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Posts Tagged ‘Shaun Marcum’

I can literally cut my despair with a knife and serve slices of it to Red Sox Nation if I thought for a minute there isn’t plenty to go around already.  All of the progress we made with our modest winning streak – which at this point does indeed seem to be like spitting in the ocean and seeing if the tide goes up – has been duly erased.  We’re back to eight games out of first with fourteen games left to play, and since the Rays are only half a game out of first, the Wild Card is looking unfortunately similar.  So we’re right back where we started but with less time to fix it.  If we dropped the first two of a homestand that was supposed to be a huge boost in the standings to set the stage for a showdown between us and New York that would decide our fate once and for all, you know it’s grim.  The frustration is epic.

For once, Beckett managed to deliver.  Not that he was an ace exactly, but considering what he’s been to date, he was pretty good.  He pitched a full seven innings, gave up four runs, three earned, on ten hits, walked two, and struck out four.  On paper, his pitches were great; he was aggressive with his fastball and threw it for strikes, he mixed in a very effective curveball that moved really well, and he added a decent cutter and changeup every once in a while.  But he started the game by throwing twenty-five pitches in the first inning alone; he threw about a quarter of his pitch total in the first seventh of the game.  That was what told you we were in for a rough night.  His line was good, but not good enough.  He kept us in the game, but the offense just didn’t pick up where he left off.

To make matters worse, Bautista opened the scoring with a home run in the first.  Great.

Papi answered with an RBI single an inning later.  Toronto got it back and added two, thanks wholly to Beckett.  Molina dropped a bunt that looked like it was headed for foul territory.  Beckett and Salty both chased it.  As soon as the ball was fair game, Salty snared it.  But he had nobody to throw to.  Beckett didn’t cover home plate.  And McDonald scored from second base.  Unbelievable.  Fortunately we answered their two in the sixth when Beltre scored on Lowrie’s groundout and Papi scored on McDonald’s fielding error.

But the ninth inning was the worst.  The score was 3-4, and with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Kalish looked like a veteran and worked a nine-pitch at-bat that finally resulted in a single.  And we had V-Mart at the plate.  The scenario, like the night before, had comeback written all over it.  But the scenario, like the night before, was all for naught.  Kalish got a little greedy and aggressive with his lead off first; he saw V-Mart get a changeup in the dirt and gambled that Molina wouldn’t be able to contain it.  Molina most definitely contained it.  He didn’t block it, which is the usual strategy; he stayed on his feet, somehow caught it, fired to first, and picked Kalish off.  The worst part is that nobody has any right to blame Kalish for it because for once the baserunner was actually correct.  Kalish did everything you’re supposed to do given the situation; it was Molina who made the mistake by actually catching the ball.  That one play was the difference-maker.  Molina lost us the ballgame.

To make matters unbelievably worse, V-Mart delivered.  He bounced a triple off the Monster.  And what did Beltre do with it? He grounded out.  Of all the things he possibly could have done in that situation, he grounded out.  The score stayed 3-4.

What can I say? Like so many games this year, last night’s was a microcosm of our entire season.  Our pitcher dashed our high expectations, we made errors in the field, and we couldn’t buy a clutch hit to save our October lives.  That’s pretty much what we’ve been doing since April.  Even that spectacular throw by Beltre in the fourth to record the inning’s final out while a runner was on his way home amounted, in the grand scheme of things, to nothing.  In the not-so-grand scheme of things, we played with all the usual heart and hustle, but it’s not enough.  It’s just not enough.  Today Lester goes for his eighteenth win of the season opposite Shaun Marcum.  I hope he gets it.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis
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Clay Buchholz is ridiculous.  And I would like to deliver one enormous “I told you so” to all the naysayers who were calling for a trade in 2008.  I would also like to add a side of “What now” and maybe some “Hah!” for dessert.  Because this kid is in the zone.  It’s like one giant zone, like a season-long zone.  It’s The Zone.  The.  There are veterans who’ve been fighting for entire careers to get into a zone like this.   But I’m telling you, the place where Buchholz is right now is majorly elite.

