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Repko, who signed with the Red Sox to a minor league contract prior to this season, started his year in Triple-A Pawtucket but has appeared in five games in the major leagues. In 11 at-bats with the Boston Red Sox this season, Repko is batting .091 with four strikeouts and just one hit, a single.
The 31-year old has been out since April 21 with a left shoulder sprain, which prompted the Red Sox to place him on the 60-day DL.
It's always dangerous to make too much out of any one series in the middle of the year. Three games is hardly a large enough sample size to make any real judgement about the team as a whole.
Still, having seen the domination of the lineup by a truly excellent rotation makes one wonder what the end game is for the Sox here.
While any discussion of the playoffs at 29-31 should rightfully bring on Jim Mora references en masse, the old adage that good pitching beats good hitting needs to be considered, because right now the Sox are something of a one-note team, full of excellent offensive players, but without the sort of front-line pitching that can stand up against really impressive rotations.
In Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz, the team has a strong top-3 at least in name, but after the first half of the season it's hard to imagine anyone putting that group on the same level as the rotations found in the AL West, Tampa Bay, or really anyone with a shot at making it out of the National League. Jon Lester has allowed three or more runs nearly twice as often as not, Clay Buchholz has only rounded into form recently and hasn't proven that he can consistently produce, and Josh Beckett is more prone to the implosion than the other pitchers who are able to put up some of the dominant games he has this year.
For the last couple of months Sox fans have been waiting for health to come with the expectation that a full team will help them make a run, but the team doesn't have any front-line pitching on the disabled list. All there is is more offense, and even that will only replace already-impressive performers in the likes of Scott Podsednik and Daniel Nava. More sustainable, yes, but the heights may not get that much higher.
Right now what the team needs is starting pitching, but unless the three top starters all wake up and start pitching like the best versions of themselves ('09 Lester, '07 Beckett, '10 Buchholz), the only way to get that would be via a trade. And right now, any trade for front line pitching would be a costly investment for a team so far away from even making October baseball.
The Red Sox held on for much of Sunday afternoon's game, but could not keep pace with the Nationals for all nine innings, falling 4-3 as the Nationals pushed three across in the last three innings.
Jon Lester looked for all the world like he was going to end this game early. After surrendering a run in the first on a double, a sacrifice fly, and a ground ball, the third inning saw him completely fall apart, even without allowing a run. Allowing a single and a walk with one out, the Sox would ultimately elect to walk Ryan Zimmerman after Lester twice completely missed his spot to fall behind 2-0. The fourth pitch to Zimmerman, an intentional ball, nearly sailed to the backstop, with only a leaping grab from Salty saving at least one run from scoring.
Lester would manage to strike out the final batter of the inning looking at a fastball that dotted the inside corner, however, and that seemed to fire him up. Lester would roll through the next three innings while the Sox tied the game in the third when Dustin Pedroia beat out a double play, and took the lead in the fourth on a big fly from David Ortiz.
Boston's lefty starter would keep right on rolling into the seventh, which is where everything just seemed to go wrong. A bad hop on a ground ball to third, a first pitch changeup cued into left field, and suddenly it was two on with no outs. A double steal made up for a strikeout from Jesus Flores, and while Roger Bernadina gifted the team an out on a pop-up bunt, Lester could not get Ian Desmond, who doubled off the wall to make it 3-2, Nationals.
The lead would only last into the bottom of the frame, as the Sox again scored on a ground ball out, but it was only a short reprieve. Going into the ninth, Alfredo Aceves gave up a walk to Bryce Harper with one out, and then after having a few close calls go against him, surrendered the go-ahead double to Bernadina. With the Sox not scoring in the ninth, they fell to 29-31.
|Final - 6.10.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||3|
The Sox are once again out to salvage a game from a disappointing series Sunday afternoon as they take on Jordan Zimmerman and the Nationals.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 3, Final -- The Sox are angry at the umpires for some close calls, and Bobby Valentine even went and got himself ejected, but it doesn't make any difference in the final score. The Sox are swept, and fall two below .500.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 3, Mid 9th -- And right now it's looking like bust, as two-out trouble for Alfredo Aceves gives the Nationals the lead. A four-pitch walk to Bryce Harper gives them the baserunner they need, and after a few close calls go against Aceves (on missed spots), a high fastball to Roger Bernadina results in a line drive double and a run in for Washington.
