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The 2012 season was an unmitigated disaster for the Boston Red Sox saved only by a masterful August fire sale that gives the team a chance for future success.
In their last game of the season, the 2012 Red Sox did nothing but confirm what the season had told us: they were not a good baseball team. A 14-2 defeat is the final embarrassment suffered by this team on which the book has now thankfully been closed.
The key perpetrator behind this disaster was, of course, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who mimiced the Sox in proving his inadequacy as a pitcher in his final start with the team. The first inning was a quick six-pitch affair, the second a longer three-run mess courtesy of a Curtis Granderson homer. Four batters into the third he'd already allowed another three baserunners and two runs, and just like that his time with the Sox was at an end.
The bullpen, to be fair, did more then their share of the damage. Clay Mortensen surrendered a two-run shot in his third inning of work, Pedro Beato two more runs in his one frame, and when it came Chris Carpenter's turn in the seventh, five runs in with just one out to show for it.
And for the Yankees and Hiroki Kuroda it was largely smooth sailing. Aside from a run in the first and a run in the seventh when the Sox actually managed to put two baserunners together inside of a frame, it was a classic case of one at a time. One man on in an inning, one man stranded in an inning.
By the time the ninth came to an end it was nothing more than a mercy killing.
He set the mark for the highest starters ERA in team history at 8.28, according to WEEI.com. The record comes with the qualifier of having to start at least 10 games in a given year.
His last start of 2012 ended with a line of 2⅓ innings against the New York Yankees, allowing five runs on six hits.
Matsuzaka will become a free agent after the 2012 season comes to a close, and it's doubtful he'll return after putting together a string of very sub-par campaigns.
Matsuzaka started his six-year, $52 million deal out with a couple of very good years, compiling a 33-15 record and a 3.72 ERA, including being a key part of the 2007 World Series team.
However, recent times haven't been so kind to the hurler. In the final four years of his contract, Matsuzaka finished with a sub-.500 record of 17-21 and a 5.53 ERA.
Here we go, the last game of the season. It's time for this sad, sad trip to come to a merciful end.
Yankees 14, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- The pain just keeps on coming. Chris Carpenter allows another homer to Curtis Granderson to start the inning, and it just gets worse from there. Carpenter surrenders another two baserunners before coughing up a two-run double to Ichiro Suzuki. Two more walks--one from Carpenter, and one from Craig Breslow who replaces him--loads up the bases, and a single and sacrifice fly bring in two more to make it a 12-run deficit.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th -- Jose Igelsias, of all people, is the one who breaks the mode, backing up Pedro Ciriaco's double with an RBI single to get the Sox on the board for the first time since the first.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 1, End 6th -- Unfortunately, that end is slower and slower in coming. Pedro Beato allows the first two batters to reach, gets a ground out, and then lets the next two reach as well, with who else but Robinson Cano driving in a pair with a single. That's 6 RBI on four hits now for the second baseman.
Yankees 7, Red Sox 1, Mid 6th -- It's like clockwork at this point. Dustin Pedroia double, three straight outs behind him. We're three innings away from the end, and oh, won't it just be the greatest of mercies?
Yankees 7, Red Sox 1, End 5th -- The failure of Daisuke Matsuzaka was easy to accept. It was fait accompli, destined to happen from the moment pitch number one left his hand.
Clayton Mortensen giving Robisnon Cano his second homer of the night is something different, however. An added sting in an already awful game.
Yankees 5, Red Sox 1, Mid 5th -- The customary baserunner is provided by Pedro Ciriaco. The three customary outs are provided by Ryan Lavarnway, Jose Iglesias, and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Yankees 5, Red Sox 1, End 4th -- Clayton Mortensen returns the favor against the Yankees, striking out Russell Martin and then inducing a double play ball from Derek Jeter to erase the leadoff baserunner in Raul Ibanez.
Yankees 5, Red Sox 1, Mid 4th -- Just to emphasize that the Sox will finish things out the way they started, Cody Ross' leadoff single is immediately erased by a James Loney double play. Now that's a response!
