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Posts Tagged ‘Marco Scutaro’

It’s not like Lester didn’t have anything.  Maybe he didn’t have all of it, but he had some of it.  He definitely had enough of it to carry a lineup like ours through.  It’s not his fault the lineup couldn’t score at least four runs.  We should be able to score at least four runs in our sleep.  The saddest part of all is that this situation is way too familiar for comfort.  Lately it’s always the same story.

Lester pitched seven inning and fired 107 pitches.  He gave up four runs on five hits, including a two-run home run with two out in the first.  He walked four, struck out five, and threw sixty-three strikes.  The bottom line is that his start, for him, was mediocre.  It was one of his good bad days.  His cut fastball didn’t have that lethal bite to it, and his sinker, changeup, and curveball weren’t as precise as they can be.  As for his inning efficiency, he was kind of all over the place.  He threw twenty-one pitches in the first, only six in the second, seventeen each in the third and fourth, twenty-five in the fifth, only seven in the sixth, and thirteen in the seventh.

On the bright side, Bard dominated in the eighth again with twelve pitches and eight strikes.  Morales pitched a scoreless ninth.

Meanwhile, the offense was busy not doing much of anything.  We went down in order in the first.  We went down in order in the second.  We scored our first two runs in the third with an RBI double and a sac fly.  We stranded two in the fourth and one in the fifth.  We stranded another two in the sixth.  Our last run scored in the seventh on a groundout.  We went down in order in the eighth.  We stranded one in the ninth.

We went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and lost, 4-3.  What makes this particular loss so frustrating is that it didn’t necessarily have to be a loss.  Never mind the fact that we should have scored more than three runs.  If Ellsbury hadn’t been caught stealing third to end the fifth, that could have been another run.  If Scutaro’s bunt in the seventh inning hadn’t resulted in an out at second when there’d been two on with nobody out, that inning could have won us the game.  If Papi’s fly ball in the eighth had just a little more on it, we’d have been able to fight it out in extras.  But if we just played better baseball, period, we wouldn’t even have to have this conversation in the first place.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin
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Honestly, I can’t even believe this.  This is so much like our opening of the season that it seriously scares me to watch us play these days.  Remember in April when we’d lose strings of games, then have a ridiculously good game, and then lose more strings of games? Yeah.  Sounds a little too familiar, doesn’t it.

In the latest frustration, we lost, 9-2.  It didn’t matter that another great play at the plate was made to get Johnny Damon.  Honestly it’s never good to lose but I don’t think it would be as bad if we lost to a team that wasn’t the Rays (or the Yankees, but in this case we played the Rays).  Kyle Weiland started and took the loss.  He only lasted three innings.  He gave up four runs on three hits, thanks in part to a three-run home run with two out in the third.  The other run was scored right before the home run as a result of an RBI single.  So all four runs were given up in the third.  And it all started in the worst possible way: a piece of bat from that single went through Scutaro’s legs, which distracted him from the ball.  Before that, Weiland had faced the minimum in the game’s first two frames.  He walked two and struck out one.  By all accounts, he ended up being horrendous.

Obviously the bullpen wasn’t much better.  Trever Miller pitched a scoreless forth despite inheriting two baserunners.  Atchison pitched a scoreless fifth.  Morales gave up two runs in the sixth thanks to a two-run home run.  Then Albers gave up three runs, two of which were the result of a two-run home run.  Then Andrew Miller and Bowden finished off the game.

The offensive report is clearly going to be short.  We had the bases loaded with one out in the third and scored once when Gonzalez grounded out.  We had runners at the corners with two out in the ninth, and a single by McDonald brought in our second and final run.  Other than those two innings, we either went down in order or something pretty close to it.  Papi and Scutaro with two hits each posted our only multi-hit games.

We have thirteen games left to play.  Beckett is starting the first of those today.  Let’s turn this around now.

Boston Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

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I can not believe this.  We just whipped the Jays big time, and yesterday we couldn’t buy a run when we needed it most.  That’s the nature of the game, I guess.  But it’s brutal.

Lackey delivered one of his finer performances of the season.  He opened the sixth by allowing a single, which quickly turned into a man on third after a steal and a throwing error by Tek.  After he got his second batter to fly out, he was pulled in favor of Morales.  Lackey only gave up two runs on seven hits while walking only one and striking out four.  He threw 115 pitches, seventy-nine of which were strikes.  The velocity was up on his fastball, and his slider was especially deadly.  He also threw a decent curveball and a handful or so of changeups into the mix.

