Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Oakland Spoils Will Middlebrooks's Debut, Take The Series (2-1) At Fenway
Oakland (13-13, 7-6 away) also took the series (2-1) as Boston (11-13, 4-7 home) has struggled to find consistency at home. What's more, after reaching .500 twice in the past week, they have still yet to get over it.
After scoring 11 runs in its lone win on Monday, the Red Sox were held to five over the last two nights as Oakland starting pitchers held them in check. This evening it was Brandon McCarthy's turn. Most notable for being one of MLB's only interesting tweeters, McCarthy (2-3) also proved that he has some game to match his Twitter wizardry. In 6.2 innings, he allowed one earned run on five hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Ryan Cook was the unsung hero for the A's since he was able to bridge the game from McCarthy to Fuentes. Cook allowed a hit and walk but no runs and he struck out three.
For the Red Sox, this loss is only notable since super prospect Will Middlebrooks made his MLB debut, batting eighth and playing third base. I would say it was a success since he went 2-for-3 with a double, walk and stolen base. If he can play well while Kevin Youkilis is on the DL, it will make Boston's decision much tougher about what to do with him.
Boston has lost seven of its last eight games at "Friendly" Fenway and last night, their fate was sealed by a pitiful 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position and they left 11 on base.
Daniel Bard (2-3) was not able to take advantage of the American League's worst offensive team. He lasted 5.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with a strikeout and two walks. The only reason Boston hung in this and at least made it interesting in the ninth is because of the superb work of Clayton Mortensen. Who? After Matt Albers got the last two outs of the sixth, Mortensen (traded for Marco Scutaro) made quite the Red Sox debut as he tossed three scoreless innings. What makes it even crazier is that he struck out six with only one walk and one hit. Who knows if he can ever do something like that again but at least he showed promise.
Oakland took a 4-0 lead with a run in the fourth and three in the sixth. Seth Smith (2 hits, 2 RBIs) had an RBI single in the fourth then an RBI double in the sixth. Kila Ka'aihue and Brandon Inge, the AL West's version of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, followed with RBI doubles of their own as Bobby V left his starter in for too long as usual.
Marlon Byrd finally put a run on the board for Boston with a sacrifice fly in the seventh that plated Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Dustin Pedroia's double in the ninth against Fuentes scored Mike Aviles. David Ortiz added two doubles in the loss.
The Orioles (16-9, 2nd in the AL East) are off to an awesome start this season, especially for them. We'll get a chance to see if there's anything to it with Baltimore coming to Fenway for three games this weekend. Both teams are off tomorrow and then Wei-Yin Chen (2-0) faces Jon Lester (1-2) on Friday night (7:10 p.m., NESN). After playing way too many night games in April, the Red Sox get a pair of afternoon games: Saturday (1:10 p.m., NESN) Aaron Cook makes his Red Sox debut against Tommy Hunter (2-1) before Clay Buchholz (3-1) gets Jason Hammel (3-1) on Sunday (1:35 p.m., NESN).
After a couple crappy nights, both weather and results-wise, the Red Sox and its fans deserve some rest. Let's all enjoy the off-day.
UPDATE 5/3: Jose Iglesias was sent down to Pawtucket, making room for Aaron Cook on the roster ahead of his start on Saturday afternoon. Also, Carl Crawford was moved to the 60-day DL.