Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sox Suffer First Lost

Porcello pitched well but lost due to lack of run support (Boston Globe)
 The Boston Red Sox, my pick to win the American League this year, remained undefeated for exactly one game. Maybe I should start re-thinking that prediction.

The afterglow of Boston's 8-0 Opening Day beatdown faded quickly, as the Red Sox lost 4-2 last night. With the game time temperature dipping below 40 degrees, Boston's bats went cold after blasting five home runs in Monday afternoon's slugfest, managing just two singles and no runs through the first seven innings.

Rick Porcello and Aaron Harang, both debuting with their respective teams, traded scoreless frames until the sixth, when Philadelphia broke through for three runs. After fanning Ryan Howard to open the bottom of the frame, Porcello hiccuped. A walk, a single, and a just-enough homer to Jeff Francoeur of all people (of course he plays for the Phillies) made it 3-0 Philly in an eyeblink. Porcello got out of the inning without further damage, but his mistake to Frenchy ultimately cost his new team the game.

With Philadelphia leading 4-0 in the top of the eighth, having added an insurance run on a Chase Utley sacrifice fly, Boston rallied against Ken Giles. A Darin Ruf fielding error, Xander Bogaerts' single, and three walks--the last a bases loaded free pass to Pablo Sandoval--let in two Red Sox runs. With the bases still loaded and two down, Ryne Sandberg called for his closer, Jonathan Papelbon, to get out of the jam against his former team.

For a heart-stopping moment, the substitution appeared to backfire when Hanley Ramirez--his bat still smoldering from his pair of Opening Day homers--unloaded on an 0-1 pitch, driving it high and deep towards the left-center field wall. A couple months from now it probably lands in the seats, but the cold caused it to die on the warning track just shy of the 374 sign.

The next two Boston at-bats ended similarly, with fly balls harmlessly dropping into the mitt of Phillies left fielder Ben Revere. With the Sox down to their last out, Ryan Hanigan reached on catcher's interference, bringing the potential tying-run to the plate in the form of Bogaerts.  It was a classic baseball matchup of a battle-tested closer staring down the eager kid at the plate. This time, experience won out, as Pap whiffed Bogaerts to end the game and earn his 326th career save.

Other notes: the recently-extended Porcello pitched very well until his sixth-inning speed bump, but let's wait and see how he fares against a real lineup...Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, and Hanley Ramirez went a combined 0-for-10 after hitting five home runs between them on Monday...Mike Napoli went 0-for-4 in place of David Ortiz...Sandoval notched his first Red Sox hit, going 2-for-3 with an RBI walk...Boston's struggles with runners in scoring position continued, as they are now 2-for-13 in such situations...Francoeur's long ball was the only extra base hit of the game...There was some sloppy defense, with both teams making two errors resulting in three unearned runs...Philadelphia had twice as many runs and twice as many hits as Boston...Both teams left six men on base.

Boston will look to take the rubber game today behind Justin Masterson, making his first start for the Red Sox since 2009. Philadelphia will counter with ground-baller David Buchanan, fresh off a solid rookie season in which he posted a 3.75 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 117 and 2/3 innings. With tonight's forecast looking cold and rainy, don't expect much offense.

No comments:

Post a Comment