Scarlet Fever

A teenage girl's perspective on the Red Sox and everything else.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Eliminated in Eleven

I suppose my prediction didn't come true, but somehow I'm not too upset that we lost. It bugs me more that it had to happen in extra innings. Right after our guys got three days of rest, we have to play eleven innings and tire them out. Tom Caron pointed out on the postgame show that the Red Sox have played thirty innings in the past two games... and we don't have a win to show for it. Although many bloggers have been blaming it on Julian Tavarez, I feel that it is more a result of Mark Loretta's error. Had those two runs never scored, the game would have never been tied, forcing extra innings and bringing on Tavarez. These kinds of things happen to other teams all the time, but we have been spoiled by a nearly flawless infield. Losing a game because of an error is painful. Another glaring mistake, to me, was Willie Harris' baserunning blunder. I mean, he's a pinch runner. The only reason he's on the roster is to run, and he failed yesterday. He was way too far off first base, so when the pitcher attempted to pick him off, he was suddenly stuck in No Man's Land. This erased a baserunner and caused another out, and it is impossible to know whether or not that baserunner would have scored. Had he scored, with the Sox' one-run rally in the bottom of the 11th, it would have been a tie game again.
Here are some other noteworthy things I noticed during the game yesterday.
Manny looked really uncomfortable at the place. His swings looked awkward, making me think that there really is something wrong with his knee. However, he did make a very nice running catch just feet from the Monster, and although he didn't seem to be running at full speed, he didn't seem to be favoring his knee either.
Loretta had a nice stolen base yesterday, and he had been going for another one when it turned out to be ball four. I wonder if he's trying to incorporate basestealing into his game. He has decent speed and that could really be helpful for our team.
Coco Crisp also had a stolen base yesterday. I have to admit, when they showed it in slow motion he appeared to be out, but I'll take whatever I can get. He also had a very nice wall-ball double. Though that was his only hit of the night, I think it could possibly be a sign that he is breaking out of his slump. That would be huge. Imagine if Coco lead off again. He would be able to use his speed a lot more with the bases empty, and Youkilis down in the order would be a huge advantage. Imagine the RBI's he would rack up! Also, Coco has just about the cutest smile I have ever seen. I mean, his face is just so... pretty. He has these big round dark eyes and these high cheekbones and this beautiful tan skin. I think I'm jealous. I love it when he smiles. His whole face looks so happy. It makes me happy too.
Varitek had two hits last night, one being a clutch, two-out 11th-inning RBI single to bring the game within one run. Perhaps he is finally beginning to get out of his slump too. Some plate production from 'Tek would be such a boost to our offense, especially because he's our captain and a huge influence on the team.
Jon Lester loves to scare me. He loves it. He thrives on it. He always seems to get into jams and somehow he always gets out of them. It's kind of a shock for me to see his final pitching line and realize that he only let up one run in five innings. That's pretty good, except he used up 100+ pitches doing it. I think consistency and efficiency will come with experience, and it is necessary to remember that Lester is still learning. He was in line for his fifth win until the costly error by Loretta, which would have made him a perfect 5-0. That's pretty impressive for a 22-year-old rookie pitcher. Longer outings will come with time, but the right stuff is there.
The other young pitchers were impressive too. Craig Hansen had a 1-2-3 scoreless 6th, and the 2 runs he allowed in the 7th were unearned. Little Manny had a 1-2-3 8th. Papelbon had a scoreless 10th. Francona continues to put his young arms in more pressure situations, and they continue to rise to the challenge.
Lenny DiNardo, however, was just moved to the 60-day DL. Although he wasn't great as a starter, he would be a big help as middle relief. There don't seem to be any good signs right now for Lenny.
Now it's time to forget this game and think about tonight's. Beckett against Zito should be an interesting matchup. Becket has been spectacular at Fenway. He feeds of the crowd's intensity. Hopefully he'll be dominating, and please, let's keep it at nine innings.

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