Posts Tagged ‘Ty Wigginton’

When I envisioned the start of Interleague play, I obviously envisioned us winning.  I mean, we’re an American League team.  We should be cleaning up with National League teams.  Except that the Phillies are the Phillies, and when a National League team has an American League closer that you yourself trained, it represents a special set of circumstances that’s mighty difficult.

Bard only lasted five innings; he gave up five runs on three hits, including a solo shot in the fifth, and he walked five and struck out three.  He threw ninety-four pitches.  He was wild and inefficient, and despite the fact that our pitchers collectively have pitched well in our last few games, with the exceptions of Lester and Beckett they haven’t pitched long.  If we continue like this, the bullpen may as well start every game and the starter may as well come out in relief.  Seriously.  Except that the bullpen didn’t really stem the flow yesterday; Albers pitched two shutout innings, but then Morales gave up a solo shot in the eighth.

Aviles hit a home run to put us on the board in the third.  It landed just a few feet inside the pole in left.  Our second run was plated by a sac fly in the fourth.  Ross hit a solo shot of his own in the sixth, also just inside the pole in left.  Not wanting to be left out of the action and finally delivering on his promise to go deep, Gonzalez let rip a solo shot in the eighth on a slider down and in, the second pitch of his at-bat.  This one ended up in right field; it was his third of the year, and I hope he turns it around and has many, many, many more.

And, to put a cap on the evening, Bobby V. was ejected in the ninth.  Byrd grounded out to short, and Bobby V. argued that Byrd should have been safe because the throw pulled Ty Wigginton off the mound.  First base umpire Gary Darling even lost his gum in the argument, which was a decidedly an undignified moment.  Honestly, if you slow it down and look at the play, you can see that Wigginton came off the bag.  It was close, I will admit, but if you look at it and examine it, he came off the bag.

And the fact that Jonathan Papelbon of all people got the save in the ninth did not help anything in the least.

So two hours and fifty minutes, two injuries (Salty had to get stitches on his left year after getting hit in the in the fifth,and Ross had to get x-rays after fouling a ball off his left food in the eighth), four runs, eight hits (two more than Philly), three home runs , six runs, and one Papelbon save later, we lost by two.  And that’s how we started Interleague play.  Losing at the hands of a closer who reminded us just how much we’re going to miss him.  I’m so frustrated, I don’t even know what else to say.

AP Photo

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Well.  That was terrible.  That was absolutely, positively terrible.  That was filthy in the worst way.  Sloppy.  Pathetic.  I can’t believe that just happened.  Seriously.  I saw it with my own eyes and I was still kind of hoping that it was all just a mirage and the real score was 9-1 us, not 1-9 them.  Nope.  I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation, including Ken Burns who was on hand to witness the badness live, that this is incredibly not good.  Understatement of the century right there.

The only good thing that happened last night was Clay Buchholz.  When Clay Buchholz happens, the other team has no chance.  And usually you walk away with a win.  Usually you don’t walk away with the exact opposite: a blowout loss.  But that wasn’t his fault.  Buchholz did his job.  Buchholz pitched six innings, allowed no earned runs on four hits, walked three, and struck out five.  He fired 112 pitches, sixty-six of which were strikes.  His ERA is now down to 2.39.  He was comfortable with every pitch in his arsenal and used them all, even though his changeup seems to be the weakest in the repertoire.  So technically that wasn’t even his best work because he was inefficient, his walk total was up, and his strike total was down.  But like I always say, if that’s his bad day, his good day is impeccable.  And his performance was way better than literally anybody else’s.