Red Sox 3, Nationals 3, End 8th -- Another David Ortiz hit goes to waste, with the Sox only able to follow up his one-out single through the shift with a Will Middlebrooks walk. Headed to the ninth in a tie, it's a walkoff or bust for the Sox now.
Red Sox 3, Nationals 3, Mid 8th -- Scott Atchison comes in to relieve Jon Lester, and while Adam LaRoche makes him work for his clean inning, fighting through an eight pitch at bat, Atchison strikes him out on a heater to end the inning.
Red Sox 3, Nationals 3, End 7th -- Nick Punto puts himself back in the positive column as he and Ryan Sweeney hit back-to-back singles to start the seventh inning. A bunt from Darnell McDonald against the right-handed Zimmerman (Daniel Nava is out with a sore hand, and thus unavailable to pinch hit) proved the right decision, as Scott Podsednik grounded up the middle, allowing Sweeney to come in the back and tie the game at three-a-side.
Nationals 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th -- And just like that Lester gives up the lead after three really impressive innings of work. The Nationals put two men on in a hurry with singles on a ground ball and a line drive, and while the Nationals fail to get a sacrifice bunt down, the runners steal on a strikeout pitch, resulting in the same outcome. A bad bunt attempt by Roger Bernadina gets them a free out as he pops the ball in the air, but Danny Espinosa does not go down so easily, launching a long fly ball to left field that catches the bottom of the wall for a two-run double.
Red Sox 2, Nationals 1, End 6th -- The Sox go down in order in the sixth, as Jordan Zimmerman avoids the troubles of the last few innings.
Red Sox 2, Nationals 1, Mid 6th -- One wonders if that bases loaded strikeout fired Lester up, because ever since then he's been a different man on the mound. Ryan Sweeney gave him a hand in staying clean in the sixth, making a tremendous sliding catch to rob Ryan Zimmerman of extra bases in the cavernous right field corner. Perhaps thinking that the defense had already given him enough to work with, Lester then proceeded to strike out the next two batters with a cut fastball and a curve--the latter of which has been hit most consistent offering today.
Red Sox 2, Nationals 1, End 5th -- Nick Punto slows himself down by trying to slide into first, instantly undoing all of the good will gathered in the game thus far. The Sox proceed to put the next two batters on, with Scott Podsednik doubling to center and Dustin Pedroia working a walk. Unfortunately, Adrian Gonzalez' sudden resurgence has just as suddenly gone away, it seems, as he grounds out weakly to second base to end the frame.
Red Sox 2, Nationals 1, Mid 5th -- Lester may finally be finding some consistency on the mound today. Roger Bernadina goes down on strikes facing exclusively fastballs before the lefty goes back to his off-speed stuff, getting Danny Espinosa swinging at a curveball before Xavier Nady grounded out to send the game to the bottom of the fifth.
Red Sox 2, Nationals 1, End 4th -- David Ortiz has been slumping, but he seems to be seeing Jordan Zimmerman well enough. A high fastball proves costly for Jordan Zimmermann, as Big Papi turns on it sending a no doubter into the bullpen in right field and giving the Sox their first lead of the game.
Red Sox 1, Nationals 1, Mid 4th -- Ian Desmond once again gets good contact, hitting a hard liner to left for a double, but Nick Punto catches him straying too far off second on a ground ball, and another ground ball ends the inning shortly thereafter.
