Thursday, April 10, 2008

Power Outage Continues

Red Sox lost last night 7-2 to the long overdue Tigers. We knew that was coming - just didn't know when. A team like the Tigers was certainly not going to winless for much longer.

I spoke about Jon Lester in the past stating that he has to have sharp command to be effective. Last night he looked very strong, regularly hitting 93 mph with his fastball, but he had trouble consistently spotting it. His off speed pitches were good, but like I said before, when his fastball command is off, batters take advantage. The result was 5 hits, 4 walks, and NO strikeouts. The good news is that he looked strong - perhaps too strong. Sometimes when a pitcher is feeling too strong he has trouble with control - ball tends to sail a bit coming out of your hand.

Mike Lowell made a terrific play in the second inning, but twisted his thumb fielding the ball and is now day-to-day with a sprain. Luckily it is only a sprain. Francona moved Youkilis over to third and inserted Sean Casey in at first base, batting in Mike Lowell's spot. This created a bit of an achilles heel for Tito in terms of baseball strategy. The new lineup now featured Casey (lefty), JD Drew (lefty), Varitek (switch but prefers lefty), and Ellsbury (lefty). Tigers' manager Jim Leyland took advantage of that in the 6th inning by bringing in the left handed pitcher, Bobby Seay with no outs, and Manny Ramirez on first. The strategy worked for Leyland as Casey flied out, Drew struck out, and Varitek flied out. Seay came back out for the 7th and got the last lefty, Jacoby Ellsbury to also fly out. So, while Casey batted well in Lowell's spot (going 4 for 4 and scoring a run) it did make the lineup vulnerable to a good lefty reliever.

Julio Lugo's name appeared quite a bit. In the 4th, he barely escaped a throwing error as the ump missed a close call in the Sox' favor, but in the 5th he made a great play on a tough shot getting Gary Sheffield out at first. Lugo also contributed with the bat, going 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI, and a stolen base. Oh, wait, the ump missed that one too, this time not in ourfavor as Lugo was called out stealing. My read of the replay was that he was safe by a beat.

The real trouble, again, was an offense that still cannot get going. The Sox had 9 hits, but only scored 2 runs, with the top of the order (Pedroia, Youk, and Ortiz) going a combined 0 for 12. Papi still can't hit his way out of a paper bag, and it is hurting our run production.

Through 9 games this season the Sox are 4-5 and have been outscored 41-30! Consider last season at this point they had outscored opponents 43-28. They were 5-4 at this point last year, so it is not like they have suddenly dropped off. But, the bats need to get going, particularly the bat of Big Papi.

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