Posts Tagged ‘Manny Delcarmen’

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

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Yesterday’s game was one of those games where we lost but there were enough good things that happened for us to not get too down about it.  That’s always strange.  You would think that if enough good things happened in a game, we’d just win it, and we almost did, but then we didn’t.  In short, the good was Dice-K, and the bad were the bullpen and CJ Wilson.

Dice-K was absolutely excellent.  He lasted six and two-thirds innings, gave up four runs on seven hits, walked none, and struck out eight, but he wasn’t really as bad as all that.  He needed 115 pitches to do it, seventy-four of which were strikes.  In fact, he earned the five hundredth strikeout of his career in the fifth when Blanco swung through.  Blanco’s strikeout was actually the middle of three consecutive K’s.  Six of his strikeouts were swinging; two were looking.  All of his pitches were excellent, his movement was excellent, his strike zone was excellent, and I’ve never seen him get rid of the ball faster.  He was feeling the one-hundred-plus-degree heat and wanted to get out.  It was unbearable.  It was so hot that some fans opened their umbrellas.  So maybe Dice-K should just work this quickly from now on.  And this might surprise you, but this is actually Dice-K’s first loss in eight starts since he lost to the Rays on June 30.  During those eight starts, he was 3-0 with a 3.53 ERA and constantly improving.  It was the fourth time this season he didn’t walk anybody.

Salty also gets points for his work behind the dish.  In the beginning of the game, Dice-K’s fastball and cutter were absolutely terrible.  But his slider was good, so Salty picked up on that quickly and called for it.

Dice-K finally hit serious trouble in the seventh.  He opened the inning by allowing an RBI single and left with two out and two on.  It was Delcarmen who gave up a three-run homer, allowing his inherited runners to score and giving Dice-K what looks like a mediocre line.

Meanwhile, the offense was busy not doing much of anything.  We didn’t score a single run until the eighth, when we rallied and scored three on three consecutive hits.  Scutaro doubled in Patterson and McDonald sent himself and Scutaro home with a long ball to right.  But Richardson and Bowden each allowed two more runs in the bottom of the eighth, and we couldn’t come back from that, so the final score was 7-3, and that was it.

We were five and five on this road trip.  We’re six games out of first and five games out of the Wild Card with forty-three games left to play.  And just in time, we’re getting Pedroia back on Tuesday.  Win or lose, every game that goes by makes the next one more important because we’re running out of time.  We can get there.  Our rotation is excellent and our lineup, when on, is absolutely no slouch.  So we can do it.  We just need to get on a roll and not have the roll stop if we lose one game.  We’re going home to take on the Angels, which should help.  Buchholz will start the series opposite Jered Weaver.  I’m looking forward to this.

AP Photo

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Whenever a ballclub scores seven runs in a single inning and homers five times in a single game and still loses, you know there’s plenty of blame to go around among that day’s pitchers.  The offense did its job and then some.  It’s the pitchers who took that great job they did and tossed it out the window.  And unfortunately we’ve seen games like this before.  It’s absolutely painful to witness, especially when you just went through a stretch where you weren’t scoring much, especially when you’re down in the standings, and especially when you’re playing a potential playoff opponent.

Texas scored two runs before we got started, but when we got started, we didn’t look back.  Or rather the offense didn’t look back.  The pitching is another story.  Anyway, Lowrie started us off with his second home run in as many days, this one his first batting left-handed.  There was no fooling around with this one.  He crushed a ninety-mile-per-hour fastball down the middle into the bullpen.

Then came the fourth inning, the masterpiece of the entire game.

Papi, Beltre, and Drew went back-to-back-to-back.  I’m not kidding.  It was so incredibly awesome.  And in those situations, you never quite believe it because you think you’re seeing a replay of the previous home run, but it’s actually a new one.  It’s absolutely fantastic.  It was the most since the four homers we hit to back Dice-K in the third game of our first series against the Yankees in 2007 that would result in our first sweep of New York since the ‘90s.

Papi’s blast was an eighty-nine-mile-per-hour cut fastball he took to left on the first pitch of the frame.  Beltre’s blast two pitches later was also a cut fastball, roughly to the same location, but deeper.  And Drew’s blast four pitches later was just a rocket to right that he pulled on an inside pitch.  So that’s three home runs in a single inning, four so far in the game.

The onslaught continued in the fourth with some small ball.  Scutaro batted in two with a single, V-Mart batted in one with a single, and Scutaro scored when Papi grounded into a fielder’s choice.

Drew brought the game home run total to five with yet another home run in the seventh, lifting an inside pitch for a towering shot to right.  It’s the tenth time this season we’ve hit at least four homers in a single game.