Yankees 5, Red Sox 1, End 3rd -- Daisuke's Red Sox career, appropriately enough, ends with a 2.1 inning, 5-run performance after Robinson Cano takes him deep with Alex Rodriguez on base. Clayton Mortensen manages to wipe up the rest of the damage, but at this point it's looking like you can pretty much close the book on Boston's season.
Yankees 3, Red Sox 1, Mid 3rd -- Dustin Pedroia is the one drawing a two-out walk in the midst of an otherwise unproductive inning this time, allowing the Yankees to hold the lead.
Yankees 3, Red Sox 1, End 2nd -- Well it wouldn't be a Daisuke start if he wasn't, y'know, terrible. Robinson Cano gets it started by reaching out to flare a pitch well outside into right field for a leadoff single. Nick Swisher draws a walk as Daisuke goes back to the classics, and then all it takes is one flat fastball for Curtis Granderson to make it a 3-0 game with a homer to right.
Red Sox 1, Yankees 0, Mid 2nd -- Hiroki Kuroda recovers from allowing a first-inning run, surrendering just a two-out walk to Ryan Lavarnway before getting Pedro Ciriaco to ground out and end the inning.
Red Sox 1, Yankees 0, End 1st -- Daisuke Matsuzaka, in his last start for the Red Sox, throws six pitches in a 1-2-3 first. He would wait until now to throw a perfect game, wouldn't he?
Red Sox 1, Yankees 0, Mid 1st -- For the second straight night the Red Sox take an early lead. This time, however, the attack is lacking the double from Dustin Pedroia, who can only move Jacoby Ellsbury along after a leadoff single. Cody Ross is the one who provides the RBI hit this time, with a line drive into left field to score Ellsbury and put the Sox ahead.
Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington wouldn't comment on the rumor that manager Bobby Valentine would be fired as soon as the season is over.
Bobby Valentine's tenure with the Boston Red Sox will come to an end almost immediately after the season ends, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
The Red Sox will end their season tonight with one last game against the New York Yankees in New Yankee Stadium. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, WEEI, and ESPN.
The final Red Sox lineup of the year is a typical one for September. Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia will play to save it from complete destitution. The good--no, the great news is that Sox fans probably won't have to deal with the like outside of spring training for a very long time.
Knock on wood, of course. Wouldn't want to be tempting any baseball deities.
Boston Red Sox (69-92)
New York Yankees (94-67)
Bobby Valentine, manager of the Red Sox, was involved in a bicycle crash in New York caused by reading a text message from Dustin Pedroia on Tuesday.
The Red Sox fell 4-3 in twelve innings to the Yankees Tuesday night, failing to hold their all-time rivals for the Orioles to catch up.
With Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia making their return to the Red Sox lineup, Tuesday night's game would start very differently from Monday's. Ellsbury found center field with a leadoff single, and right behind him Pedroia smacked a double into the gap in right-center to score the speedy center fielder from first. Pedroia would score on a Cody Ross sacrifice fly later in the inning to make it 2-0.
The Yankees, meanwhile, would manage to break through against Lester in the second like they did with Buchholz, but with nowhere near the magnitude. Instead it was just an errant throw and stolen base that allowed an infield single to score. One unearned run in is quite a bit better than the eight earned allowed by Buchholz last time.
And for much of the game, that would be that. Jon Lester relied on some double plays to escape trouble before exiting in the fifth with some sort of leg injury, while David Phelps held the Red Sox to a baserunner an inning before handing it off to the pen in the sixth.
Both pens would do good work of holding the score right up until the ninth. First it was Rafael Soriano's turn to fail, surrendering a loud bomb into the second deck in right field to James Loney, but that was just the opening act to Andrew Bailey. Just needing three outs, Bailey got one, and not until after he'd allowed Raul Ibanez to tie the game with a two-run rocket to right of his own. Bailey would then proceed to load the bases before being yanked for Mark Melancon, who managed to get out of the jam to send the game to extra innings.
