Posts Tagged ‘Frank Francisco’

I can not believe this.  We just whipped the Jays big time, and yesterday we couldn’t buy a run when we needed it most.  That’s the nature of the game, I guess.  But it’s brutal.

Lackey delivered one of his finer performances of the season.  He opened the sixth by allowing a single, which quickly turned into a man on third after a steal and a throwing error by Tek.  After he got his second batter to fly out, he was pulled in favor of Morales.  Lackey only gave up two runs on seven hits while walking only one and striking out four.  He threw 115 pitches, seventy-nine of which were strikes.  The velocity was up on his fastball, and his slider was especially deadly.  He also threw a decent curveball and a handful or so of changeups into the mix.

Meanwhile, the offense was more or less doing its job.  Lackey gave up his two runs in the first on thirty-one pitches; we tied the game at two in the second.  Two singles plus a fielding error yielded one run, and a groundout yielded the other.

We moved ahead in the third; Ellsbury led it off with a triple and scored on a sac fly by Scutaro.  We picked up some insurance in the sixth when Gonzalez led it off with a dinger into the bullpen on the first pitch he saw, a fastball.  He left the game in the next inning with a tight left calf.

Meanwhile, Morales had finished off a scoreless sixth, and Aceves finished off a scoreless seventh.  And then we had to give the ball to Bard, who is in the process of showing everyone why he may not be ready to close just yet.  I don’t know what’s going on with him.  I don’t know why he’s suddenly ruining ballgames.

It all started with a five-pitch walk.  Bard followed that with a four-pitch walk.  And right then and there I knew that something would go horribly wrong.  Any pitcher who starts an inning with nine pitches, only one of which is a strike, is in for a long night.  And any fastball pitcher who is clearly having trouble with mechanics on the mound is in for a really long night.

Anyway, he made a throwing error on a sac bunt that resulted in a bases-loaded situation with nobody out.  When he gave up his first run on a groundout, technically it was unearned, but it was unearned because he made the error, so it’s still his responsibility anyway.  He then gave up a single that scored two more runs.  After that, he induced a double play.  Paps pitched a scoreless ninth for naught, Frank Francisco for some reason saw fit not to give up a home run today, and we lost, 5-4.

At that point, of course, it didn’t matter that we saved a run at home in the sixth with a textbook play at the plate that Tek somehow completed despite a forceful collision.  This is the third straight appearance in which he’s given up at least one run.  Since September 5, so in just over one week, Bard’s ERA has inflated by a whole point.  Not a fraction of a point.  A whole point.  It went from 2.10 to 3.10.  Good things included Papi’s nomination for the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award and Wake being honored for his two hundredth win.  Bad things included Bard.

On a different note, next season’s schedule is out.  The theme? Division rivalry, as usual.  We start in Detroit on April 5 and play the Jays in Toronto before our home opener with the Rays, followed by the Rangers and Yanks.  We’ve got three days off scattered among those series before another road trip.  The first two weeks of May will be easy; we’re back home for the A’s and O’s, away for the Royals, and then back home for the Indians and Mariners before going on the road for the Rays and Phillies.  We get a break with the Orioles before one of two days off in May, and then we’re home for the Rays and Tigers.  We’ve got three days off in a pretty easy July, when Interleague is in full swing.  We play the Yanks at home before the All-Star Game that should obviously have been scheduled in Boston but is in Kansas City instead for some bizarre and unfathomable reason, and then we play the Rays on the road.  Then we’re back at home for about a week before dealing with the Rangers and Yanks on the road again.  We play the Rangers and Yanks again in August, but we also play the O’s and Royals.  We’ve got a series with the Yanks and two with the Rays in September, and we end the season in New York in October.  All in all, lots of division rival games, but they’re mixed in with some easier teams, there’s a nice balance of home and away.  And Fenway Park turns one hundred years old! Sounds pretty good to me!

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

Read Full Post »

Last night’s game did not help the standings cause at all, people.  Not at all.  Toronto is not a team that we should be playing this month.  I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but whenever we’re in the middle of trying to win the division, Toronto always has to do something to make it complicated.

Miller started again and took the loss.  He gave up five runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out three over five innings.  All five of the runs were scored via the home run; there was a three-runner and two solo shots.  He threw ninety-three pitches, fifty-five of which were strikes.  Clearly this was a far cry from his gem of a start two outings ago.  But it wasn’t just him.  Bowden allowed a solo shot, and although he was the only Red Sox pitcher to allow a run but not via a homer, Doubront still let one plate.  Albers was the only one of our pitchers who allowed no runs, period, and he didn’t even pitch an entire inning.

