Red Sox Blog, but other Boston Sports Welcome!
I wish I could say I felt good about a comeback here, but I don't. We have Wake on Friday and Schill on Saturday, and I guess if I were to choose two guys to go, those would be the two, but with Wake going up against Garland it'll be a tight matchup. Of course, I came into Game 3 in 1999, Game 3 in 2003, and Game 4 in 2004 with a similarly bad feeling, but with those teams you felt they weren't playing up to their potential. With this team, they might be.
Its not like we all didn't see this coming. Sure we were all hopeful, but in reality we were really, really, really concerned. Except for GR, everyone here has been saying for over a month that we realistically did not see this team doing well in the post season.
Well, I certainly didn't think it would be because a ground ball rolled through someone's legs.It's 1-1 if not for that play.Our pitching was very good last night, and that was cited as the concern for the postseason.Looks like Saturday will likely be rained out. If we get that far, Schill will pitch on Sunday. Then I am guessing it is Wells on regular rest. Again, if we get that far.
Here's a question...not that it matters much...Does the offensive seem complacent to anyone after they score a few runs early?I know they mashed a lot of pitches yesterday, and a lot of those were right at people...but it seemed like once they got the lead that they relaxed, perhaps, too much.
Oh...and a personal anecdote from last night...I watched the error, the ensuing go ahead home run, and then quickly turned over to the Bruins battling it out with their archenemy, the Habs...Tied 1-1, the Habs score with 11 seconds left in the 3rd period and completed my misery...
You know what else it's 1-1 without? The five run inning, the three run homer, the parade of hits off Wells. Don't crucify Graffanino. The score was 4-2 before he booted that ball, and 4-2 after it, and any pitcher worth his salt can get out of that jam with the lead.
Whoa...I didn't crucify Graffanino...But, he did make the error. Wells was laboring in that inning and needed his defense to pick him up. He made a good pitch, got the groundball and (like it or not) Graf missed it through the five hole. Wells, then, had to throw a whole lot more pitches to get out of that inning. He then proceeded to shut down the White Sox and kept the Sox in the game. Wells pitched a hell of a game. I am a huge Graffanino fan. I hope they bring the guy back for another year or two...He hustles...but that error hurt in many ways. That's not crucifying the guy by any means. It's a fact.Somehow, though...I think if that ball goes through Renteria's legs everyone is hanging him out to dry.The White Sox took advantage of that mistake. That is what good teams do.
A parade of hits included a single, a double (if Manny hustles to the corner and puts ANY effort behind his throw Everett stops at third), and a grounder up the middle by Crede (wish they had shown the defensive setup because that ball was not hit hard and I am surprised that no one got to it)...Wells then gets that ground ball. Error. Gets Podsednik to pop out to third. Then Iguchi goes a gets a low pitch and hits it out.There are a lot of reasons they didn't win. They could have scored more runs. They could have hustled more. They could have hit better with runners in scoring position.But, my original point was, that pitching was not the problem in this game. When it was talked about over the last month that they won't go far in post-season, the pitching was the culprit. It certainly was in Game 1...but not last night...
Damn it! Is there a way to amend other posts?
(Yeah, we can't amend old comments, just delete them.)Andrew, I know you're on a mission to make sure Graf isn't the only one blamed for the loss, and I commend you for that. But it's okay to point out that that error really, really hurt. It did, and it's definitely not "crucifying Graf" to simply mention it.Without the error, Boston probably wins. Same can be said about the 3-run home run. Same can be said about leaving the bases loaded in the 3rd, and all the RISP left stranded. Same can be said for the impatience at the plate the last 5 innings. But it's okay to bring up the error.And yeah, I'm with GR about Renteria getting a lot more hate if he had done the same thing. I'd add Bellhorn also.
I agree, the error sucked. I'm just concerned that it's the only thing we'll hear about. All I've been hearing is that it hinged on the error. To me, it hinged on a 5 run inning of which the error was an integral, but not exclusive, part.But yeah, I'm on a mission. It's fun, I get to rant.
Random thoughts:Graffanino will continue to be crucified for this unless the Sox somehow come back and win.I bet he gets booed tomorrow. Of course, this ins entirely not fair.Most of the talk about the pitching being the weakness was indeed centered on the bullpen and our lack of an ace. And we have given up 19 runs in two games or approximately double what they gave up in all four games of the WS. The error was huge, but the HR was huger - and I was worried about us keeping the ball in the park agains this team.what has not been mentioned today is the other side of the equation in the whole pitching wins in the postseason. And that is - Sox bats have been stymied so far. And they have been stymied by, frankly, the best pitching staff in the AL. The White Sox have the best staff and the Sox have the 11th best staff. And that is why they are up 2-0. I was skeptical that they could bash their way to a title. And 0 runs after the 4th inning in both games.I'm not sure what else they could have done. Hopefully they play well tomorrow. Get a win and maybe CHI will feel a little pressure.And good lord, could you imagine if it was Renteria who made the error. Yike. Yikes. Yikes. But it was nice to see OCab get the GW hit last night.Keep the faith.
To me, it wasn't even just that 5 run inning. Giving up five runs is what this team has come to expect. I agree with GR, that the offense looked like -- well, they were done after scoring 4. Buehrle needed just 5 pitches to get through the previous half inning. Make it more -- I dunno, 10, 15 -- and Wells comes out a little more rested, and maybe doesn't give up a bunch of hits, and the error becomes moot. Still, I was fully expecting more runs afterwards, and instead they continued to look terrible at the plate. No hit no win.
Again, I don't know if they looked terrible at the plate. They were hitting the ball hard, it's just that the White Sox were positioned so well. Heck, the shift worked twice against Ortiz. Kudos to the White Sox scouts, that's for sure.I think that the Red Sox look like a team that wanted to make the postseason, but don't really want to win at this point. Maybe the golf course is calling.Seriously, there is very little hustle, a lot of mental errors, and some physical errors. To Graf's credit, he was trying to make stuff happen all night.
In the last 6 innings of the game, they saw just 70 pitches. They had 4 (only 4!) baserunners those 6 innings, so saw on average under 3.2 pitches per plate appearance. During the regular season they led MLB with 3.85 pitches/PA. Last place was 3.56 (SFO).I agree a lot of well-hit balls were hit directly at White Sox, but still -- patience at the plate has been a huge part of this team's success this season, and so far we seen none of it.
More fun with numbers....It was bad enough when they just did not picth well, since you could always hold out hope that they could slug their way to victory. But the offense has not been producing at all. In their first 134 games they averaged 5.8 runs per game.In their last 30 (including the playoffs) it is 4.6 (or the equivalent of the White Sox).Even that 7 game homestand, they only averaged 4.8 runs. Before those last 7, they averaged 6 runs per game at home.