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Posts Tagged ‘Andy Marte’

All I did while watching that game last night was sigh.  There was a lot of sighing.  Then there was more sighing.  Then the game was over and there was more sighing.  In fact, I’m still sighing.

Unlike the last several days, this was not a good thing.  This was not a sigh of relief.  This was a sigh of complete and total frustration and bewilderment as to how this team, that is so loaded with individual talent, that spent time cultivating a deep and capable bench out of necessity, that has a healthy staff full of at least two aces, that had a bit of a winning streak going there, that finally activated its center fielder who is finally healthy after a prolonged stay on the disabled list who received an ordinarily galvanizing standing ovation, fully humiliated itself against a team that’s terrible.  The Cleveland Indians walked all over us, and we did absolutely nothing to stop it.

After a game like Tuesday’s, that shouldn’t have happened.  On Tuesday, we had a phenomenal start from a pitcher that’s finally healthy, we had just enough run production, and we had a brawl.  It was a tame brawl, but the benches cleared, so technically it was still a brawl.  In my experience, that always gives the team a boost.

Not this time.  And that shows that something is terribly, horribly wrong here.  I mean, not only did we lose, but this loss wasn’t even close.  The Indians beat us, 1-9.  That killed any momentum we had managed to scrape together until that point, and we go to New York this weekend.  And it’s not like that’s new.  It’s true that we’ve actually done a good job of staving off the slugfests this year, but a loss is a loss.  And we’ve had our fair number of those against teams we should have creamed.  The season series is currently even with Baltimore, Cleveland, Seattle, and Oakland; we’re four and three against Kansas City.  This is not a good situation.

Another sigh.  Alright.  Let’s do this.

Lester has generously decided to give us a reenactment of April by losing all four of his starts since the All-Star break, including last night.  He’s never been in a slump like this before; this is the first time he’s lost four straight, ever.  Technically we shouldn’t count his almost-perfect game, but we have to.  It seems criminal to do so, but it was a loss.  A strange loss, but a loss.

Last night Lester only pitched five innings; he left in the sixth without recording an out.  That’s always a bad sign.  He gave up four runs, two earned, on seven hits while walking two and striking out four.  He threw ninety-nine pitches, fifty-five of which were strikes.  His sinker was his best pitch; that’s another bad sign, being that he’s a cut fastball pitcher.  He only threw about twenty sinkers.  He threw many more ineffective cut fastballs.  And none of his other pitches were working.  The game started out well; he used eight pitches to get through the first.

But he had trouble in the third, when he threw twenty-eight and gave up one of his own unearned runs.  The Indians had runners on first and second with nobody out and their ninth hitter up.  Marson laid down a bunt.  Lester wanted the out at third, but his throw went down the third base line, and Marte ended up scoring from second.  That’s a momentum-killer right there.  Your pitcher is trying to find a rhythm, he’s got an out in front of him, he can’t make the play and instead he just hands the run to the other team.

His other unearned run scored in the fifth when Donald scored, because he got on base when his single bounced off Beltre’s glove.

Then there was the solo shot into the Monster in the sixth, and that was the end of the night for Lester.  At no point during his outing did he look like he even had anything close to a rhythm going.  It was hot and humid, and his legs were cramping; Tito visited the mound twice, once in the fifth and once in the sixth when he lifted him.  He’s not injured or anything; it was just hot and he hadn’t slept much, which is a bad combination.  Reason being he’s now a father; congratulations to the Lester family on the birth of their son!

After Lester left, Atchison came in and allowed five more runs, all of which were unearned.  V-Mart made a fielding error, Scutaro made a throwing error, Atchison hung a slider, and there was a five up there by the time the inning was over.

That was it for damage on Cleveland’s end.  On our end, the damage consisted of one run.  Papi hit a homer in the sixth which brings his hitting streak to thirteen games.  We had to suffer loss number two at the hands of Justin Masterson.  That’s cruel.

Lester’s next start is on Monday at Yankee Stadium.  At this point I can’t overstate how must-win every single game is from now on.  Especially after last night.  For every game we lose, every other game becomes that much more important.  As of now, I refuse to throw this season away.  It’s not over yet.  But let’s just say we need to start winning immediately.

