Two HBP, two singles, a stolen base and a three-run home run gave Chicago a 5-0 lead after one inning. Clement had an easy second -- because Jason Varitek threw out Scott Podsednik trying to steal second -- but got hit (literally) in the third.
Clement allowed a one-out home run to Paul Konerko (6-0), then was drilled in the leg by a Carl Everett comebacker. Clement recovered and threw Everett out, and Tito and the trainer came out to see if Clement was hurt. This might have been the best time to pull him. (It was hard to figure out when the Red Sox pen got up; ESPN was unable to give that information.) Jeremi Gonzalez is on the roster for exactly this situation. Bronson Arroyo would have been a good choice, also.
Francona kept Clement in the game. His first pitch to Aaron Rowand was fouled straight back -- and Clement visibly flinched. Rowand lined out to left. Through three innings, Clement wasn't fooling anyone. Even with a wide strike zone he was failing, throwing weak fastballs and flat sliders, and missing location on just about every pitch that ended up being lined for a hit.
Boston scored twice in the fourth -- singles from Trot Nixon and Varitek, a double by Kevin Millar and an infield error -- to cut the score to 6-2. For some reason, Francona let Clement start the fourth. Big mistake, and one many Sox fans were first-guessing.
AJ Pierzynski ripped Clement's second pitch into the right field corner for a double. After Jose Crede flew to right, Juan Uribe crushed a two-run home run to left. 8-2.
Finally, Francona decided Clement was done. How many other managers would leave in a totally ineffective starter to surrender eight runs in 3.1 innings of a playoff game? ... It was the continuation of Clement's horrible September (33 innings, 38 hits, 24 runs, 16 walks).
(If you're wondering if Clement's poor second half was perhaps caused (in part) by getting hit with the line drive in Tampa, SoSHer soxfaninyankeeland posted this:
In the four starts before getting hit in the head, Clement threw 25 innings, gave up 28 hits, 10 walks and 22 earned runs for an ERA of 7.92. The Tampa Bay game is a convenient demarcation point, but he pitched poorly before it happened, and pitched well for a short time after it happened.)And when he went to the pen, Francona brought in -- not Gonzalez, not Arroyo -- but one of the OOgies, Chad Bradford. Chadford retired the four guys he faced, on only 17 pitches, so he should be able to face a couple of guys tomorrow. (Or he better be, or his use today was even stupider.)
Gonzalez allowed four runs in the sixth (walk, HBP, single, 3-run HR). In the eighth, Arroyo allowed a home run to the first hitter he faced (Pierzynski, who hit a double, two home runs and scored four times), then walked two guys and allowed an RBI single.
I would have liked to have seen either of those two in the third or fourth. They might have pitched just as poorly if they had been used earlier -- or they might have pitched better. It's impossible to know, but using them when the game was within reach would have made more sense.
Why did Francona keep Arroyo out of a 6-2 game in the fourth inning, but had him pitch in the eighth inning of a 12-2 game? It made no sense.
Yanking Clement earlier might not have made much of a difference. Jose Contreras, emboldened with the early lead, pitched well, aided by many impatient Red Sox hitters. In both the first and third innings, Manny Ramirez came up with a runner in scoring position and ended the rally by hacking at the first pitch. ... Contreras threw six pitches in the sixth; he needed only nine for the seventh.
A horrible loss, but let's remember it's only one game. If Wells pitches effectively and the bats do even a fraction of what they can do, Boston will win, the series will be tied, and the Red Sox will have home field advantage in a best 2-of-3. (Though who do you want in a potential Game 5: Clement or Arroyo?)