Posts Tagged ‘Hideki Matsui’

I don’t really understand what went on last night.  I saw it with my own eyes while it was unfolding, and I’m still not quite sure how the whole thing happened.  It was bizarre.

Beckett took the mound and just cruised along for five full innings.  He held complete sway over the Angels lineup for half a game.  Angels would step up to the plate, and he would send them down.  He was throwing all of his pitches and hitting all of his spots.  He was ahead in the count constantly.  He was on fire.  During those five innings, he gave up no runs on two hits.  And that was it.

And with Beckett looking like that, we had no reason to believe that the solo shot Papi hit in the fourth was all we would need to win.  That shot was fantastic.  Santana’s changeup stayed up and cleared the bullpen and ended up in the right field seats.

Then all of a sudden in the sixth inning, the entire game got away from Beckett.  It was like he was holding the game in his hands and then let it slip through his fingers.  When his fall first began, it was painful because you had no idea when or if it would end.  Eventually it ended, but by then it was too late.

In the sixth, back-to-back doubles tied it.  Okay.  At that point you’re thinking it’s only a tie, just like a game starting out 0-0.  It’s not the end of the world.  It’s only one run.  Then Hunter’s grounder bounced off Beltre’s glove, and you’re thinking there are two men on base but if we can just escape this inning with the one run of damage, we’ll be alright.  Then Beckett wanted to throw a fastball down and away from Matsui, but it ended up low right over the plate, and he hit a home run.  Ninety-four miles per hour on that fastball, and it broke Beckett.

Unfortunately there was more.  There was a glimmer of hope when Beckett opened the seventh with a strikeout, but he followed that with a walk and a single.  Then he was finally lifted.  And it’s just the next episode in a continuing trend of frustration, exasperation, and failure that has been the 2010 season for Josh Beckett.  He’s spent almost his entire career as an ace.  All of a sudden in 2010 he’s three and three with a 6.67 ERA.  He spent two-plus months on the DL with various back issues and then came roaring back.  His first three starts after he returned from the DL were essentially spotless, and you were thinking this is it, the ace is back, and we’re good to go.  But over his last three starts he dropped the ball, literally and figuratively, posting a record of 0-2 with a 10.69 ERA.  I’m not a fan of this trend.  Neither is Beckett.  But the competitive spirit that prompts him to beat himself up after he drops a start doesn’t change the fact that we still lost.  His final line came out to six runs on seven hits in six and one-third innings with four walks and only one K.  That’s as mediocre as you can get.

Tito replaced him with Delcarmen, who allowed both of his inherited runners to score.  Delcarmen opened his appearance with a walk.  A successful sac bunt followed, then back-to-back walks, the latter of which resulted in a run scoring.  I can’t stand that.  That is the absolute worst way for a pitcher to allow a run.  And you could see that something just wasn’t right.  His arm seemed slow.  His delivery was obviously off.

So Tito replaced him with Atchison, who allowed his inherited runner to score when Scutaro’s throw to first for the out wasn’t in time.

Wakefield pitched the last two innings of the game and provided the out only clean pitching performance of the night.  But this was also too late.  We hadn’t scored since Papi’s blast in the fourth.  But we seemed to have something on our hands in the eighth.  We loaded the bases with nobody out.  And you’re thinking there’s no way we don’t score here.  We have to score.  Anything that puts the ball in play would score at least one.  So Beltre stepped up to the plate and hit a sac fly.  We scored a run.  That was it.  Seriously.  The bases loaded with nobody out and we only managed to score one run.  We lost the game, 7-2.  And when I say we lost the game, I mean we lost it in every sense of the word.  Beckett pitched well and then he lost it.  I don’t think the offense ever had a handle on it.  Scutaro went two for five with the only multi-hit game, although Papi and Beltre both walked twice in addition to their lone hits.  Lowrie’s double and Papi’s homer were the only two extra-base hits we collected.  And the relief corps, with the exception of Wake, was epically not helpful.  We did have some flashes of brilliance on D, like Drew’s running and diving catch and Lowell’s diving catch in the third and Lowrie’s throw on the spin in the eighth.

Pedroia was scratched due to soreness in his foot, probably from stealing that base.  Salty is on the DL with some sort of infection in his right lower leg.  I seriously can not believe this.  What is happening here?

That’s the first time we’ve lost to the Angels this season.  Had we swept, we would have made the season series a perfect 10-0.  And to be honest with you, I was rather enjoying our revenge after last October.  And I don’t even want to talk about the ramifications this has for the standings.  Seriously.  I don’t even want to talk about it.  We needed that win.  I mean, we need every single win we can get our hands on, and we potentially could’ve had that one with only one or two runs.  But no.  One of our aces imploded and we lost.  So we’ll try another ace.  Toronto is coming to town tonight and we’re throwing Lester.  Lester will get it done.  Believe that.

Boston Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

Read Full Post »

And when I say failure, I mean failure.  Last night’s game, as are pretty much all of our games until the playoffs start, was a must-win.  Win, we could have; with Josh Beckett starting, everything seemed like it would fall into place.  Win, we did not; Josh Beckett looked exactly like he did last year: shaky, porous, and beatable.  The worst part is that this isn’t surprising.  Josh Beckett is currently in the middle of what seems to be an extraordinarily inconveniently timed regression.

