Posts Tagged ‘Rick Porcello’

Our winning streak against the Yanks was snapped on the first night of the series.  John Smoltz effectively proved once and for all that he’s no longer got it.  In fact, he’s got so little of it that he was officially released.  Finally.  Anyway, we eventually got swept.  The series lasted four games, and we lost all four.  Two were shutouts.  The first was Junichi Tazawa’s first Major League decision; it was a loss in fifteen innings.  Just saying the phrase “fifteen innings” makes me feel very lucky not to be a reliever.  On the whole, I don’t really think I can even describe my rage and despair.  Let’s just say that wasn’t the Red Sox team we’d been seeing up to this point.  And that it was painful.  Really painful.  Really, really painful.  Between that and us dropping our two previous games with Tampa Bay, we’d lost six in a row to our division rivals.  Great.  But it gets better.

We took three of four from Detroit, including our win on August 12.  The one where Youk charged the mound.  Basically, it all started when Brad Penny beaned somebody the night before.  Then Youk was beaned but just took first base.  Junichi Tazawa started the next game and retaliated by hitting Miguel Cabrera on the hand.  He left the game at his next at-bat.  (That’s when the whole retaliation thing gets sticky, especially when you’ve got an inexperienced kid on the mound.  Tazawa went on to get the win, by the way.) Rick Porcello responded by going up and in on V-Mart, who wasn’t very happy.  But then when Youk came to bat, Porcello did in fact hit him on the back.  Youk snapped, charged the mound, threw his helmet at the kid, and tackled him to the ground.  Both benches cleared and the bullpen came out.  It was ugly.  Youk and Porcello were both tossed.  Now, this is a difficult situation to interpret.  The key here is to determine whether Porcello hit Youk on purpose.  If he did, Youk at least had a motivating reason for his actions.  (That’s not to say he’s excused for it; that’s to say we know why he did it.) If he doesn’t, Youk doesn’t.  So let’s look at the big picture.  The retaliation was going back and fourth; beaning attempts were made by both sides.  It looked like Porcello tried to get V-Mart and didn’t but was successful in his attempt on Youk, who for some reason always takes more of his fair share of hit-by-pitches.  On the other hand, when you analyze the pitch, it appears that the ball may have simply gotten away from Porcello.  After the brawl, Jim Leyland had a long conversation with Tito, perhaps explaining that his young arm didn’t do it on purpose.  Then again, that’s tough to buy when the kid fired on V-Mart and missed.  Either way, Youk will serve his time.  That’ll hurt, but luckily no injuries were sustained.

After Youk was thrown out, Lowell came in.  He’s been spending more and more time on the bench lately now that we have V-Mart, which is highly unfortunate.  And when he came in, he showed why.  Two balls hit well out of the park are pretty good proof he’s still got it, I’d say.

Tito was ejected in the same game.  He argued a close call at first.  Yeah.  That was quite the game.

We re-acquired Alex Gonzalez.  His fielding percentage in 2006 was a franchise-record-breaking .985.  If only he’d consistently batted a third of that.

Tim Wakefield completed a rehab outing with the PawSox and is making good progress.  Kottaras caught him.

Brian Anderson saw action in a Boston uniform, and Josh Reddick was sent down to the PawSox to take his place.  Anderson, a good defender, will replace Drew, who’s currently dealing with a sore groin (again) and isn’t expected to start until tonight.

Jed Lowrie and Rocco Baldelli are both on the fifteen-day disabled list.  Jason Bay is luckily off, which means that Youk doesn’t have to continue playing left field.  Jerry Remy says he’s got a date in mind for returning this season, and I’m looking forward to it.  Not that Eck and Dave Roberts haven’t been doing a great job.  They have.  But Remdawg’s been missed.  He says his leave of absence was lengthened by depression, but I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that we hope he gets well soon.

There was one more thing I wanted to add.  One more very important thing I wanted to address.  What was it again? Oh, yeah.  We’re seven and a half games behind the Yankees in second place.  Only three ahead of the Rays, who are currently in third.  We’re half a game out of the Wild Card behind the Rangers.  In short, this is a complete and total disaster.  What we are witnessing here is a breakdown of the team as a whole.  Something’s gone horribly wrong.  We need hitting and pitching, when just a short time ago it seemed we had adequate or surplus amounts of both.  It’s absolutely excruciating to see a team so stacked fall so far from such high potential.  I mean, this state of affairs can not continue.  It’s pretty much impossible for this team to sustain such a low level of performance when its key members are healthy.  We are in an extremely sizable hole right now.  There can be no doubt about that.  But we’ve dug ourselves out of worse.  We’re capable.  That’s all I’m saying.  That, and I would just like to state again that it’s painful.  Really painful.  Really, really painful.  It’s like watching a catastrophe in slow motion.  At this rate, it will be a catastrophe in slow motion.  It’s starting to feel sickeningly like 2006.  Nuff ced.  Honestly, I can’t even talk about it.