He tossed six shutout innings.  Those were an immaculate six innings.  His pitch count was ninety-seven, so he had some sort of minor inefficiency issue.  Pitch counts for four of his innings hovered around twenty, with two hovering just above ten.  And it was minor because you’d expect on that pitch count a full seven, so we’re only talking about an extra three outs.  But like I said, those were six immaculate innings.  Five hits, no runs, three walks, seven K’s.  He actually threw his fastball, changeup, and slider for almost exactly the same strike percentage: sixty-eight.  His curveball wasn’t that great.  Other than that, he was aggressive and packed the zone.  You don’t usually see a pitcher who can be aggressive with an offspeed, but this kid writes the book on that every fifth day.  I hate to say this, but Beckett, Lackey, Dice-K, and in fact all of Red Sox Nation wish they had his consistency.  Because there was no way that an hour-and-forty-four-minute rain delay before the game and another fifty-nine-minute rain delay in the top of the third were going to rain on this kid’s parade.  Pun most definitely intended.

Buchholz’s ERA is now down to 2.26, and it just keeps going down with no end in sight.  He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last twenty-three and one-third innings or in his last three starts.  That’s absolutely absurd.  He has Cy Young written all over him.

Bard took care of the seventh, and Doubront converted a two-inning save.  It’s interesting that Tito ended up using Bard after all.  If you think about it, Bard is still young, but he’s obviously matured as a pitcher very quickly, and I think Tito is trying to build his strength and endurance, which is very important for us as the season starts winding down.

The game didn’t start out that auspiciously for the offense.  Marcum retired our first twelve batters.  But, as it is wont to do, it all started with Papi, who led off the fifth with a triple, his first of the season.  And let me tell you: he hustled.  Every once in a while, you see Papi hustle, and there’s actually a good amount of hustle in him.  Here’s Mike Lowell’s plan to get him to do it more often:

Maybe we should put some chicken nuggets underneath there and he will run hard all the time.

Youk and the bench got a huge kick out of the hustle, too.  Lowell, by the way, will retire at the end of the year.  I think we all saw that coming.  Speaking of which, how ‘bout that nice catch of a foul ball in the photographers’ well in the fourth?

Beltre followed the triple with a double, scoring Papi, and then with two out, Hall uncorked a two-run blast that completely cleared the Monster and ended up somewhere in the parking lot behind it.  At this point it’s become increasingly clear that Tito needs to find excuses to keep this guy in the lineup, preferably in the bottom third of the order.  His average is only .240, but apparently that’s because he hits for power.  Who knew? He’s three for four, all three of those hits homers, against Marcum in his career, and by “his career” I also mean just this month alone.  Hey, if he especially likes hitting Marcum, that’s fine with me.  And he made that diving catch in the third.  As did Scutaro in the first; Scutaro didn’t dive, but he was knocked down because the ball actually was that hard-hit.  It was pretty scary because the ball, which may actually have been a knuckleball, was barreling right toward his head.  So basically we got an out out of his self-defense.

V-Mart padded the lead in the eighth with an RBI single, followed by one for Papi as well.  The final score was 5-0.  And that’s how you do it.

What a show by Buchholz.  He is a force.  That’s all I have to say about it.  Every aspect of the team was working yesterday: pitching, offense, defense.  We had all of it.  Tonight we have Lackey taking on Seattle.  If we’re really lucky, we’ll win on a day when both New York and Tampa Bay decide to lose.  I’m telling you, all we need is one solid hot streak and then we’re good to go.  And if that hot streak should occur while we play either of those two teams, that’s even better.  I’m just saying.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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I can not tell you how refreshing it was to watch a good, old-fashioned slugfest.  It’s been too long since we’ve had one of these.  Seriously.  When was the last time played a ballgame that was actually stress-free? You know, a really good one, where we score all the runs, and the other team scores almost no runs, and the score is completely and hopelessly one-sided, and it’s a totally assured win, and you can give the starters a rest and roll out the B team.  The irony of course is that our entire team at this point is the B team because of all the injuries we’ve had, but still.  That’s a good, old-fashioned slugfest, best when used to ground teams not in contention that are just starting to take off.  Like Toronto, for example.  That was perfect.

Clay Buchholz is the man.  Win-wise, that’s literally true.  This was his thirteenth W, which surpasses Lester for the team lead.  ERA-wise, that’s also literally true.  His ERA is now down to 2.49, the best in the American League.  I’m thinking there’s a Cy Young in his future.