Buchholz did allow one unearned run, and you can thank Scutaro for that.  In the sixth inning, just when all seemed well and Buchholz was en route to what looked very much like his seventeenth win, Scutaro backtracked for a popup, reached back to catch it, and didn’t.  The ball dropped and Jones scored all the way from first.  That was a cardinal mistake.  Why would you ever try to catch a popup like that? It’s a popup; you have time to track it and solidly plant yourself under it.  There’s no reason to sort of dance back to it and reach over your shoulder to get it.  Clearly, that’s when mistakes are made.  I can not believe he did that.  And that was just the tip of the iceberg.  We were about to go from Buchholz’s potential seventeenth win with Bard and Paps coming up to, well, nothing.

Buchholz did not come back out for the seventh for some unknown and unfathomable reason.  If Buchholz comes back out for the seventh, he finishes the seventh and hands off to Bard who hands off to Paps.  One, two, three.  Done.  No.

Atchison came on and managed to record the first out of the inning but left after giving up a three-run home run to Wigginton on a pitch that was up and away.  He took the loss, and rightly so.  Atchison’s ERA over his last three appearances was 0.75.  An ERA less than one for a reliever.  Imagine that.  Not so anymore.

Okajima was solid.  Fox allowed a run but honestly in the grand scheme of things that was the least of our problems.  Our next real problem was Papelbon, who loathes blown saves as much as the next closer, but you have to admit that when he blows a save, he blows it with as much force as he makes saves.  He allowed four runs.  Four.  He hadn’t pitched in a week, entered the game when we were down by four, and allowed four more.  The Orioles swung the bats early in the count.  Once he actually started buckling down, the damage had already been done.  It just happened so quickly.

Oh, I almost forgot.  Lowrie scored on Nava’s single.  That was it.  Nobody posted a multi-hit game.  Three of our eight hits were doubles, and that was it for extra bases.  Three of our most potent hitters went hitless.  The middle of the order was noticeably quiet.

We are nine games behind the Yankees and six and a half games behind the Rays in the Wild Card standings.  We have eleven games left to play, and our magic number is three.  Three.  It’s really painful to say this, but we are now officially on the brink.  We were cruising and set to go through six, and then those last three innings just exploded.  Well, let’s carry on.  We face the Orioles tonight for the last time this season.  It’s Lackey on the mound.  Then we’re going to New York.  Let’s just win this one.  Let’s just play it well and win this one.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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Jon Lester is the man.

He is now 12-0 against the Orioles.  Undefeated.  That’s the longest winning streak by any active pitcher against any team.  And it wasn’t some wishy-washy win, either.  That was a Win.  With a capital W.

Seven innings, one run on five hits, one walk, seven K’s, one hundred pitches, even.  That one run in the fifth snapped his streak of sixteen and two-thirds scoreless innings against Baltimore.  His cut fastball was ridiculous.  You could tell that nobody was going to hit that.  His curveball was curving.  His sinker was sinking.  His changeup was changing and, by Cash’s observation, has improved a lot.  Cash hadn’t caught Lester since ’08, so he can really see how much Lester has improved.  Apparently, his changeup has most definitely improved.  He used everything, mixed everything, and threw everything for strikes, sixty-seven percent of the time.  A game-high of twenty-two pitches in the first and fifth; a game-low of nine pitches in the fourth and seventh.  He loaded the bases in the first with one out, but he followed it with a double play that featured a very long stretch by Youk to touch the bag.  After that, he settled down really quickly.  He gave up only three hits from the second to the seventh.  Efficiency.  Evenly distributed strike zone.  Movement.  Tight and precise release and location.

He’s now ten and three on the season, racking up wins in the double digits for the third consecutive year.   And he’s got a 2.76 ERA to go with it, and every time he starts, it just keeps going down.  If he doesn’t go to the All-Star Game, there is no justice.  No justice whatsoever.

Ramirez came on in relief and pitched well.  Unfortunately I can’t say the same for Robert Manuel.  He was recently recalled, and it most definitely showed.  The score would’ve been 9-1, but instead it was 9-3 because he gave up a two-run homer that required review.  We did, however, end the game on a high note pitching-wise by getting a flyout from Lugo.

