Friday, May 18, 2012
To Nobody's Surprise, Daniel Bard Sure Is A Mediocre Starting Pitcher
Boston (18-21, 9-10 away) spotted Philadelphia (21-19, 10-9 home) a 4-0 lead in the first inning and with Cole Hamels (6-1) on the mound, it's no wonder that the Phillies held on for a 6-4 win in the series and interleague opener tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
It was the sixth straight win for the Phillies and Hamels as well who improved to 4-0 against the Red Sox in five career starts.
Hamels went seven innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and a walk. Bard (3-5) lasted five innings, allowing five earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts and five walks.
The Red Sox hit three home runs but unfortunately they were all of the solo variety. The Phillies hit two homers but they also did a better job of hitting with guys on base.
Of course Jonathan Papelbon had to get the easiest save opportunity possible in his first game back against his former club. In pinning down his MLB-leading 12th save of the season, Papelbon faced the murderer's row of Kelly Shoppach, Daniel Nava, Marlon Byrd and Nick Punto. Shoppach singled but Papelbon retired Nava and Byrd before striking out the overmatched Punto (why is he here?) to end it.
There was some controversy in the ninth on Byrd's ground out which seemed to be a bang bang play at first base. He was called out and this caused Bobby Valentine to run out of the dugout and freak out (complete with hopping and the umpire accidentally spitting his gum at him). Bobby received the first ejection of his Red Sox career (that looks destined to be one year or less).
Bard's nightmare first inning included a two-run single by Carlos Ruiz (2 hits, run, stolen base), a sacrifice fly from Ty Wigginton and John Mayberry Jr's RBI double.
Boston chipped away at the 4-0 hole with a solo homer by Mike Aviles (6th of the season) in the third and Nava's sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Hunter Pence (10th of the season) hit a solo home run in the fifth for the Phillies but Cody Ross (2 hits, 2 runs) responded with his own solo blast in the sixth and Adrian Gonzalez broke his month-long homerless drought with a solo home run of his own in the eighth.
Citizens Bank Park is still a Little League Park, aka Wiliamsport, as evidenced by light-hitting Freddy Galvis's (2nd of the season) solo shot in the eighth against Franklin Morales that gave Philly an insurance run.
In addition to the loss, Boston suffered two freak injuries as Jarrod Saltalamacchia was cut on his ear by the baseball when it deflected off Ty Wiggington. Salty had to leave the game in the fifth inning and go to the hospital to check for a concussion. Ross fouled the ball off his foot in the eighth and he had to be replaced. Their status is up in the air for Saturday's game.
Speaking of that contest (7:15 p.m., FOX) Jon Lester (2-3) takes on Joe Blanton (4-3). This is the one pitching matchup in the three-game series that at least on paper favors the Red Sox so they need to find a way to beat Blanton and the Phils.