He pitched eight innings, probably to give the bullpen a rest, because it wasn’t like he has a lead to preserve.  Far from it.  Eight runs on eight hits is just about as far as you can get from anything that can be considered remotely related to the concept of a lead.  He threw 120 pitches, probably a new season high, so he’s got some resting to do.  He didn’t walk anybody.  He struck out five.  And now for the grand finale: he allowed five home runs.  Five.  As if they outing couldn’t have gotten any worse.  Only two of the eight runs were batted in by means other than the long ball.  The first two were lead-offs.  All but one were solo shots.  Jeter, Cano, and A-Rod each hit one.  Matsui hit two.  It was an absolute disaster.  Balls were flying out of the park every which way.  And Josh Beckett has some serious explaining to do.  If I know him, he’s probably seething over his performance and trying to figure out what went wrong.  But we’re approaching the end of August and it’s time to think, yes, but also to do.  He needs to figure out what’s up and use that knowledge to make it stop.  The sooner, the better.

On the bright side, we now know that his previous outing, during which V-Mart started at catcher and Beckett pitched horribly, wasn’t V-Mart’s fault.

Saito was good.  Fourteen pitches later and the game was over.  Another loss, 8-4.  I was hoping that we’d at least win the series, but no.  Apparently Josh Beckett had other plans and forgot to read Red Sox Nation’s memo.

V-Mart and Lowell, who DHed yesterday, each went two for four.  Baldelli knocked in two runs, and Tek knocked in another.  For the second time in a row, Ellsbury went hitless.  He was also caught stealing and picked off.  No errors; the Yankees made two.

With the way we’d been handling them, I never thought I’d have to say this this year, but I’m so glad we’re done with the Yankees, at least for another month or so.  Meanwhile, we’ve got a series with the White Sox coming up.  It’ll be our first encounter with them this year.  Strange.  Contreras at Buchholz.  Speaking of pitching, there’s a stumbling block in Theo’s attempt to require Wagner.  Apparently, Wagner is refusing to waive his no-trade clause unless Theo guarantees that the Sox won’t pick up his option for 2010 or offer him arbitration.  But this essentially means that we won’t be compensated at all if Wagner leaves, and I think that’s ridiculous.  Also, looks like Smoltz has found a home in St. Louis.  He actually gave a quality start for St. Louis yesterday.  Five shutout innings, three hits, no walks, and nine strikeouts.  Good for him, because he sure wasn’t doing any of that with us.  Everyone seems to be making it in St. Louis this year.  And last but not least, the arrival and success of Tazawa as relegated Penny to the bullpen in long relief.  Good.

So bring on the White Sox, I say.  Every series, and even every game, is an opportunity to turn thing around.  You never know what can happen so late in the season.  So I say bring on the White Sox, bring on Jose Contreras, and bring on the much-needed wins.

Batter-up with Bruno

Read Full Post »

Last night’s outing was a little bit short for Dice-K, who pitched only five innings but allowed only two runs on six hits with six K’s and five walks and who again got himself into all kinds of trouble and, as always, got out of it cleanly.  What a pitcher we have here, folks.  If he wants to pitch that way, that’s fine with me as long as he keeps a handle on his pitch count.  The last thing we want to do is go to the bullpen often and for many innings.  That’s the only concern I have there.

You know, every once in a while it’s good to step back and look at a pitcher’s earned-run average and think about exactly what that means.  A pitcher’s earned-run average tells you that on average he allows that many runs per game.  Dice-K’s earned-run average is 2.77.  The final score was 7-2.  Coincidence? I think not.  It just goes to show you how consistent he’s been.  To have an ERA that low this late in the season is no small feat.

The relief wasn’t too shabby either.  Lopez, Masterson, and Delcarmen took care of business to end it.  As for the offense, it was the usual RBI for Ortiz and Bay and three for Youk as well as the unusual two RBIs for Varitek, who (get this) hit a solo home run in the second inning off Cabrera.  I kid you not.  He then followed that home run with a double to go two for five.  I’m telling you, if he keeps this up it could be just what we needed.  Youk clobbered a two-run shot in the fifth and went three for five.  Ortiz’s night was huge, going two for three with two walks, and Ellsbury collected two hits and two steals and scored two runs.  We out-hit Baltimore 15-9, and we made one error (Alex Cora missed a catch; there’s something you don’t see very often).

In other news, the great and powerful Yaz had to have triple bypass surgery.  It was a success, and he says he’s feeling better.  What a relief.  Beckett’s start has been pushed back due to some numbness he’s been feeling in two fingers on his right hand.  He and Tito are trying to figure out what’s causing it, but whatever the reason I think he could use the extra rest to figure himself out.  Finally, A-Rod and Johnny Damon combined to lose a game and possibly a pennant race for the Yankees.  A-Rod thought his single could be a double and was thrown out at second in the top of the ninth, and Damon dropped a fly ball by Marco Scutaro on the warning track in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied 1-1.  Joe Inglett scored from first base to win it for Toronto.  This was Damon’s first day as a full-time center fielder, his new role on the team now that Hideki Matsui is back.  Needless to say, it should be very entertaining.

AP Photo

Read Full Post »