Monday, June 15, 2009

Can't Win Them All

Was it disappointing that the Sox couldn't sweep the Phillies? Yes. But they took two of three on the road from the defending World Champions. Really, how upset can I get?

Sometimes you can put up the runs and still lose. Philly has a lineup that takes advantage of mistakes and bad pitches. If you pitch well you can beat them. If you leave pitches over the plate, they'll eat you alive. That's what happened and that's why the Sox lost.

Beckett did the most important thing necessary; he made it to the seventh inning. Even though Bard unraveled (bound to happen sooner or later to a rookie) and it required Saito coming in to finish off the seventh, most of the bullpen got some rest. Add that to the off-day today and Boston's 'pen should be ready for Florida on Tuesday.

Beckett wasn't throwing badly yesterday. He threw almost 70% of his pitches for strikes and had first-pitch strikes on 17 of 29 batters, which is almost 60%. He didn't walk a single batter and struck out five. He had complete control of his pitches. It's just that there will be games where a pitcher makes his pitches...and it doesn't matter. He'll make a mistake here and there and the other team will somehow always take advantage.

Bard, though, just looked bad. I'm not too concerned; he's a rookie and sooner or later they all have their first bad game. What matter is how Bard pitches in his next game. That will tell us something about his makeup and mindset.

The big bat for the Sox yesterday belonged to Nick Green, who went 3-5 with a solo shot. He has exceeded expectations with the team so far. I would love to see him signed to an extension and be the super-sub when Lowrie comes back. I just hope that insipid $9 million contract doesn't blind Theo into insisting that Lugo stay with the team. Oh, and nice throw Julio. It's always a thrill a minute when you're playing short.

But again, in the larger picture, the Sox are in a good place right now. They have won five of their last six, including a sweep of the Yankees. They hold first place in the AL East by two games. Four-fifths of the starting rotation is bringing their "A-game" to the mound. Papi is starting to hit again. Nick Green is the greatest utility player for Boston since Brian Daubach played four positions in 2002 and smacked 20 homers to go with 78 RBI. The bullpen is lights-out awesome and the best in the majors. So weigh that against one bad game on the road in Philly...

Well-deserved rest for the boys tonight before the Marlins roll into town tomorrow. Wakes takes the mound against Chris Volstad, who is uneven as a pitcher (4-6, 4.07 ERA) so far in 2009. He is another of the young guns the Marlins seem to roll out every season. But I think with Wakefield throwing the way he is and being in Boston, the Sox have a great shot at taking this game and starting off the homestand on the right note.


Mark said...

Sweep the Yanks and two of three from the Phils and you're disappointed?

Dave said...

Not really. That was pretty much the point of the post. I mean, we all wanted to see a sweep but, weighed against all the positive stuff, the loss is pretty minimal.