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Posts Tagged ‘Mauro Gomez’

Doubront started out so well, but oh, how the mighty have fallen.  For almost all of the first half of the season, he was the ace on our staff, and given the Spring Training pitching roster, nobody would have predicted that.  And yet it was true.

Unfortunately, not so anymore.  Almost overnight, it seems, he started struggling.  At first it was easy to claim that he’d had a bad day and then that he was in a slump.  But being in a slump that lasts for several months and that you can’t get out of is a completely different story.  And that’s what we’ve got on our hands now, plain and simple.

Doubront gave up five runs on six hits over four innings.  He walked two, struck out four, threw eighty-four pitches, and took the loss.  His third pitch of the game was hit for a double, which turned into a run on a sac fly.  He then allowed a solo shot in the third and a two-run home run in the fourth.  He was replaced by Mortensen after his second pitch of the sixth inning was hit for a triple.

Mortensen then allowed his inherited runner to score on a single.  He had a beautiful if laborious sixth inning, during which he struck out all three of the batters he faced on a total of twenty pitches.  Carpenter pitched the seventh, and Hill pitched the eighth.  Bard appeared to pitch the ninth.  Both literally and figuratively.  As in, he made an appearance baseball-wise, and he made the appearance of pitching.  The appearance, and not the act, because he didn’t pitch well.  The field made a fantastic play to get an out at home, but with a runner already on base, he turned around and allowed a two-run home run the very next at-bat.

The offense eventually got around to fighting back.  We didn’t score until the fifth, so by the time we got on the board we were already down by five.  With one out, Kalish and Podsednik hit back-to-back singles, and Kalish scored on a groundout by Pedroia.  Pretty nondescript.  Ciriaco walked with one out in the seventh, stole second base, and scored on a bloop single by Gomez.  Also nondescript.  Pedroia, leading off the fifth, hit a 3-1 fastball clocked at ninety-five miles per hour out toward the Monster for a solo shot.  That was less nondescript.  It’s so much fun to watch him hit home runs and to uncork that massive swing that he seems to unleash out of nowhere.  With one out in the ninth, Aviles walked; one out later, he and Gomez were both coming home on Gomez’s two-run shot, also hit out toward the Monster, also powerful, also on his fifth pitch.  His count was 2-2, and his pitch was a seventy-seven mile-per-hour curveball.

So that makes the final score 7-5.  The sad thing is that this is a team that’s been underperforming just like we’ve been; we’re actually tied for last place with the Jays.  And we still lost by two.  So much for a fresh start at home.

The Boston Globe
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And the bad news just keeps on coming.  If we’re going to have a blockbuster September, it’s going to have to start today because it sure didn’t start yesterday or the day before.  We lost again.

Dice-K failed yet again.  So just to be clear, if it wasn’t clear enough already, Dice-K’s norm is being a fail, and when he has a good start, it’s a reason to celebrate.  So basically, in failing, Dice-K was normal.  That says something really sad, doesn’t it.

He began his start with a seven-pitch walk to Coco Crisp and followed that with a home run for two runs.  He then gave up a solo shot in the second.  He opened the third inning with another seven-pitch walk to Crisp, followed by a single and then a sac fly that brought in one run; one out later, he gave up a single and then a walk to load the bases.  Fortunately, he only gave up a single that scored one run in that situation.  Unfortunately, it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things because, all else being equal, we would have lost anyway regardless of how many runs he allowed at that point.  The bases were loaded again in the fourth with one out, and again Dice-K limited but did not prevent the damage; he induced a groundout that scored one.

All told, he gave up six runs on seven hits over the course of three and two-thirds innings.  He walked four, struck out four, and took a well-deserved loss.

And then Miller replaced him and pitched the rest of the fourth as well as the fifth.  Breslow pitched a one-two-three sixth, Tazawa pitched a one-two-three seventh, and Melancon pitched the eighth.

Meanwhile, yet again, there is not much offense to report.  The only innings during which we had more than one runner on base were the innings during which we scored, and those were few and far between.  To be exact, there were only two of them.  That’s two innings during which we scored as well as a grand total of two runs scored; we spent more than half the game, five innings to be exact, going down in order.