Buchholz tossed eight frames, which gave the bullpen the night off with the exception of Richardson who tossed a scoreless ninth and did not earn a save because, ladies and gentlemen, there was no save to be earned.

And when I say tossed, I mean tossed, because it looked like Buchholz was just tossing the ball because it makes him look so easy.  He can throw any one of his pitches in any count for a strike.  As V-Mart said after the game, he could probably even pitch with his eyes closed and still locate.  He had his way with every Jays batter that had the misfortune to step up to the plate and face him.  He allowed only one run on a grand total of five hits.  He walked two.  He struck out four.  He threw 109 pitches, sixty-four for strikes.  He worked his fastball all the way up to ninety-seven miles per hour.  His slider peaked at eighty-five.  Those were nasty pitches.  He threw his highest pitch count per inning in the eighth at twenty-one.  His lowest was ten in the first and third.

In the first inning he allowed a run on a sac fly.  And I certainly hope the Jays enjoyed that because that was the last good thing that would happen to them.

The offense, before I delve into it, helped Buchholz pitch better.  Pitchers have much more freedom to experiment and get creative with hitters when they’re backed by a big lead, so the hitters don’t see something they’d ordinarily see if the lead were smaller.  Plus, it’s so much more relaxing.  The pitcher can just go out there and have some fun.

Alright.  Let’s delve.

Our first run was scored in a way that is one of the most embarrassing for any pitcher: a walk with the bases loaded.  Then the Jays temporarily tied it, with the emphasis most definitely on the word “temporarily.”

In the second, Hall hit the first of many long balls, hooking an offspeed into the left field seats.

In the fourth, he did it again, but with Kalish on base.  It was another offspeed, a cut fastball, which he also hooked into left.  The game was the fourth multi-homer performance of his career, his last one coming on April 4, 2008.  And it all came from the eighth spot in the order, and when you get that kind of punch in the bottom of the order, you lengthen your innings by making it difficult for the pitcher to roll the lineup over.  That’s a luxury we haven’t experienced much this season.  Hall’s next homer will provide his highest season total since his break-out season with the Brewers in 2006, during which he hit thirty-five.  That’s what happens when you give a bench batter some regular playing time.

The fifth was when we broke it open, tagging Toronto for a five-spot.  Drew started the deluge with a home run of his own to right.  He hooked a fastball away very much out of the park; it hit the second deck out there in right.  Drew is a quiet but huge difference-maker; remember his monster June when Papi was out with his wrist issue?

Then followed a brief interlude of guys getting on base so that Beltre could clear them all over again with a three-run shot, also on a cut fastball, right at Richardson in the bullpen as an advanced thank-you gift for his scoreless ninth.

So, I would just like to point out that before this game, Marcum had only given up three homers at home.  We exceeded that total on one night.  The irony of course is that the only American League team who’s hit more home runs than us this season is Toronto.

Continuing our onslaught was who but Bill Hall yet again, who showed he can do it all, from the long ball to the small ball.  He singled in Lowell and finished the night three for five.  He now has four home runs and ten RBIs in ten games against the Jays.

V-Mart put on the finishing touches with an RBI single in the eighth.  And that, my friends, was the ballgame.  V-Mart finished two for five, Beltre finished two for three, and Lowell finished three for four.

All I can say is that we’re coming.  After everything this team has been through and still going through, nobody thought we’d still be in the race, but we’re coming.  The Rays lost.  The Yankees won, but they’re going to lose again, and when they do, we’ll be ready.  Hold on to your hats, and don’t get too comfortable.  Lackey goes for the sweep this afternoon.  We’re coming.

AP Photo

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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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Our bats were completely silent for the entire game last night.  The entire game.  Except for one-half inning: the bottom of the ninth, when you make or break it.  We were about to make it.  We were about to tie it and then go on to win it for a winning streak and a sweep of the series and a move into third place.  Instead, we lost in the worst way for the worst reason.

