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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It Can't Get Much Uglier Than This for the Red Sox

If you tried to draw up about the worst possible game in April for the Red Sox, Tuesday night's frozen contest at U.S. Cellular Park would do the trick. Chicago (8-6 overall, 6-2 home) beat Boston (5-9 overall, 3-5 away) 2-1 on a walk-off throwing error by Xander Bogaerts. Oh and it was in the 30s with a million empty seats at that big generic dump of a stadium. The Red Sox have now dropped eight of their last 11 games which is completely unacceptable particularly this early in the season.

More than his underachieving teammates (who combined for three total hits, three), Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy was really solid with his third straight quality start (6 innings, 1 earned, 3 hits, 8 strikeouts, 4 walks). The catch is that he's yet to record a decision as Boston continually struggles to put any runs on the scoreboard for any of their starting pitchers but especially him and Lester thus far.

White Sox rookie Erik Johnson (not the Avalanche defensemen) was even a little better than Peavy. He went 6.2 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with nine strikeouts and two walks. Chicago's bullpen combined for 2.1 innings broken up between Scott Downs (1 inning), Jake Petricka (2 outs), Donnie Veal (1 out) and Daniel Webb (last out which earned him the win).

Before the error, the only runs in the game came via home runs. Adam Dunn went deep against his former teammate and good pal Peavy in the second inning. Daniel Nava answered with a long blast, his second of the season, in the fourth inning. The problem with Boston's lineup is that they aren't doing anything right now. Dustin Pedroia is still out (although he did pinch run) and Mike Napoli-who's been their best hitter-gruesomely dislocated his finger trying to slide headfirst into second base (Little League coaches everywhere weep) in the ninth.

The Red Sox received a scoreless seventh from Junichi Tazawa but it was a certainty that they'd give up a run with the likes of Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop and Chris Capuano called on to keep it tied. In a way, it's kind of good that the game didn't go extra innings so the Red Sox didn't have to burn more of their bullpen than they had to.

Napoli was called day-to-day with his finger while Pedroia is reportedly coming back to full-time action tomorrow (8:10, NESN). Clay Buchholz (0-1) faces John Danks (1-0). It's hard to see Buchholz succeeding in crappy weather so get ready to watch him struggle. On second thought, the NHL playoffs start on Wednesday which is great news for the Red Sox: less people (myself included) will be focusing on them.

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