Posts Tagged ‘Garrett Olson’

Wake really needed this one.  He knew it, the team new it, we knew it.  But he ended up with a no-decision.  It was good and bad.  When he pitched well, he pitched really well.  The knuckleball was dancing and everything.  But when he pitched badly, he really pitched badly.  But that’s how it works.  Sometimes it moves, sometimes it doesn’t, and it fluctuates even within a game.  So you never know, really.  Compared to some of the outings he’s had in the past, this was excellent, but compared to the way he’s been pitching lately, you scratch your head and wonder where this came from.  He pitched eight innings but gave up five runs on ten hits.  He struck out three and didn’t walk anybody, but three of the runs he gave up were due entirely to the long ball.  So good and bad as always with Wake.

In theory, this complicates his All-Star fate.  If he won last night, it would’ve been a lock.  He would’ve already been packing his bags.  In practice, it might not be as bad.  For one thing, he didn’t actually lose.  We were tied, 5-5, through ten.  After Wakefield left, Delcarmen and Paps held the fort.  Then Ramon Ramirez allowed two runs in the top of the eleventh, and we only scored one in the bottom.  So the final was 7-6.  Ramirez took the loss, as he should.  And it’s not like the Mariners lit Wakefield up.  There was no slugfest, really.  So it wasn’t great but it could’ve been a whole lot worse.

And the rest of the team knew exactly how important this was and put up a fight until the bitter end.  Even if Felix Hernandez’s changeup alone is ninety miles per hour, which is just obscsene.  For some reason, it looked like every other ball was heading for the Fisk pole.  Drew went two for six with a solo homer in the seventh.  First pitch he saw in that at-bat and he went for it.  Boy, did he go for it.  A ninety-six mile-per-hour fastball and it ended up over center field.  Drew has made constructive contact on the first pitch twenty-seven times this year, and for those he’s batting .308 with three home runs.  Pedroia hit and scored.  Ortiz walked and scored.  Bay hit, walked, scored, and plated one for an RBI.  And he’s a United States citizen.  Congratulations! Great timing, too, with the Fourth of July.  Kotsay went two for five with a run, and he’s turning out to be quite the player.  The key is his versatility; he plays outfield, he plays first base, and he’s really maximizing his playing time and getting more hits.  He improves every time he’s out there.  Ellsbury hit and stole, as usual.  Green went two for two, plated two, and walked once.  And George Kottaras, who lately proves every time he plays that Theo Epstein was absolutely right to tap him for the job, went two for five.  He hit a solo home run in the eleventh inning.  He was responsible for that late-game run.  And you have to give him a lot of credit for that.

Sean Casey joined Don Orsillo in the booth today, which was great.  Casey has quite the personality.  Affable guy.  Talkative.  And then Lenny Clarke came and made it interesting, as always.  So it was very entertaining.  After having fluid removed and an injection put into his right hip, Mikey Lowell says he feels great.  And he’s got a sense of humor about it too, which is what you want to see from someone chomping at the bit to get back in the field:

I figure we took the junk out and put good stuff in so we had a good oil change.

Dice-K is headed to Florida on Monday to start a Spring Training-esque strengthening program, which pretty much officially affirms that it’s all the World Baseball Classic’s fault.  If he’d participated in Spring Training with everyone else, he wouldn’t be having these problems.  Looks like the construction on the Twins’ new home, Target Field, is coming along nicely.  It’s actually got natural grass.  And a draft of next year’s schedule sees the Red Sox playing the Twins in their home opener.  I’d hate to see them lose their first game at the new field, but hey, we can’t help being that good.

Happy Fourth of July! And to celebrate Independence Day, Brad Penny will take the mound against Garrett Olson.  Penny’s turned out to be one of the most consistent pitchers on our staff.  With consistently short outings.  Which is another reason to appreciate Wakefield’s eight innings of work last night, even if we did end up going into extras, which was also a good thing because it showed we weren’t ready to lose.  Anyway, because Penny’s outings are short, he needs all the run support he can get, and Olson will probably help us out with that.  Should be a good game.