Wake pitched well.  He allowed three runs on five hits, one of which was a two-run shot, over seven innings with a walk and five K’s.  He recorded his two thousandth strike out yesterday and is the fourth active player with that many, joining the likes of Jamie Moyer, Javier Vazquez, and (I hate to say it) Andy Pettitte.  He pitched seven innings.  He threw 103 pitches.  He used his usual lack of mix of pitches, throwing almost all knuckleballs with the occasional fastball and curveball mixed in.  All of his pitches were effective.  I always like to say that Wake has one of the most effective fastballs in the game, because he disguises it so well with his knuckleball that the batters never see it coming.  It’s all cunning. He threw between ten and twenty pitches every inning.  The sides of his strike zone were pretty clear; he was light on the top and heavy on the bottom.  So good for Wake for doing really well in that spot start.  Of all the types of pitchers, knuckleballers are best able to just jump into a starting situation without being regularly scheduled and do well.  That’s a tremendous asset to the staff.

Wake was matching Marcum pitch for pitch; it was fantastic.  But Marcum took the win, and technically Wake took the loss, but that really wasn’t fair. In theory he lost, but in practice the loss falls squarely on the shoulders of one Dale Scott.

So like I said, we didn’t do anything until the bottom of the ninth.  During the first eight innings, we had only three hits, two of them by Papi.  Then Youk singled, Drew doubled in Youk, and suddenly we could taste victory.  Papi, the tying run, stepped up to the plate.  He worked a full count.  You could cut the suspense with a knife.  The fourth pitch arrived and proved to be a ball.  Somehow, in some very bizarre universe, Dale Scott ruled strike three when watching it again clearly reveals that the ball was obviously half a foot off the plate, which in baseball terms is, like, a mile.

Papi couldn’t believe it and started seeing red.  Tito couldn’t believe it and came out to argue.  What’s interesting is that Scott, at that point, didn’t eject either of them, which was probably his way of admitting that he knew he made a mistake on that call.  Then Beltre came up and checked his swing on a slider, but he was handed the same call: a strike.  He asked Scott to check with the first-base umpire, and then Tito came out again to argue balls and strikes and got ejected.

Beltre eventually singled in Drew to put us within a run, but McDonald’s popup ended it.

Papi had the only multi-hit game in the lineup; he went two for four.  That’s his third multi-hit game in eight games this month.  Over those eight games, he’s nine for twenty-nine with three homers and seven RBIs.  Overall, this game lifted his batting average to .200.

Pedroia was hit by a pitch in the third.  Nice catch of that foul popup by V-Mart, and nice avoidance of a collision with Van Every by Hermida.

Basically what I’m saying is that Dale Scott lost us the game, and I can make that claim because the game did in fact come down to one run in the bottom of the ninth at home with our hottest hitter of the day at the plate.  There are just some games in a season where a bad call says it all.  Of course, in the long run, it happens to other teams you play as well so it evens out.  But that doesn’t make you any less frustrated when it happens.  If you look at a plot of his strike zone, you can see that it was inconsistently liberal on the sides.  If it were consistently liberal on the sides, it would be a different story; that would just be his strike zone, and we’d have to grin and bear it.  But a professional umpire can’t afford to be inconsistent.  He really can’t.  Consistency is kind of the whole point of being an umpire.  I’m just saying.  Next up, Buchholz takes on the Tigers.  Hopefully the umpire will know what’s up.

The Bruins lost, 2-1, last night so it all comes down to a Game Seven showdown on Friday.  The good news is we’re coming back home.  The bad news is that we’ve lost some momentum and need to recover that spark that’s brought us to this point.

Boston Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

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The way I would describe last night’s start by Dice-K can be summarized in one phrase: that’s more like it.

In last night’s start he showed glimmers of why we signed him in the first place and why he was so effective in 2007.  In last night’s start he dominated like he was an ace who’d been around the league long enough to know exactly how to handle these Jays.  In last night’s start he gave Red Sox Nation a reason to hope that maybe signing him, sticking with him in the long haul, and having faith he’ll come around wouldn’t have been in vain.

He pitched seven innings of one-hit ball and allowed only three hits.  No walks whatsoever for the second time in his career.  Nine strikeouts, only one of which was not on a fastball (Snider struck out on an eighty-one mile-per-hour changeup), and only two of which were looking.  He faced twenty-four batters and also induced ten flyouts and two groundouts.  107 pitches, about sixty-six percent of which were strikes.  That’s a very high rate.  That’s one of the highest such rates we’ve seen all season.  He got the win, and very deservedly so.  He started the game striking out Lewis on a ninety-two mile-per-hour fastball.  I mean, this Dice-K was completely different than the Dice-K we’d been seeing until this point, and it just confirms that he was in fact on the trajectory of improvement we all thought he was on.  In one night, he lowered his ERA from 9.90 to 6.35.

