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Posts Tagged ‘Antonio Bastardo’

Talk about floods.  Everything about last night’s game was on overload: runs, pitching, hitting, errors.  You name it, there was a lot of it.  Fortunately, it all sorted itself out so that most of the badness was on the Phillies’ part and most of the goodness was on our part.  And for the Phillies, the badness started to happen in the first.  We scored five runs.  Four were earned.  The level of incompetence in the field that I observed during that one inning was astounding.  Two wild throws, for example.  Two in a single inning.  It’s the exact same play at a different base, and it’s not like you want to be putting a lineup like ours in a position to score.  Bay alone accounted for two with a long ball.  He hit it 410 feet, to the deepest part of the park.  (The irony is that, had we been in Fenway and had he hit it at just that right angle, that ball would’ve been a deep fly in the triangle.) Bastardo didn’t make it past that frame.  Chad Durbin was good for a while, then Jack Taschner allowed three runs in the fifth.  Then Sergio Escalona allowed two runs in the seventh.  Then JC Romero let Ellsbury lead off the ninth with a beautiful solo home run, his second of the season, for our eleventh and final run of the game.

So this is what the spread looks like.  It’s absurd.  Every single one of our starters, with the exception of Dice-K of course, reached base at least once.  I felt like I was drowning in offensive production.  It was a slugfest with a little bit of everything.  Pedroia hit, scored, and batted one in.  Ellsbury had the home run plus another RBI and scored twice, finishing his night two for three with three walks and a steal.  Youk scored and walked three times.  Bay had the home run, plus another hit, another run, and another RBI.  Lowell went three for four with two walks and a run.  Baldelli walked twice and scored twice.  Tek hit, scored, and plated one.  Lugo, out of nowhere, went a whopping four for five with two RBIs and a run.  And no errors.  I don’t know who that was in his uniform or what he was doing starting at shortstop but he can start again anytime.

I think it’s safe to say the Phillies’ bullpen is now nonexistent.  They just played all those extra-inning games, and yesterday their starter barely lasted through the first.  We’re going to have some fun tonight.

Our pitching wasn’t as hot as it should’ve been either, though.  We won, 11-6, and the six runs had to come from somewhere.  Dice-K pitched four innings, gave up four runs on seven hits with a walk and three K’s, and allowed two home runs.  That wasn’t good.  When he first returned from the DL, we said he was easing himself back into his role as a starter.  When he still wasn’t going deep into ballgames, we said it was taking him a little longer than we’d thought but that it wouldn’t be wise to rush.  Now it’s just getting ridiculous.  Obviously it still wouldn’t be wise to rush, but if there’s a lingering problem, my suggestion would be to find out what it is and work to eliminate it.  He’s one of our top three starters, which means we shouldn’t need four relievers to complete his outings.  Especially in October.

Anyway, Delcarmen pitched the fifth and gave up a run, then Okajima pitched the sixth and seventh and gave up a run but got the win.  Ramirez was actually perfect in the eighth, run-free, and Paps of course handled the ninth.  And that was the ballgame.  Our fifth win in a row, and we’ve won eight of our last ten.  We’re also three games on top of New York.  Not a bad place to be, if you ask me.

Hopefully the onslaught will continue this afternoon, as Beckett squares off against JA Happ.  Happ will head into this contest with a 2.98 ERA and a 4-0 record.  Beckett will head into this contest with a rapidly deflating ERA, a rapidly inflating record, a potent lineup, and his name on the back of his jersey.  When you’re Josh Beckett, you’re not easily intimidated.

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Again, with the no decision for the starter who pitched a masterful outing because a consistently good reliever turned spotty of late gave up a very inconveniently timed and placed home run.  Really, it’s just infuriating.  Lester pitched seven innings, gave up a run on two hits, walked two, and struck out eleven.  But according to the records, he has nothing to show for it.  The kid has officially found his form.  He’s pitching like he’s always pitched, he’s found his rhythm, and ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got another ace.  Okajima came in in relief; nothing wrong there.  In fact, Okajima got a hold.  Then, Ramon Ramirez came in to pitch the ninth.  You know, the one we traded Coco Crisp for? The one who’s always been lights out? The one who’s only given up six runs this season? Well, make it seven, because Ryan Howard hit one out to tie it.  Masterson, Saito, and Bard held the fort through thirteen until we won it.  Bard earned his first Major League save.

If you ask me, it shouldn’t have had to come to that, but when you’re facing an American League pitcher and you’re in a National League ballpark, you won’t exactly end up scoring and slugging left and right.  Makes for a pretty interesting contest.  But putting that aside, it could’ve been worse.  We could’ve been the Phillies, who played their third consecutive extra-inning game last night.  So their bullpen was shot to begin with, and they still had to use five relievers just to lose.  Meanwhile, our bullpen came into last night with a 2.88 ERA, good for the best in baseball.  No relief from our relievers for the opposition.  I like it.  And during the game you could see Jonathan Papelbon sitting in the bullpen trying to take it all in.  He’s happy-go-lucky but make no mistake, he’s a competitor, and there are few things more painful to a competitive athlete than to have to sit idly by and watch a train wreck in progress while not being able to do anything about it.  Okay, it wasn’t exactly a train wreck, but anytime Ramon Ramirez gives up a run of any sort, stop the presses.  But all in all, like I said, it was a very interesting game, and it was one of those games that helped to show us what we’re made of.  Because we were in a National League park, the usual defensive changes had to be made, which means key bats had to be benched to make room for others.  On top of that, there were day-off issues.  So everyone had more or less to stretch beyond their comfort zones a little bit to fill some strange roles, but at the end of the night, we did it, and that says something about the versatility dirt-doggedness of our guys.

We ended up winning, 5-2. We had two home runs on the night, both to opposite fields.  Youk hit a solo shot to right center to lead off the fourth and extends his hitting streak to six games, and Drew hit a solo shot to left center with two out in the fifth.  Then Ellsbury (single with the bases loaded), Green (sac fly), and Lowell (RBI single to left field) put together a three-run rally in the thirteenth to end it, and that also was a textbook display of staying with the pitcher, studying his motions, adapting, and manufacturing runs.  Bay went two for five with a walk and a run.  Ellsbury finished his night two for six, and it was good to see him swinging the bat good as new.  He played the whole game.  All thirteen innings in center field.  That’s a great sign.  Not surprisingly, none of our pitches got a hit.

Dice-K’s at Antonio Bastardo tonight, and he’s going to have to do some deep pitching and give the ‘pen a rest.  Speaking of starting pitching, we seem to have too much.  John Smoltz is almost done with rehab.  Clay Buchholz has been waiting in the wings since Spring Training.  Justin Masterson is technically a starter.  And Brad Penny’s already said that he won’t be satisfied with a bullpen role.  Why would he? He’s still got plenty of starter material.  So Theo and Tito have some decisions to make, and this should be interesting.

In other news, in the interest of sportsmanship I tip my cap to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Congratulations on forcing a Game Seven with Detroit.  Congratulations on getting it done without Marian Hossa, who thought he’d have a better chance at lifting the cup in a Red Wings jersey.  Congratulations on your Stanley Cup victory.

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