There are a couple of reasons why our loss yesterday technically isn’t the end of the world. The first is that we won the first game, so we’re no better off than we were heading into the series, which is good considering it could be worse. The second is that the Rays also lost, so there’s that.
Either way, we still lost to the Evil Empire in the Bronx when we needed to win. And I loathed that experience just as much as I enjoyed winning on Friday.
Lackey was not helpful. His scouting report always says he’s a big-game pitcher, and Tito always says that on a day he starts we’ll still be in the game in the seventh inning because of him. Technically we were because we were only down by three, but in my book a big-game pitcher and one who keeps you in the game in the seventh inning when you’re the Red Sox and playing the Yankees in the Bronx will either have you with a lead, a tie, or a one-run deficit if that’s true. We had each of those over the course of the game and Lackey couldn’t hold on to any of them.
He gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings. He walked three, struck out seven, and took the loss. He threw 116 pitches, sixty-nine of which were strikes. He started the second by giving up a walk and eventually the lead by allowing the bottom half of the order to tie it. He allowed four consecutive two-out hits in the fifth that broke the tie for good, throwing a total of thirty-one pitches in the inning. And may I say that Drew was not helpful either; Cano’s bloop hit fell right in front of him, and I can only assume the sun prevented him from seeing it properly because there’s otherwise no excuse for why he didn’t catch that ball. There was also the throwing error by V-Mart in the sixth that was aimed for Scutaro to prevent the steal of second, but it bounced off Scutaro’s glove and ended up in the outfield, allowing the lead runner to advance to third and eventually to home plate.
In the beginning of the game, Lackey threw his fastball more often, but eventually he abandoned that plan because his fastball wasn’t that great. His curveball was his stellar pitch, followed by his changeup and slider. Not coincidentally, his next-most abundant pitch, his cutter, was mediocre. He mixed his pitches well and put good movement on them.
But he let the game slip through his fingers. When we play the Yankees, everything has to be working: run prevention as well as run production. Yesterday, we basically had neither.
The game began with such promise. We were the first to get on the board when V-Mart hit a solo shot in the second to left, right after FOX’s commentators finished expounding on the fact that V-Mart has lit up lefties this season. The count was 3-1, so he was sitting on an inside fastball, and that’s exactly what he got. It was V-Mart’s first homer in sixty-seven at-bats and couldn’t have come at a better time.
Then Beltre extended his hitting streak to thirteen games with a double and scored Lowell’s subsequent double.
And that was it for us for the rest of the game. We lost it, 2-5. Sabathia’s velocity was noticeably low, but of course the problem is that when that happens to him, he just switches to finesse. If we won, we could have been four games out of first and three and a half out of the Wild Card. But we didn’t. We lost.
And I’ll tell you another thing. Jerry Layne’s strike zone was way too wide. Papi showed a lot of composure out there, because some of those supposed strikes were miles off the plate. And that bothers me. An umpire is supposed to be invisible, and the action of the game is supposed to unfold in front of him. Jerry Layne was very visible, and instead the action was unfolding around him. That’s not good. If he wants to impact the action that much, he should put on a uniform and play, in which case I doubt he’d be very happy with his own strike zone.
I should mention that Delcarmen and Doubront were both excellent in relief. I should also mention that we did in fact acquire Delgado. As predicted, we signed him to minor league deal, which he can waive if we don’t put him on the Major League roster by September 1. And last but not least, Ellsbury wasn’t in the lineup today because it was a scheduled day off against a lefty, not because his diving catch on Friday injured him again. Kalish sat for the same reason.
But like I said, it could be so much worse, so we should at least be thankful we won the first game, but it just feels like a waste. The day was scripted for a win. The Rays lost, we won the night before, we had a big-game pitcher on the mound who would take us into the seventh inning, V-Mart hits a home run, Lowell bats one in, and then it just stopped. I can’t adequately express my frustration. I mean, it seriously just stopped. Sabathia locked, Lackey unlocked, and that was the end of it.
We’re throwing Beckett against Burnett tonight. We need to get this one.
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