At that point, we had a three-run lead.  We would’ve obviously had a much greater lead if Beckett had given us any semblance of a quality start at all.  Thankfully some good starts have given the bullpen a break recently because Beckett only lasted five innings, during which he managed to give up six runs on ten hits, three of them homers, two of which were back-to-back, while walking one and striking out four.  He threw ninety-four pitches, sixty-two for strikes.  His curveball, cutter, and fastball were good, but his pitch counts ran away from him because he left some pitches up and threw some down the middle, which would explain his high hit total even though he threw pitches for strikes and maintained a low walk total.  The bottom line is that if he’d gone out there and just done his job, we would have won easily.

Drew’s homer in the seventh was the last run we’d score.  Our last eleven batters were retired in order.  Meanwhile, Richardson and Atchison had shared the sixth, and Doubront and Bard shared the seventh.  The latter two allowed the three runs that tied the game.  Delcarmen handled the eighth.  Paps thankfully handled the ninth.  And that’s where the problem started.

Paps can only stay in there for one inning, and Tito had already emptied the bullpen.  His hands were tied.  His only other option was Wakefield, who doesn’t tire out and who was going to stay in there no matter what happened.  And Tito would have to sit back, try to relax, and watch whatever unfolded because there was nothing he could do about it.  Obviously something unfolded, and it wasn’t good.  Wake gave up a home run on the first pitch of the at-bat in the bottom of the eleventh for the walkoff and took the loss.  Now, I don’t want to talk about it, but that reminded me very much of a certain game involving a certain home run during a certain postseason before a certain curse was certainly broken, if you know what I mean.  It was just terrible.

We haven’t suffered consecutive walkoff losses since July 1-2, 2004.  We lost yet another game that we clearly should have won in eleven innings.  So the whole team is tired, the bullpen is especially tired, and in the first inning Ellsbury collided with Hunter at first.  Hunter is a big guy, and he was just completely in the way of Ellsbury’s path.  He stayed in until the fourth but then his ribs started acting up.  He’s in Boston today for an MRI.  On top of that, V-Mart fouled a ball off his left toe, the same toe he had injured previously.  He was in a lot of pain at the time.  We’ll see what happens.  Specifically, we’ll see what happens tonight when Lester takes on Lewis.  Lester needs to build on his previous win in New York, and we need to build on whatever momentum is left over from our win in New York and subsequent series with Toronto.  We need to stop losing all of our momentum just because of one or two losses.  Losses need to stop carrying over.  They also need to stop occurring.  So we’ll see.

Otto Greule, Jr.

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Again, the theme of eyes on the prize.  We won.  We didn’t win by much, but we won.  And we did some bad things, but obviously we did some good things too.  In fact, the whole game was yet another miniature version of the whole season, with the important exception being that in this game we got a good start.  Actually, it reminded me of Game 1 of the 2004 World Series, where we had the lead several times but allowed the opposition to tie it, although we never fell behind and ultimately won out.  And it was especially important to win the first game of this series, being that Toronto is surging right now.  So despite all the badness that was present in the game, this is good.

We came out of the gate firing on all cylinders and scored three runs in the second inning: RBI doubles for Beltre and Lowrie and an RBI single for Ellsbury.  We scored one more in the third when Lowell sacrificed V-Mart in with the bases loaded.  It would have been nice for him to have done more with that opportunity, but I’ll most definitely take the run.  But the Jays did the same thing in reverse; they scored one in the second and three in the third.

In the fifth, Drew hit a solo shot and continued his great numbers against Romero by depositing his fastball middle-in into the second right field deck.

Meanwhile, Dice-K didn’t deliver his best performance.  He lasted five and two-thirds innings and gave up four runs on six hits, including two home runs, while walking three and striking out seven on 110 pitches, seventy-one of which were strikes.  His two-seam, cutter, slider, and changeup were very much on, but his curveball and four-seam, his two most frequently used pitches, were very much off.  He threw thirty-three pitches when he gave up that three-spot in the third, which was the result of a home run, while needing only five pitches to get through the very next inning.  So this start was a miniature version of his entire season as well.

He ran into trouble in the sixth, walking the first two batters he faced.  With one out to go in the inning, Lewis hit your average ground ball to Scutaro, but unfortunately, Lowrie was slow getting over to second, so Scutaro hesitated before making his throw.  Doubront took care of it by striking out Snider on three pitches.  That’s poise.  Especially from a young guy.

But in the seventh, Bautista hit a solo shot of his own to tie it back up.  Doubront picked up a blown save for that.

The eighth was when we locked it up.  With two out, Lowell hit a solo shot over the left field fence.  It was a sinking fastball, and he basically golfed it out of the park.  And that put us out in front for good, not to mention the fact that Lowell is clearly returning to form very nicely.  Lowrie added one for insurance with an RBI double.  Delcarmen held the fort, Paps made the save, and the final score was 7-5!

Lowrie finished the night two for three; Ellsbury finished the night two for four.

