Sunday, April 8, 2012
Nothing Has Changed The Fact That The Red Sox Are Still A Disaster
What's that? This isn't your shitty softball league, you need to pitch well too in order to win? Boston (0-3) apparently missed that tutorial in Spring Training as they lost 13-12 to the Tigers (3-0) this afternoon at Comerica Park in 11 innings, giving Detroit the Opening series sweep.
The Red Sox bullpen is a complete mess as Alfredo Aceves blew a three-run lead in the ninth when Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer (his 3rd of the season) and Mark Melancon (0-2) blew a two-run lead in the 11th. Alex Avila (2nd homer of the season) ended it for the Tigers with a two-out, two-strike, two-run bomb off Melancon.
In a game when Boston needed innings and a quality start, Clay Buchholz (4 innings, 8 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned) could give them neither. Well at least he was better than Detroit's starter Max Scherzer (2.2 innings, 8 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned).
Bobby Valentine made the curious decision to have Nick Punto lead off but it turned out to be a great move as he had three hits and three RBIs in his first start for the Red Sox. Another player that needed a boost, Mike Aviles, delivered with three hits, three RBIs and two runs of his own. David Ortiz added three hits, two runs and an RBI while Jacoby Ellsbury (run, walk) and Dustin Pedroia (walk, stolen base) notched two hits as well. Boston's backup catcher Kelly Shoppach was the only player in either starting lineup to not record a hit.
Detroit showed all series why they should have one of the top lineups in the American League this season. In the finale, they slugged 17 hits, 13 runs and 12 RBIs for the win. Austin Jackson led the Tigers, going 4 for 6 with three RBIs. Miguel Cabrera drove in five RBIs with three runs and three hits. Prince Fielder (2 runs) and Brennan Boesch both had two hits.
Befitting a contest that went four hours and 45 minutes, this one had some wild momentum swings. Detroit went up 4-0 in the first on Cabrera's RBI single and Jhonny Peralta's three-run double that Ellsbury dropped (very tough play). Aviles' two-run double in the second cut it to 4-2 Tigers but Cabrera added a sacrifice fly in the home of the inning.
Boston scored more runs (5) in the third than they had combined for in the previous 20 innings. Ortiz got it started with an RBI double, Aviles had an RBI single, Punto hit a sacrifice fly, Aviles scored on Scherzer's balk and Ellsbury had an RBI single which put the Red Sox up 7-5.
In the fourth, Buchholz gave it right back as Boesch hit an RBI single and a run scored on Cabrera's double-play ball.
Gonzalez crushed Boston's first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth to give the Red Sox a 9-7 advantage. Punto's infield single in the ninth gave Boston an insurance run as Darnell McDonald scored.
Punto and Pedroia had RBI singles in the 11th but Detroit answered one more time with a sacrifice fly by Delmon Young and Avila's homer.
Vicente Padilla (4 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts) was great in the 5th-8th innings while Franklin Morales (2 innings, 1 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts) in the 9th-10th was also very good. Unfortunately, nobody will remember their valuable contributions in this instance. Such is the life of a middle reliever.
Tigers reliever Duane Below (2-0) got his second win of the season by recording the last out of the 11th which at the time didn't seem like a big play whatsoever.
So where do the Red Sox go from here? They traveled to Toronto after the game and they play three against the Blue Jays (2-1) starting with tomorrow night as Felix Doubront faces Henderson Alvarez (one of Toronto's top pitching prospects). Daniel Bard gets his first start on Tuesday against youngster Kyle Drabek and then Jon Lester opposes Ricky Romero on Wednesday afternoon in what should easily be the best pitched game of the series.
At this juncture, it's hard to argue that Bard shouldn't be the Red Sox closer. He would have way more value there than as a fifth starter but maybe he just doesn't have the fortitude and mental toughness to get the job done. All I know is that Boston needs to get a win, in any manner possible before the roof really starts to cave in on Valentine and Co.
It was a weird weekend in the AL East as Baltimore is off to a 3-0 start after sweeping Minnesota while Tampa Bay is also 3-0 after sweeping the Yankees. It's the first time since 1966 that the Red Sox and Yankees have both started 0-3. So yeah, it's still always about us even when we suck.