Meanwhile, the offense was more or less doing its job.  Lackey gave up his two runs in the first on thirty-one pitches; we tied the game at two in the second.  Two singles plus a fielding error yielded one run, and a groundout yielded the other.

We moved ahead in the third; Ellsbury led it off with a triple and scored on a sac fly by Scutaro.  We picked up some insurance in the sixth when Gonzalez led it off with a dinger into the bullpen on the first pitch he saw, a fastball.  He left the game in the next inning with a tight left calf.

Meanwhile, Morales had finished off a scoreless sixth, and Aceves finished off a scoreless seventh.  And then we had to give the ball to Bard, who is in the process of showing everyone why he may not be ready to close just yet.  I don’t know what’s going on with him.  I don’t know why he’s suddenly ruining ballgames.

It all started with a five-pitch walk.  Bard followed that with a four-pitch walk.  And right then and there I knew that something would go horribly wrong.  Any pitcher who starts an inning with nine pitches, only one of which is a strike, is in for a long night.  And any fastball pitcher who is clearly having trouble with mechanics on the mound is in for a really long night.

Anyway, he made a throwing error on a sac bunt that resulted in a bases-loaded situation with nobody out.  When he gave up his first run on a groundout, technically it was unearned, but it was unearned because he made the error, so it’s still his responsibility anyway.  He then gave up a single that scored two more runs.  After that, he induced a double play.  Paps pitched a scoreless ninth for naught, Frank Francisco for some reason saw fit not to give up a home run today, and we lost, 5-4.

At that point, of course, it didn’t matter that we saved a run at home in the sixth with a textbook play at the plate that Tek somehow completed despite a forceful collision.  This is the third straight appearance in which he’s given up at least one run.  Since September 5, so in just over one week, Bard’s ERA has inflated by a whole point.  Not a fraction of a point.  A whole point.  It went from 2.10 to 3.10.  Good things included Papi’s nomination for the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award and Wake being honored for his two hundredth win.  Bad things included Bard.

On a different note, next season’s schedule is out.  The theme? Division rivalry, as usual.  We start in Detroit on April 5 and play the Jays in Toronto before our home opener with the Rays, followed by the Rangers and Yanks.  We’ve got three days off scattered among those series before another road trip.  The first two weeks of May will be easy; we’re back home for the A’s and O’s, away for the Royals, and then back home for the Indians and Mariners before going on the road for the Rays and Phillies.  We get a break with the Orioles before one of two days off in May, and then we’re home for the Rays and Tigers.  We’ve got three days off in a pretty easy July, when Interleague is in full swing.  We play the Yanks at home before the All-Star Game that should obviously have been scheduled in Boston but is in Kansas City instead for some bizarre and unfathomable reason, and then we play the Rays on the road.  Then we’re back at home for about a week before dealing with the Rangers and Yanks on the road again.  We play the Rangers and Yanks again in August, but we also play the O’s and Royals.  We’ve got a series with the Yanks and two with the Rays in September, and we end the season in New York in October.  All in all, lots of division rival games, but they’re mixed in with some easier teams, there’s a nice balance of home and away.  And Fenway Park turns one hundred years old! Sounds pretty good to me!

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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Finally! By which I mean finally! I repeat: finally!

Finally!

Say hello to the newest member of the two hundred club: Tim Wakefield, ladies and gentlemen! He finally did it! And it was epic!

He is now seven and six on the season.  But really, that’s not even the point.  Only 108 pitches have reached two hundred wins.  Only eighty-nine have done so since 1900.  Only sixty-nine have done it since 1920.

I can’t think of anyone who deserved such a significant milestone more than he did.  He is the quintessential team player.  He loves it here and has made it clear that he doesn’t want to play anywhere else and that he’ll do whatever it takes to help the team in any way he can.  And if that means accepting the fact that he’s in the bullpen now, that’s what he does.  If that means making a spot start for an injured pitcher, that’s what he does.  If that means finally reaching two hundred wins, then that’s also finally what he does.

He finally did it.  And it was epic.