Red Sox 1, Nationals 1, End 3rd -- The Red Sox score a run so scrappy and covered in grit and the drool of a thousand old guard baseball writers that I almost don't want it. Jordan Zimmerman makes the inexplicable decision not to throw strikes to Nick Punto, walking the number nine batter before Scott Podsednik manages to place a bouncing ground ball perfectly for a base hit through the right side of the infield. With one out, Dustin Pedroia almost manages to ground into a double play, but gets to first in time to beat the throw, letting Punto come in the backdoor after going from first to third on Podsednik's hit.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- Jon Lester gets himself into another jam, looking at times nothing like the front-line pitcher he once was. A walk and a single get two runners for the Nationals with one out, and while a curveball gets the strikeout on Xavier Nady, a double steal puts two men in scoring position.
The really scary part comes against Ryan Zimmerman, as Lester twice completely misses his spot, falling behind 2-0 before the decision is made to intentionally walk the third baseman. On the 3-0 toss home, Lester actually manages to overthrow Saltalamacchia, who has to make a leaping grab to prevent an intentional walk from becoming a wild pitch.
Still, Lester does manage, with the help of a lucky call and a great 3-2 pitch, to strike out Michael Morse, bringing the inning to an uneventful end.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- The Red Sox get a leadoff double from David Ortiz, and then completely waste it, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks going down by way of the K before Ryan Sweeney grounded out weakly to second. Jordan Zimmerman, as was the case with the last two Nationals pitchers, has it going on.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- Jon Lester has a good bounce back inning, striking out Adam LaRoche to start off a 1-2-3 frame. Still, Ian Desmond put some decent wood on the ball--not a great sign given that was Lester's problem in the first.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- Dustin Pedroia finally gets good contact, singling through the left side of the infield to give the Sox their first baserunner of the game, but Adrian Gonzalez quickly grounds into a double play behind him, leaving the Red Sox unable to respond in the bottom half of the inning.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- Not an encouraging start for Jon Lester, as Danny Espinosa and Xavier Nady both make hard contact for line drives to the outfield.
Luckily for Lester, only the first one goes for a hit--a double to center--but with Nady's getting far enough for a sacrifice fly and Espinosa breaking for home on contact, the Nationals were able to jump ahead 1-0 in the first.
Mark Melancon did well enough in AAA action to find his way back up to the Boston Red Sox's lineup for their series finale against the Washington Nationals Sunday. Melancon compiled a 0.83 ERA in 21 innings while allowing just 15 hits and two earned runs in his minor league stint. He also recorded a 9.00 (27:3) strikeout-to-walk ratio.
That's the kind of performance it takes to get the job back, but Melancon said it had nothing to do with confidence or the lack thereof, rather his approach and aggressiveness that allowed him to pitch so well.
He was demoted in April after he debuted for the Red Sox in four outings that resulted in 11 runs on 10 hits in 2.0 innings. Read what Melancon had to say about being demoted to AAA and his quest to return to the majors:
"After five or six times of doing it, you realize it doesn't help to go down there and get pissed off," Melancon said. "It's tough to go down there after you've had a couple bad outings, but you've got to make the best of it. That's what I was trying to do."
Rich Hill was put on the DL with reported left elbow/forearm soreness to make room for Melancon. Hill plans to visit Dr. James Andrews, the famed Tommy John specialist, on Monday.
Read more about the Red Sox at Over the Monster.
The Red Sox will try and salvage a game from their weekend series against the Nationals as the teams go head-to-head once again in Fenway Park. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
Nick Punto will once again make his way back to the Boston lineup Sunday, this time in place of Mike Aviles at short rather than Dustin Pedroia. After starting the season on a roll, Aviles has been tailspinning, with an OPS under .700 in May and under .600 in June. While Punto has never been impressive for more than one game at a time, he at least looked better than that over his last few games as a starter.
Kevin Youkilis will also receive a day off, as the Red Sox' infield shuffle continues, with Adrian Gonzalez moving back to first and Will Middlebrooks remaining at third.