Thanks two a walk and two back-to-back singles, it was our turn to load the bases with one out in the sixth.  Ross singled in Ciriaco from first, and Podsednik tried to score from second but was out at home.  And then Pedroia led off the ninth with a double, moved to third on a groundout by Ross, and scored on a sac fly by Gomez.

Pedroia had our only multihit game, and it was a great game at that.  He went three for four.  But it wasn’t enough.  The final score was 6-2.  So after being swept by the Angels, we also got swept by the A’s.  That means that we are nursing a six-game losing streak, the longest we’ve had all season long.  In those six games, we have only scored fifteen runs.

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So…I mean…what? Did that actually happen? I mean, I saw it with my own eyes, myself, in real-time, and I still can not believe that it actually happened.  As it was happening, I couldn’t believe that it was happening.  It was the most absurd, embarrassing, humiliating, pathetic display of an excuse for baseball that I have seen in recent memory.  And given the season we’ve had, that says a ton.  I can’t believe it.  I really just can’t.  I don’t even want to talk about it, because I’m fully conscious of how incredibly awful and horrible and terrible and truly, extremely, exceptionally abysmal it was, and yet at the same time I just can’t believe it.

I’ll start with the offense, since unfortunately that provides the least to report.  Why couldn’t it have been a double slugfest so that at least we would have had something to show for the fact that we came to play?

We scored our first run in the fourth, when Salty hit a solo shot on his fourth pitch on a 1-2 count.  The first was a curveball, the second was a sinker, and then he got two cutters.  Both were around ninety miles per hour.  He fouled off the first one and then lit into the second one, pulverizing it into a home run out to right field.  We didn’t score again until the seventh, when with one out Ciriaco singled and Iglesias got hit; both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, and Ciriaco scored on a groundout by Gomez.

In the interest of painting the big picture, I’ll tell you what we did in all of the other innings: nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  We started the game with two back-to-back singles in the first, which amounted to nothing.  We hit two singles again in the second and in the sixth, which amounted to nothing.  We singled and walked in the eighth, which amounted to nothing.  And we went down in order in the third and the fifth and the ninth.

But our lack of offense was honestly the least of our problems yesterday, which can be summarized in one word: pitching.  Our pitching delivered a literally unspeakably horrifying performance.  Seriously, it was terrifying beyond words.  Our pitchers, who, the last time I checked, were indeed pitching in the Major Leagues, looked like a bunch of minor leaguers considering themselves lucky to throw pitches during batting practice.  That’s what it looked like.  It looked like the Oakland A’s were having themselves a fun and fruitful batting practice before an actual Major League game.  Honestly, I sincerely hope that our pitchers just lost the memo that said that it was actually a Major League game and not batting practice, because if that wasn’t the case, then the only other explanation for the painful and devastating humiliation we suffered last night would be that our pitchers are really just that bad.  And that’s a level of badness that, even with the kind of season we’ve been having, I really would never have actually thought we’d reach.

We sent out seven pitchers, so there goes the day off they had as a result of Lester’s complete game.  Only one of them did not allow any runs.  And only one of the six pitchers that did allow runs allowed only one run, and only one of the six pitchers that did allow runs did not allow a home run.

We’ll start with Cook, since he was the first one.  He took the loss, although technically the bullpen in its entirety deserved it more since collectively they gave up more than twice the amount of runs that he gave up.  He went one-two-three in the first, which at the time didn’t even provide that much false hope because it was easily observable that all three outs were hit well; still, even so, we could never have imagined at the conclusion of that inning the kind of implosion and devolution that was about to ensue.  He gave up a single to start the second and then allowed three straight scoring plays: an RBI double, an RBI single, and a two-run home run.  And then he ended the inning with three straight outs.  Cook began the third with a flyout and then allowed a double to Josh Reddick of all people.  He got another flyout and then gave up an RBI double which scored Reddick with a little help from a deflection by Iglesias, and then he gave up an RBI single.

