Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pitching Can Also Lose Games

Well, for anyone who thinks a low scoring game is boring, you must have had fun last night. On a night when the Sox offense was on a roll, the pitching imploded. The Yankees had a very similar problem. The two teams went toe to toe for the most part. After 5 innings both teams had gone through 2 pitchers with the Red Sox giving up 11 runs, while the Yankees gave up 9 runs. Both teams needed a reliever to stop the bleeding. The Yankees found theirs in LaTroy Hawkins who pitched two scoreless innings, and the Red Sox found theirs in David Aardsma who also pitched two scoreless innings. But, to end the game, the Sox brought in Mike Timlin who was (again) unable to hold back the dam and gave up 4 more insurance runs to the Yankees. Game over. Yankees win 15-9.

The good news, for Sox fans, is that the Red Sox were able to clobber Yankee ace Chien-Ming Wang, who had pitched a 2-hitter against them only last week. The bad news is that Clay Buchholz got just as clobbered. So far, Clay looks like a pitcher who has potential, but still needs more work in Pawtucket. Here's what I expect. Clay will get 2 more starts, probably fare moderately well, but not brilliantly. Right around that time, Bartolo Colon will be declared fit and ready to go, and we'll see Colon come up and Clay go down. That's more good news - we have a starter working his way up to help out. We also have the possibility of Curt Schilling making it back up sometime this summer.

The Yankees caught a break in the 5th when Melky Cabrera went a mile out of the base path to break up a double play. The rule is that he has to be able to reach second base when he slides, but in this case he was sliding out to center field, no where near the bag. The ump should have made the call, which would have resulted in the runner at first being out, ending the inning. As is turned out, it only cost the Sox one run - and gave Julio Lugo a cheap error in his stats.

Here's a worrisome quote from Terry Francona...

"Tonight, we go to Tavarez, and if he struggles, that's what happens. We really didn't have anywhere else to go," said Francona.

We didn't have anywhere else to go because Kyle Snyder had been cut loose! Theo Epstein needs to be out there looking for dependable middle relief!

When you score 9 runs and lose, in my mind you really let one get away. The other piece of good new for the Sox is that our #5 pitcher is the one who got hammered. For the Yankees, it was their #1 ace pitcher. Not a good thing. The Red Sox send their ace, Josh Beckett, to the mound tonight to face Mike Mussina. You would think this one should go to the Red Sox, but we'll see. If Beckett and Mussina pitch the way you'd expect, and the Sox bats (Ramirez, JD Drew) stay hot, the game is in the bag. I'd look for a classic pitching night for the Sox - Beckett goes 7 innings, Okajima pitches and 8th, and Papelbon closes her out. The only worry is that Beckett has been tiring around the 6th inning, so (gasp) we might need middle relief!

Lastly, start worrying about injuries. The list is growing with Kevin Youkilis fouling a pitch off of his toe, and Alex Cora going the DL for an elbow strain. To replace Alex Cora, the Sox are bringing up Joe Thurston from Pawtucket. With Youk likely sitting out tonight, the Sox are expected to play Jed Lowrie at third base, and Sean Casey at first. Not a good sign to be missing your two starting corner infielders.


Suldog said...

Papi still struggling is troublesome. The rest of the O has picked up the pace, so not too bad, but the pop-up and K last night came in bad spots.

(Not that there are good spots for them, but you know what I mean.)

Rooster said...

You are so right. He did get one timely single that drove in a run and he came around to score. But his other 4 at bats were weak ground balls and a strike out.

How about at least moving him around in the order for a bit? Put JD Drew in the 3rd spot, Manny 4th, and Youk 5th? Ortiz can hit 6th until he breaks out.

the blue state blogger said...

"Theo Epstein needs to be out there looking for dependable middle relief!"

Unfortunately, he's got a lot of competition. Everyone's BP is lousy.

Although the Ortiz idea is reasonable, the idea that Francona would ever more him out of the third spot is inconceivable.

~**Dawn**~ said...

One positive thing about Papi: he is at least making contact & getting some long fly outs now. I just blogged about this yesterday actually. A nice warm night & some of those hits the last couple of days would have been gone.

We do have Snyder back in the fold now. He's been given a contract in Pawtucket. And I would not be surprised if we see him sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

You said it- Ay-yi-yi with all of the injuries (Youk, Cora, Lowell, and on & on & on)!

I was also pleasantly surprised that what happened to Clay also happened to the Yankee's precious & valued Chien-Ming. Take that CM, though it would have been sweeter if the Sox had prevailed.

Bring on Beckett (and a win)!

Rooster said...

bsb: There does indeed seem to be a shortage all around baseball for relievers. Maybe they are all coming off steroids and HGH and now they are not good anymore? I think my batting order proposal is good, but you are right, moving Papi down in the order would be a huge controversy in Boston.

Dawn: I had not heard they managed to keep Snyder. I'm happy about that! Both he and Tavarez can be up and down, so between the two maybe one will always be hot?

Caroline: Definitely need Beckett to step up. Can't lose two straight to the enemy. But, the backups also need to step up with the injuries! Losing Youk hurts, especially with Papi cold.

~**Dawn**~ said...

Nobody picked him up off waivers, so he took the Sox up on their offer to sign in Pawtucket. He was hoping for a major league gig somewhere, but he said in light of receiving no offers (or was it no *good* offers, not sure), he was thrilled to stay with the Sox organization. Whatever the case, I'm glad he is still ours. I guess we couldn't just send him down in the first place because he was out of options. He had to be placed on waivers & clear it before we could offer him an actual contract to go to AAA.

Rooster said...

Thanks for that update Dawn. I knew he was out of options and had to clear waivers, but I have to admit I thought he was gone. I was sure someone would pick him up, especially with relief pitching in high demand right now.