When things are going badly, teams invent ways to lose. And along those lines, yesterday’s invention scores big for originality because how often have you seen two throwing errors lead to seven runs?
Well, that is exactly what happened last night as rook Felix Doubront got the Rangers off to a fast start by throwing away a ball in the first and he then threw another away in the fifth that would have doubled up a man at second and let the Sox escape the fifth with a 3-2 lead. Instead, the first inning error led to two runs and the fifth inning error left the door open for Texas to plate five more runs. The final four coming on a two-out, two-strike granny from Bengie Molina. The same Bengie Molina who weighs 340 pounds and would finish the night with a most unlikely cycle.
Doubront pitched decently and he only has himself to blame for not escaping the fifth but the big question I have this morning is why Terry Francona stuck with Fernando Cabrera in the fifth after he had just walked two guys, the second of which came with the bases loaded?
Did it not cross his mind that Fernando Cabrera might do everything in his power to avoid a third walk, including throwing one right down the pike? Benjie Molina could have just as easily flied out harmlessly but to roll the dice on Cabrera after he had just walked two guys by a mile, didn’t seem very intelligent. I realize he was trying to ease the burden on his pen but that was just too big a situation to bet on a guy like Cabrera, especially after he had just failed twice.
Now I realize Francona didn’t have many options and this is where the blame turns to Tim Wakefield. Because if Wake had not blown up on Thursday and left the pen with seven innings of work, either Scott Atchison or Robert Manuel may have been available last night to do the work that Cabrera couldn’t finish. Again, who knows whether they would have done any better but given the options, I sure would have rather had a AAAAguy like Atchison on the mound instead of a AAA- guy like Cabrera. So thanks Tim. Thanks for wrecking one game and imperiling another.
Anyways, between Doubront’s inaccurate throws, Cabrera’s meltdown and an offense that went largely dormant after loading the bases in the second, the Sox managed to drop another game and with Cliff Lee going tonight, it looks like Jon Lester will be trying to break a three-game skid tomorrow afternoon. Folks, this club is in a lot of trouble right now and to stabilize things, the Sox will have to do something that they almost never do and that is play well on a long West Coast trip. There are some positives coming up, like the return of Beckett, the return of Buchholz and a four game series in Seattle where they will NOT face King Felix, but my concern grows everyday that this club will be knocked out by August 1.
* The fifth inning is the obvious turning point from last night but just as important was the bottom of the second where the Sox had loaded the bases with nobody out and one run in. A big hit there and who knows what type of game would have ensued but Hall struck out, Cash struck out and Scutaro finished things off with a strike out. That folks, was a momentum killer.
* Along those lines, Kevin Cash’s bat is simply killing this club. Last season, I thought Jason Varitek may have been the worst offensive player in the ALin the second-half, particularly as a left-handed hitter. Well Jason Varitek might as well be Joe Mauer when the comparison is Kevin Cash. KC is now 3-25 in Boston and it pains me think that we might see another 3-25 before Victor Martinez returns from a broken finger, which seems at least a week away. Losing Martinez hurt but losing Varitek was a killer. And if you had told me a year ago that I would be saying that a year later, I would have spent the past 365 days dreading this moment.
* I thought Doubront pitched pretty well last night. Contrary to reports, his curve still needs plenty of work but he throws 92 effortlessly and he has a pretty good change. If you give this guy 50 more innings at Pawtucket this Summer, I think he will be major-league ready come next Spring. And that means the Sox could do something with Dice this off-season and still be armed with five guys as they head into 2011.
* FARM REPORT: A lot of good stuff happened down on the farm last night as Michael Bowden had ANOTHER excellent bullpen outing (two clean innings), Jed Lowrie had a big night (three hits), Ryan Kalish smoked one out and Lars Anderson stayed hot. On top of that, Casey Kelly pitched pretty well for Portland and Stolmy Pimental was solid for Salem. All in all, it was a night that had me thinking of better times ahead.