Red Sox - 200 020 060 - 10 13 3On the 91st anniversary of Dutch Leonard's no-hitter against the Tigers in Detroit, Josh Beckett was well on his way to duplicating Leonard's 1918 feat.
Tigers - 000 000 050 - 5 3 1
He was seven outs away when Curtis Granderson lined a clean single to right field. Beckett finished the inning with a strike out ... and then things got a wee bit crazy.
A total of 11 runs were scored in the eighth inning. David Ortiz and Jason Varitek banged consecutive two-run doubles in the top half, then Boston committed three infield errors so all five of Detroit's runs -- three of which scored on a Granderson triple off Daniel Bard -- were unearned.
An injury to Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell's ejection meant the Sox went into the bottom of the ninth with an infield of Nick Green at 3B, Julio Lugo at SS, Dustin Pedroia at 2B and Mark Kotsay at 1B. Takashi Saito loaded the bases in the ninth, but escaped without allowing a run.
The Rangers beat the Yankees 4-2, so Boston and New York are once again tied for first place at 31-22.
Josh Beckett (4.60, 105 ERA+) / Armando Galarraga (5.50, 84 ERA+)
Josh Beckett made five starts in May:
I would like to see that continue.34 innings, 28 hits, 12 walks, 28 strikeouts
2.38 ERA, Opponents hit .222/.293/.341
Jacoby Ellsbury, on his low walk totals:
Everybody talks about you need to walk more, but in order to walk more, they have to throw you balls. A lot of these teams, when you're fast, they don't want to throw you balls. They're going to pound the zone before they're going to try to nibble at the corners. ...Do fast guys draw fewer walks? I have no idea, but SoSHer SoxScout notes:
As a fast player, as a leadoff guy, they're not going to pitch around me. It makes it tough to walk. If you go up trying to walk you get down in the count. If the pitch is there you have to be swinging at it. You can't be taking (good) pitches just to walk.
Going down the SB leaderboard, it takes to #37, Cesar Izturis, to find a worse walk rate than Ells' 4%.While some of what Ellsbury says makes me absolutely cringe -- "You can't be taking (good) pitches just to walk" -- as if batters go to the plate planning to walk -- he does make a bit of sense.
He knows he doesn't have a lot of power, so most pitchers will not nibble. They are likely to challenge him with fastballs -- and he has seen fastballs almost 70% of the time this year. If he slugged more, pitchers might be willing to concede a walk rather than a double or a dong. Ellsbury, though, will have to earn any walk he gets.
His current OBP of .342 is only a tad below his career mark of .345 -- in close to 1,000 plate appearances. This may be the player he is -- and the criticism of him may come from unrealistic expectations after his amazing finish in 2007.
Here are his 2009 splits:
PA AVG OBP SLG SB CSSheesh, even his running game suffers against lefties. Rocco Baldelli has played only two games in center field this season, usually filling in for J.D. Drew in right. If Baldy's knee is feeling okay, it would be nice to see him in center field against lefties -- like, say, Dontrelle Willis on Thursday afternoon.
vs RHP 158 .338 .373 .426 17 2
vs LHP 74 .232 .274 .261 5 4
Also: Hideki Okajima has the longest scoreless-innings streak on the team this season. It is currently at 15.2, two outs better than Ramon Ramirez's run of 15 earlier this year.