Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The Sox out-muscled the Rays today, 8-6. The game shouldn’t have been that close as the Sox out-hit the Rays, 11-4.

Unfortunately, Jon Lester simply gets behind in the count too much. When he gets ahead in the count he is incredibly effective, but too often he gets behind and walks people or makes bad pitches up in the strike zone trying to catch up.

The Rays scored their six runs on only four hits. That means two things. The first is luck. They hit two homers and they did it at just the right times in order to maximize the scoring potential of their base runners. Tampa left only four runners on base in the whole game and only one over the first five innings. Every other Tampa runner to reach base scored.

The second is walks. Lester’s control problems continued last night. He’ll strike someone out on four pitches and then walk the next batter on four pitches. When a team can score six runs on four hits that means either they are an extremely patient team (not the case here), or they are getting some help from the pitcher.

Both homers Lester gave up came with two outs. The first one was after he retired the first two batters and walked the third. The second homer was a similar situation. With two down a Ray singled, Lester walked someone on five pitches and then got behind in the count to the next hitter, Iwamura. He came back to get it 3-2 but then grooved one. That brought the lead from five runs down to two.

The first homer was hit on a curveball, which to my non-scouting eye didn’t look like a bad pitch. It was down in the zone if over the plate. The second homer was a bad pitch, and I don’t need a scouting eye to determine that. It was a fastball up at the letters and Iwamura had no problem depositing it over the left field wall.

Lester, who walked four, wasn't the only Sox pitcher to have control problems today. Delcarmen walked one and hit one. Even Okajima walked Carlos Pena to lead off the eighth.

In the seventh with two down and two on Francona decided it was time to get serious. He brought Okajima on who got Carl Crawford to line to second base, but Pedroia who dropped it. It ended up in short right field and the Rays got an unearned run back. Fortunately Okajima, being Okajima, then struck out B.J. Upton to end the inning.

Papelbon came in with two down in the eighth and one on. He promptly K’d the next hitter ending the inning and then the next two to start off the ninth. He got out number four on an infield pop-up to end the game. Papelbon rocks.

A few game notes…

*JD Drew crushed one to lead off the second inning. He hit a pitch right over the heart of the plate cleanly with the fat part of the bat. It died at the warning track in straight away center field. His power is completely gone. That one should have gotten out easily. It makes one wonder if what the Globe intimated, about Drew’s shoulder sapping his power last season and maybe carrying over to this season, being true.

*Gagne didn't pitch today, but Okajima, Delcarmen and Papelbon did. Get ready, Red Sox Nation. Tomorrow is Gagne time!

*Ortiz hit a triple. Yup, a triple, as in 'not a double.'

*Every Boston batter had one hit, but only two had two hits (Ortiz and Lugo) and nobody had anymore than that.

AL East: The Yankees are getting pummeled by the Angels. The score is 18-6 in the bottom of the 6th. Garrett Anderson has 10 RBIs. The Angels have scored 5 runs since I've been editing this post. Baring a serious comeback, the Sox lead will increase to 6.0 games.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the start for the Red Sox. He goes against Edwin Jackson. Game time is 7:10pm EST.

No comments: