Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Red Sox Road Woes Continue

Yesterday's 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners was somewhat inevitable. If you follow baseball long enough, you come to understand that everything likes to settle into its place over time. Streaks do not last, neither the positive ones nor the negative ones, and patterns will develop over time. That is why so many people get obsessed with baseball statistics and numbers, because they do ultimately have a story to tell. Last night was no exception.

Manny RamirezThe Seattle Mariners were on a 7 game losing streak, holders of the worst record in baseball, and facing the World Champion Red Sox. What happens? They win, and break the losing streak. The Red Sox had Daisuke Matsuzaka starting the game. Dice-K was undefeated at 8-0 in 10 starts prior to the game. Pattern? No decision - 4 straight wins - no decision - 4 straight wins. So what happens? No decision. Manny Ramirez had been on a streak of 45 at-bats without a home run, and broke the streak with a 3 run bomb to tie the game in the 6th inning. Manny's home run was the 499th of his career. He hit home run #400 in May of 2005 at Safeco Field, and has a chance to hit #500 there tonight. Stats all settling in to their resting places.

Jose LopezBut, not all streaks were due to expire last night. Mike Timlin entered the game with a record of 0-5 at Safeco Field, and left the game with a record of 0-6. The Sox and Mariners battled to a stalemate 3-3 tie until the bottom of the ninth inning. Timlin did not really pitch too badly, but the Mariners clawed their way to a run anyway. Wladimir Balentien started the inning with a ground ball that Alex Cora, at shortstop, was able to stop but had no play on. Miguel Cairo bunted him to second for the first out, and Jeremy Reed grounded to Dustin Pedroia for the second out, which moved Balentien to third base. With two outs, Ichiro Suzuki stepped up to the plate. Ichiro was already 2-4 on the night, and has been giving the Red Sox fits so far in this series. The Red Sox wisely opted to intentionally walk Ichiro, only needing one out to send the game into extra innings. But, Jose Lopez was not willing to cooperate. Timlin left a fastball a little too high on the inside part of the plate, and Lopez ripped it down the third base line for the game winning hit.

Miguel BatistaOther than Manny's home run, the Red Sox offense was silent. Seattle starter, Miguel Batista (who eerily resembles Bernie Williams), was expected to be clobbered by the relentless Red Sox lineup. But, Batista pitched his best game of the season lasting 7 full innings surrendering only 5 hits, the only runs coming on Manny's home run. Sean Casey, filling in for the injured Kevin Youkilis, was the exception as he went 3-4 last night. But, while Casey did his best to get on base, he had absolutely no help from his pals. There was no one for Casey to drive in, as the three batters before him went a combined 0-12, and there was no one to drive him in as the two batters behind him went 0-8.

Dice-K MatsuzakaThe concern last night is for Matsuzaka's shoulder. Dice-K reported that he felt "wrong" all night, even prior to the game. Terry Francona removed him after 4 innings, and it is being reported that he has a "tired shoulder". Well, with all the walks he's given up, of course he has a tired shoulder! There is no word yet on what this will mean. Dice-K is to be examined today and determine a course of action. As we've spoken about here, it is a good thing to have extra pitching. If Dice-K needs time off, you can expect Clay Buchholz will be called back up to take his next start. That is a good situation for the Red Sox. One starter goes down, another quality starter can step up.

Speaking of starters, tonight Tim Wakefield will try to turn his own fortunes around. Wake has been shaky in two of his last three starts. Wonder about stats and streaks? Wakefield has never won a game at Safeco Field, going 0-2 in 6 outings there. A streak is like fruit. When it is ripe, it will fall. Is Wakefield's winless streak at Safeco ripe yet? Let's hope so!

Predictions for tonight - all on gut feel...

Wakefield goes 6 2/3 innings, gives up 3 runs, gets the win.
Manny hits HR #500 prior to Wakefield's departure - ensuring him the victory.
Jacoby Ellsbury starts the game - goes head to head with Ichiro to see who can steal the most bases.

(Photos Courtesy of Yahoo Sports)

1 comment:

Peter N said...

Well, Wakes pitched BETTER, Manny didn't get that magic HR and the offense continues to struggle. The eastern time zone has to be kind to the Sox...Rooster, let me know if those DVDs came in. We can each preview the six games and the bonus features and write a co-authored review, if you wish. Thanks.