His four-seam was excellent.  He only topped out at ninety-three miles per hour, but he threw about seventy percent of them for strikes.  Which was good because that was his dominant pitch; he threw about sixty-eight of them.  The reason his four-seam was so effective was that it has fantastic vertical movement on it.  His fastest pitches don’t do much horizontally, but vertically they’re real sharp.  Like off the charts sharp.  His two-seam, cutter, curveball, and slider were excellent; his changeup still needs work.  And if you ask me, even if his fastball does move, I still think he should mix his pitches more effectively.  This outing was a good first step, but he won’t last the season if his pitch mix looks like that.  A pitcher can’t live on fastballs alone.  There are those who would argue that a fastball is only as good as the pitches thrown before and after it.  So I think it would greatly behoove him and therefore us if he’d work on that.

His lowest per-inning pitch count was eleven, which he threw twice.  He threw between sixteen and twenty pitches in each of the remaining five innings, with twenty being his highest count in the third and nineteen being his highest in the sixth.  So he ran into some trouble there, but of course every pitcher who’s on gets into at least one jam.  That’s a trend we’ve seen with him; in each of his last two starts, he’s had one disastrous inning.  In last night’s start, it could be that that disastrous inning was just much more controlled and contained.  Although ideally he wouldn’t have any disastrous innings at all.

Of course it helps when you have good relief.  Ramirez pitched around a hit and a walk to finish an inning, and Okajima followed that with a perfect inning.

And it also helps when you have good offense.  Unlike Dice-K, Eveland only lasted a little more than four frames.

Scutaro led off the game with a walk and moved to third on Pedroia’s double, scoring on Drew’s groundout.  Pedroia scored on Youk’s sac fly.  Tek unloaded for a home run in the second; a 2—0 fastball that completely cleared the Monster and Lansdowne Street.  Dude got power.  That would be his sixth of the season, fifth from the right side, in forty at-bats.  To put that in perspective, he didn’t hit his sixth home run last hear until at-bat number 125.  He led off the fourth with a single; his bat broke, which confused Bautista, so the ball rolled between his legs, which we don’t have to worry about because it was the opposing team.  Hall followed that with a popup to shallow left-center that dropped between Lewis, Gonzalez, and Wells and has quietly been getting some hits in lately.  Then, Tek scored again on McDonald’s double in the fourth.  So, not the Jays’ best inning in the field.  Drew led off the fifth with a bunt.  Youk walked.  Eveland left with a ball on Lowell; Camp entered and walked him to load the bases.  Drew scored on a wild pitch and Youk scored when Hall grounded into a fielder’s choice.  We recorded twice as many hits and six times as many runs as they did.

By the way, Youk was hit by a pitch in the third for the sixty-third time in his career.  He’s one HBP shy of tying Jim Rice for second place on the franchise all-time list.

Pedroia and Drew both went two for four.  Drew stole second and appears to be in good health.  Tek went two for three, continuing to impress.  Can’t say I didn’t see that coming; in the beginning of the season I said that Tek’s Renaissance would last because extra rest would draw it out.  I hope that’s what we’re seeing here.  And finally, last but not least, 6-1 says we won.

A quick update on our absent outfielders: Cameron is doing a rehab stint with the PawSox, and Ellsbury took batting practice and did baserunning drills yesterday, so that’s a very good sign that he’ll be back in action soon.  Seriously this time.

So that was a good game all around.  I just hope that Dice-K builds on it.  His number one problem has been inconsistency, so this start was a good first step, but it’ll be really important to observe his performance in his next start to see if this is the establishment of a new norm or just one more piece of evidence of his irregular performance.  Of course we’ll have to wait to find out, but in the meantime Wakefield will try for the sweep against Marcum tonight.

SI.com

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Toronto is shaping up to be a sight for sore bats, as it were.  Score one, or should I say seven, for sustaining momentum.  It was the offense that carried the night, but barely so, which is right in line with the idea that starting pitching has the ability to make or break us.