He gave up five runs on six hits.  All five runs were the result of two home runs, a three-runner and a two-runner.  He walked two and struck out six.  He threw ninety-six pitches, sixty-two of which were strikes.  So his knuckleball was obviously good but not great.  All in all, a pretty typical night for Wake.  Nothing two out of the ordinary.  Aceves pitched two scoreless innings in relief, and Junichi Tazawa pitched the ninth and gave up one run.

All of that sounds, without the rest of the story, like the game could have ended very badly indeed.  How many times have we seen Wake attempt to collect his two hundredth win only to be thwarted by a lack of offense or a lack of quality relief pitching? Way too many times, that’s for sure.  The difference this time was that neither of those reared their ugly heads.  We scored so many runs that we probably could have spread our total from last night alone over the last five games we lost, won those, and still had some to spare.  It was like we took out all of our pent-up frustration from the road trip and concentrated and unleashed it all at once.  We hadn’t scored that many runs in a single game since 2009.

In the first, the bases were loaded with two out for Reddick.  He reached on a throwing error, which brought in two.  Wake gave up the three-run home run after that, which required review but stood.

In the second, Scutaro singled and scored by a double by Ellsbury, who moved to third on a balk and scored on a sac fly by Pedroia.  The Jays scored their last two runs of the game after that.  At which point we stole the show completely.

In the fourth, Ellsbury and Pedroia smacked back-to-back jacks.  Both were hit into the Monster seats.  Both were hit on the third pitch of the at-bat after receiving a ball followed by a strike.  Ellsbury’s was on a cut fastball away; it was the second homer he’s hit into the Monster seats this year.  Pedroia’s was on a hanging slider.  Both of them masterful pieces of hitting.

Crawford led off the sixth with a double and scored on a single by Salty, who moved to second on a single by Ellsbury.  And everyone came home when Pedroia went yard again! He didn’t waste any time with this one.  It was on the first pitch of the at-bat, a fastball, to the Monster seats again.

We added on another run in the seventh with a single-double combination.

And then, the eighth.  We sent eleven batters to the plate that inning.  And we scored seven runs.  Here we go.

Ellsbury opened the inning with a four-pitch walk, and Pedroia doubled him to third.  Gonzalez singled in Ellsbury, which moved Pedroia to third.  At that point, we introduced two pinch-hitters and the Jays made a pitching change.  A sac fly brought in another run.  Then a single, then the second out of the inning.  Then Crawford worked a five-pitch walk to load the bases.  Scutaro worked another five-pitch walk to bring in another run, at which point he came out in favor of a pinch-runner.  Salty cleared the bases with a double, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on a single by Ellsbury.

There were only two innings during which we did not score: the third and the fifth.  The fifth was the only inning during which we went down in order.  In total, we left five on base, went six for twelve with runners in scoring position, and scored a whopping eighteen runs on eighteen hits! Eighteen! Now that, my friends, is a slugfest.

The starting lineup’s weakest performer was Papi, who doesn’t even count because he left the game in the first due to back spasms.  After that it was Youk, who went 0 for 3, and Reddick, who went one for five.  Incidentally, Youk is planning to have his second sports hernia surgery, but during the offseason.  Until then, he’ll be playing through the pain of that and some bursitis he has in his left hip.  What a dirt dog.  Salty went two for five with two runs, four RBIs, and a double.  Crawford and Gonzalez and Crawford both went two for four; one of Crawford’s hits was a double and one seriously looked like it would have been, could have been, and should have been a home run.  Scutaro went two for three and secured his thousandth hit last night.  And last but most certainly not least, the top performers.  Ellsbury went four for five with a walk, four runs, three RBIs, a double, and a home run; he brought his hitting streak to seventeen games and his hit total to 189, a new single-season career high.  And if you thought that that was a top night, Pedroia’s numbers will blow you away.  Four runs on five hits with four runs, five RBIs, two doubles, and two home runs for his first multi-homer performance since June 24, 2010.  His five hits ties a career high, incidentally also achieved on June 24, 2010.  The two of them together reached base nine times last night, and for the first time in club history, we’ve got two active players at twenty-twenty!

In other news, it was discovered that Jenks has a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in an artery in the lungs.  He’s being treated and should recover well.

