Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Red Sox Bullpen Stumbles in Loss to Orioles

The Red Sox bullpen had recently been on a good run of solid, consistent pitching. Until last night. Josh Beckett had an okay outing, but was far from stellar. He lasted 6 innings allowing 4 earned runs, and left the game holding on to a 6-4 lead. Hideki Okajima came in and looked terrible. He simply did not have his command last night. After striking out the lead-off batter, he issued a walk, gave up a double, and another walk to load the bases. Terry Francona left him in, hoping he could work out of the jam. He could not. Instead, he gave up a well hit single to Aubrey Huff that drove in 2 runs, tying the game at 6 runs a piece. Okajima has been a mystery this year. He'll go an outing or two looking just fine, and then blow up like last night. What seems to be coming clear, is that, when he is off his game, he is off. Therefore, Francona should have him on a shorter leash, at least for a while. If he gets in a serious jam, get him out, he does not have his stuff.

Manny Delcarmen did a very nice job of getting the Sox out of the 7th inning, and pitched a scoreless 8th inning. Then, Craig Hansen followed Okajima's lead and had a sloppy ninth inning, also giving up 3 runs (only two were earned) and putting the game out of reach. So, not a proud day for the bullpen.
JD Drew Homers
The offense fared well, particularly JD Drew and Manny Ramirez who hit back to back home runs in the 5th inning. JD Drew has been doing a fabulous impersonation of David Ortiz ever since Ortiz went on the DL. Drew has been so dangerous, that Orioles' manager, Dave Trembley, had to make moves to the bullpen in the 7th inning to try and contain JD, sending in the left handed pitcher, Jamie Walker, who was able to strike Drew out. Manny has also been on a tear ever since hitting his 500th home run in Baltimore. Yesterday, the Red Sox honored Manny's historic home run in a pre-game ceremony, and Manny later sent home run number 505 over the Monster.

Manny Ramirez HonoredJacoby Ellsbury was back in the lineup, playing left field, for the first time since spraining his wrist last week. The wrist was still tender, and you could see him wince when we would swing and miss at the plate. I would not be surprised if he gets tonight off to ensure he does not suffer a setback. In the past, my only criticism of Ellsbury has been that he has not yet gotten comfortable playing fly balls right up against the wall. Based on last night, that is still the case as he jumped up in front of the Green Monster to try and snare a fly ball. The catch would have ended the inning, but, while it was catchable, Ellsbury missed it by a foot and two runs scored. It was certainly a tough play, but one he has yet to get comfortable making. Coco Crisp, on the other hand, is quite adept at snaring balls up on the outfield fence, and did so in center field last night to end the 4th inning in dramatic style. Maybe he can work with Ellsbury to help fill that last gap in the kid's development.

Tonight, the Sox will have their work cut out for them as they face the left handed Garrett Olson tonight. Olson has been the Orioles' toughest pitcher this year. He faced the Red Sox once this year on May 31 out in Baltimore. He gave up back to back solo home runs to Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, but allowed only one other hit in the 5 innings he pitched. If he is able to keep the Sox run production down, Bartolo Colon will have to pick up his game and keep pace. A native of the Dominican Republic, I imagine Colon is comfortable in hot weather. Tonight, he'll certainly have hot weather on his side. We can certainly use a solid outing from the big guy.

(Photos Courtesy of ESPN)

3 comments:

Suldog said...

Not a great Boston sports night, overall.

I have great optimism concerning the C's, of course. They played horribly, at least on the offensive end, and almost stole game three. Any sort of decent night from PP or KG and they win.

Sox? As you said yesterday, depth. They are amazingly deep, and that will stand them in good stead throughout the long season. I think we'll be looking at 100 wins by the time this is over. We'll see.

Fenway West said...

I missed most of the C's game because of a softball game ,we won 7-1 and are now 2-0, but I turned it on the radio just in time for Kobe to hit the 3. I was surprised they were even in the game in the 4th, I thought it would be an LA blowout. If they can win one in la la land they will win the series.

As for the Sox, man was I way off on my Beckett prediction...1 step up and 2 steps back.

I have started a new site with feeds from all the good sox sites at bosoxnews.com

Rooster said...

Sul - thanks for stopping by. I am curious to see how Colon does tonight! Gotta keep that depth (and width too for him!) working!

FW - I also predicted a good game by Beckett - oh well! I'll check out the new site.