And speaking of those nine runs, here’s how we scored them.  We tagged Guthrie for four in the first inning alone.  That’s almost half our run production in the first.  What a great way to start a game! (For us, not for Guthrie.) Youk hit an RBI double.  Then Drew hit a two-RBI double.  Then Nava hit an RBI double.  In the fifth, Youk hit a two-run shot, and when I say a shot, I mean a shot.  A hanging breaking ball that stayed up.  It sailed over the Green Monster in a hurry, bouncing right off the Sports Authority sign.  Complete with a bow from The K-Men.  I bet Guthrie saw that coming as soon as he released the ball.  You can’t hang a breaking ball and not expect it to be hit for extra basis with our lineup.  We tagged the Orioles’ ‘pen for three more runs in the eighth; Cameron hit an RBI double and scored on Wigginton’s throwing error, and Papi hit an RBI double.

Patterson started at second base admirably.  He started that double play; his throw was a little off, but he did have to hurry.  He made no errors.  Which is more than I can say for Wigginton, who plays regularly.

So, doubles for everyone! Two doubles for Papi, one for Youk, one for Drew, one for Nava, and one for Cameron.  A home run that scored double runs for Youk.  A double play.  Double, double-out RBIs.  That was the theme of the game, ladies and gentlemen, and I have to say, I like it.  I like it a lot.  Unfortunately, the win didn’t change the standings.  The Rays are still two games out (yet another double!), but we’re still half a game out of first place.  Today, Lackey looks to celebrate the Fourth of July with a win at home for Boston.  What better way to celebrate?

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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We almost completed the sweep.  Almost! The entire game was a manifestation of suspense.  The two teams went back and forth, trading runs and keeping pace until finally we had to resort to extra innings and the concluding badness.

We stranded eleven baserunners; the Orioles stranded thirteen.  But we notched eight hits while they notched nine, resulting in three runs for us and four runs for them.  The difference-maker occurred in the bottom of the eleventh.  Markakis hit a walkoff single.  It was terrible.  We are now one and seven in extra-inning games.  In theory, you want to win in regulation and not have to go there, but all I’m saying is that if you have to go there, I’d like to win there too.

Here’s how we got there.  We scored two in the top of the second when V-Mart hit a home run on a high fastball 378 feet into the seats in left center field.  So when I say hit, I mean really hit.  You could tell immediately that it was going out.  Between V-Mart and Tek, our catchers have fifteen long balls, the most in the American League.

The Orioles took back those two runs in the bottom of the inning with small ball.

We showed some promise in the sixth.  With Pedroia on first and nobody out, Papi appeared to sneak a line drive down the first base line.  But it was on its way to foul territory and bounced off Wigginton’s glove, which was in fair territory, so it was ruled foul.  Then Papi struck out.  But we had our revenge; Matusz loaded the bases with two consecutive walks before leaving the game.  Too bad we couldn’t make him pay.

They gained another in the eighth, and you can thank Delcarmen for that.  He lost control because he had a tight lower back.  Although you can thank Jones for an out; he attempted a sac bunt, but it was hit too hard and right back to Delcarmen, who barehanded it on two hops and fired to second.  Ramirez came in and ended the inning with two flyouts, the second of which culminated in a fantastic long-distance running basket catch by Cameron.  We answered in the ninth and forced extras; Cameron singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on McDonald’s sac bunt and third on Scutaro’s single.  Cameron scored on Pedroia’s sac fly, hit to the deepest, most distant part of the entire park.  If that ball had been hit any farther, it would’ve been out.  Meanwhile, Scutaro stood at second for Papi, who launched one that ended up being a fly to right that ended the inning.

Scutaro and, especially rare, Pedroia of all people each made an error.  Pedroia also stole second base for his fourth theft this year.  V-Mart provided the only multi-hit game, going two for three with a walk.  Cameron returned to the lineup to start in center field but won’t be playing every day.  Beltre was back in the lineup.  Hermida was not back in the lineup but was available if necessary.

