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Posts Tagged ‘Jose De La Torre’

A good, old-fashioned pitcher’s duel is a great game to play, except when you lose.  Then it’s not so great.  Man, that was tough.  We were evenly matched, and we just scored a few runs too few.

Doubront pitched five solid innings, giving up two runs on eight hits while walking three and striking out four.  He gave up a run in the fourth thanks to a single-double combination and a deflection by Napoli.  His other run scored in the fifth, thanks to a double, a single, and then a force out.

De La Torre pitched the sixth and issued a walk in the seventh, after which Britton came on and ended the inning.  Uehara took over in the ninth.

As far as our offense is concerned, I thought we might actually get shut out again.  It was looking that way until the sixth, when Snyder put us on the board with our first run and second hit of the night, a solo shot to right.

And then, there was the bottom of the eighth.  Gomes led it off by striking out, and then the Rays finally made a pitching change.  Lavarnway doubled, and Nava came in to pinch-run.  Drew doubled, and Nava moved to third.  And then Snyder hit a fly ball to left.  It was the perfect sac-fly situation.  Nava would score, the game would be tied, and then we could win it in extras.

Nava slid into home plate feet first, and his foot reached the plate before he was tagged, meaning that he was safe.  Except that, at the time, home plate umpire Jerry Meals called him out.  He ruled that it was a double play.

I couldn’t believe it.  The entire team knew he was safe.  The entire crowd knew he was safe.  The entire radio and television audience knew he was safe.  And, in fact, the entire umpiring crew believed he was safe; Meals corrected himself after the game, saying himself that it was a bad call.  But that doesn’t mean much when you’ve already lost.  John got ejected in the process.  It was aweful.  I just couldn’t believe that that call was botched.  Nava was clearly and so obviously safe.  How do you mess something like that up? I mean, maybe if you’re not paying attention and you’re watching a completely different ballgame.  Then I can see that as a possibility.  But if that’s the case, then you really shouldn’t be umpiring in the first place.  Unbelievable.

2-1.  That was a really tough one to lose.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis
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There’s hardly anything to report when we get shut out.  Basically, the bottom line is always about the same: our pitching was mediocre and we didn’t score any runs.

Lackey has been pitching really well these days, but yesterday was not one of those days.  Two outs into the first, he gave up a single followed by a two-run home run.  He gave up another run in the third thanks to a triple-single combination.  And he gave up a solo shot with two out in the fifth and another one with one out in the seventh.

After that he was replaced by Britton.  One out into the eighth, he was replaced by De La Torre, who gave up a solo shot one out later.

Meanwhile, we were busy doing absolutely nothing.  We were shut out and collected a grand total of four hits.  So we lost, six-zip.

SF Gate

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Baseball is so unpredictable.  That can be either good or bad.  It can be good when you’re on the positive receiving end of the unpredictability.  It’s not so great, though, when you start the game off thinking you’re still in it, only to spend the entire second half of it being dominated by the competition.

Lester started out on the right foot and fired three shutout innings out of the gate.  But he ran into a little trouble in the fourth.  He gave up two singles to lead it off, and one out later, he gave up a double and then two consecutive walks, the first of which loaded the bases and the second of which resulted in another run.  It was pretty humiliating.

But arguably not as humiliating as squandering a perfectly good tie.  Those two runs put us in a two-run hole because we hadn’t scored yet.  We did, however, have an answer in the top of the fifth.  Iglesias got hit, Holt singled to put runners at the corners, and then Nava singled in Iglesias and Holt scored on a wild pitch.  But Lester returned the lead to Seattle by giving up a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the frame.

Unfortunately, that was nothing compared to what happened in the sixth.  Lester gave up two consecutive singles to lead it off and was replaced by Wilson.  But Wilson gave up a double and Nava made a fielding error that allowed both inherited runners to score.  Two outs later, Wilson gave up a single that allowed his own runner to score.

It only got worse from there.  Wilson issued a walk to lead off the seventh; he helped things along with a wild pitch followed by a double.  De La Torre relieved him and got the inning’s second out but then issued three consecutive scoring plays: a double, a single, and another double.  Three runs scored on De La Torre’s watch.

The Mariners found themselves up by eight runs at that point.  Clearly, if we were going to get ourselves back in this game, we didn’t have a lot of time to do it.

