Thursday, July 3, 2008

Red Sox Bullpen Collapses - Hands the Broom to Tampa Bay

That was one of the worst, and most depressing games the Sox have played this season. Dice-K Matsuzaka started out shaky in the first inning, walking three batters, but was fortunate that it only cost the team one run. After that, he settled in nicely, holding the Rays scoreless through 5 innings. But, with the walks come a higher pitch count. After 5 innings, Dice-K had thrown 101 pitches. Normally, there is a good chance Terry Francona would have sent him back out for the 6th inning, but this was only his third game since coming off the DL for shoulder weakness. That being the case, Tito made the prudent move to be cautious and go to the bullpen holding on to a 4-1 lead, and the nightmare was looming ahead.

Dice-K MatsuzakaFirst out of the pen was Hideki Okajima who has been like a Forrest Gump box of chocolates this season (you never know what your gonna get). Yesterday was a good day, and Okajima pitched a scoreless 6th. Next up, Manny Delcarmen (cue the gloomy music). Manny had been very shaky early in the season, and then settled in to a very nice rhythm. But, that rhythm has been faltering lately. Manny faced three batters, resulting in a double, and two singles. With the score now 4-2, Tito made the right move and yanked Manny before the game could get out of hand.

So, Craig Hansen came in with runners on 1st and 3rd, no outs. So what does he do to help? Nothing! He walks the first two batters to score a run, then gives up a double to Evan Longoria, scoring two more runs. There goes Dice-K's opportunity for a win, the score now 5-4 in favor of the Rays, and still no outs. David Aardsma got one out on a ground out, and Javier Lopez got a second on a strikeout, but gave up a two run single before getting out of the inning.

Dustin PedroiaThe 6 run 7th inning was devastating. The Red Sox tried to claw back into it, but lost by 1 run, the final score 7-6. The Sox needed some hitting, and Dustin Pedroia decided he was the guy. Here's how Pedroia's at-bats went: Home run, triple, double, fly out, double. Just a single shy of hitting for the cycle! JD Drew also hit a triple and drove in a run. So, some of the Sox cylinders where hitting, but not all of them. Manny Ramirez went 0-5, but he did bring in a run from third on a ground out.

Jason Varitek is still in a funk at the plate, and the Rays took advantage, in embarrassing fashion. In both the 5th and the 7th innings, the Rays intentionally walked Kevin Youkilis with two outs to pitch to Varitek. Varitek did not make them pay, grounding out once, and striking out the other time. He'll snap out of it, but right now, Jason is a hole in the lineup, and the other teams see that. Let's hope he finds his stroke in NYC this weekend.

That's right, while the Rays proudly hold the best record in all of baseball, the Sox and the Yankees finally meet up again, but this time in a battle for second place. This is not time for the Sox to be on a losing streak. Red Sox fans have been proclaiming they are not afraid of the Yankees, and the Yankees do not have the pitching to compete this year. Well, let's find out! Today's game features a lefty-lefty match up with Jon Lester going up against Andy Pettitte. Sounds like a fair fight. So, let's hope the Sox find some fight in them and keep the Yankees from climbing back into the race.

(Photos Courtesy of Yahoo Sports)


Suldog said...

Happy 4th, Rooster!

Sox-Yanks on the 4th. That always reminds me of the Righetti no-hitter. Let's hope for a happier 4th this year :-)

Fenway West said...

Why did you have to bring that up? Don't we have enough bad news in the Nation right now?

Rooster said...

Been away in RI for the 4th. Sox having more fun in NY than in Tampa, although the bullpen had me worried there today. And what about Lester! Nice!