#RedSox Game Summary (June 11) Missing mojo. After two successive losses, the Tigers threw down the gauntlet, jumping all over Drew Pomeranz for 3 runs in the first inning. A 2 run homer by Nicholas Castellanos and a series of singles for another run put Drew on a bad footing. The Sox got one back in the bottom of the inning with a double by Dustin Pedroia off Detroit starter Daniel Norris. Dustin scored on a single by Hanley Ramirez. Boston cut the lead to 3-2 when Jackie Bradley, Jr. singled and scored Pedey’s second double of the game. Then in the 5th, it was good night, nurse, as Justin Upton hit a grand slam and James McCann doubled, scoring on an Ian Kinsler single. The Sox managed one more run in the 6th when JBJ doubled and scored on a single by Christian Vazquez. Mookie Betts also doubled in the game. It’s not that they aren’t hitting. It just seems they can’t put it all together. You know, they need that special mojo. Detroit beat Boston, 8-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 34-28. Game 62/100.
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#RedSox Game Summary (April 10) Verlander; ‘nuff said. It is always a privilege to watch a master craftsman at work. Justin Verlander went 7 innings, giving up just 3 hits, two of which were doubles by Mitch Moreland. Mitch also scored the only Red Sox run in the 2nd when he doubled, reached 3rd on an error and scored on a double play. Dustin Pedroia had the only other hit off Verlander. This was a classic pitchers’ duel, with Chris Sale looking very strong through 7 innings, having given up just one run on a homer by Ian Kinsler in the 6th. Then in the 8th, after getting the first two out, Chris seemed tired, surrendering a double to Andrew Romine (his second off Sale in the game), and a RBI single to Nicholas Castellanos. That gave Detroit all the runs they would need as the bullpen did its job. The Sox had a slight threat in the 9th when Moreland singled (he went 3-for-4 for the game) and was lifted for a pinch runner. This was a tough loss for Sale, and one has to wonder if he, like Porcello before him, was simply left in a little too long. He finished having thrown 108 pitches, though in fairness, Verlander had 112. Detroit beat Boston, 2-1, at Comerica Park. Record: 3-3. Game 6/156.
Eduardo Rodriguez seemed to be having a pretty good start for the Sox, apart from that solo bomb in the 3rd by our old friend, Julio Iglesias, but after giving up another solo dinger to James McCann in the 5th, he seemed rattled, giving up 3 more hits in succession, including doubles by JaCoby Jones and Iglesias. By the time the dust had settled, he had surrendered 4 runs, more than enough for Detroit to win. Too bad, because things had started so positively. In the 2nd, Mitch Moreland doubled (Mitch went 2-for-4 for the game), moved to 3rd on a fly ball by Pablo Sandoval, and scored on a Jackie Bradley, Jr. sacrifice fly. Christian Vazquez also doubled in the game. JBJ supplied some heroics in the outfield, as did Andrew Benintendi, who threw out Ian Kinsler trying to stretch a single into a double. But the day belong largely to Tiger starter Jordan Zimmerman, who scattered 4 hits over 6 innings, giving up just the 1 run, while walking one and striking out 3. Once again, the flu was on Detroit’s side, with Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts, and Mookie Betts out sick, though Mookie did arrive and suit up during the game. We also got word that Joe Kelly is now sick as well. Perhaps that explains why he didn’t look himself yesterday, giving up 2 consecutive walks that cost the game. A scary moment came in the 9th when JBJ caught his toe cleat in the ground running out a fly ball, and fell awkwardly on his right knee. No word yet on whether the knee injury is serious. Detroit beat Boston, 4-1, at Comerica Park. Record: 2-2. Game 4/158.
Boston Red Sox (Josh Beckett) vs Tampa Bay Rays (David Price) at Fenway Park on April 11: Good Pitching and Good Hitting in the Same Game, for a Change.
Red Sox Nation had reason to smile as Josh Beckett looked like the champion Josh Beckett, not the chicken-and-beer Josh Beckett. He went 8 innings, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits, in total control of the game. His teammates got him all the runs he needed in the 3rd (3) with an insurance run in the 4th, and then just decided to celebrate their first game of the season a home by going totally bonkers on Rays pitching in the 8th, scoring 8 runs on doubles by Darnell McDonald, Kelly Shoppack, and David Ortiz (his 3rd of the game). All in all, they had 8 hits, 4 walks, and batted around in the inning. Kind of makes you with they could bottle some of that run production for future games, doesn’t it? On a distinctly negative note, Jacoby Ellsbury had to leave the game after injuring his shoulder attempting to break up a double play in the 4th inning. We have to hope it’s not too serious.