The Mariners made a pitching change in the eighth, and Pedroia singled, Lavarnway flied out, and Napoli and Salty bookended Carp’s groundout with RBI doubles.  But it was way too little, way too late.  In the eighth, thanks to a hit batsman and two walks, Seattle had the bases loaded, and a groundout was all it took to the drive the point home.

Lester had another mediocre start.  He gave up five runs, and the relievers each gave up three.  We lost, 11-4.

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The game was tied at one by the second inning.  Ellsbury singled on the game’s first pitch and ended up scoring on a sac fly by Pedroia.  But Lester gave up a single, a walk, and then a double play that did not prevent him from giving up three consecutive walks, the last of which resulted in a run scoring.

And that’s how we all figured out that Lester was in for an awful night.  It only got worse from there, and to be honest, it’s not that easy to do worse than four walks in a single inning.

He gave up solo shots in the second, fourth, and fifth.  While securing the first two outs of the third, he managed to allow a single, a walk, and two consecutive RBI singles.

He was lifted after giving up that home run in the fifth in favor of De La Torre, who promptly surrendered a solo shot of his own.  But not before Lester had allowed an obscene seven runs on eight hits while walking seven and striking out three in less than five innings of work.

The Rays scored during every single inning in which he was on the mound.  At no point were we even remotely safe during his watch.

There is so much that is wrong with that line.  First of all, he gave up seven runs.  Secondly, he gave up almost as many runs as hits, which means that there were several home runs too many in there.  Thirdly, he gave up just as many walks as runs, which means that he needlessly put way too many runners on base.  Fourthly, he struck out less than half the number of batters he walked, which means that he obviously had no command or control, in case he didn’t let us know that in every other conceivable way.

The surprise, therefore, was not the fact that Lester’s night was so bad.  The surprise was that, somehow, the Rays did not make it even worse.  With the way he was pitching, that would not have been difficult to accomplish.

Meanwhile, the only other time we scored was the third.  Iglesias singled, Ellsbury reached on a fielder’s choice, Victorino moved them both along with a sac bunt, Pedroia struck out, Papi intentionally walked to load the bases, and Napoli singled in two runs.

De La Torre ended up pitching the rest of the game and, I think, really impressed.  He was great.  Ironically, perhaps he should have started.  We lost, 8-3.

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We doubled in each of the first two innings but didn’t get anything going until the third, which Drew led off with a walk.  Then Ellsbury doubled, Victorino flied out, and Pedroia and Papi hit back-to-back singles that scored a total of two runs.  One pitching change later, Napoli doubled and Gomes singled for two more runs.  Middlebrooks then flied out, and Salty walked to load the bases.

So there were two out in the inning, and we’d scored four runs already.  We’ve played some games recently where we’d have been lucky to score four runs in the entire game, let alone in one inning.  We were already ahead of the game, so to speak, both literally and figuratively.  And because we’ve been pretty quiet lately, having the bases loaded with two out in an inning during which we’d scored four runs was a pretty positive sign.

It was one of those moments where you think to yourself how epic and totally awesome it would be if Drew, who was batting next, were to hit a grand slam.  And you sort of laugh it off as a joke even though you’re completely serious because it really could happen.  And then you remind yourself that grand slams are rare for most batters and most teams, let alone a team that’s been playing like ours.  Grand slams are best enjoyed when unexpected, but I think they’re always unexpected because, even when you’re thinking about them, you’re also trying to remind yourself not to get your hopes up too much because, really, what are the chances?

As it turns out, sometimes chances are good.  Drew took a cutter for a strike and a curveball for a ball.  He got another cutter, which made sense, but the pitch didn’t move properly, and it missed.  Drew capitalized big time, and the ball left the park most certainly.  On one swing of the bat, we instantly doubled our run total.  We’d scored eight runs in the third inning alone.

And, in case you were wondering, yes, it was epic and totally awesome.  Did I mention that we had four straight hits with runners in scoring position?

After that, it was like nothing happened.  We went down in order in the fourth and fifth.  Drew doubled in the sixth and made it to third on a wild pitch, but Victorino left him there with a groundout.  We went down in order yet again in the seventh.  With one out in the eighth, Middlebrooks joined the home run club.  Nava had grounded out to lead off the inning, and the first pitch that Middlebrooks received also went over the fence in right center field.  Nobody was on base, but the hitting was no less real and fantastic. Ellsbury led off the ninth with a walk, but we had already wreaked all the damage that we were going to wreak last night.