Papelbon pitched an inning of relief, firing twenty-one pitches, twelve of which were strikes.  Then Okajima came on and pitched an inning and, when he came back out for his next one, the final damage occurred.  A walk, a sac bunt, and the walkoff single.  And that was that.  What’s sad is that the walkoff single was hit by a batter who, until that point, had been 0 for 14.  It wasn’t a terribly bad pitch; Markakis just softly tapped it in there.  It was terrible.  He picked up the loss, and most deservedly so.  Of all the batters, of all the teams, and of all the times.  Really? We were so close to sweeping! And it’s Baltimore; it’s not like sweeping should be that difficult!

By the way, apparently the Orioles know how to win in extras; they’ve won five of their seven extra-inning games.  Who knew? Their problem, obviously, is that they’re so bad that they usually don’t see extras.  They just lose in regulation.

Last but not least, John Lackey’s performance.  We as a workhorse all right, as promised.  He fired 124 pitches in seven innings.  That’s a lot of pitches, so, yeah, we can talk about inefficiency.  Only seventy of them were strikes.  His curveball was his best pitch for strikes, followed by his cutter and then his four-seam, not coincidentally the pitches he threw most often.  His slider was decent.  His two-seam and changeup were just bad.  He needed a minimum of nine pitches to clear the fourth and a maximum of twenty-nine pitches to clear the second.  That’s a lot, especially for an early inning.  Strike zone was very concentrated on the left, with a fair share of balls thrown outside it on that side.  It is therefore not surprising that he only struck out two batters.  His speed variation was good but could’ve been better.  His movement was good.  He gave up two runs and three walks.

If he can handle the high pitch count, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.  I’m concerned that, as the season progresses, he’ll get tired, and then there is the other obvious concern that, if he doesn’t go deep into ballgames, the bullpen will have to step in earlier than usual, which will make them tired.  To make matters worse, Dice-K is starting tonight, and I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what to expect from him.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.  We can at least take heart that we’re playing the Indians, who may not be as bad as Baltimore, but they’re still pretty bad.

Reuters Photo

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So, what, we’re bipolar now? One series we sweep, and the next series we’re swept? I don’t get it.  Especially because the team that just swept us is Baltimore.  No, I’m serious.  We were just swept by the Baltimore Orioles for the first time since September 2, 3, and 4, 1974.  This is the first time since 1943 that six of our first twenty-five contests have gone into extras.  It doesn’t get much lower than that, folks.

And now, the usual commiseration.

Beckett was finally outstanding.  Finally.  Seven innings of two-run ball; he allowed six hits but no walks and six strikeouts.  Ladies and gentlemen, Josh Beckett has finally arrived! Thankfully, he didn’t take the loss.  We’ll get to that later, and with the proper amount of fury, I assure you.

Beckett was awesome.  He threw 105 pitches and basically did everything right.  He topped out at about ninety-five miles per hour.  He threw all of his pitches effectively, especially his two-seam, only two of which weren’t called strikes.  His most effective inning was the third, when seventy-five percent of his pitches were strikes.  Most of the balls he did throw were around the upper left corner of the zone; he stayed away from the lower left and upper right corners, so most of his strikes distributed themselves diagonally through the zone there.  His fastest pitches didn’t have a lot of horizontal movement on them, but vertically they were dancing all over the place.  That’s a really long way of saying that he was on.  Period.  He was efficient.  He had command.  He mixed his pitches effectively and kept the batters guessing.  He didn’t allow any hits in the clutch; the O’s left nine on base.  He did everything that his former self in April didn’t do and more.

Bard came in in relief; his inning was not clean.  He allowed two hits and a walk before making way for Paps.  But I’ll give him this: Scott struck out on a ninety-nine mile-per-hour fastball, and it was all Reimold could do to look at his changeup go by.  The kid’s good.  He struggles, but he’s good.