Boston Red Sox (29-30)
Washington Nationals (34-23)
Believe it or not, there's been a total cosmetic change in Major League Baseball when it comes to who should be beating who. But the fifth-place American League East Boston Red Sox are looking to avoid the series sweep against National League East division leading Washington Nationals Sunday in this interleague series.
The Sox are going to have to face Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.82 ERA), who along with Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, just may be apart of the best pitching staff in baseball. There was a time (and not too long ago) when that could be said about Boston.
Either way, Jon Lester (3-4, 4.64 ERA) is going to have to do his part as well Sunday. Take a look here at the game schedule and broadcast information:
Date/Time: Sunday, June 10, 1:35 p.m. ET
Location: Fenway Park
TV: MASN, NESN
Online streaming: MLB.tv
The Red Sox fell 4-2 to the Washington Nationals Saturday afternoon behind one bad inning from Daisuke Matsuzaka and a strong performance from Gio Gonzalez.
For much of the game Gio Gonzalez was nigh unhittable. Utilizing a curveball the Sox refused to lay off with excellent fastball control, Gonzalez managed to escape the second after a leadoff double from David Ortiz, and then rolled through the end of the sixth inning, allowing almost nothing in the way of hard contact and baserunners.
Daisuke Matsuzaka also looked good for most of his return outing, but was undone by one bad inning. Losing control of his fastball in the fourth, Matsuzaka surrendered a leadoff walk to Bryce Harper on four pitches, and had Ryan Zimmerman make it first-and-third with a base hit to left. Adam LaRoche would strike out swinging, but some more misplaced heaters gave Mike Morse a ground-rule double, Ian Desmond a ground ball single, and the Nationals three runs. Added to an earlier solo shot, and the score stood at 4-0 through four.
With Franklin Morales holding down the fort starting in the sixth, the Sox would finally break through against Gonzalez in the seventh, with Will Middlebrooks drawing a walk and moving to third on a Mike Aviles single. Craig Stammen would record no outs, walking Ryan Sweeney as he relieved Gio Gonzalez, and Michael Gonzalez quickly gave up a wall ball single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, plating the first two Red Sox runs of the night.
Unfortunately, those would prove to be the only Red Sox runs of the night. While Morales was able to finish the eighth and Aceves to close out the ninth without allowing any more runs, the Sox could push nothing across against the back end of the bullpen, with Tyler Clippard working around a two-out double from Ryan Sweeney to earn the save.
The Red Sox and Nationals are set to face off for the second time Saturday afternoon as Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his return against Gio Gonzalez.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 2, Final -- Tyler Clippard gets his three outs, and the Sox are back under .500.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 2, Mid 9th -- Alfredo Aceves enjoys a quick ninth inning, keeping the Sox within striking distance of the Nationals as they head to the bottom half of the ninth.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 2, End 8th -- The best shot the Sox are going to get goes by the wayside, as the heart of the order goes 1-2-3 in the eighth.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th -- Franklin Morales makes quick work of things in the eighth. Give him this: he's been impressive in long outings.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- And the Red Sox are back in this one. The Sox finally get to Gio Gonzalez as he starts to tire late, with Will Middlebrooks drawing a one-out walk and then moving to third on a Mike Aviles single bobbled by Bryce Harper in right. The Nationals bring in Craig Stammen to relieve Gonzalez, but he can only give up a walk before being replaced by Michael Gonzalez to move a pinch-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the right side of the plate. It's a solid bit of strategy, but to no avail, as the catcher blasts a line drive off the wall in left, scoring two.
