July 18, 2006

G91: Red Sox 5, Royals 4

I would like to think that the seventh-inning stretch of tonight's game was the low point of the 2006 season.

Tim Wakefield had exited after four innings with a "strained upper back", the lowly Royals had gotten every conceivable break on batted balls, using bloops, squibs and bleeders (along with some walks and two HBP) to take a 4-0 lead.

On the other side of the scoresheet, the Red Sox either looked like Little Leaguers at the plate (Lowell's strikeout in the second and myriad other swings by just about everyone else) or hit anything hard right at an opposing fielder (Nixon's hard grounder to first in the 2nd, his line drive at Hudson to end the 4th, and his long drive to deep center in the 7th; Ortiz's line drive to second which ended the 6th when Loretta was doubled off first).

Elsewhere, Toronto had scored nine times in the 4th inning against Texas and the Yankees led Seattle 4-2 and were poised to move into first place in the East.

So ...

In the Red Sox 7th, Manny Ramirez led off with a hard single off the Wall. Nixon's drive was caught against the wall in center, but Lowell and Coco Crisp each singled and Boston had scored a run. Luke Hudson was relieved by Joel Peralta.

Doug Mirabelli took a 3-1 pitch outside, which should have loaded the bases for the Sox. But home plate umpire Jim Joyce called it a strike and Mirabelli, who had taken about three steps towards first base, had to come back. Peralta's 3-2 pitch was a fastball and the SWHB drilled it into the Monster Seats in left-center for a game-tying home run. Thanks, ump!

Belli: "I was starting to walk to first base thinking it was ball four. I took a second to regroup and in that situation you're trying to get a pitch, get a strike. Coming from 3-1 and now I'm 3-2, I had no idea what he's going to throw there at that time. I just sold out on the fastball and was fortunate."

Two singles from Loretta and David Ortiz to start the 8th inning put runners at first and third and Ramirez's sacrifice fly to left scored pinch-runner Willie Harris with the go-ahead run. (Also: Ortiz stole second when Nixon struck out. On the replay we saw that Flo had nearly stopped halfway to the bag, then turned it on again and still beat the high throw. Manny and Kevin Youkilis were going nuts in the dugout, pointing, waving and laughing. Standing at second base, Ortiz tried to hide his giggles.)

The bullpen had to work overtime tonight and the combined line of Delcarmen, Hansen, Timlin and the Papelbot was solid: 5-3-1-0-2.

Perfect example of the worthless strike zone judgment of MLB umpires: Delcarmen's 0-2 pitch to Matt Stairs in the 5th: at the belt, right over the heart of the plate. Ball 1. (Too high, I guess.) Next pitch, again at the belt, but a little bit outside, could have caught the corner. Ball 2. ... So while Bud Selig blathers about the sanctity of the All-Star Game, his umpires can't be bothered to (a) know what the fucking rule book strike zone is and (b) enforce it.

***

late rally > no rally

***

Luke Hudson (5.79) / Tim Wakefield (4.05), 7 PM

In Hudson's first start of the year, on July 7 against Toronto, he pitched five innings, allowing one run and two hits.

14 comments:

Peter N said...

Add that to the 6 runs he allows in his first 3 innings tonight, and what does that make his ERA? Just curious.

brian said...

Style points do not count in baseball. A win is a win. Mirabelli comes through at the most desperate point of the season.

The good news before the bad. Boomer sounds close to a return. This is big because it looks like Wake might be taking his spot on the DL. We can't go through another game where Jason Johnson pitches, so hopefully Wake can tough it out for his next turn and then be replaced by Wells. (All speculation and opinion at this point.)

Let's get the ship rolling again.

suzy lux said...

yep. belli is the hero 2nite.

i cannot tell you the ammount of steam beginning to form on top of my head upon glancing at my gameday window as it refreshed and refreshed showing mirabelli at the plate each time, when i thought for sure that tek would be in to replace him, down 3 runs with 2 on in the bottom of the 7th.

but of course, it was the right decision to keep him in ;)

Jack Marshall said...

Mirabelli's homer has to be one of the biggest hits of the season so far, no? A loss to KC, even thought the team is much better than it was in May, after the infuriating A's series would have been very damaging.
Keep your fingers crossed on Wake.

Jack Marshall said...

BY the Way: if Wake goes down, the Sox MUST move Papelbon into the rotation. The chances of getting a few saves by using Timlin, Hansen et al are one hell of a lot better than the chances of getting through 5 innings with the likes of Snyder, Johnson and Pauley. Spare me all the ESPN rationalizations about Paplebon not being able to adjust, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," etc. The pitching STAFF is broke, and Papelbon can fix it. You don't need a closer if you'r 5 runs down.
I really think it will be dumb beyond belief to have two slots in the rotation in tatters while a likely strong starter sits in the pen for one inning stints every couple of days. This will be a gut-check, not to mention IQ test for the Sox management.

Personally, I'd like to see the Sox go out and get Flash from the Phillies to close, and put Papelbon in the rotation from there on, whether Tim is disabled list bound or not.

Kyle said...

Yeah, I had a similar thought on getting Flash too from the Phillies. They clearly not contenders and we could use him.

It does seem counter-intuitive to have Paps out in the pen when we have great needs in the rotation.

believe it or not...Joe Morgan (who i typically don't like) has always said STARTING pitching is crucial because it saves the bullpen for when it truly is needed.

Jere said...

How about let's leave Flash Gordon and Jon Papelbon right where they are. Just my opinion.

Zenslinger said...

"The pitching STAFF is broke, and Papelbon can fix it."

If you truly think this, you are panicking.

No panicking while still in first place, says I.

Jack Marshall said...

Not panicking at all, just making rational conclusions from available data. You can win a championship with 4 out of 5 slots in the rotation solid, but not 3 of 5. If Wake is out, even for the minimum, that's an inviatation to a long losing stretch.

I really don't comprehend the logic of leaving a potentially terrific starter in the bullpen under such conditions, no matter how effective he is in the 9th.

brian said...

I've got a different opinion on how to handle this mess.

If Wake goes to the DL I wouldn't panic and deal for another retread. This can be solved internally. Until Wells is ready I would call up Van Buren and let Tavarez start until Boomer is ready to take the ball. (At the most it looks like Tavarez would make 2 starts) As much crap as Tavarez gets here, the guy is a way better option than Johnson, Pauley or Alvarez.

Clement looks like a total lost cause for this season, so it's all up to Boomer. He threw the ball well against TB before getting hurt. I believe we can survive with a Schilling, beckett, Lester, Wells, Snyder rotation and then eventually Wake taking Snyder's spot.

As for switching Papelbon back to a starter, I'm against the move, but if it were to go down I would love to see Delcarmen get a shot to close.

Jere said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jere said...

If Pap wasn't as lights-out as he is, I might agree (with him becoming a starter). But, as it is, I'd rather have him locking up nearly every game where we have a late lead than have him try to give us a win (without himself as the closer) once every five days.

Kyle said...

It is a tough call but I'm leaning more towards leaving Flash in Philly. It was a good thought but he is older and could breakdown.

I'm intrigued with the idea of allowing Tavarez to start a few games. Why not? He has pitched decent in spots. Maybe he needs something new. Might not happen if we trade him to the Rockies though.

Zenslinger said...

Who would we get from the Rockies for him?

Agree that as maddening as he's been, he has chewed up some innings for us this year. Which can't be said of Rudy; that stat Redsock posted about his first hitter reaching base was downright shocking.