Paps ruined the whole thing.  Markakis walked on a full count and moved to second on Paps’s errant pickoff attempt.  What did Paps have to say?

I just didn’t get hips around and rushed it a little bit.

Then, Wigginton hit one of his signature sliders for a walkoff double.  There’s a man who’s had a good series.  So two hits, one walk, and one run later, he walked off the mound having earned himself and the team a loss, and I don’t think I have to tell you which game against which team during which October came to mind after that.  All I’m saying is that a leaky closer isn’t something that we can afford.  Besides, when did this start at all? Paps used to be lights-out.  Last night, he let Wigginton walk up to the plate and change the bulb, so to speak.  It’s maddening, all the more so because he appears to be healthy, so there’s nothing actually wrong with him.  Which is good, but you know what I mean.  The final score was 2-3 in ten innings.  Our record is now eleven and fourteen, and we are seven games out.

Tek continues to be hot at the plate and went yard in the fifth to right field.  He loves to hit Millwood.  A high fastball, and there was no doubt about that one; he pounded it.  Four hundred and two feet later, the deficit was cut in half.  Drew continues to be hot at the plate and went yard in the seventh to center field, his third jack of the weekend.  That was it.  Drew and Pedroia both finished two for four, and Scutaro walked twice.  McDonald stole; Scutaro got caught.  Youk sat out with a sore left groin but may be put back in tonight.

We left only five on base, so not only did we not make good on our opportunities, but we didn’t even have that many opportunities to make good on.  We had one in the top of the eighth, though.  With two on and two out, Pedroia singled to left, and Bogar told Tek to go home, but he was throwing out quite a few feet from the play.  Tito later backed Bogar; I don’t know about that.  Seems like it would’ve been more correct to be conservative and hold him at third, especially since he’s not exceptionally fast.  We had one in the top of the tenth.  A good one.  But with runners on first and third, Scutaro grounded to Lugo for a double play.  Yes, The Julio Lugo.

Of course, one could argue that Millwood just had an exceptional night, but it just didn’t feel like that was the only reason why we only mustered two runs.  Part of it was Millwood, but part of it was also our fault.  We need to play better.  And not constantly go to extra innings.  And not waste stellar outings by starters.

It’s like we’re just finding ways to lose now.  We’re battling and all, but we’re not winning.  Like Pedroia said, we could’ve swept Baltimore too and had a great road trip.  But we didn’t.  What we need to do is start winning.  Leaks must be stopped in the bullpen.  Starters need to pull their own weight.  And the offense needs to start putting balls in play with runners on base.  In short, we need to start playing like the good baseball team we know we are but somehow just forgot.  And we need to remember quickly.  I didn’t exactly envision us going into our series with the Angels with absolutely no momentum whatsoever.  I mean, this is an important series after last October.  We need to show the Angels now who’s boss.  And let’s not forget who’s coming to town after that.  These are opponents we need to study and games we need to win.  With a schedule like that, there’s no room for mistakes and no room for fooling around.  Buchholz has it; hopefully he can continue his strong showing.

AP Photo

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I wasn’t expecting that.  Like many of us, I’m not really sure what I was expecting from Dice-K, but I know I wasn’t expecting that.  And I hope that that was just a function of him finally returning to Major League batters and not a function of him repeating last season.