The new Gonzalez does manage to get the next two outs without much trouble, but the Sox at least have some life now.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 7th -- Another good inning for Franklin Morales keeps the lead at just four.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, End 6th -- The only baserunners the Sox can get right now are on infield singles and errors. The former gets Dustin Pedroia on base this time, and the latter gets him to second as Gio Gonzalez throws the ball away. The rest of the Sox do nothing, however, with Danny Espinosa jumping to grab a bloop that almost gets over his head, and David Ortiz grounding out into the shift.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 6th -- Franklin Morales, in for Daisuke Matsuzaka, has a very quick 1-2-3 inning. If nothing else, the game is at least moving at a decent pace.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, End 5th -- Adam LaRoche helps the Sox to a leadoff baserunner, erring on a ground ball from Kevin Youkilis. Gio Gonzalez was not to be denied his fifth scoreless inning, however, dotting a corner to strike Will Middlebrooks out, nearly getting a double play from Mike Aviles, and then getting Kelly Shoppach on a foul tip.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- The Daisuke from the first inning returns, striking out Jesus Flores and Bryce Harper, but unfortunately good pitching can't erase runs after they've scored. The Sox offense needs to get to work now, and so far there's no sign of that happening.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- This game is starting to look an awful lot like the first game. A four-run Nationals lead after some second-inning trouble thanks to bad pitching in the middle innings by the Red Sox starter. With Gio Gonzalez picking up another 1-2-3 inning, this four run lead seems an awfully large one to surmount.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- Daisuke falls apart in the fourth, and it starts exactly how you'd imagine: with a four pitch walk. Losing his ability to locate his fastball, Daisuke gives up the free pass to Bryce Harper, a single to Ryan Zimmerman, and a ground rule double to Michael Morse, and a single to Ian Desmond, all on fastballs which end up over the middle of the zone far too often. Three runs score, and more might have come in were it not for a sliding catch by Adrian Gonzalez in right which he turns into two, doubling Desmond off first for the final out.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- The Red Sox can do nothing with Gio Gonzalez in the third, and given the results against the curveball so far, they should probably just stop swinging at it. It's the curveball which Kelly Shoppach swings over the top of for Gonzalez' strikeout, and the curveball which Daniel Nava takes three of for one strike and two balls. While the latter does end up grounding out weakly to short, it's worth considering.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- But for that one pitch in the second, Daisuke is all the way on today. A sweeping curveball cuts back into the zone, freezing Rick Ankiel for Daisuke's fourth strikeout of the day, and with two outs a perfectly located 3-2 fastball catches Steve Lombardozzi looking for his fifth.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- A wasted opportunity for the Red Sox, who leave David Ortiz stranded after he reaches third with one out thanks to a double to left and a wild pitch that catches catcher Jesus Flores in the side. Will Middlebrooks needed just a good fly ball, but instead bounced a grounder to third, and Mike Aviles quickly popped out on the first pitch to end the inning.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- The first pitch of the inning costs Daisuke a run, as he has a fastball--supposed to be away--tail back over the plate, letting Adam LaRoche plant it into the bullpen. Matsuzaka fights back, striking out Michael Morse for the first out of the inning and getting the next two on just five pitches, but the Sox are behind 1-0 all the same.
Red Sox 0, Nationals 0, End 1st -- The Sox go quietly in the bottom half of the first, with Dustin Pedroia taking an ill-advised swing at a curveball down-and-in to give Gio Gonzalez his first strikeout. We've seen a lot of that from Pedroia at the plate since coming back from injury. One wonders how long this can continue before the Sox reconsider their decision to bring him back early.
Red Sox 0, Nationals 0, Mid 1st -- Daisuke Matsuzaka does not look like someone pitching his first major league game in a year. Throwing some excellent pitches with terrific movement, Daisuke is through the first inning 1-2-3. Steve Lombardozzi went down on just three pitches, swinging over the top of a changeup for the strikeout. Bryce Harper fell behind 0-1 before blooping another changeup into shallow left field, where Daniel Nava made a running basket catch by the foul line. Ryan Zimmerman managed to put up a decent fight, running the count to 3-1 before fouling off a couple of pitches, but ultimately struck out swinging at a nice slurve that dipped out of the zone.
According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, Red Sox outfielder, Cody Ross, was on the field, taking batting practice for the first time since being placed on the disabled list.
Cody Ross taking BP on the field for the first time since fracturing his foot. Just put one in the Monster Seats. #RedSox— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) June 9, 2012
Ross hasn't suited up in nearly a month. His last game was on May 18, when he homered for the second consecutive day.
