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Posts Tagged ‘Alfonso Soriano’

So Aceves started, and it actually wasn’t that bad.  He only lasted five innings and in that time threw eighty-six pitches and hit two batters, one of which was really ugly; in the second, he hit Marlon Byrd just under the left eye.  Byrd walked off the field but was hospitalized and remained so overnight.  But he allowed only one run on three hits while walking two and striking out two.  And fifty-six of his pitches were strikes.  In terms of pitch count, he actually did better than Carlos Zambrano, who needed 122 pitches for five and two-thirds innings, and he’s a consistent starter.  Considering that Aceves really hasn’t been a consistent starter ever, his outing was actually pretty good.  It was his first start since making only one start in 2009.  So really not bad.  Not bad at all.  Quite admirable, actually.

Aceves allowed his only run in the third between two walks, a steal, and a double.  We recovered it in the fourth and put ourselves ahead on one swing.  Youk led off the inning with a single, extending his hitting streak to nine games, and Papi crushed his three hundredth home run in a Boston uniform.  It was a ninety-three-mile-per-hour fastball that ended up in the first row of the Monster seats.  And just like that, we were ahead, 2-1.  (I should mention that Youk was hit by a pitch in the fifth and that, after that, home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez warned both benches.  That was the seventy-second time he was hit in his career, which broke a franchise record previously held by Mo Vaughn.)

Wheeler, fresh off the DL, replaced Aceves for the sixth.  He had a one-two-three inning in the sixth and secured the first out in the seventh before Hill came on to finish it off.  Meanwhile, we added to our lead in the sixth when Crawford singled, moved to second on a walk by Tek, and scored on a single by Ellsbury.

So by the time the eighth inning rolled around, we were up by two, which was pretty impressive considering that Aceves was our starter, although I was surprised we didn’t do more with Zambrano.  Indeed, we left eleven on base and went one for ten with runners in scoring position.  We only went down in order twice, once in the third and once in the ninth, so we had opportunities.  We just didn’t use them.  And it came back to haunt us big time.

Bard was unavailable, so Albers came on for the eighth inning, and that right there was basically when everything fell apart.

Let me paint a picture for you.  Coming into this game, we had a chance not only to start Interleague off right and win the series but also to extend our winning streak to eight games and finally vault ourselves into first place after being in fifth just two weeks ago.  The Rays had already lost yesterday, so it was sure-fire.  All we needed to do was secure six outs and we would erase the abysmal start to our season.  That’s what this game meant.  That’s what this game could have accomplished.

So enter Albers.  He gave up two consecutive singles followed by a ten-pitch walk.  So the bases were loaded with nobody out.  Then he walked in a run on his twenty-eighth pitch of the inning.  He allowed two more when he gave up a double.  At that point the Cubs were ahead by one, so it was already pretty bad that our reliever just put us back in a hole.  But it would have been merciful if it had stopped there.  Alfonso Soriano hit an epically routine popup to shallow left field.  Lowrie went out to catch it.  He caught it.  Then he dropped it, so another run scored.

Albers was duly removed after that.  He threw thirty-one pitches and failed to record an out.  His ERA jumped from 1.56 all the way up to 4.15.  Less than one inning, and he inflated his ERA by 2.59.  That difference by itself would be an ERA he’d be lucky to have right now.  He took a blown save as well as the loss.

He was removed in favor of Franklin Morales, who ironically was just as bad.  He allowed another run by giving up a double to Jeff Baker on his first pitch of the game.  At that point the Cubs had twice as many runs as we did, but a three-run deficit is still manageable.  But again, it would have been merciful even if it had stopped there.  In an all-too-brief flash of brilliance, Morales struck out Koyie Hill on three pitches but went right back to his old form after that when he allowed a walk.  Then it got even more ugly, if that were possible.  Darwin Barney flied out to Drew, who fired the ball back into the infield.  Salty caught the ball but the Cubs were a mess.  Soriano, who’d been on third, and Baker, who’d been on second, were both running.  So they were both doubled up.  Salty threw to third to start the rundown at the plate, but his throw went just over Youk’s glove.  Soriano scored easily.  Crawford came in and corralled the ball and fired to Morales, who had moved next to home plate, but it was off target.  Baker scored as well.  And just to add insult to injury, Morales allowed another double, which brought in another run.

The only other member of the bullpen available after Albers was used was Paps.  Tito didn’t go to Paps.  He went to Morales.  He’s the manager of the team and he made that decision.  Obviously Morales would have to make his debut at some point, but it wasn’t a situation where we were leading by ten runs or something.  Even in Interleague, it was a close game.  He probably didn’t go to Paps because he figured that, if we managed to tie the game after Albers came out, all he’d have for the extra innings was Morales and nobody behind him.  And Paps is the one you really want in those situations.  So, again, he had no choice, really.  But it was ugly.  It  was ugly, ugly, ugly, and we have a lot of work to do to make up for it today.

Twelve batters were sent up in that frame alone.  That’s the entire lineup plus another third of it.  An eight-run eighth inning.  Only five of those runs were earned.  Of course Morales had a one-two-three ninth inning.  That was a total disaster.  It was one of the ugliest losses I’d ever seen.  It was thoroughly disgusting, and I can’t believe it came at the hands of the Cubs, of all teams.  Talk about your one ruinous bad inning.  That was the mother of ruinous bad innings.  No repetition of our 1918 glory, not even with the throwback uniforms.  No pitching.  No fielding.  No winning.  No first place, no winning streak, no sweep.  We lost, 9-3.

In other news, the Bruins lost to the Lightning, 5-3.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin
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