In short, he gave up six earned runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out four over four and two-thirds innings.  He also gave up two dingers, both to left field.  And he threw ninety-five pitches.  So, overall, was he efficient? No.  Did he have command? No.  Was he working the strike zone? No.  Did he mix his pitches effectively? Not really; he threw about forty fastballs and didn’t come close to that total with any of his other pitches.  And his fastball wasn’t even that exceptional, which would in part explain the loss.  It had some movement on it, but if you don’t mix it with other things, batters will read it.  I thought one of the things he was supposed to work on was diversity of pitches.  His cutter was about as effective as his fastball, but his changeup was really good and his slider was fantastic.  His two-seam and curveball didn’t do much.  But I think he could’ve used his slider and changeup more.  And he threw a good amount of pitches to the upper left and lower right corners of the zone.  His fastest pitches were those with moderate horizontal and vertical movement on them; he topped out at ninety-four, which was good to see.  But without efficiency, command, and an effective mix of pitches, it’s no wonder that he was removed from the game after putting us in a hole.  He took the loss.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story.  It was actually really good for a while.  An RBI single in the first was the only hit he allowed through four.  He was cruising and looking sharp.  Then the fifth inning hit and it went downhill from there.  Dice-K allowed six of his seven runs in that inning alone.  At one point, he was one strike away from ending the inning but couldn’t close the deal.  Despite our three-run lead through four, I might add.  He also made a throwing error, just to make sure we got the point.

Wake came on in relief and was just as bad.  Five runs (four of them in the sixth) on five hits in two and a third innings.  No walks, one strikeout, and three dingers.  Three! Two to right field, one to left.  He threw thirty-three pitches, all but two of which were knuckleballs (the other two were curveballs).  See, I would’ve thought that his status as a knuckleballer would put him a cut above the rest in the bullpen.  He doesn’t have the versatility that normally characterizes a starting pitcher, but any opposing batter who goes from a regular starter to a knuckleball reliever is going to have a tough time.  Not so last night.  No efficiency, no command, and obviously no mix of pitches, which is in some degree necessary for a relief outing.

Both of their outings were made bad by a homer by Wigginton.

Delcarmen fired a perfect inning.  He’s done well so far this season.

The final score was 9-12, so we slugged and slugged big but it wasn’t enough.  Anyway, we have some good news there.  Big Papi homered twice.  Both were solo shots to right field.  The first in the second inning barely cleared the Orioles dugout and got us on the board.  The second in the eighth barely stayed in the park itself.  In fact, I’m not entirely sure whether it did stay in the park.  It was an enormously powerful Papi-esque swing that he uncorked on that ball.  Take heed, all those who’ve said that Papi is done.  That last swing was for you.

Van Every got in on the action with a homer in the third of a knee-high fastball down the middle; his first hit in a Boston uniform this season put us on top by one.  He started because Hermida has a sore left quad.  And he robbed Jones of a base hit with a spectacular diving catch in left center in the bottom of the inning.

In the fourth, two doubles, one by Drew and one by Beltre, produced two more runs.  In the seventh, V-Mart singled one in, and Youk homered with V-Mart on base.  It was quite the blast.  He hit that ball hard; it only took a few seconds to find the right field seats.  So we held our own; we traded home run on fastball for home run on fastball with the Orioles, but like I said, it wasn’t enough.  Although I’m happy to see that Papi’s still hitting ‘em out and Drew’s still hitting, period.  Scutaro also had a good night, going two for four with a double.

It’s back to a losing streak now.  We’ve dropped our last two and are now eleven and thirteen.  So much for vaulting over .500 anytime soon.  And by the way, half the Orioles’ wins have been at our expense.  Half of them.  That’s just pathetic.  It’s pathetic for them, which makes it even more pathetic for us.  We’re only a month into the season, but that’s more time than you think.  A sixth of the season is now over, and you never know which games will matter in the end, so we need to start clawing our way to the top of the standings now before we wake up one morning and see that it’s too late.  Beckett at Millwood tonight, and we need to see some redemption from him.

How about those Bruins? A sudden-death win to start the series right against the Flyers, 5-4! Next game tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.


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Last night’s game wasn’t disappointing only because we lost.  Of course, a loss will be disappointing.  But this particular loss carried added weight in light of the skid that was our month of April because everything that we’d been doing wrong during our losing streak, we did last night.  It was a total regression.