Lackey got the win, but he didn’t do so well.  He gave up six runs on eight hits in six innings, the most runs since relinquishing eight to the Rays on April 19 and his shortest start since that contest, when left after three and a third.  He walked three and struck out six, which ties his season high.  He threw ninety-five pitches.  So basically he was bad.  All of his off-speeds were excellent, including his cutter, which he threw about as often as he threw his four-seam.  His strike zone was messy, as is wont to be the case when he delivers a mediocre performance, and his only easy inning was the sixth, when he threw seven pitches, all of which were strikes.  His pitch count in every other inning was above ten.  He threw thirty-three in the second, which was largely responsible for his early exit in terms of pitch count.  Of course, it was also just a bad inning; he allowed six consecutive baserunners on the paths on four hits and two walks; the Jays sent nine batters up.  In the fifth, he gave up a two-run shot to Bautista.  Thankfully, that was all.

All in all, that’s all I’ve got.  It was just a mediocre performance.  Not good but not especially horrific.  And you can take that as an indication of the fact that we’ve seen some horrific starts, so we know what they look like, and this was not one of them, which speaks to its own issue but that’s a different story.  He had good movement on all of his pitches, but then he always does.  The fact that he can maintain that movement even when he’s off is part of what makes him the good pitcher he is.  But all I’m saying is that he may have gotten the win, but his loss column would’ve gotten a lot more attention had the offense not picked him up.

And by offense, I of course include Jays pitching.  After all, we must give credit where credit is due.  The first two innings of the game alone lasted for more than an hour, but if there was one person in Fenway Park who wasn’t about to complain, it was John Lackey.

In the first, V-Mart singled in Scutaro and Pedroia, but most of the action happened in the second.  Beating the Jays at their own game, both literally and figuratively, we came up ten times and scored four runs on only one hit but six walks.  Morrow was out before the inning was over.  Roenicke came on in relief and proceeded to walk Beltre on four pitches.  That’s what I call a lack of command.  Six walks.  For all you Moneyball fans out there, this proves Michael Lewis’s point, no? Six walks in a single inning.  How ‘bout that.

As for the scoring plays themselves, Hermida scored on a bases-loaded walk to Perdroia.  Van Every scored when V-Mart grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Scutaro scored on Hill’s fielding error.  Papi singled in V-Mart.  Pedroia singled in Van Every in the third.

Scutaro walked twice.  Pedroia went two for four with a double and a walk.  Youk walked.  Beltre walked.  Hermida walked.  Van Every, of course, walked, and he made a spectacular catch, nabbing Buck’s foul popup literally against the wall in shallow right.  He was in because Drew was out with vertigo.

Okajima, Bard, and Papelbon combined for three hitless innings.  They threw seven, fourteen, and thirteen pitches, respectively, to finish their innings.  Yes, Okajima threw only seven pitches.  Seven for three groundouts.  It was a gem of an appearance, really.  Probably his best inning all season.  Reminded me of how lights-out he was in 2007, actually.  Bard faced four batters (he walked one).  Paps struck out leadoff man Lewis en route to a one-two-three ninth.  He’s converted all of his save opportunities so far this year.

Also of note: Gonzalez’s fly off the Monster in the second was at first ruled a double.  Then it was reviewed, the first time that’s happened this season.  The call still stood, though, so it was pretty anticlimactic as play reviews go.

We continue to be undefeated against the Jays.  The final score was 7-6; we won three of those four games by one run, the other by two.  Dice-K is starting tomorrow, so I’m hoping he can rise to the occasion and allow us to continue that trend.  After that, Wake is returning to the rotation for a start opposite Marcum.  Apparently, this would’ve been the case anyway because Tito intended to rest Beckett no matter what, but it just so happens that this becomes oh so convenient due to the fact that Beckett tweaked his back while taking cuts in preparation for Interleague.  And thus, the age-old debate surfaces yet again.  I love Interleague because it’s an easy boost through the standings, but I don’t want my pitchers using muscles they didn’t even know they had and getting hurt in the process.  We’ll just have to hope for the best, I guess.

The Bruins tanked absolutely, getting shut out by and losing by four to the Flyers.  Next game on Wednesday.  We’ve come this far; let’s go farther.

Providence Journal

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