Sunday, July 20, 2008
Sox in desperate need of some mango salsa
Since David Ortiz injured his wrist on May 31, the Red Sox have played over .500 but it's clear to see that they lack a certain punch in their lineup, particularly late in games.
Ortiz is the most clutch hitter in baseball so it's no surprise that Boston continues to lose close games without him.
Yesterday afternoon, the Angels defeated the Sox, 4-2, in a game that Boston led, gave away then had a chance to take back before falling short.
Josh Beckett (9-6) went the distance and was lights out, except for the seventh inning. Beckett gave up all four runs in the seventh. For the afternoon, he gave up nine hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
Angels (59-38) all-star Joe Saunders didn't pick up the win but he gave his team a quality start: 6.2 innings, six hits, two runs, three walks and a strikeout. He turned it over to the normally lights out Angels bullpen and they didn't disappoint the home crowd.
Rookie Jose Arredono improved to 4-0, after recording just one out. The Sox (57-42) had set-up whiz Scot Shields on the ropes, ditto for the immortal K-Rod in the ninth, but each time Los Angeles escaped without allowing any runs.
Boston scored its only two runs of the game in the second as Manny Ramirez doubled, followed by Kevin Youkilis's 17th home run (career high) of the season.
Vladimir Guerrero opened the seventh with a solo shot off Beckett and pinch hitter Erick Aybar came through with the hit of the game-a bases clearing triple. The Sox played it by the book, walking Howie Kendrick with one out and runners on first and third to get to Aybar. Unfortunately, the utilityman ripped a grounder down the line in right past Youkilis.
In the eighth, Boston loaded the bases with rookie Jed Lowrie coming to the plate. Shields walked two in the inning but he quickly regained his control, whiffing Lowrie on three pitches. Thanks for playing.
With one out in the ninth, Dustin Pedroia (2 hits) singled to right before J.D. Drew worked a walk. Just like they'd prefer, Manny and Mike Lowell came up with the chance to tie it up or put the Sox ahead. Didn't happen though as Manny popped to second and Lowell flew out on the first pitch to left.
K-Rod now has 39 saves and is well on his way to breaking Bobby Thigpen's record of 57.
Tim Wakefield pitches against Jon Garland this afternoon as Boston tries to avoid the sweep.