That was when he was replaced by Tazawa, the one pitcher who didn’t allow any runs.  Tazawa got the final out of the third and pitched a beautiful one-two-three fourth.  Based on that performance alone as compared with what everyone else had to show for themselves, Tazawa should have been allowed not only to stay in the game but to pitch the entire game.  But no.  Aceves came on for the fifth; with two out, he hit a batter and then gave up a home run that plated two.  Bard came on for the sixth and gave up a solo shot with one out; he then gave up a single but managed to get out of the inning, so he’s the one, out of the pitchers who gave up runs, who gave up only one run.

Breslow came on for the seventh; he got Reddick to pop out but then gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases.  A fielding error by Gomez allowed a run to score by allowing a runner to reach on a force attempt.  And then Breslow allowed a single that plated two.  He was then replaced by Melancon, who allowed a double that plated one.  He then walked Coco Crisp of all people and then gave up an RBI single followed by one of the worst indignities a pitcher could ever suffer, a scoring play so devastating and complete that it broadcasts to the world not only the mistake that a pitcher made on that one pitch that started the scoring play but also all the mistakes that led to its being possible at all, a play so rare and elusive that we can only hope and dream for it when we need it most because it never really seems to come our way at the right time, a play so devastating that it causes nothing but shame and anger on the part of the pitcher who facilitated it: the grand slam.  Hit by – you guessed it – Reddick.

And then Padilla came on for the eighth; he opened the inning with a popout but then gave up a double followed by a home run.

All told, our pitching staff gave up only two walks but nineteen hits last night, five of which were doubles and five of which were home runs.  Cook gave up six runs, Tazawa gave up no runs, Aceves gave up two runs, Bard gave up one run, Breslow gave up five runs, Melancon gave up four runs, and Padilla gave up two runs.  So Cook gave up six runs, and the bullpen collectively gave up fourteen.

You read right.  That makes the final score a humiliating, embarrassing, painful, devastating, abysmal, horrible, terrible, unspeakable, unbelievable 20-2.  A fitting end for a month we finish with a record of nine and twenty-one.  And that’s all I have to say about it.

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Zach Stewart was called up and given the start.  I don’t think this is a start he’ll want to remember.  I know it’s a start I don’t want to remember.  It didn’t go well.  A newcomer gets called up and all he wants to do is impress and impress and impress, and then when he doesn’t and instead he falls hard and fast, you can’t help feeling bad for the man but so much worse for the team and for you, who’s saddled with a loss as a result.

He never really had much of a chance in this one, unfortunately.  From the beginning you could tell that he was having an off night in a big way.  Most of his pitches stayed up in the zone, and the opposing hitters had no problem picking them out.

In the first inning alone, he gave up a single, an RBI double, an RBI single that advanced the runner even further thanks to a throwing error by Pedroia, and a two-run home run.  He gave up a double to lead off the second, which turned into a run on another RBI single.  He gave up his second leadoff double of the night in the third and, two outs later, gave up two consecutive RBI doubles followed by his second two-run home run of the night.

Yeah.  It was ugly.  He gave up nine runs on ten hits while walking none and striking out two over three innings.  He is our first pitcher to give up nine earned runs on ten hits since Howard Ehmke did it in 1923.  And he’s our first pitcher to allow nine runs in his first game with us.  Because thankfully he was relieved by Tazawa after that.  He took an extremely well-deserved loss, and that was the end of that.  The final score ended up being 10-3, and he gave up all but one of those runs in the first three innings.  Four runs in the first, one in the second, and four more in the third.  Wow.  That’s basically the exact opposite of the way you want a callup start to go.

Tazawa gave up the Angels’ tenth run in the fifth, when he gave up a walk and a single that was followed by a double play that brought the run in.  Then Miller pitched around a bases-loaded situation in the sixth, and Aceves pitched the seventh and eighth.

We scored our first run in the second, when Gomez and Aviles opened the inning with back-to-back singles; Gomez scored on a sac fly by Podsednik one out later.  We scored our remaining two runs in the fifth; Podsednik and Ciriaco opened the inning with back-to-back singles, Ellsbury grounded into a force out that eliminated Ciriaco, Ellsbury stole second base and Podsedik scored on a throwing error, and then Ellsbury scored on a single by Pedroia.

We hardly threatened after that.  We had two runners on in the eighth, and that was basically it for our big effort to overcome a seven-run deficit and score runs.

By the way, in case you forgot, Stewart came over from the Other Sox when we traded Kevin Youkilis.  So that’s what we get.

