Posts Tagged ‘Doug Fister’

Last night’s game was even worse, not because specific bad things happened, but because good things didn’t happen.  We lost, 2-0, so the only good thing that happened was pitching, but without hitting, you lose, and it doesn’t matter.  To clarify, though, when I say that things don’t matter, I mean it in the sense that a win is a win and a loss is a loss, whether it involved good or bad pitching or good or bad hitting.  Wins and losses aren’t the only things that matter, but what matters for wins and losses is the final score only.  But things of that nature matter a lot for the long-term welfare of the team, although you could argue that wins and losses are just as important for the long-term welfare of the team.

Lackey pitched six innings.  He gave up only two runs on seven hits.  He walked four and struck out three.  No pitcher should ever deliver more walks than strikeouts.  No wonder he threw 113 pitches in six innings.  Sixty-three of them were strikes.  That number is not as high as it should have been; if it were as high as it should have been, Lackey would have stayed in the game for more than six innings with the same pitch total but less walks and less hits.  Almost half of his pitches were curveballs, which were thrown well.  He locked down two of his three strikeouts with the curveball; both were called back-to-back strikes in the first on the sixth pitch of each at-bat.  He locked down his third strikeout with a changeup in the second, which induced a swing and a miss.  So as you can see, the wind went right out of his strikeout sails early on.  His other pitches weren’t so great.  His changeup, cutter, slider, and especially his four-seam weren’t locating as precisely as usual, although all but one of the two-seams he threw were strikes.  Too bad he only threw about a handful of them all night.

He threw twenty-eight pitches in the third, when he gave up his first run.  He threw only eight pitches in the fifth.  That’s a disparity of twenty pitches, which is the total he more or less threw during each of his other innings.  But he kept us in it.  Any pitcher who keeps us in a ballgame during an off day deserves a hefty round of applause.  Even if the sad fact is that we lost and that as a result, that pitcher’s record now matches that of his opponent.  Doug Fister, who pitches, need I remind you, for the Seattle Mariners, also has a record of two and three.

The first inning was a microcosm of the entire game. Ellsbury led off the game with a walk.  Pedroia grounded into a force out.  Gonzalez singled.  Youk walked.  So we had the bases loaded with one out.  And what do Papi and Drew do? Strike out swinging and fly out, respectively.

We went down in order in the second.  In the third and fourth, with the exception of a double in each inning, we failed to threaten.  Then Salty led off the fifth with a double, and Ellsbury and Pedroia both walked.  Again the bases loaded, this time with nobody out.  And what do Gonzalez and Youk do? Hit into a double play and pop out, respectively.

In the sixth and seventh, we put two men on base in each inning via a walk and a double but did nothing else.  We went down in order in the eighth and ninth.

Salty had the only multi-hit game; he went two for four.  Gonzalez currently has a seven-game hitting streak; Ellsbury’s hitting streak stands at nine games.  Papi’s hitting streak stopped at six games.

We lost, 2-0.  We’ve been shut out three times this year.  We left eleven men on base, eight of whom were in scoring position.  That’s the largest number of runners we’ve left in scoring position in a shutout since 2005.   We went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position.  We have the worst batting average with runners in scoring position in all of Major League Baseball.  Yeah, we’re definitely back to our old selves now.  I don’t understand this.  We sweep the Angels in four games on the road, but we can’t even score runs against the Orioles and the Mariners at home? Our starting pitching sparkled just a few days ago, and now we’ve lost four of our last five games.  Yup.  Back to our old selves we go.

In other news, the Bruins won, 7-3, in their first game of the series with the Flyers.  David Krejci scored four points.  Nothing overtime about it, folks.

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Wow.  Just, wow.  If I had to describe the ideal opening of a series against Seattle in Seattle, last night would pretty much be it.  It was a textbook example of what you’re supposed to do when you play a team that’s bad.  Okay, maybe I envisioned a slugfest, which obviously didn’t happen, but everything else was exactly right.  I can live with the absence of offensive domination so massive that if the lopsided score had a weight it would tip over immediately so long as we win, and we win nicely.  Not by barely eking it out but by posting a healthy lead and maintaining it.  That’s something we didn’t do the last time we played Seattle, so it’s nice to actually play like we can for a change.

