Thursday, August 26, 2010
How have Ichiro and Felix Hernandez not demanded a trade out of Seattle?
Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki are two of the best players in Major League Baseball and yet they will continue to toil in obscurity until they get out of rainy Seattle.
True to form, the Red Sox (73-55) had a nice opportunity to build some momentum yesterday and they did that, well kind of but not really.
They beat the Mariners (50-77) 5-3 in game 1 of a day-night doubleheader before losing to King Felix (10-10) 4-2 in the nightcap.
The Rays got blown out by the Angels and the Yankees lost once again to the Blue Jays, but after one long day at Fenway, Boston was still 5.5 games back in the AL East and wild card.
Game 1 was a sort of Josh Beckett (4-3) mirage: he pitched great (albeit against a pathetic lineup) for six innings then nearly coughed up a 4-0 lead.
The Red Sox were up 4-0 thanks to an infield single by Adrian Beltre in the sixth, Mike Lowell's sacrifice fly and Daniel Nava's two-run single off former Sox scrub David Pauley.
Russell Branyan hit a solo homer off Beckett in the seventh and then former Sox first baseman Casey Kotchman cranked a two-run homer.
Bye Josh. He went 6.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
Daniel Bard pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and Jonathan Papelbon had a 1-2-3 ninth for his 32nd save.
In the nightcap, Boston waved the white flag before the game even began: subbing Tim Wakefield for Jon Lester, who will pitch the opener at the Rays tomorrow night.
Wakefield (3-10) pitched about as well as could be expected in a no-win situation: 5.2 innings, four runs (three earned) on eight hits with two strikeouts.
Hernandez lowered his ERA to an absurd 2.47 (second in the AL to Clay Buchholz) with 7.1 innings of ace stuff: two runs (one earned) on four hits with a walk and nine strikeouts.
Beltre and Terry Francona were both tossed in the third thanks to a misunderstanding by a rookie umpire, perfect. He thought Beltre was talking trash to him when in fact, he was gabbing with Felix, his former teammate. It's been that kind of season.
Ichiro scored in the first on Branyan's ground out. Jose Lopez drove in two in the third inning with a single.
Ryan Kalish scored on a wild pitch in the third but Matt Tuiasosopo (3 hits) had an RBI double in the sixth.
J.D. Drew closed out the scoring with a solo homer to center in the sixth.
Brandon League recorded the last five outs for the save.
With three in Tampa Bay this weekend: Lester vs. Price, Buchholz vs. Garza and Shields vs. Lackey, the Red Sox need to win at least two games to prolong this agony. If they can somehow sweep the Rays, this will get very interesting but don't count on it.