April 13, 2012 at Fenway Park: Red Sox 12, Tampa Bay Rays 2; WP: Beckett (1-1), LP Price (1-1). Red Sox record: 2-5; Game 7/155. Box Score
Boston Red Sox (Jon Lester) at Toronto Blue Jays (Ricky Romero) on April 11: Life is Unfair, Exhibit A
Jon Lester had his second really strong start, going 8 innings and giving up just 3 runs on 3 hits, but got almost no run support. In the season opener, after a similar start, he walked away with a no decision, but this time he took the loss. Ricky Romero’s only moment of weakness came in the 3rd, when Cody Ross and Mike Aviles got back-to-back singles and advanced on a Kelly Shoppach sacrifice bunt. Aviles scored on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury. Apart from that, Boston bats were fairly silent all day.
April 11, 2012 at Toronto: Blue Jays 3, Boston Red Sox 1; WP: Romero (1-0), LP Lester (0-1). Red Sox record: 1-5; Game 6/156. Box Score
Boston Red Sox (Daniel Bard) at Toronto Blue Jays (Kyle Drabek) on April 10: Daniel Bard’s Debut Bombs
Daniel Bard is known as a power guy with 2 pitches, a slider and a wicked fastball. As one reporter put it, “he has two ways of throwing: hard and harder.” That’s great for a setup man or for a closer, but a starter needs to go 6 innings, which means the other side gets a chance to know you. With no effective curve ball or changeup, even a 100 mile per hour fastball can be hit eventually. Many fans think Bard should be the closer, and I tend to agree. This game did nothing to change our minds. Bard was pretty solid at first, but as the Blue Jays trundled through their lineup a second and third time, the hits started coming. He ended up surrendering 5 runs on 7 hits over 5+ innings en route to a 7-3 loss. On the plus side, Kevin Youkalis, Cody Ross, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Sweeney, and Adrian Gonzalez all doubled in the losing cause.
April 10, 2012 at Toronto: Blue Jays 7, Boston Red Sox 3; WP: Drabek (1-0), LP Bard (0-1). Red Sox record: 1-4; Game 5/157. Box Score
Boston Red Sox (Felix Doubront) at Toronto Blue Jays (Henderson Alvarez) on April 9: A New Hope
After some pretty nasty outings last year, Red Sox fans did not hold out much hope that Felix Doubront could hold his spot in the starting rotation this year. We have reason to believe, however, after a solid performance in this game. Felix gave up 2 runs on 4 hits over 5 innings. May it’s not a Hall of Fame day, but good enough to give his team a solid chance to win, and they took it. Going into the 9th, the Sox trailed 2-1 (the sole Boston run came on a solo blast by Dustin Pedroia in the 6th). Pedey then came through again, doubling, and reaching 3rd on a passed ball by reliever JP Arencibia. He scored on an Adrian Gonzalez sac fly. After back-to-back walks by David Ortiz and Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney hit a seeing-eye single to right, enabling Darnell McDonald (pinch running for Big Papi) to score and Ross to reach 3rd. Ross subsequently scored on a wild pitch. Finally, a “W”.
April 9, 2012 at Toronto: Boston Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3; WP: Atchison (1-0), LP: Santos (0-1), S: Aceves (1). Red Sox record: 1-3; Game 4/158. Box Score
Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz) at Detroit Tigers (Max Scherzer) on April 8: Tigers Blast Buchholz as Sox Lose Ugly
The good news for Sox fans is that the Boston club showed that they really can score runs in bunches. The Red Sox went 18-for-49 including 5 doubles (2 by David Ortiz) and Adrian Gonzalez’s first homer of the year. The bad news is that our worst fears may have been realized regarding Clay Buchholz, as he went just 4 innings, giving up 7 runs on 8 hits for one his worst starts ever. Sox bats did enable Boston to force extra innings, until Alex Avila ended this mess with a walk-off blast.
Boston Red Sox (Josh Beckett) at Detroit Tigers (Doug Fister) on April 7: Tigers Maul Beckett
Josh Beckett started out shaky, and by the 4th became completely unhinged as the Tigers blasted him up and down the lineup on route to a 10-0 laugher at Comerica Park. Bobby Valentine gave him a chance to recover in the 5th, but he fared no better, and had to yield to Scott Atchison, but the Tigers showed the Sox bullpen no more respect than they had Beckett. With the momentum all their way, they were popping hits all day. Beckett dismissed rumors that his thumb was giving him trouble, indicating that it was just a bad day. Meanwhile, Tigers ace Doug Fister had to leave in the 4th due to an abdominal strain; he has since been placed on the 15 day DL. Rookie reliever Duane Below picked up the win.