The final score was 18-6.  Not bad for Wake’s two hundredth win.  If I’m Wake, that’s the kind of score I’d like to win by.  A literally winning combination of good relief to carry him through and out-of-this-world offense to back him up, and he was smiling all the way to the clubhouse.  As it should be.  He got a very well-deserved standing ovation as well as a very well-deserved postgame champagne shower, and this is what he thought about the whole thing:

I’m very grateful; one, that it’s over with; two, that it was able to happen here at Fenway Park in front of our home crowd.  Going outside and seeing the signs and all the people and my teammates came out in support; that says a lot about everything that’s gone on in my career and tonight.  I’m kind of speechless when it comes to that, but I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to wear this uniform as long as I have and reach the milestone I thought I’d never reach.  Just very grateful.

That’s classic Wake right there.  You’ve done some amazing things for this city and this team, Wake.  For all of that, we salute you.  Congratulations!

In other news, the Patriots started their season off right by whipping the Dolphins soundly, 38-24.  In case someone somewhere thought otherwise, rest assured that Tom Brady is still the man.  Let’s do this.

Boston Globe Staff/Yoon S. Byun

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So we got swept, and the woes continue.  Let’s just get this over with.

Instead of being the gem amidst the muck that was our performance lately, Lester’s outing was a chore to watch.  I thought we would at least get one game out of this.  Apparently not.  He tanked.  He gave up four runs on eight hits in the first four innings alone.  He walked three and struck out two, and he threw 111 pitches, sixty-eight of which were strikes.

Simply put, Lester had nothing.  He threw some decent offspeeds, but his cut fastball wasn’t doing anything last night.  He threw forty-three pitches in the first inning alone, when he gave up three runs.  He loaded the bases with nobody out.  Honestly, I don’t know how the Rays didn’t score in the second; Lester threw another twenty-six pitches and just couldn’t get ahead in the count.  The third was his most efficient inning at sixteen pitches; he threw twenty-six in the fourth.  I was hoping for a more typically Lester-esque outing in which he throws sixteen pitches in his least efficient inning.  No command, no control, no location, no execution.  You could tell from the very first pitch that it was going to be a grind.

Bowden didn’t help by adding another three runs.  Albers inherited a bases-loaded situation and promptly gave up a grand slam, and Doubront added another run.  Only Morales, who pitched the eighth, did not allow a run.  Obviously, by then it was way too late.

As for the offense, it was almost nil.  It was a disgrace.

We went down in order in the first on twelve pitches, exactly four pitches each to Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Gonzalez.  We put two on in the second, but Tek ended the inning with a double play.  It looked like we would finally get something going in the third.  Scutaro led it off with a homer on a fastball to left center field.  He lofted it out of the park and, at the time, brought us within two runs of the Rays.  So I have to say that I was feeling pretty good at that particular moment.  When, after that, Aviles singled and Ellsbury walked to put two on with nobody out for Pedroia, I was feeling even better.  Pedroia struck out, but when Gonzalez walked on five pitches to load the bases with one out for Papi, I was convinced that this was the moment that could win the whole game for us.  This was our chance to blow it wide open.  This was our opportunity to put the Rays away and walk out of St. Petersburg with some dignity.

This was also when Papi flied out and Reddick grounded out to end the inning.

After that, it was all Rays.  We went down in order in the fourth.  We put two on base in the fourth, but a pickoff, flyout, and groundout erased that.  We sent up the minimum again in the sixth and one above in the seventh.  And we sent up the minimum again in the eighth and one above in the ninth.

And that was it.  We lost, 9-1.  We put up seven hits to their twelve.  We left seven on base and had only four chances with runners in scoring position, of which we clearly did not take advantage.  Scutaro and Aviles posted the lineup’s only multi-hit performances at two for four and two for three, respectively.  By the way, Scutaro’s home run was our only extra-base hit.

We have now lost our last five games and our last four series, we are three and a half games behind the Yankees, and we are only the same amount of games ahead of the Rays for the Wild Card.  To put that in perspective, when we started the road trip, we were eight games ahead for the Wild Card.  I should also mention that both Scutaro and Pedroia made throwing errors.  They didn’t result in any unearned runs, but it does mean that not only the pitching and the hitting but also the fielding was terrible.  This was truly a failure on all fronts.