Frank Galasso

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So we avoid the sweep, we’re back to being only half a game behind New York, and Lester pitched beautifully.  Fantastic.  But that doesn’t mean all’s quiet on the Boston front.  Before yesterday, Lester lost three of his previous four decisions, his last win coming against Toronto, apparently not an easy team to beat.  The fact that Lester’s season has been mediocre at best but with a few very high-quality starts tells us it’s not a health issue or anything as serious or straightforward as that.  It’s a consistency issue.  And because we don’t really know what’s causing it, it’ll be a lot harder to fix.  Consistency is always a difficult problem to grapple with.  Take Javier Lopez.  Two seasons ago, he was inconsistent to the point where he could win or lose us a ballgame.  Last year he was perpetually lights-out.  This year it was so bad he had to be designated for assignment in the minor leagues.  We don’t need to go that far with Lester; I think the worst that could potentially happen is giving him a day off or switching Beckett and Lester in the rotation.  But it is something that, if it continues, will need to be addressed sooner or later.  And whether it’s addressed sooner rather than later depends on an entirely separate set of variables.  So, yeah.  Consistency is complicated.

But there was no sign of that in his start yesterday.  That was probably his best outing of 2009.  Six solid innings.  One run on three hits.  Three walks.  A career-high twelve strikeouts.  Twelve.  That’s ridiculous.  He faced twenty-four batters.  He threw 115 pitches, 72 of which were strikes.  He induced three fly balls and three ground balls.  And no home runs.  This start single-handedly lowered his ERA from 6.07 to 5.65.  Masterson pitched two and allowed a run, and Ramirez pitched one and managed to redeem himself from his performance, or lack thereof, two nights ago.

The offense was as on as the pitching.  We won, 8-2, and after watching the bats be silenced for a few days it was so refreshing to watch them bat around.  Youk started it off with a solo shot to right center field in the first inning.  Then the man of the hour, Dustin Pedroia the Destroyah, had one hit all day but that’s nothing to complain about because the hit he got was an absolutely monstrous three-run shot.  With runners on second and third, he smoked a breaking ball over the left field wall for his second home run of the year.  He was definitely due.  But it just goes to show you that he’s not a power hitter; if this were in Fenway, the ball would be a line drive, not out of the park.  He’s indispensable to the team in many, many ways, but he’s not a power hitter, so any power that comes from him is icing on the cake.  Lowell went two for five and had himself an RBI.  Drew also had himself an RBI.  Then in the eighth, Youk hit his second home run of the day and went back-to-back with Bay.  Another solo shot, this one into the bullpen in left field.  It was a low fastball, and he loves to clobber those.  The interesting thing is that, like Pedroia’s shot, both of Youk’s probably would’ve been doubles in Fenway.  That’s what you call adapting.  We do it all the time, and it’s a big part of why we’re so good.  We adapt to the pitcher, we adapt to the lineup, and we also adapt to the park.  Anyway, Bay then stepped up to the plate and hit a solo shot of his own on the very first pitch.  That ended up in the left field seats.  Inside fastball and there was no way it was staying inside the park.  Bay finished the day going two for three with two walks.  So he reached base four times.  All-Star Game.  Just sayin’.

Then there was also that really ugly rundown in the second.  At the time the score was tied, 1-1, with Green on first, Ellsbury on second, and Pedroia at bat.  Rod Barajas threw to Millar at first, who tagged Green out.  Green saw Ellsbury going and was thinking double steal, but then he saw Ellsbury retreat back to the bag, so he had to do the same, but by that time the ball was waiting for him.  Somebody missed a sign there.  Although he did successfully steal yesterday.

Today is our first of three Mondays off in June.  It’s a nice schedule.  We have the series at Detroit, followed by a series home against Texas, then another Monday off, a series against New York during which we will undoubtedly bury them, an Interleague series in Philly that should be interesting, another Monday off, two series at home, another Monday off, and then another extended road trip.  Looking ahead to Tuesday, it’ll be Dice-K at Rick Porcello who’s been alright for the Tigers so far.  This’ll be a good opportunity for Dice-K to definitively get back in his groove and propel us back into first.


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