April 7, 2012 at Detroit: Detroit Tigers 10, Boston Red Sox 0; WP: Below (1-0), LP: Beckett (0-1). Red Sox record: 0-2; Game 2/160. Box Score
A beautiful loss. The Red Sox dropped their season opener to the Tigers in a real nail-biter, but it was a beautiful game nonetheless. Detroit starter Justin Verlander was magnificent, going 8 shutout innings while giving up just 2 hits and striking out 7. Jon Lester put runners on base during nearly all of his 7 innings of work (6 hits, 1 walk) but managed to give up just 1 run. Extra base hits by Jhonny Peralta (off Lester) and Austin Jackson (off reliever Vincente Padilla) led to 2 runs for the Tigers, but the Sox rallied with 2 runs in the 9th (Dustin Pedroia scored off a David Ortiz sacrifice fly, and Adrian Gonzalez scored on a single by Ryan Sweeney) to tie the score. Alas, in the bottom of the inning, Peralta and Alex Avila singled, and Ramon Santiago was hit on the heel by a freak pitch from Alfredo Aceves to load the bases for Jackson, who delivered for the Tigers with a single to drive in the winning run.
Daniel Bard, who ought to close in this situation, was unavailable because he is in the rotation, starting game 5. This is nothing against Aceves, who is a decent reliever, but the Sox need a fireball lights-out guy in this spot, in this writer’s opinion. Let’s hope that either he works out as a starter, or that Bobby Valentine determines otherwise very quickly, so the pitching staff situation can be sorted out in short order. The really big question will be addressed in the third game of this series, when Clay Buchholz is scheduled to start. No doubt, there was something in his pitching motion that caused that stress fracture in his back last year. The question is this: has he adjusted his motion to avoid re-injury, and if so, will he still be as effective as in years past? All eyes will be on Clay this Easter Sunday in Detroit.
April 5, 2012 at Detroit: Detroit Tigers 3, Boston Red Sox 2; WP: Valverde, LP Melancon. Red Sox record: 0-1; Game 1/161. Box Score
Note: since the original post, ESPN has chosen to exempt the 2nd game between the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers on May 29 from the Sunday night exclusivity agreement. This means that the game will be covered on TV in these two markets. While this gesture is very much appreciated, it does not alter the fact that the exclusivity agreement should be modified to account for emergency game rescheduling.
Due to a blanket contract between ESPN and Major League Baseball, fans of the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers would not be able to watch one of the most hotly anticipated pitching matchups of the year on TV: Josh Beckett vs. Justin Verlander, were it not for a last minute voluntary gesture by ESPN. You see, the contract stipulates that all other TV coverage of MLB games must exclude a 3 hour window on Sunday nights, when ESPN has its Sunday night baseball game.
The idea was to ensure that no games to be shown on TV would be scheduled during that 3 hour block except for the game that ESPN covers. The problem is that there is this little unpredictable element in baseball game scheduling called “weather”. Now to be clear, the rule is that no game can start within that window. A game that goes into extra innings or is in rain delay does not need to have coverage interrupted if it strays into that time-span.
The MLB schedule is so ludicrous with respect to non-divisional games (due to the fact that interleague plays take so many league games out of the schedule) and the schedule is so densely packed that when a non-divisional game is postponed due to rain, a crisis ensues. This is what happened Saturday night, May 28, when the Red Sox-Tigers game had to be called off.
The Tigers and Red Sox were faced with very bad choices. This was the one and only visit to Detroit for the Boston club (again, due to the silly schedule), and there is not enough slack in the schedule later in the season to allow them to fly in, play a makeup game, then get to their next scheduled game on time. So, they were forced to schedule the makeup game for Sunday evening, even though it falls in the ESPN Dead Zone. As a result, no TV coverage is allowed.
The truth is, the ESPN exclusivity agreement makes sense for initial scheduling purposes, but falls down when rescheduling due to weather is made necessary. Who would win if the Sunday night ban remained in effect? Would Red Sox and Tigers fans shrug their shoulders, say “oh, well,” and watch the scheduled ESPN game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves? Not on your life. They would listen to their teams’ game on the radio and grumble. They would also bear considerable ill will toward ESPN, which could negatively impact Sunday Night Baseball ratings in Boston and Detroit for some time to come. ESPN’s ratings on the 29th in the greater Detroit and Boston metro areas will be near zero. ESPN would lose. The Red Sox and Tigers get no TV coverage, so the get no TV fees for the game. The Red Sox and Tigers would lose. And of course, the fans would lose. ESPN apparently recognized this, and granted an exemption.
Exclusive time period contract provisions should have emergency exception clauses to cover things like weather postponement and rescheduling. This won’t hurt ESPN, which gets no benefit from the situation, and could prevent the ill will that may hurt their ratings going forward. It would also cast MLB in a better light.
Commissioner Bud Selig should demonstrate to the fans that he takes seriously the charge of his office that says that he is empowered to act in the best interest of baseball and its fans. Selig should demand a change in the contract to allow for emergency rescheduling. The fans should press the issue through boycotts, emails, tweets, and blogs. Enough of this nonsense. Nobody is winning here.