The tie would hold through the tenth and the eleventh, with Jacoby Ellsbury saving the game with a big catch on Alex Rodriguez, crashing into the wall to prevent a walkoff double. Andrew Miller would enter the game in the twelfth, however, and after two outs, lost control. Walking two batters, Miller brought none other than Raul Ibanez to the plate again, and all he needed was a simple ground ball that found the hole into left field. Game over.
The Red Sox are out to grab a win in what, with Daisuke Matsuzaka scheduled to start tomorrow, is very likely their last competitive game of the year.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in New Yankee Stadium.
Red Sox 3, Yankees 3, End 11th -- Vicente Padilla almost gives up the walkoff, but Jacoby Ellsbury ranges back and crashes into the wall to make a great grab on an Alex Rodriguez fly ball that should have won it.
Red Sox 3, Yankees 3, Mid 11th -- Derek Lowe holds his old team down for an inning despite, of course, another leadoff baserunner in the form of James Loney. Oh, and Pedro Ciriaco was intentionally walked. That's the effect of Jose Iglesias' bat in the lineup.
Red Sox 3, Yankees 3, End 10th -- The Yankees manage not even the baserunner, with Mark Melancon holding on for another three outs.
Red Sox 3, Yankees 3, Mid 10th -- The Sox' campaign for an extra innings win gets off to a typical start: one baserunner, zero runs.
Red Sox 3, Yankees 3, End 9th -- And it takes Andrew Bailey just two batters to blow the lead, with Raul Ibanez uncorking a line drive into the stands in right for a two-run homer that ties it up. Bailey manages to load the bases with one out before he is mercifully removed for Mark Melancon, who gets a pop-up and ground ball to send it to extras.
Red Sox 3, Yankees 1, Mid 9th -- James Loney launches a rare solo shot to right field to give the Red Sox some much needed insurance headed to the bottom of the ninth.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, End 8th -- The Yankees waste a two-out single from Russell Martin when Brett Gardner gets himself picked off while pinch-running. They've got three outs to tie it up, or the Sox will force them to win tomorrow to avoid at least one one-game playoff.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, Mid 8th -- David Robertson avoids the customary baserunner by striking out two batters in the top of the 8th, but the Yankees will have to get to scoring if they want to stay alone atop the A.L. East now that the Orioles have won their game.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, End 7th -- Junichi Tazawa enters for the seventh, which of course means it does not last long at all. 1-2-3 go the Yankees, with Alex Rodriguez striking out on four pitches to once again preserve the lead. He's been just so huge this year out of the pen. If only the Sox had put it to good use.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, Mid 7th -- The Red Sox get, of course, one baserunner on a Pedro Ciriaco single. Ciriaco even manages to add in a stolen base to get himself into scoring position, but the Sox just refuse to give their pen even the slightest breathing room.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, End 6th -- Jon Lester is indeed done for the night and the season, leaving his ERA at an unhealthy 4.82--the worst of his career. Still, it's at least a good night's work, albeit injury shortened from the southpaw. It's Rich Hill who ends up replacing him on the mound, and while he gets himself in trouble with a single and double, Ichiro Suzuki hits one on the screws but right at Ellsbury to end the inning.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, Mid 6th -- The Sox are being really consistent about this one baserunner an inning thing on the whole. This time it's Daniel Nava drawing a leadoff walk and being stranded once again.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, End 5th -- Lester faces more trouble in the fifth, and given his limping, may not be fully healthy. That's only to be expected given the fact that he plays for the Red Sox, but at least in the fifth it hasn't cost the Red Sox at thing. Five innings, one unearned run.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, Mid 5th -- The 9-1-2 hitters go down in order to end the fifth. Since the strong start, the Ellsbury - Pedroia combo has been unproductive.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, End 4th -- Robinson Cano leads off with a single against Jon Lester, but this time the southpaw needs no double plays to help him secure a scoreless fourth and keep the Red Sox' lead intact.