Chris Carlson

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I don’t know how Dice-K does it.  Most of the time he is just awful.  And then all of a sudden he executes a start like this that’s just awesome, and it makes you think that maybe you shouldn’t write him off juts yet.  Basically it’s so agonizing that he can’t just do this on a regular basis, and you can’t help thinking about what could possibly have gone wrong between Japan and where he is right now.

He pitched seven innings and gave up one run, which wasn’t even earned, on five hits while walking two and striking out six.  He threw 101 pitches, seventy-one of which were strikes, and by his standards that’s extremely efficient.  The lone run scored in the first; he started the game by allowing the first of his walks, which eventually turned into a run on a sac fly thanks en route to a missed catch by Pedroia, which allowed the runner to advance.

Dice-K had plenty of good relief behind him to keep the pitching momentum going.  Mortensen and Padilla combined for the eighth, and Bailey handled the ninth.  I guess this is him giving us a glimpse of what we should expect next season, when we hope he’ll be healthy at the start of it.

Although we only outhit the Royals by one, we outscored them by four.  Ellsbury single-handedly answered their run in the bottom of the first with a solo shot on his fourth pitch, the fourth straight four-seam he saw in that at-bat.  All four pitches were the exact same speed, too: ninety-two miles per hour.  He took the first two for balls, fouled the third, and went yard to right on the last.  And with Ellsbury’s second home run of the year, the game was tied at one.

But not for long.  We took the lead in the third and never looked back.  Podsednik and Pedroia hit back-to-back singles, and Ross singled them both in.  Ellsbury and Ross hit back-to-back doubles in the sixth that scored one, and Loney followed it with a second consecutive scoring play, a single that plated Ross.

And that’s a wrap! Literally nobody in the last four spots of the order produced a hit, a run, or an RBI.  Only one, Gomez, managed to reach base all night, and that was because he walked.  Meanwhile, three of the top five, Podsednik, Ellsbury, and Ross, went two for four.  Ross bounced both of his hits off the Monster, and his double just barely missed making it into the seats for a home run.  And with this win, Dice-K becomes one of only four Japanese pitchers to win fifty games.  Not bad for someone who hasn’t seen Major League action in about two months.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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It sure was nice to remember what winning feels like, even if we barely won.  A win is a win, so I guess it really doesn’t matter whether we barely won or not.  Obviously it matters in the long run as reflective of the team’s overall health in terms of performance, but that’s a whole other story.  Still, it’s nice.

Doubront gave up four runs on six hits over five innings while walking two and striking out seven.  He was the victim of the one bad inning, that ever-present nemesis that always seems to rear its ugly head at the worst possible time.  Although, if you think about it, every moment is the last possible moment.  The Royals scored four runs in the fourth; after securing the inning’s first two outs, he gave up three straight singles, the last of which plated a run.  And then he gave up a three-run home run.  Just like that.  Then he sailed right through the fifth and was replaced by Pedro Beato for the sixth, seventh, and eighth.

Beato allowed two singles and a walk in the eighth and was then replaced by Breslow, who gave up two runs.  Melancon pitched the ninth.

Fortunately, we didn’t just sit on our laurels at the plate.  Gomez walked and scored on a double by Aviles in the second.  Ciriaco hit a huge solo shot out toward the Monster on his second pitch of the at-bat, a slider.  Then Ellsbury singled and scored on a single by Loney.  Gomez led off the sixth by getting on thanks to an error and then scored on a single by Ellsbury, thanks also to a deflection.  We kept on in the seventh; Ross singled, Loney grounded out, Lavarnway singled, Gomez walked to load the bases, Aviles struck out, an error put Posednik on and another run on the board, and then Ciriaco singled in another run.  And then Pedroia led off the eighth with a solo shot on his second pitch; both were ninety-one mile-per-hour fastballs, except that he took the first one for a ball and the second one he absolutely destroyed in true Pedroia fashion.

And we can even give Bobby V. substantial points in this one.  He was ejected in the fifth for calling out first place umpire Dan Bellino, who said that Pedroia was out at first after grounding to third.  Except that Pedroia wasn’t out by a mile.  First of all, the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag, and secondly, that didn’t even matter at all because Pedroia had any throw beat no matter what.  And the fact that Bellino got that call wrong is not only infuriating but also embarrassing and unjust.  It’s a good thing we won.

