Red Sox - 142 000 100 - 8 14 3Bill James would not approve. Tie game, bottom of the 9th. Who should you put on the mound? Your closer or the worst pitcher on the team?
Spiders - 124 000 101 - 9 13 0
Sadly, Terry Francona chose Option B. And the Red Sox's 11-game winning streak is now history. I can only assume that he hoped to squeak through the 9th (the 8-9-1 hitters were up), maybe get a run or two with FY-Flo-Yook-Drew in the 10th and go to Jonathan Papelbon to nail it down. The only problem with that strategy is you have to not allow a run in the 9th!
Javier Lopez gave up a single to Mark DeRosa (who had homered in the 7th to tie the game at 8-8) to start the final inning. Ben Francisco bunted the runner to second and Grady Sizemore struck out. Lopez went to a full count on Asdrubal Cabrera, who whacked a grounder to the right side.
Kevin Youkilis half-dived to his right, snared it, turned and lobbed an easy, underhanded toss to Lopez. The pitcher and the ball were at the bag in plenty of time, and Lopez's foot was on the base, but he looked down anyway, and the ball clanked off his glove and rolled into foul territory.
Lopez then fell down and Youkilis raced after the baseball, but it was too late. DeRosa was crossing the plate.
Lopez: From a LOOGY to a LWCGAOIHGDMFLDOI.
The Red Sox failed to score in the top of the ninth, with runners at the corners and one out. Nick Green was overmatched on three fastballs and Jacoby Ellsbury lined the ball right to Cabrera at second.
Toronto beat the Royals 8-1, so we are back in 2nd place. The Yankees broke a scoreless tie in Detroit with 10 runs in the seventh and beat the Tigers 11-0.
Brad Penny (7.80, 65 ERA+) / Anthony Reyes (4.76, 102 ERA+)
The first place Red Sox (13-6) -- by a slim .017 over the Blue Jays (14-7), but atop the East nonetheless -- continue their series in Cleveland.
Julio Lugo may get his first start of the season tonight. I somewhat fear Tito putting Lugo at leadoff, but I'm now confident that (a) Lugo will be eased into the lineup/regular playing time and (b) Ellsbury's hitting and overall play have improved enough to dispell Francona of that idea.
Only three Red Sox players have ever faced Reyes -- and one of them is Penny! J.D. Drew is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and Jason Bay is 3-for-6 with a walk.
Of the five Spiders to have seen Penny previously, three are pitchers. Mark DeRosa is 8-for-27 and Tony Graffanino is 1-for-6 (but 0-for-his-last-5). (Graffanino has a -11 OPS+ in 24 plate appearances this year!)
Note: The Yankees' run differential is worse than that of the hapless Nationals, owners of the worst record in baseball:
W L PCT RS RA DIFFNew York's Phil "The Franchise" Hughes makes his 2009 debut (6.62 ERA in 2008) in Detroit at 7 PM. ... Jays in Kansas City.
Yankees 9 10 .474 102 126 - 24
Nationals 4 14 .222 85 107 - 22