Actually, it's not fun at all. I tried hard to channel Buddy the Elf after Francisco Liriano led the Twins in a 8-0 beatdown of the Red Sox. But it's hard to have good cheer and a bright attitude when a team that is supposed to have great defense commits three errors and a pitcher that the Sox have hit with regularity looks Gibson-esque.
The Sox have made Liriano their personal hand-puppet over the past couple of years. But yesterday Liriano flipped that relationship on its head. His seven innings of four-hit ball with two walks and eight strikeouts meant the Sox never got going. He threw about 67% of his pitches for strikes. Unless I counted it wrong, Liriano found himself down to a batter by two balls or more in a count only four times. He was, in a word, dominant. Only Dustin Pedroia was able to work him, getting two of his three hits off Liriano.
That made for a deadly combination with Tim Wakefield's knuckleball that wasn't really knuckling. The Twins jumped him for six runs (five earned) and 10 hits in 5.1 innings. It wasn't that Tim lost his control; he actually threw more of his pitches for strikes than Liriano (68%). But when that knuckleball lays flat...it's like batting practice. And all too often yesterday it wasn't moving the way it usually does. That's the way it goes with a knuckleballer; every so often they have a game where it just doesn't work. Hopefully, this is the last one Wakes has for a while. And Scott Schoeneweis had a forgettable inning of work (two runs on three hits) before Ramon Ramirez sopped up the rest. Because why would you waste a good arm in that spot?
Not that it was all their fault. The Boston defense was abysmal yesterday with three errors. Boston's batters went 0-6 with runners in scoring position. It was a giant mess all the way around. And when you play a team like Minnesota, you cannot screw up like that because they'll make you pay.
The roadtrip ends with Boston going 3-3. So for all the losing, they still went .500 on the road and that is what you want your team to do. They now come back home for a long homestand, starting with four against the Rays. That includes the traditional 11:05 AM start on Patriots Day this Monday. Beckett takes the mound tonight against Wade Davis. Davis lost his last start against the Yankees. And that is all I am saying. Apparently I can't talk any kind of smack against an opposing pitcher without them crushing the Sox.
And there is one more thing; the Sox now have a depth problem in the outfield. Mike Cameron is now likely to be out with a kidney stone, which is probably as men ever get to experiencing the pain of childbirth. And Ellsbury is still not back yet. So the speediest fielders on the team are now being replaced with Hermida and Hall. Which isn't a bad thing per se; Hermida has been crushing the ball and Hall has a good eye (he drew both walks against Liriano). But who is on the bench now? What if Scutaro gets hurt and Hall needs to take over there? I would guess Josh Reddick would come up. I like Reddick. But I wish his callup wasn't because we're running dry on outfielders.