Saturday, June 14, 2008

Reds Beat Red Sox in Opener

The Cincinnati Reds took the first game of the three game series by the score of 3-1 yesterday. The game featured a good pitching match-up with Justin Masterson starting for the Red Sox against Aaron Harang for the Reds. Masterson has been terrific in his 5 starts for the Red Sox, and continued that excellence yesterday. He lasted 6 2/3 innings only allowing 3 runs, which is normally good for a win when you are a starter on the Red Sox. Unfortunately, Harang was just a bit better as he went 7 innings allowing only one run, an RBI single by Manny Ramirez to score Jacoby Ellsbury who had doubled in the fourth inning.
Justin Masterson
Reds' fans must feel encouraged today. Harang entered the season as the ace of their pitching staff, but has had a rather disappointing season thus far. Going into last night, Aaron had a record of 2-9, and had not had a win since May 12. Since then he has been struggling right up until his last start against the Marlins on June 8, when he gave up 7 earned runs in a 9-2 loss. But, last night, Harang pitched like the pitcher the Reds had expected him to be. Harang held the Red Sox to 4 hits, struck out 7, and did not walk anybody. The Red Sox do have a history of faring poorly against pitchers they have never faced, and that may very well have played in Harang's favor. Whatever the reason, he simply kept the Red Sox from getting any momentum, and spoiled a fine outing by Masterson.
Aaron Harang
Manny Ramirez had proclaimed that his leg felt good enough to play left field, and it was a good thing as he drove in the Sox' only run. But, late in the game he tweaked the hammy again and was replaced by Coco Crisp. Manny will sit out today's game, and the timing is not great with the Red Sox going up against Edinson Volquez (try saying that 5 times fast). Volquez is having a super season boasting a 9-2 record with a minuscule 1.56 ERA. That is not the type of pitcher you want to face with both Manny and David Ortiz out of the lineup. Not only are both of the Sox marquis sluggers sidelined, but there is no DH while playing in a National League park, so Tim Wakefield will be batting ninth. The Sox lineup will be significantly weakened.

The key to the Red Sox scoring runs today may be to leverage the speed this lineup can offer with both Ellsbury and Crisp in the outfield, and Julio Lugo at short. Those three can all create trouble on the bases. If they can get on, steal bases, get in scoring position, the Sox may be able to squeeze in a run here and there - particularly if JD Drew, Mike Lowell, and Kevin Youkilis decide to wage another game of who can hit the most home runs this year. All three are currently tied with 10 a piece. If the speedsters can get on base, the sluggers may be able to do some damage.

The last piece of the puzzle will be shutting down the Reds' offense. The Sox will have an excellent defensive alignment today, so it will come down to how effective Tim Wakefield's knuckle ball is. The Reds probably don't see very many knuckle balls, so if Wakefield can make it dance, he ought to have a solid outing.

Now get out there, get the lawn mowed, get your chores done, and head back in at 3:55 to watch the battle begin!

(Photos Courtesy of ESPN)

6 comments:

Fenway West said...

How did you know I had to mow the lawn?

Rooster said...

LOL!

Peter N said...

But then, Rooster, there was yesterday afternoon...devastation right into jubilation. GO GREEN, and rest in peace, Tim Russert. Boy, what do we do without him?

Rooster said...

Peter - hey! Happy Father's Day.

Sox won a tough game for sure. They'll have to try to do it again with a wekened lineup. Let's hope Beckett is on his game.

snowflake said...

Happy father's day. keep up the excellent write-ups

Rooster said...

Thank you Snowflake!