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This doesn’t bode well for Jon Lester at all.  No, sir.  This one was supposed to be a lock; this was supposed to be the definitive return of Jon Lester to dominance, a fresh start to his season with a truly Lester-esque start.  We were on the road, but Lester would be on the mound in his hometown.  He’d see his family, the sites, the sounds, the smells, and somehow he’d find himself again.  Somehow, something somewhere would remind Jon Lester that he is in fact Jon Lester.  Apparently that something got lost in translation and someone missed the memo, because that did not happen.  We lost, 5-4.  Lester pitched just under six innings and relinquished a four-run lead.  He gave up five runs on eight hits with three balls and five K’s.  He gave up two long balls to Ichiro Suzuki, a solo shot in the fifth and a two-run shot in the sixth.  It’s one thing to give up a home run, but to give up two? To the same guy? Are you kidding me? Before this season, did Lester even know how to do that? Bard finished the sixth and pitched all of the seventh, giving up two hits but nothing else.  Saito closed.  Lester got the loss.  He’s now 2-4 on the season.

We scored three earned runs and one unearned.  Ellsbury had an absolutely phenomenal night, going three for five with a run and an RBI.  He was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle, having collected a single, double, and triple for his three hits.  I’m telling you, if you have a hot leadoff man, you’re gold, and Ellsbury is getting hot.  And when he gets hot, he’s so good he scares me.  Pedroia went hitless which I couldn’t believe.  Drew a spread identical to Ellsbury’s: three for five with a run and an RBI.  Bay went hitless but walked three times, inflating his on-base percentage to .449.  So it’s getting up there.  Lowell had a hit, Bailey had a hit, and Lugo had an RBI.  The score was 4-0 in favor of us heading into the fifth inning, but that was quickly the end of that, unfortunately.

David Ortiz was not in the lineup last night.  Tito benched him, and rightly so.  The dude needs a rest and a mental break.  And if Tito wants to bench him for a few more days, that’s fine too.  Extra rest never hurt anybody in a slump.  Of course, the fact that this allows us to make room for some more, shall we say, active bats doesn’t necessarily hurt either.  I do believe Ortiz will bounce back, but in the meantime he’s left 120 men on base and doesn’t have a home run this year.  So I think he could use some time off, however much time that is.

Tonight it’s Beckett at Garrett Olson, and Beckett better hold it together.  Here’s something I never thought I’d say after the offseason: we’re having major pitching issues.  Our starting rotation has a 5.96 ERA, which is the worst in the American League and the second-worst in the Major Leagues.  That’s ridiculous.  Our rotation is loaded.  We do not have the likes of Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.  We actually have Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.  So it’s time they start pitching like Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.  They’re healthy, and they each had a great Spring Training.  I don’t know what it is.  Really, I don’t.  This was supposed to be a monster of a season for our pitching staff.  And it is for half of it; our bullpen has a 3.06 ERA which is second-best in the Major Leagues, and that’s all the more impressive when you consider that the bullpen’s been averaging about ten outs a night.  So basically if our starters get it together we’ll be absolutely unhittable and untouchable.  But until that day, the bullpen’s going to work overtime cleaning up the starter’s mess while the starter leaves early after giving up a host of runs.  Changes need to happen, and they need to happen fast.  Dice-K threw his best rehab start yesterday, giving up a walk and two runs on three hits over five innings of work.  He struck out nine.  And John Smoltz is right on schedule; he pitched two innings of extended Spring Training ball yesterday and will probably pitch three more before he starts work in the minor leagues.  So it’s only a matter of time before Dice-K is back, and we’ll probably see Smoltz later in the season.  And let’s not forget that Clay Buchholz has been stellar.  All I’m saying is that Beckett and Lester have a whole lot of shaping up to do.

A good start tonight would be great.  And a win tonight would be great.

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