In the grand scheme of things, yesterday’s 6-1 loss won’t mean a whole lot. Sure, it was a winnable game against a woeful team and $82M dollar pitchers like John Lackey are supposed to deliver games like that. But ok, losses happen.
However, here is the problem: Garza, Niemman and Price against Matsusaka, Doubront and Wakefield? Garza has become a Sox killer, Doubront will be making his second big league start and Price is just about the best lefty in baseball whose last name doesn’t start with the letter L.
With the Sox current lineup, this has SWEEP written all over it. And assuming the Yanks take two of three from Oakland, a Tampa sweep will leave the Sox down 3.5 to the Yanks and 2.5 to the Rays. That folks, is breathing room, and with the Sox still a couple weeks away from decent health, the situation on Thursday morning might not look so hot. That is why yesterday was reasonably important and that is why the Sox really need to somehow steal one of these games.
There really isn’t a whole to say about yesterday’s loss other than it felt like the Sox seemed a little hungover and content with their three-win week. I didn’t see many good at bats, the defense was poor (particularly two plays by Drew) and Lackey was his usual self, which is all too ordinary. The net result was pretty unsavory and if I took one thing away from that game it is the following ….. with Martinez and Pedroia out, this team is very vulnerable to left-handed pitching. It’s one thing to get stuffed by Lee or Sabathia, but Brian Matusz? Sorry, I realize that Matusz has the high-ceiling but two hits over seven is not acceptable.
Aside from that, just a few thoughts today …..
It doesn’t say a whole lot for John Lackey that he struggled the second time through the lineup against a woeful group of Oriole regulars. Along these lines, here is an interesting factoid. When facing batters for the first time, Lackey’s OPS against is a middling (.789). Not great by any stretch but not horrible either. Fast forward to the second time through the order, and hitters have an OPS of (.984.) I realize that some slippage is customary but I’m sorry, turning an entire lineup into Kevin Youkilis is not acceptable.
Jaco-Watch …. Still no baseball activities for the girl with no curl. On June 10th, the Sox said Ellsbury would be heading to Arizona for a few weeks of R&R while his broken rib healed, the same break which took two weeks to reveal itself. Well, June 10th was 3.5 weeks ago and it now looks like Ellsbury isn’t checking out anytime time soon. Yesterday, Francona said he thought Ellsbury could perhaps start doing some baseball activities this week and then rejoin the team but was not sure this would happen. Now if this were to happen, I guess it’s possible that Ellsbury would spend next week (July 12-16) drilling up and perhaps could start a rehab the week after. So best case, I don’t think you should expect Ellsbury back much before July 26, which is FIFTEEN weeks after he first hurt his ribs in Kansas City. FIFTEEN!
On the bright side, Jed Lowrie begins his rehab tonight in Lowell. Given Lowell’s start, it looks like the Spinners could use Jed’s bat in the lineup.
Did anyone really expect Joe Girardi to select Kevin Youkilis over Alex Rodriguez for the all-star team? Small men do small things. Joe is a very small man. Joe did a very small thing. Case closed.
That was simply a terrible effort in the fourth by JD Drew where he allowed Adam Jones to score from first on a fairly routine single to right-center. Granted, Jones was running on the pitch but a hard charge and decent throw would have beat Jones by twenty feet. Instead, the ball wasn’t aggressively cut, the throw sailed, the run scored and the hitter moved up to second on plenty of bad baseball.