Bowden made the situation worse, and the offense failed to convert scoring opportunities into runs. That’s pretty much a recipe for a loss right there if I’ve ever seen one.