The final score was 8-6.  Aviles and Ross both went two for four, Pedroia and Ellsbury went two for five, and Ciriaco went three for five.  It was awesome.

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Well, it’s been to the headlines and back by now, and anyone familiar with how baseball works would know that there was no chance in the world that this was going to stay quiet until the formalities were taken care of.  So let’s talk about it.

We just sent most of our core to the Dodgers, in keeping with their doubling as the Los Angeles Blue Sox.  And when I say that it was most of our core, I mean that literally.  Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto.  They all involved waivers.  All but one of those were starters for us, and Punto did see more than his fair share of playing time as a utility man off the bench.  In return, we will receive four prospects (right-hander Allen Webster, infielder Ryan De Jesus, and two more to be named), a first baseman (Jason Loney), and financial flexibility.  There is no question about the fact that this is one of the largest waiver deals ever and certainly the largest in recent baseball history.

Obviously this is a huge deal, both literally and figuratively.  Beckett has obviously struggled this year, as have Crawford and Gonzalez and Punto, although much less than Beckett.  So if Ben wanted to make some sort of wave by getting rid of somebody big, he could have just gotten rid of Beckett and have been done with it.  That would have been the obvious action, if there were one at all.  But to ship out all four of these guys, especially Gonzalez? Was that really necessary? Regardless of who these prospects might be and what this flexibility might look like, is this really the best thing for our future? Or is it a short-term quick fix to show the Nation that the brass is at least doing something and that this really was a bridge year? Furthermore, does this mean that the brass has sided with Bobby V. rather than the players regarding the issue of his managerial style, or does this have nothing to do with that at all because it’s based strictly on performance, or lack thereof? But if it does have to do with that, how certain are the brass that the solution indeed involved the players rather than the manager and coaches?

Punto finishes his lone season with us, which wasn’t even a whole season, with a batting average of .200, an on-base percentage of .301, and a slugging percentage of .272.  He has had 125 at-bats in sixty-five games; he has twenty-five hits to his credit as well as ten RBIs and fourteen runs.  He has walked nineteen times and stolen five bases.  He has played every infield position this year and has made only two errors.

Crawford departs after having played almost two season here.  Last season was better in terms of playing time, while this season was better in terms of performance.  He finishes this season with us with a batting average of .282, an on-base percentage of .306, and a slugging percentage of .479.  He has had 117 at-bats in thirty-one games; he has thirty-three hits to his credit as well as nineteen RBIs and twenty-three runs.  He has walked three times and stolen five bases.  He has made only one error in the field.

Gonzalez also departs after having played almost two seasons here, but it feels like so much more because he has so easily become a fixture on this team.  He historically has been known for his great leadership and team presence, both in the clubhouse and on the field.  He always seemed to be really enthusiastic about playing here, and he usually let his production do the talking.  And it talked a lot.  His average last year was a cool .338, and it was hard to imagine him not getting up there and whacking some ball for extra bases every time.  He certainly did struggle at the beginning of the season but has since started to bounce back quite nicely.  His average is now at .300, and he has an on-base percentage of .343 and slugging percentage of .469.  He’s had 484 at-bats in 123 games; he has 145 hits to his credit as well as eighty-six RBIs and sixty-three runs.  He has walked thirty-one times and stolen no bases, but that’s alright because his job, unlike Crawford’s, is not even partially to steal bases.  His job is to hit for extra bases, and that he can do.  He hasn’t hit any triples, but he’s hit thirty-seven doubles and fifteen home runs.  And in addition to first base he has also played right field this year because he’s a team player, and when the team needed him, he didn’t ask questions; he just slid right in there, and he did an impressive job at that.  He made four errors this year, two in right and two at first.