And it just goes to show you that man can not win on long balls alone.  If they could, Toronto would be at the top of the standings by now.  But they’re not.  And we beat them, with both big and small ball.  We took advantage of our opportunities, leaving only five on base as opposed to Toronto’s eight.  So the first bit of good news is that we won.  The second is that the Yankees lost to the Rangers.  And the third is that Pedroia passed all his running drills; he ran the bases a bit yesterday and will run them again today, and he’ll be evaluated on Friday.  If everything checks out, Pedroia will spend the weekend in Pawtucket and start at second on Tuesday.  The only bad news was that the Rays managed to win, but we’re still inching ahead.  Next is Buchholz opposite Marcum.  Let’s win the series.

Reuters Photo

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There are a couple of reasons why our loss yesterday technically isn’t the end of the world.  The first is that we won the first game, so we’re no better off than we were heading into the series, which is good considering it could be worse. The second is that the Rays also lost, so there’s that.

Either way, we still lost to the Evil Empire in the Bronx when we needed to win.  And I loathed that experience just as much as I enjoyed winning on Friday.

Lackey was not helpful.  His scouting report always says he’s a big-game pitcher, and Tito always says that on a day he starts we’ll still be in the game in the seventh inning because of him.  Technically we were because we were only down by three, but in my book a big-game pitcher and one who keeps you in the game in the seventh inning when you’re the Red Sox and playing the Yankees in the Bronx will either have you with a lead, a tie, or a one-run deficit if that’s true.  We had each of those over the course of the game and Lackey couldn’t hold on to any of them.

He gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings.  He walked three, struck out seven, and took the loss.  He threw 116 pitches, sixty-nine of which were strikes.  He started the second by giving up a walk and eventually the lead by allowing the bottom half of the order to tie it.  He allowed four consecutive two-out hits in the fifth that broke the tie for good, throwing a total of thirty-one pitches in the inning.  And may I say that Drew was not helpful either; Cano’s bloop hit fell right in front of him, and I can only assume the sun prevented him from seeing it properly because there’s otherwise no excuse for why he didn’t catch that ball.  There was also the throwing error by V-Mart in the sixth that was aimed for Scutaro to prevent the steal of second, but it bounced off Scutaro’s glove and ended up in the outfield, allowing the lead runner to advance to third and eventually to home plate.

In the beginning of the game, Lackey threw his fastball more often, but eventually he abandoned that plan because his fastball wasn’t that great.  His curveball was his stellar pitch, followed by his changeup and slider.  Not coincidentally, his next-most abundant pitch, his cutter, was mediocre.  He mixed his pitches well and put good movement on them.

But he let the game slip through his fingers.  When we play the Yankees, everything has to be working: run prevention as well as run production.  Yesterday, we basically had neither.

The game began with such promise.  We were the first to get on the board when V-Mart hit a solo shot in the second to left, right after FOX’s commentators finished expounding on the fact that V-Mart has lit up lefties this season.  The count was 3-1, so he was sitting on an inside fastball, and that’s exactly what he got.  It was V-Mart’s first homer in sixty-seven at-bats and couldn’t have come at a better time.

Then Beltre extended his hitting streak to thirteen games with a double and scored Lowell’s subsequent double.

And that was it for us for the rest of the game.  We lost it, 2-5.  Sabathia’s velocity was noticeably low, but of course the problem is that when that happens to him, he just switches to finesse.  If we won, we could have been four games out of first and three and a half out of the Wild Card.  But we didn’t.  We lost.

And I’ll tell you another thing.  Jerry Layne’s strike zone was way too wide.  Papi showed a lot of composure out there, because some of those supposed strikes were miles off the plate.  And that bothers me.  An umpire is supposed to be invisible, and the action of the game is supposed to unfold in front of him.  Jerry Layne was very visible, and instead the action was unfolding around him.  That’s not good.  If he wants to impact the action that much, he should put on a uniform and play, in which case I doubt he’d be very happy with his own strike zone.

I should mention that Delcarmen and Doubront were both excellent in relief.  I should also mention that we did in fact acquire Delgado.  As predicted, we signed him to minor league deal, which he can waive if we don’t put him on the Major League roster by September 1.  And last but not least, Ellsbury wasn’t in the lineup today because it was a scheduled day off against a lefty, not because his diving catch on Friday injured him again.  Kalish sat for the same reason.

But like I said, it could be so much worse, so we should at least be thankful we won the first game, but it just feels like a waste.  The day was scripted for a win.  The Rays lost, we won the night before, we had a big-game pitcher on the mound who would take us into the seventh inning, V-Mart hits a home run, Lowell bats one in, and then it just stopped.  I can’t adequately express my frustration.  I mean, it seriously just stopped.  Sabathia locked, Lackey unlocked, and that was the end of it.

We’re throwing Beckett against Burnett tonight.  We need to get this one.

AP Photo

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