In other news, the events of the day yesterday were a testament to this country’s heart and soul.  It was a tough day but a necessary one, and justice was done.  As I said, we honor, we remember, and we reunite.

Boston Globe Staff

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Everything was a fail.  The hitting was a fail, and the pitching was a fail.  We didn’t make an error, so I guess the fielding wasn’t a fail.  But I just don’t understand why we can’t seem to do things right lately.  It’s like we’re right back where we started the season; scoring opportunities don’t come as consistently as they should, and we don’t take advantage of them when they do.  Meanwhile, we’re not matching good offense with good pitching in order to secure the likely wins.

On top of that, there’s more bad news on the injury front.  Bedard strained his left lat, Youk is back in Boston for an MRI on his hip, and Lackey had to come out of the game after three innings with a bruised left calf.  With the bases loaded and two out in the inning, he was hit by a hard liner by John Jaso.  He ended the inning by firing to first, but that was it.  On the bright side, Buchholz has quietly been making progress.

Even though Lackey’s pitching hasn’t been stellar to say the least, we don’t actually want him to be on the DL, especially not when Bedard is also on the DL.  Having too many pitchers is a good problem to have, and Tito will deal with it.  We don’t want injuries to make the managing decisions.

In those three innings, Lackey gave up five runs on five hits while walking three and striking out two.  He gave up a two-run home run to who but Jaso.  He threw sixty-nine pitches, forty-one of which were strikes.  Atchison, who was called up again, relieved him and gave up two more runs.  Doubront and Morales finished it off scorelessly.  Meanwhile, Wade Davis went the distance.

We didn’t send more than the minimum to the plate until the fifth, when we sent four; Crawford singled.  We finally got on the board in the sixth, when we scored our only runs of the game.  Reddick singled to lead it off, Salty doubled, Ellsbury singled in Reddick, Scutaro scored Salty on a sac fly, and then Gonzalez lined out and Pedroia struck out.  Then we went down in order in the seventh, we sent up one above the minimum again in the eighth because Reddick singled, and then we went down in order in the ninth.

Thus, only Reddick had a multi-hit night; he went two for three.  Salty’s double was our only extra-base hit.  We left only three on base and went a perfect one for only one with runners in scoring position.  The final score was 7-2, and with the injuries I have to say it’s not looking good.

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Last night’s game did not help the standings cause at all, people.  Not at all.  Toronto is not a team that we should be playing this month.  I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but whenever we’re in the middle of trying to win the division, Toronto always has to do something to make it complicated.

Miller started again and took the loss.  He gave up five runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out three over five innings.  All five of the runs were scored via the home run; there was a three-runner and two solo shots.  He threw ninety-three pitches, fifty-five of which were strikes.  Clearly this was a far cry from his gem of a start two outings ago.  But it wasn’t just him.  Bowden allowed a solo shot, and although he was the only Red Sox pitcher to allow a run but not via a homer, Doubront still let one plate.  Albers was the only one of our pitchers who allowed no runs, period, and he didn’t even pitch an entire inning.

We didn’t score until the seventh.  It was inning after inning after inning of one runner on base or no runner on base.  The seventh didn’t even start out too swimmingly; Lowrie grounded out.  Tek walked, and Reddick flied out.  McDonald singled, Ellsbury singled in Tek, and Scutaro cleared the bases with a single.  He moved to second on the throw, and Pedroia stepped up to bat.  Naturally we assumed that the rally would continue.  Instead, he ended the inning with a groundout and finished the series one for nineteen.  We went down in order in the eighth before Tek led off the ninth with a home run on a high fastball to right.  Actually, the ball was so high that if he didn’t touch it, it probably would have been called a ball.  But he crushed it into the second deck.  Incidentally, if I were Frank Francisco, I would stop thinking that I could get away with throwing fastballs to our lineup.

So we lost, 7-4.  Toronto posted three more runs and three more hits than we did, and they left three fewer runners on base.  Ellsbury went two for five, and Scutaro had another great night, going three for four with two RBIs.  That was it for multi-hit games.

We’ve lost seven of our last ten games and all of our last three series.  We are currently two and a half games behind the Yankees.  The Yankees lost yesterday also, which is why that didn’t change, but we’re already into September.  The regular season will be over in a matter of weeks.  Every game counts, and we can’t afford to increase our number in the loss column.

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