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Posts Tagged ‘Jesse Carlson’

Brad Penny got lit up.  Period.  That’s something we haven’t seen since the first month of the season.  The final score was 6-2, and Penny allowed all six runs.  Six runs on eight hits with a walk and three K’s in five innings.  A two-run home run for Adam Lind in the fifth.  It was ugly.  Ironically, it was also efficient; it only took him eighty-two pitches to drop this one.  Every starter has a bad day, which was proven by Josh Beckett’s bad first month, so I wouldn’t mind this so much if it weren’t for the fact that it decreased our first-place lead to two games.  Like I say, it’s only temporary, but obviously I still would’ve liked to win this one and keep it at three.

So the game had highs and lows.  That was a low.  Masterson’s excellent two-inning performance and Ramirez’s good pitching in the ninth were highs.  The offense was a low; we only scored two runs.  The high was that, while one of them was courtesy of Baldelli, whom we already know can bat around, the other was courtesy of Jed Lowrie, who in his return to the field and the lineup after missing most of the first half after slumping a bit, hit a ridiculous home run in the seventh inning.  The first pitch he saw from Jesse Carlson ended up not in the ballpark.  And the swing was full, it was powerful, the kid looked great.  No wrist or knee issues whatsoever.  And his fielding looked great, except for one incident, and that incident was the only incident all day that was any indication of the fact that he hadn’t made a start in about three months.  And that was his collision with Mikey Lowell in the eighth while trying to catch a pop fly.  They droppd the ball, and Lowrie was charged with a fielding error.  That was the only evidence of inexperience and being rusty all afternoon, so I can live with that.  I’m telling you, I am so psyched to have this kid back.  He should have a great second half, get some experience under his belt, and he’s already proven that he’s a Major League starter, so we’re looking at our final answer to the shortstop position right here.  And if that’s the case, we’re in great shape, because this kid has all five tools.

Also in the seventh, Scott Rolen robbed JD Drew of a line drive in a ridiculous play that happens maybe once a year.  I couldn’t believe it.  He ran a few steps and then leaped towards second base and snagged the ball in the air.  That does not happen.

Today is probably the season’s showdown of all showdowns thus far, what with the trade deadline coming up.  Lester will pitch opposite Roy Halladay, and if JP Ricciardi is serious about trading Halladay, he’ll have to be brilliant.  I mean this should be an epic battle.  Some of the best pitching in the Major Leagues right here.  I’d prepare myself for a close score.  The lineup will have to be tight, making the most of every opportunity that comes up because with Halladay on the mound, there won’t be that many.

Swamigp’s Sports Blog
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I don’t know what the problem is, but Josh Beckett needs to pull himself together.  Yesterday’s performance was an absolute disgrace compared to what he’s capable of.  Eight runs on eight hits over 2.1 innings pitched with a walk and three strikeouts.  That’s disgusting.  Those are not the stats Beckett should be posting this time of year.

Of course the damage didn’t stop there.  The four pitchers that followed Beckett, Aardsma, Timlin, Buchholz, and Masterson, each allowed a run.  Okajima allowed three.  Pap was solid and didn’t allow any.  How refreshing.  By the way, while the bullpen has been a concern for us throughout the season, it’s not really the bullpen that worries me here.  Sometimes the opposition will have themselves a slugfest and they’ll just figure you out.  It happens.  And seeing this kind of run spread for the relief is part of that picture.  What worries me is that Beckett of all people, our ace, our pillar of strength, our lights-out, no-chance, pinpoint-command, snappy-pitch starter, was the one allowed the deluge to start.  And maybe if he set the tone early and went out and had a Beckett-esque performance, the relief would’ve been able to follow suit.

This is August, and we are in the middle of a pennant race.  We’re 4.5 games behind the Rays and 0.5 games behind the Brewers and White Sox.  Something tells me that simply getting the Wild Card isn’t something to shoot for here.  We need the division.  If we get the Wild Card, we’ll lose our home field advantage in October, and with road record this team has posted this season (28-35) that could be a major problem.  But it isn’t just our poor performance on the road.  We’ve been stagnant at best since the All-Star break, we’ve been shutout six times, and we’ve been swept seven.  We lose a lot of our series openers and one-run games, and we’re pathetic against the AL East.  Don’t get me wrong, I still believe.  But sometimes when you believe you have to show a little tough love.  We’re going on the road again, and now is probably not the best time for another road trip.  We’ve got series with Baltimore, Toronto, and New York.  We’ve got work to do.  We need to establish ourselves now.  We need to show the league that we’re serious.  I believe that we can win the World Series this year, but I don’t believe we can win it playing like we are now, with Beckett being Buchholz and the offense scoring runs in sporadic bunches.  We won a championship less than a year ago with almost this exact team.  Some guys have injuries, but the team as a whole can weather that.  There are no excuses.  If something is bothering Beckett, now is the time to fix it.  If there’s a reason for Varitek’s low batting average, now is the time to find out what it is.  Now is the time to establish a presence.  We can’t just coast through the rest of the season and land in the postseason.  We have to arrive.

By the way, RBIs go to Youk, Lowrie, and Pedey.  Youk hit a solo home run off Marcum, Lowrie went three for three, Pedroia hit a solo homer off Carlson.  Pedroia turned 25 yesterday, so a very happy birthday to our favorite second baseman.  Cora had a good night, going two for four, and Bay made his first error, a fielding error, in a Red Sox uniform.

AP Photo

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