Posts Tagged ‘David Ortoz’

Yet again, Buchholz simply was not at his best.  The difference is that this start made his last start look like a perfect game.  That’s how bad it was.  This snapped a streak of six straight solid starts.  And trust me, it was a pretty hefty snap.

Buchholz couldn’t even get through the fifth inning.  He was pulled in the fifth after securing the inning’s first two outs because he allowed yet another run.  All told, he allowed six runs, five earned, on eight hits.  He walked two.  He struck out five.  He threw a wild pitch and made an error on a pickoff attempt during the same at-bat in the fourth of which Coco Crisp of all people took advantage.  He threw ninety-nine pitches, sixty-two for strikes.  He threw twenty-seven pitches in an inning twice, once in the first when Oakland scored four runs and again in the fourth when Oakland scored another.  His offspeed pitches were a total mess, so naturally there was no way he would be able to work efficiently, and therefore there was also no way he would keep intact the rest the bullpen had been able to enjoy during the off day.

There are two ways these kinds of games can go.  Either the bullpen comes in and they do an absolutely stellar job, or they come in and they totally blow it.  It just so happens that the former occurred.  In fact, the bullpen pitched so well for so long that I think they should have just saved Buchholz the trouble and made the start instead.  Atchison secured the last out in the fifth plus the first two in the sixth.  Tommy Hottovy finished the sixth; he is the only lefty in the bullpen and replaces Hill, who will likely require Tommy John surgery and who therefore has already pitched in his last appearance of the season.  Jenks, despite a balk, pitched the seventh.  Bard received a hold for the eighth.  And Paps picked up the save in the ninth.

Now, of course, the question becomes how we won.  That’s a good story.

So we were down by four before Ellsbury stepped up to the plate.  He singled, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout by Gonzalez.  So basically he delivered a textbook leadoff hitter’s performance.  Youk doubled after that and scored on a single by Papi.  So we cut our deficit in half and just kept chipping away from there.  In the second, Cameron reached base on a throwing error and scored on a sac fly by Ellsbury.  In the third, Youk walked and scored on a double by Papi, who scored on a single by Lowrie.

At that point, we had a one-run lead that Buchholz promptly surrendered to the A’s.  Nobody scored in the sixth.  From the beginning, we knew from the way Buchholz was pitching that it would be up to the lineup and the bullpen to win the game.  As I said, the bullpen certainly did its part.  It was the lineup’s turn.

Pedroia started the seventh by grounding out.  Then Gonzalez doubled, and Youk got hit, and Papi walked, and Lowrie advanced the runners on a flyout.  With the bases loaded, all Crawford had to do was put the ball in play for a hit.  The count was full, and that’s what he did.  He singled and brought in two runs.

That gave us a one-run lead, which obviously wasn’t safe.  Salty added insurance with a solo shot to lead off the eighth.  It was a slider that stayed down, and he just cleaned it out into the first few rows behind the bullpen in center.

So we won, 8-6.  Gonzalez went three for five, and Youk and Papi both went two for three.  Crawford should have had two hits on the day; he hit what looked every bit like a home run headed for the bullpen in the second inning only to have it be caught literally right at the wall by David DeJesus.  But baseball has a funny way of evening out; Ellsbury made a similar catch literally at the Monster in the fourth.

Last but most certainly not least, Dice-K will have Tommy John surgery next week.  His season is over.  He’ll miss a good portion of next season, after which his contract expires, so even though he’s determined to return to the rotation before then, it’s possible that he won’t and that he’s thrown his last pitch in a Boston uniform.  How possible that is at this point is unclear.  Either way, it’s been quite the ride, often mediocre and always interesting.  We can take several approaches to this.  It’s entirely likely that this surgery was a long time in coming and that having it will allow him to return to the dominance he’d exuded in Japan.  It’s also entirely factual that Dice-K, despite gems earlier in the season, really hadn’t been pitching well of late, so it’s not like this loss is going to affect the team’s performance much.  We’ll be using Aceves and/or Wake for that fifth start, and either of them or a combination of both of them can perform equally as well as, if not better than, Dice-K.  So as far as the team is concerned, we’re in a good situation.  As far as Dice-K is concerned, we obviously hope that the surgery goes well and that his recovery and rehab are quick, productive, and successful.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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