We didn’t score until the seventh.  It was inning after inning after inning of one runner on base or no runner on base.  The seventh didn’t even start out too swimmingly; Lowrie grounded out.  Tek walked, and Reddick flied out.  McDonald singled, Ellsbury singled in Tek, and Scutaro cleared the bases with a single.  He moved to second on the throw, and Pedroia stepped up to bat.  Naturally we assumed that the rally would continue.  Instead, he ended the inning with a groundout and finished the series one for nineteen.  We went down in order in the eighth before Tek led off the ninth with a home run on a high fastball to right.  Actually, the ball was so high that if he didn’t touch it, it probably would have been called a ball.  But he crushed it into the second deck.  Incidentally, if I were Frank Francisco, I would stop thinking that I could get away with throwing fastballs to our lineup.

So we lost, 7-4.  Toronto posted three more runs and three more hits than we did, and they left three fewer runners on base.  Ellsbury went two for five, and Scutaro had another great night, going three for four with two RBIs.  That was it for multi-hit games.

We’ve lost seven of our last ten games and all of our last three series.  We are currently two and a half games behind the Yankees.  The Yankees lost yesterday also, which is why that didn’t change, but we’re already into September.  The regular season will be over in a matter of weeks.  Every game counts, and we can’t afford to increase our number in the loss column.

AP Photo

Read Full Post »

In the biggest news of the day, Wake did not secure his two hundredth win.  Like we didn’t see that coming after all of the attempt’s he’s had before last night ended in the same way.

Except that this one was different.  Wake only lasted five innings; he gave up five runs, four earned, on three hits.  He was a victim of a steal of home.  He gave up a two-run home run.  He walked three and struck out three.  He threw ninety-two pitches, forty-seven of which were strikes.  So he was clearly inefficient, and by no means was the knuckleball the best I’d ever seen it, but it was good enough that maybe, just maybe, with enough run support, he could hold on.

That is exactly what happened.  Ellsbury and Pedroia led off the game with singles.  Gonzalez was hit, and the bases were loaded for Papi with nobody out.  Papi struck out.  Youk was hit by a pitch to bring in one.  Crawford struck out.  And Scutaro singled in two; the inning ended with Youk out at third.  Before Wake even took the mound, he had a three-run lead, and you knew from the way Brandon Morrow was pitching that his command wasn’t there and that it was going to be a rough night for the Jays.

We were down by two entering the fourth inning, but we took care of that deficit in a hurry.  Crawford doubled, Scutaro walked, Reddick brought in one with a double, and Ellsbury brought in three with a homer.  It was the first pitch of the at-bat, a fastball right down the middle at ninety-three miles per hour.  He used that textbook balance of his at the plate, read it, and cleaned it out to right center field into that first deck of seats.  Morrow was not happy.

Papi got in on the power action with a solo shot in the fifth on the second pitch of his at-bat, a fastball at ninety-two miles per hour to right field.  Almost exactly the same pitch at the same speed hit to the same location, except that Papi put a ton on his and the ball ended up in the second deck.

At that point the score was 8-5.  Morales replaced Wake in the sixth; Wheeler then came in in a two-on, one-out situation and handled the rest of the sixth as well as all of the seventh while allowing one run, which made the score 8-6.  After Wheeler allowed his run, Bard came in, at which point you pretty much figure that the game is over and Wake is finally going to get his two hundredth win.

I don’t think Bard ever received that memo.  Bard tanked again.  He began the eighth by hitting Brett Lawrie.  Then he gave up a single followed by a walk.  Just like us in the first, the Jays found themselves with the bases loaded and nobody out.  Bard quickly racked up two K’s, the first on only three pitches, but then proceeded to walk in two runs.  Not one.  Two.  One would have been bad enough; two is exceptionally humiliating.  What’s worse is that those two runs tied the game, and he wasn’t even done.  He gave up a bases-clearing double.  And then he posted a strikeout to end the inning.

I couldn’t believe it.  He totally imploded.  He completely lost control.  He gave up five runs that inning, a career high, and threw thirty-six pitches, the most since his debut in the Majors.  The score became 11-8.

The lineup did what it could to salvage the situation in the ninth.  Gonzalez led off with a solo shot to right on a splitter.  He put it in the lower deck.  Then Papi singled.  Then two outs.  Then Scutaro singled Papi in, and suddenly we only needed to score one more run and win it in extras.  Aviles had come in to pinch-run for Scutaro, and Reddick was at the plate.  And Aviles was caught stealing second base.  It was the first time an opposing runner was caught with Frank Francisco on the mound.  And we lost, 11-10.  This was the third time in Wake’s seven attempts to get his two hundredth win that he left with a lead, which the bullpen promptly ruined.  This one was crushing.  It was absolutely crushing.  Wake obviously took the blame for it, but make no mistake, my friends.  This one is on Bard.

Reuters Photo

Read Full Post »