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, Mid 4th -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia continues the too-slow parade of Red Sox baserunners in the fourth, drawing a walk and then staying there after a couple of outs from Ryan Lavarnway and Pedro Ciriaco.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, End 3rd -- Once again a double play helps Lester out of a jam, rescuing him from a first-and-third, one out situation after Alex Rodriguez picks up his second weak hit of the night. Lester is getting remarkably unlucky for how well he's stayed in this one.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, Mid 3rd -- Daniel Nava gets hit by a pitch with two outs, making this not simply an ineffective inning, but a painfully ineffective inning.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1, End 2nd -- The Yankees manage to push one across against Lester with two outs thanks in part to a errant throw from Pedro Ciriaco. It comes on a Curtis Granderson ground ball which is ruled a single anyways, but it allows him to reach second, steal third, and then score on another infield single, this time from Eduardo Nunez. Not exactly hard contact, just unfortunate results.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 0, Mid 2nd -- Pedro Ciriaco grabs his first infield single against the Yankees in a bit--that's kind of his bread and butter when it comes to killing New York--but it's the only blip in an otherwise quiet inning for David Phelps.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 0, End 1st -- Both a ground ball and bloop find their way in for hits against Jon Lester in the top of the first. It's the type of start to an inning that strikes fear into the hearts of Sox fans--"oh here we go again"--but this time it's just some bad luck that's easily erased. Mark Teixeira grounds into a double play with one out, and just like that the inning is over.
Red Sox 2, Yankees 0, Mid 1st -- The difference between yesterday's game and tonight's? Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. The perfect world 1-2 combo hasn't had many appearances this season, but tonight they're working like a charm. Jacoby Ellsbury leads off the inning with a single to center, and five pitches later it's Pedroia finding the gap in right-center, giving Ellsbury enough time to race home all the way from first. Daniel Nava manages to move Pedroia over to third, and Cody Ross knocks him in with a sacrifice fly to make it an early 2-0 lead.
Dustin Pedroia knows that the Red Sox season is basically over. They're miles out of the playoff picture, and the games that remain are meaningless. Still, with a broken finger and another one hurting, Pedroia's going to keep on playing.
The Red Sox will try and even up their series against the Yankees Tuesday night as they send Jon Lester to the mound for his final start of what has been a terribly disappointing season. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
The spotlight, however, will fall not on Lester, but on Dustin Pedroia, who will suit up and bat second despite the news that he fractured his finger diving into second against the Orioles. He's not had the best of seasons, though he did pull it back some from the brink, but there's nobody out there who can question his drive to compete.
Boston Red Sox (69-91)
New York Yankees (93-67)
The New York Yankees destroyed Clay Buchholz, hitting three homers off him in the second inning and chasing him before he could see the third with eight runs to his name in what would eventually be a 10-2 Boston defeat.
So much for playing spoiler. With Baltimore also losing against the Rays, and Daisuke Matsuzaka taking the mound Wednesday for the Sox, it's hard to imagine the Yankees will end up with anything less than a share of the division crown. That means that the worst-case scenario for them is a one-game playoff to see who has to play in another one-game playoff. Two chances to get one win.
As for what happened during the game, well, that's pretty much covered above. Clay Buchholz looked solid in the first, and then morbid in the second. Robinson Cano hit a first pitch homer, and Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin were not far behind, making it 4-0 in a hurry. An assortment of other baserunners would costs Buchholz four more, the last scoring when Alfredo Aceves allowed a two-run shot to Mark Teixeira, the first batter he faced.
As for the Boston offense, they haven't scored 10 even once since the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez et al. to Los Angeles. They weren't about to start tonight against CC Sabathia.
So ends Clay Buchholz' season, much as it began.