You could tell when Lester took the mound that he wasn’t about to play games.  You could tell that he knew he had a job to do and that he was going to do it.  He had his way with the Mariners, who looked like minor leaguers who had absolutely no idea what was going on.  His cut fastball was the best I’ve seen it all season.  So were his sinker and curveball.  And he threw in a good changeup every now and then.  You’d be hard-pressed to find an at-bat where he fell behind in the count, and he threw his offspeeds effectively for strikes.  He completely befuddled the hitters en route to twelve strikeouts over eight of the most solid innings you could possibly get from a pitcher.  Seven were swinging, and four were looking.  I’m telling you, there’s something very satisfying about watching the opposition take cuts at air.  He was very aggressive and packed the zone with a world of nasty.  This was his fourth consecutive start with ten-plus K’s, the longest such streak in the Majors since Jake Peavy in 2007 from April 25 to May 11 for the Padres.  Nobody in the American League did it since Johan Santana with five starts in 2004.  The last pitcher to do it for us was obviously Pedro Martinez with five in 2001.  But Lester is the first lefty in franchise history.  That brings his K total for the year to 209, making him one of five Sox pitchers to post at least two hundred K’s in consecutive seasons.  The other four are Cy Young, Smokey Joe Wood, Roger Clemens, and Pedro Martinez.  That’s some heady company.  And if anyone belongs there, it’s Lester.  The best part is that technically he’s not even a strikeout pitcher.  He just wants outs, period.  And if he can do it more efficiently with groundouts, lineouts, and flyouts, he will.  The strikeouts are just a side venture, if you will.  That’s why he’s the man.

He last pitched at Safeco Field on July 24 and took a bid for a perfect game past the first out in the sixth, but we ended up losing.  Not so last night.  He picked up his seventeenth win of the year, also a new career high, en route to a twenty-win season.  He allowed only one run on three hits while walking three.  That’s it.  So it’s not that the Mariners had opportunities and didn’t capitalize on them.  They just didn’t have any opportunities on which to capitalize.  He strode out there and showed everybody how it’s done.  He was extraordinarily dirty, and that’s all there is to it.

We won, 5-1, showcasing the young talent because they’re the only ones still healthy.  We racked up three in the second.  Beltre scored on a groundout by Reddick, Lowrie scored on a double by Nava, and Nava scored on a double by Anderson.  It’s good to see Reddick and Anderson back in action; it reminds you that the future is bright, even if the present may be grim.  In the eighth, Kalish ripped a two-run homer into the right field seats.  Fister hung a change at the belt.  For Kalish, it was only a matter of doing what he’d always been taught to do with something like that: clock it.

The kids had some nice plays in the field, too.  No errors last night while Seattle made two, so they were pretty comfortable.  Speaking of defense, how about Scutaro’s flip in the third? Ichiro chopped one to Scutaro who made a running flip out of his glove to Anderson at first.  It was masterful.

You’ll never believe this, but the barrage of injuries continues.  Honestly, you’d think it would just stop by now being that there’s only half a month left in the season.  But no.  The injury bug has to rub salt in it.  Turns out that Drew left the game on Sunday because of a full-fledged injury.  He took a wide turn around first on a single, and you could tell that something was wrong when he ran back.  He jammed his right ankle.  And Doubront, one big reason why we traded Delcarmen, will probably be done for the season with his upper pectoral injury, specifically the left collarbone area.  “Done for the season” is such a funny phrase these days being that we’re in the middle of September.  If I sound bitter about it, it’s because I am.  We get it.  Enough with the injuries already.

We’ve got a two-game winning streak going, so that’s good.  Mostly it was just a blast to watch Lester go to work.  As far as Cy Young candidates are concerned, he has to be one of them.  He’s been outstanding, and it’s the middle of September and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.  Dice-K would do well to take a page from his book when he takes the hill tonight.  Let’s win a series.

In other news, football season officially started yesterday, and the Pats kicked it off (pun intended) on a high note by beating the Bengals, 38-24.

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