The Rays singled in each of the first two innings, but to no avail.  I guess the third was the inning in which to hit for both teams, although by comparison the Rays hardly inflicted any damage at all.  Lester gave up a single, an RBI triple, and an RBI groundout one out later.  He gave up two consecutive singles in the fourth and had a one-two-three fifth.  He gave up a double and hit a batter in the sixth.  And he gave up a single to lead off the seventh.

Uehara came on for the eighth and gave up a single and a walk that amounted to nothing.  De La Torre came in for the ninth and sent the Rays down in order.

All told, Lester gave up two runs on eight hits with no walks and five K’s over seven innings.  Pedroia, Middlebrooks, and Drew each had two hits.  We had only three walks, but we collected ten hits, half of which were for extra bases.

AP Photo

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We really are in the middle of quite the slump.  This team looks completely different from the one that had the best record in the Majors.  Our record is now 22-16; if we continue at our current rate, we’ll have to start winning just to stay at .500, and we all remember what that feels like.  We got swept by the Rangers; at least, at the time, we felt like the Rangers were a good match.  But Minnesota’s pitching staff has one of the lowest strikeout counts in the Majors, and Toronto’s pitchers are mediocre at best and their hitters swing at almost anything.  We are losing games we should not be losing.  Not that there’s ever a game that we should lose, but still.  Speaking of the Jays specifically, it would have been very nice to escape the series without allowing them to hit a slew of home runs.  Sure, we hadn’t been able to win by doing that, but at least we, for the most part, eliminated their chief mode of attack.

Dempster was not so fortunate.  He didn’t keep the ball down.  His heat is more lukewarm than anything else, so you can see why location would have been the key to a successful performance on his part.  He lasted only five innings and gave up six runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out three.  And he allowed three home runs.

It started in the second.  He gave up a single, a double, and a three-run home run with two out.  He gave up a solo shot to lead off the third, and he issued a walk and then allowed a two-run home run in the fourth.  It would have been worse had Victorino gotten hurt trying to haul the ball in for an out.  He tried to catch it right at the bullpen fence but fell flat-out; he left the game in the seventh with some stiffness.  Dempster gave up another solo shot in the fifth.  On a splitter.  If Dempster is anything, he’s a splitter pitcher, so the fact that he missed his spot with a splitter says something.  Dempster, overall, has been pitching very well, at least for him.  But, yes, all of his runs scored via the long ball, which is exactly how the Jays like it.

Miller came on for the sixth and gave up a solo shot on his third pitch.  After recording the inning’s first out, he gave up a single, issued a walk, and was replaced by Mortensen.  Mortensen gave up a successful sac fly followed by a two-run home run.  He had a one-two-three seventh, and Breslow had a one-two-three eighth, making him our only pitcher to not allow any runs in the game.  Jose De La Torre came in for the ninth and gave up a double, a walk, an RBI single, and an RBI double play.

All in all, that’s twelve runs.  By the time we got on the board in the fourth, we were already down by five.  Napoli answered the Jays’ power with his own, smashing a solo shot on the second pitch of his leadoff at-bat in the fourth.  And he hit it to one of the deepest parts of the park.  It was a nice piece of hitting; if only such a phenomenon were more common for us.

We didn’t score again until the sixth, when Pedroia singled and scored on a sac fly by Nava.  We went down in order in the seventh, and then Ciriaco hit a home run.  It was also a solo shot, and he also led off an inning.  It was the second pitch of his at-bat, also a fastball.  But he hit his beyond the Monster.  Either way, it was still also a nice piece of hitting that we also could have used more of.

Then Pedroia flied out, and Napoli singled, Nava walked, and Gomes got hit.  Just like that, the bases were loaded.  It was Salty’s turn to bat, but a force out was all he could muster; Napoli scored our last run of the game.  Napoli went three for four; the only other person to have a multi-hit game was Pedroia, who went two for five.  Napoli alone scored half of our runs.

So the Jays finally got what they wanted: a win via the long ball.  Dempster, a single pitcher, accounted for half the runs they scored, while the relief corps divided the other half among themselves.  The final score was 12-4; we scored less than half the number of runs that Toronto scored.  We left eight on base and were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, so our dismal streak of being completely ineffective in situations when we need effectiveness most continues.  Dempster took the loss, but it was a team effort.

In other news, the Bruins got shut out by the Leafs, two-zip.  So it all comes down to tonight.

Boston Globe Staff

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