The Red Sox are ready to kick off the first game of their final series of the year. We'll keep you up-to-date as Clay Buccholz takes on CC Sabathia in New Yankee Stadium.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th -- Che-Hsuan Lin actually manages another single in the leadoff position, but once again the Sox can do nothing to help move him on home. Thankfully the end is finally in sight.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- Pedro Beato thankfully gets the quick hook after giving up a single, allowing Andrew Miller to finish off the side with a couple of strikeouts.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th -- The Sox make it "just" a seven run game courtesy of Mauro Gomez, who draws a leadoff walk and then takes second on a wild pitch, third on a ground ball, and home on a sacrifice fly.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 1, End 6th -- Another scoreless inning for Pedro Beato is highlighted by a strikeout of Alex Rodriguez. His problems have come when he's asked to extend his outings for too long. Hopefully Bobby V will spare both him and us that experience tonight.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 1, Mid 6th -- The Sox go back to the ol' 1-2-3 with the top of their lineup coming to the plate.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 1, End 5th -- Pedro Beato avoids the 1-2-3 inning by offering up a walk to Eric Chavez with two down. He bounces back to get Derek Jeter on a fly ball, however, ensuring that nothing comes of it.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 1, Mid 5th -- Che-Hsuan Lin manages to get decent contact to shoot a ground ball through the left side for a single. A personal victory for a man now hitting .182.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 1, End 4th -- Robinson Cano doubles, and Mark Teixeira walks, but each comes with two outs, and Aceves is able to strike Nick Swisher out to end the fourth without further incident.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 1, Mid 4th -- Daniel Nava actually get the Sox on the board with a solo shot in the fourth. Don't call it a comeback!
Because it isn't one.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- Aceves induces three quick ground balls. Hopefully now that the massacre is over the rest of this can at least be hurried along.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- And of course the Sox follow up by going 1-2-3. Hard to imagine a more deflated team than this one.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- It's a measure of just how bad this inning was that it's still somehow shocking this deep into the year. Rather than giving Red Sox fans something to dream on going into 2013, Buchholz reverted to his early-season form and then some, providing one of the worst innings of the season. The first pitch resulted in a solo shot to deep center for Robinson Cano, and that just served to set the tone for the frame. Twice more the Yankees would leave the park against Buchholz in the inning, and after a couple more walks and hits he was out of the game.
Of course, that only led to Alfredo Aceves entering the game and surrendering a two-run shot to Mark Teixeira in his first AB. Aceves would finally end the inning after another double, but that still leaves nine crippling runs in. Game over.
Red Sox 0, Yankees 0, Mid 2nd -- The Sox let their first real opportunity of the game go wanting in the second. Mauro Gomez was the one to provide the chance with a double into the gap in left-center. Ryan Lavarnway made excellent contact behind him, but found Nick Swisher's glove on the warning track in right, only managing to move Gomez to third. Still, with one out on the board that run might have been expected to score, but Sabathia got Jarrod Saltalamacchia to pop out, and then battled back from a 3-1 count to strike out Danny Valencia and end the inning.
Red Sox 0, Yankees 0, End 1st -- Clay Buchholz establishes a strong start of his own, striking out Alex Rodriguez to cap off his own impressive 1-2-3 inning.
Red Sox 0, Yankees 0, Mid 1st -- A predictably slow start for the Red Sox against New York ace C.C. Sabathia, who enjoys a 1-2-3 against the once again weak top of the Boston lineup. Lacking Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, it's Pedro Ciriaco and Daniel Nava leading into Cody Ross. The last two go down on strikes, no less, to give Sabathia an exclamation mark for the frame.
The Red Sox will open their final series of the year Monday night as they take on the Yankees in New York. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
Unfortunately for Sox fans, in this first game which they would like very much to win, they'll have to deal with a truly awful lineup bad even by current Red Sox standards. Featuring the awful 8-9 combination of Che-Hsuan Lin and Jose Iglesias, as well as the absence of both Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, this is truly the worst we have seen out of the Red Sox this year. Perhaps even the worst the team has ever fielded.
Boston Red Sox (69-90)
New York Yankees (92-67)
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