Bad starting pitching, bad relief pitching, horrendous situational hitting and a couple of inexplicable moves by third base coach Tim Bogar. That pretty much sums up the afternoon at Fenway where the Red Sox dropped to 0-3 this season in weekday home matinees. I realize that you can’t sweep every series but when you take the first two off Oakland, they lose their stud lefty in game three after just two innings, and you knock out ten extra base hits …… well, let’s just say that given that fact pattern, you’d expect to complete the sweep about 98.5% of the time.
So let’s start with TImmmmy. Funny, but where are all the Wakefield apologists now? Did the Herald’s Steve Buckley suddenly come down with Laryngitis? In case you weren’t watching, Wakefield got hammered in the fourth, much like he got hammered in the fourth last Friday night. This go around, he gave up five hits, a home run, and four runs as Boston’s 2-1 lead turned into a 5-2 deficit. And this is what Timmy had to say afterwards: “I went six. I kept us in the game. Unfortunately, it was just one bad inning that I made too many mistakes in, and it cost us the game.’’
You kept “us” in the game? Tim, you gave up six runs in six innings, which means that you have given up 15 runs over your last 9.2 innings. You haven’t been keeping the Sox in games. Instead, you have been giving up leads and digging holes. I’m sorry, but Tim Wakefield has proven himself to be just as unreliable as Dice. And I think it’s time to consider other options.
Yes, I understand with Beckett out, these options are few and far between, but Boof Bonser’s rehab is nearly over and he has pitched well his last two times out for Pawtucket. He will be called up this week to fill a pen spot but I don’t see why he shouldn’t be given a start. I know that might ruffle Wakefield’s pretty little feathers but given these last two starts, I don’t want to see Wakefield out there again. As such, I am all in favor of letting Bonser take the car out against Cleveland next Tuesday. It won’t happen because Francona coddles Wake like he would a special needs child, but you have to think that another stinker from Wake might illicit a managerial reaction.
As bad as Wake was yesterday, the pen was worse. I expect that from Ramon Ramirez but Manny Delcarmen got into the act in a big way yesterday and let’s just say he is no longer on review for an upgrade. Every time I say something nice about MDC, which I did on Wednesday, he makes me look like a jerk. I have never really trusted MDC and I guess I now know why Terry Francona hates using him with tight leads.
* It’s hard to recall a day when the Sox left more runs on the table. I realize they put up eight runs, but it felt like it should have been thirteen. But that is what you get when you go 3-19 with runners in scoring position and get two guys thrown out at home. This is just crazy … since when does 18 hits, 10 extras, three walks, three home runs and a stolen base only equal eight runs?
* What a day for Tim Bogar. First, he sends a gimpy Victor Martinez with no outs on a wall ball from Youkilis and Martinez gets nailed. Then, in the fourth, Bogar inexplicably sent Darnell McDonald on a single to right with no outs and the Sox down THREE runs. It’s hard to say how many runs Bogar’s decision cost the Sox but suffice to say, it would have made a huge difference on a one-run game. And the frustrating thing is, both decisions were completely asinine. It’s one thing to send McDoanld with two outs but with no outs and the Sox having just strung together three singles to open the inning, there is no possible way to justify that decision. NONE.
* Enough bad news. The silver lining from yesterday is Dustin’s laser show seems to be coming alive, Victor Martinez and Youkilis are still cooking and the bottom of the lineup was killing the ball yesterday. I would hope the Sox could keep some of this going against Baltimore this weekend and Cleveland next week.
* Mike Lowell looked pretty miserable yesterday and if any scouts were in the park, I don’t think they came away very impressed. So here is the question. I think one of the reasons Lowell is still in Boston is because there really isn’t a guy at AAA who could be brought up to help the club right now. There are some prospects but I don’t think the Sox want to mess with Kalish or Lars and they aren’t going to dump Lowell so they can carry a third catcher or Tug Hullet. But what happens when Ellsbury returns? At that point, might the Sox want to hold on to McDonald as a fifth outfielder and perhaps a guy who can pinch run and spell Drew against some lefties? Well, if that is the case, then Lowell might finally get his wish.
* FARM REPORT: There wasn’t much to say about last night. Anthony Rizzo blasted a bomb for Portland, Ryan Lavarnway hit his twelth for Salem and Yamacio Navarro had three hits for Portland. There is nothing too sexy in that rundown. But one name to keep an eye on is Cesar Cabral, a left-handed reliever down at Greeneville. Cabral’s star has faded a bit as his pro career has struggled to take off but he has been absolutely dominant at Greenville this season (31IP, 1 ER). He is definitely too old for the SAL league so those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, but he should be up with Salem shortly. Similar results in the Carolina league and Cabral might see his star begin to rise.
* The O’s have lost eight in a row (aren’t they due), fired their manager and are throwing their three best at the Sox this weekend, but anything less than two wins would be tough to swallow. Given the fact that the Sox are throwing Buch, Lester and Lackey, this really needs to be a sweep.