Beckett, of course, is the most storied of the four.  He’s certainly been here the longest, so he’s given us more memories, some good and some bad but all unique.  He came here in 2006 and had a subpar season.  In 2007 he went twenty and seven, and everyone but those in the position to award the Cy Young knew that he was the one who deserved it, regardless of the fact that he was a huge reason why we won the World Series that year.  His start in Game One was phenomenal.  It was a real gem.  He retired nine batters, including his first four, and gave up only one run.  2008 was another mediocre year, but 2009 saw him largely back to his old self, finishing the season with a record of seventeen and six.  2010 was an abysmal year, and of course last year was decent; his record was thirteen and seven, so he won almost twice as many games as he lost.  And then we have this year.  This year he’s five and eleven with a 5.23 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.  He’s pitched 127.1 innings and given up seventy-four earned runs on 131 hits, sixteen of which were home runs; incidentally, he’s only allowed one unearned run.  He has given up thirty-eight walks as well.  So, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not like every single season he’s been here except for this one has been an unabashed success.  Far from it.  But when he’s been successful, he’s been really, really, really successful.  And of course there’s his personality.  Rumor had it that he was partly if not completely responsible for the deterioration of our clubhouse and has been widely associated with the instigation of beer-drinking and whatnot within it.  As I said at the time when all of this was news, none of us were actually there, and we can’t know what really went on.  All we know is that, despite his mile-wide competitive streak and work ethic, Beckett has not been performing well at all on the mound.

On the eve of the departures of these players, we salute their commitment to this team and the accomplishments that they achieved during their stay here.  In the spirit of the tribute, therefore, Punto, Crawford, and of course Gonzalez as well as Beckett, we’ll miss you and we salute you.  Now, as far as the implications of the deal and what it all means, there are things I said and there are things I didn’t necessarily overtly say.  But in reality I said a lot.  Ultimately, our task now is to see what we end up doing during our offseason.

We lost to the Royals in extras last night, but it really wasn’t Cook’s fault.  Cook, for his part, did an extremely admirable job, especially when you consider the fact that he made this start on three days’ rest.  He gave up three runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out none over six innings.  He gave up all three runs in the first thanks to a double that brought in two and then a single that brought in one.  He then cruised for the remainder of his outing.  Meanwhile, our hitters put us on top.  The Royals may have scored three runs, but we answered with four in the second.  Gomez hit a solo shot, the first homer of his Major League career, and then Salty and Lavarnway hit back-to-back singles to set the table for Aviles, who went yard on the first pitch he saw, sending the ball out toward the Monster.  And the third inning only served to solidify the fact that we were in control.  Pedroia doubled, Ellsbury walked, and Ross singled to load the bases; thanks to a single by Gomez as well as a Royals error, we scored another two runs plus a third thanks to a sac fly by Salty.  We just kept piling it on in the fourth; Ciriaco walked, and Ellsbury singled two outs later.  Ross and Gomez added their consecutive singles to Ellsbury’s to go back-to-back-to-back and plate two more runs.

So by the time Cook’s appearance came to an end, we were leading, 9-3.  And I have to say, I was feeling pretty comfortable with how I expected this game to turn out.  I mean, we just scored nine runs, and we did it with everything: long ball, small ball; you name it, we did it.  And we had a six-run lead to boot.  But I should have expected that no lead would possibly have been safe.

Because then the seventh inning happened, and the seventh inning was when our entire relief corps ruined it completely, imploded totally, and embodied the epitome of an epic fail.  First, it was Miller, who allowed a groundout, a single, a strikeout, two consecutive walks, and an RBI single that scored two.  Then Melancon came on and gave up an RBI double and an RBI single.  Then Breslow came on and gave up a triple that scored two and then managed to finish the inning with an intentional walk followed by a groundout.

Breslow pitched the eighth, Bailey pitched the ninth, Padilla pitched the tenth, and Tazawa pitched the eleventh and most of the twelfth.  He gave up a walk, a double, and finally the single that scored the winning run.  Mortensen replaced him after that and ended the inning.  And we threatened a bit in the eighth, when Ellsbury got himself to third with two out, and in the tenth, when Ciriaco was thrown out at home.  But we didn’t score since the fourth, so we allowed our lead to be completely squandered and lost, 10-9, even though we outhit them, 20-14.

And as an added reflection of the badness of our entire situation, Aceves reportedly slammed the door on his way into Bobby V.’s office after Friday’s game and has been suspended for three games for conduct detrimental to the team.

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