Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Red Sox Crawl Out of Minnesota

Manny RamirezThe Red Sox lost by a score of 7-3 last night to the Minnesota Twins. After just having won three out of four from the Tigers, the Sox have now lost three out of four to the Twins to break even on the current 10 game road trip. Last night it was Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz who got things going in the first inning. Coco Crisp lead off the game with a double (and he was not even using his powerful pink bat), Dustin Pedroia bunted him over to third (what better player for some small ball than little Dustin Pedroia?), and David Ortiz singled to score Crisp. Manny followed Ortiz with a long shot over the 'Hefty Bag' right field wall for his 498th career home run. When Manny is hitting with power to the opposite field, it is a sign he is getting in a groove. Watch for him to have a hot week or so.

Livan HernandezWith the Sox opening the game with a 3-0 lead, things looked promising for the Boston nine. But, unfortunately those were all the runs the Sox would score, as Minnesota was able to keep the Sox off the scoreboard behind the crafty pitching of Livan Hernandez. Livan did not use blazing speed, he simply dazzled with good location, lots of off-speed breaking stuff, and kept the Sox guessing all night. Clay Buchholz looked more dazzling, and also more predictable to the Twins hitters. For the second straight night, the Red Sox got a sub-par performance from their starter as Clay only lasted 4 1/3 innings giving up 7 earned runs on 8 hits, 5 walks, and 4 strike outs. No surprise that Clay remains a work in progress. He clearly has talent, and occasionally throws a gem of a game, but can easily follow that up with a few mediocre games. He is in a good place to grow, learn, and evolve as a big time pitcher. We'll just have to accept that we'll be on a bit of a roller coaster this season with him.
Clay Buchholz
The Sox bullpen looked great last night with Javier Lopez, Craig Hansen, and Mike Timlin combining to hold the Twins scoreless over the last 3 2/3 innings allowing only 3 hits and no walks. Shame to waste such a solid effort on a night where the offense could not keep up. The bullpen morphed again last night as Julian Tavarez was designated for assignment to make room for the return of Sean Casey from the DL. I like the move as it shows Hansen the Sox have confidence in him and want to see him stick in Boston and make this his true debut season. They may miss Tavarez, as he provides reasonably dependable long relief, but with the quality of starters, and the tendencies they've noticed this season, the Red Sox just did not feel like they'd be taking a big risk by letting Tavarez go. Hansen seemed to get a lift from the news and channeled the excitement into an impressive 7th inning, feeding the Twins a steady dose of fastballs and sliders to induce two ground outs and a strike out. If Hansen is truly ready, he can be an important part of this bullpen, providing the critical bridge to Okajima and Papelbon - a role that Manny Delcarmen was expected to fill, but has so far fallen short.

The Sox head east to play two games in Baltimore. Josh Beckett faces off against Jeremy Guthrie tonight. You can count on Beckett halting the current two game losing streak. Wednesday it will be Jon Lester facing Daniel Cabrera in a more evenly matched game. If Manny stays hot, stealing two from the Orioles will be within reach, and a great way to wrap up the road trip.


gingerly said...

I think you're right about Manny. Seems he has an off and an on switch. It's definitely on right now.

Your write-up of the game made it sound like it wasn't all that bad. You're right. We got some good pitching, just not from Clay.

By the way, when I watch Clay pitch, I always have the same thought: "He looks like he needs two cups less coffee." He seems a tad over the edge, in a way that makes him pitch too fast. Just a thought.

Let's hope tonight brings a win.

Rooster said...

About Manny - it is true, when he is really on he drive the ball deep both ways - last night's HR to right field was a good sign!

Good point about Clay - he does get wound up and it might affect his location.

Gotta look on the bright side - it's just a game after all.

I predict a win given the pitching matchups, and the Sox hitting well right now!

Suldog said...

Amazing thing. I was so engrossed in the Celtics last night, I utterly forgot the Sox were playing. Went to bed after the loss, didn't even think about the Sox until this afternoon. A first, for sure.

Matt said...

Once again we need Beckett to right the ship....what will we do if he doesn't come through one of these games.

Peter N said...

And they keep on CRAWLING! Geez!! And even Josh couldn't do it, giving up a season high eleven hits. It can only get better.....