SI.com

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Beckett’s outing was okay.  Not bad, not great.  He allowed two runs in the first and two in the second before settling down to pitch three shutout frames.  He allowed seven hits over those five innings with three walks and five strikeouts, and he threw 98 pitches.  So his runs, hits, and walks were up while his strikeout count was down and his pitch count showed inefficiency.  But I still don’t worry about him.  This whole situation with these last few games is very strange.  We win the Wild Card on someone else’s loss, we give the starters all sorts of rest, and we wait.  I feel like that has to take some sort of toll on the psyche of a competitive workhorse like Beckett.  Not to mention the fact that his timing was out of whack because of the extended rest.  But putting that aside, the reason why I’m thrilled with his performance is his health.  The fact that he settled down and got through it means he’ll be in good shape by the time postseason play begins.

Byrd allowed two runs on three hits in the next three innings, which is why he’s not on the postseason roster.  Richardson did fine.

Aside from Beckett, pitching is so not the point here, though.  The offense is the point, and with a final score of 11-6, there was a lot of it.  But before we talk about that, some words on the lineup.  This is one of the most interesting and creative lineups I’ve seen this season.  Pedroia led off, followed by Bay, followed by V-Mart and Youk, and then Ortiz, Lowrie, Kotchman, Anderson, and Gathright.  Ellsbury got the day off, Lowell has a sore right thumb, and Drew has a left shoulder issue.

So, without further ado.  With a full count, Pedroia led off the ballgame with a home run.  High inside fastball, meet the head of the bat, and the ball clears the Monster completely.  And then came the monumental second inning.

When I say monumental, I mean monumental.  There’s really no other way to describe scoring seven runs in a single frame in the manner in which we scored them.  It all started when Anderson singled in Ortiz, which moved Kotchman to second and Lowrie to third.  Aaron Laffey balked, so Lowrie scored, Anderson moved to second, and Kotchman moved to third.  Pedroia was intentionally walked to load the bases.  Then Bay singled in Kotchman, and everyone moved up to load the bases again.

Then Victor Martinez stepped into the batter’s box.  He worked a three and one count, perfect for hitting.  He hit a ball over center field that looked like it might have just enough to get it out.  And it did.  Into the bullpen.  Four runs with one swing of the bat, and all of a sudden we were leading 8-4 on the back of Victor Martinez’s first-ever Major League career grand slam! Against his former team! And all because Andy Marte couldn’t catch that popup in front of our dugout.  That’s what I call making him pay.

Anderson hit a towering home run to Lansdowne Street in the third to score himself and Kotchman, and Dusty Brown hit a home run of his own in the bottom of the eighth to tack on the final run.  Almost cleared the Monster.  The ball made it into the last row and was barely contained inside the park.  Not bad for a first career long ball.

Gonzalez’s x-rays came back negative.  Baldelli will have an MRI tomorrow.  John Farrell officially requested to be removed from consideration for Cleveland’s managerial position.  Speaking of open managerial positions, JP Ricciardi was fired yesterday.  And Manny Delcarmen, after enduring a car accident yesterday, is fine.  He was driving in the left lane and the driver in the middle lost control and swerved into Delcarmen’s car, which veered to the left and hit the wall.  He was taken to Mass General, but other than a sore back, he’s good to go.

Well, the end is in sight.  This afternoon, we play our last game of the regular season.  I have to say, it’s been one interesting run.  Lots of ups, lots of downs, lots of ins and outs and heres and theres, but we’ve come to a good place, I think.  Buchholz gets the nod against Tomo Ohka, so this’ll be his final tune-up before the playoffs.  But I still can’t believe the regular season is already over.  It seems like Opening Day was rained out just yesterday, doesn’t it? Time flies when you’re having fun though, and the fun continues even after we put this one away.

In other news, the Bruins played an absolutely fantastic game last night.  Last night’s game was everything we wanted Opening Night to be and more.  The final score was 7-2, and it was most definitely a team effort.  It was the first time we had seven different goal scorers since the lockout.  And there were plenty of fights to go around as well.  An all-around well-played game.  Lots of tape-to-tape passing (Patrice Bergeron’s picture is next to the definition of “stick position” in the hockey dictionary), obviously lots of scoring (two of the goals were netted just seconds apart) and fighting (Sean Thornton threw at least ten punches before the referees got involved), and of course lots of saving (I have come to the conclusion that Tim Thomas is an acrobat).  We play next on Thursday in Anaheim.

AP Photo

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