John Lackey’s outing was one of only a few bright spots.  He pitched seven innings, gave up two earned runs on six hits, walked three, and struck out six on 120 pitches.  I’m still waiting for that pitch count to go down.  I think that’s the highest pitch count we’ve had so far this season.  He topped out at only ninety-two miles per hour.  Both of his fastballs as well as his changeup weren’t very effective.  Luckily, the majority of his pitches were sliders, cutters, and curves, which were excellent.  He threw a lot of pitches down and in, but his command was decent.  Overall, with the exception of the fact that the Orioles started the game with three straight hits which gave them a two-run lead after the first, I’d say that that was a glimpse of what we’d been looking for from him all along.  All he has to do is get that pitch count down, and he’ll be all set.

I can not in good faith say that about the rest of the team.  The rest of the team was too busy embodying our losing streak last night to warrant such an overall compliment.   Last night was our chance to rise over .500 for the first time since Opening Day.  That did not happen.  Thus, I hate to say this, but it’s only fitting that we end this month with this particular kind of loss.

Bard blew the save when Tejada homered to tie it; a 1-0 pitch over the middle.  Ramirez took the loss.  He gave up a double to Jones, and Okajima came on after they intentionally walked Markakis.  He struck out Wieters.  Maybe there was something to be said for his three days of rest, even if it was only one out.  After all, what is a good relief outing but the ability to string together a slew of single outs? Delcarmen came on, and Tejada hit is 1-2 breaking ball, which he left up over the plate, up the middle for a two-out, walkoff single.

The final score was 4-5; we lost in ten.

Drew homered twice, once in the second on something down the middle over the wall in left center and once on a high fastball in the eighth all the way through center field.  Cue the end of Drew’s April blues, which would be another bright spot.  I mean, those were good swings.  That first one was kind of an adaptive swing; he went with the pitch instead of trying to pull it, like he usually does.  Pedroia hit a rare opposite-field jack of his own that barely cleared the wall in right in the sixth, his sixth of the season.  The only run of ours that did not come via the long ball was also courtesy of Pedroia, who singled in McDonald in the seventh.  So, just like during our losing streak, we didn’t convert opportunities.  All three of those homers were solo shots.  We drew ten walks but ended up having left eleven on base.

Which brings us to point of failure number two: we were sloppy in the field.  And by “we,” I of course mean Adrian Beltre who, ironically enough, was acquired for his supposed defensive ability.  We’ve seen this all month.  Actually, it started with McDonald in the third; he bobbled a single by Tejada.  Then, Lackey walked Scott.  Then, Wigginton hit a grounder that Beltre should’ve fielded cleanly, but he threw too low and it resulted in an unearned run.  Beltre needs to thank Atkins for ending it; the bases were loaded, but Atkins hit into a double play that got Lackey out of that jam.  There was also the matter of the killed rally in the seventh; Beltre supposedly interfered on Hermida’s grounder.  A review of the footage will tell you that he had the bag; no doubt about that.  But his left hand caught Wigginton’s foot, which caused him to throw in the dirt.  However, it was clear that the double play would’ve have happened anyway.  And this yet again fuels the fire of debate over instant replay.  He was also caught stealing, by the way.

Nomar will be honored at Fenway with a pre-game ceremony on Wednesday, on Cinco de Mayo.  Perfect! And cue the well-deserved massive standing ovation.

We’re now six games out.  Considering that, before last night, we’d lost three of our four extra-inning contests, we theoretically should’ve seen this coming.  On the bright side, April is now officially over, and we can move on.  Again, we hope.  I think May will bring better things, starting of course with Dice-K.  The moment we’ve all been waiting for has now arrived.  Dice-K will start tonight in Fenway South.  But don’t necessarily expect him to go too deep because, like I said, they’ll probably want to bring him back slowly but surely.  Thankfully, his first start is coming against Baltimore, which should help ease him back into it.  After last night’s despairing loss, a win from Dice-K would be just the ticket.

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