The outfielder has been a very nice pick up for the Red Sox in 2012. Before the injury, he was batting .271, with eight home runs and 28 runs batted in. The 31 year old outfielder has 108 career home runs and 399 runs batted in. He also has a World Series ring, which he won with the San Francisco Giants.
The Red Sox will look to get back on a winning track Saturday afternoon as they take on the Washington Nationals in Fenway Park. First pitch is at 4:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, the MLB Network, and WEEI.
While the Sox will not have to face the likes of Stephen Strasburg again tonight, they will come up against Gio Gonzalez, who has been just as good in his first season with the Nationals. Still, the Sox have always managed to get to Gio Gonzalez in the past when he was still inhabiting the cavernous Coliseum in Oakland. With a lineup filled with right-handed hitters--including Will Middlebrooks, who takes over at third with Adrian Gonzalez headed back to the outfield--they stand a decent chance at doing the same today.
Central focus, however, will be on the mound, not at the plate for the Red Sox, as Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his return to action one year after undergoing Tommy John Surgery.
Boston Red Sox (29-29)
Washington Nationals (33-23)
The Boston Red Sox needed to make a roster move to make way for the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will make his first start since May 16, 2011 on Saturday afternoon. The unlucky man, according to Ian M. Browne of MLB.com, is a 34-year old outfielder.
Marlon Byrd to be DFA'd to make room for Dice-K on roster.— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) June 9, 2012
Byrd hit .270 in 34 games with the Red Sox with one home run and seven RBI. Boston acquired Byrd in late April in exchange for relief pitcher Michael Bowden after Byrd played 14 games with the Chicago Cubs, batting .070.
For his career, Byrd has played 11 major league seasons. His career batting average is .278 and he has hit 82 home runs en route to knocking in 445 RBI.
No pitcher is invulnerable. No matter how good one has been all year long, on any given night they can falter and produce a shocking game that leaves their team with almost no chance to win.
Such was the case with Felix Doubront last night, who put an ugly stain on what had been a season of success by allowing six runs in four innings against the Washington Nationals.
What's a bit odd about Doubront's start is how it progressed. Often enough these disaster starts are apparent from the first inning. While Doubront did start the first off by allowing a wall ball double, anyone watching the first couple of frames would have been hard pressed to predict a disaster. He would strike out Bryce Harper and Michael Morse to escape the first-inning jam, and then pick up two more in the second against Xavier Nady and Tyler Moore.
But, come the third, Doubront simply seemed to lose control. After throwing a first-pitch strike to Danny Espinosa with one out, five of his next seven pitches would go for balls. A two-seamer over the plate cost him a double to Bryce Harper, he turned a 1-2 count into a 3-2 count against Ryan Zimmerman by again missing his spots, walked Michael Morse, and then hung a cutter to Ian Desmond for a two-run double.
Perhaps in the fourth he was just trying to get the ball over the plate after a long third. Either way, the results were no different. Three runs in on hittable pitches. Not Doubront's usual M.O.
Unfortunately for Felix, he's not the guy who's been able to pitch really deep into games, so six runs in four innings effected him more than it would most pitchers. His ERA ballooned from the 3.75 area up to 4.34, taking a lot of the sheen off of his season. Still, it would be good not to forget what he had done for the team before that game. One bad start does not erase two months of exciting performances, even if it effectively does just that in the stat line.
The Red Sox fell to the Nationals 7-4 Friday night as Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper put on a display befitting their hype in Fenway Park.
While the real standouts of the day were the aforementioned dynamic duo, it might be more accurate to chalk this loss up to a poor performance from Felix Doubront. It did have to happen sometime. After being the Sox' most consistent pitcher for the year, and putting up two solid innings to start the game, Doubront finally lost it. A walk and a double (the latter from Harper) put two men on for Ryan Zimmerman in the third, and Zimmerman responded with an RBI single to center. The difficulty would not end there, as another walk loaded the bases before Ian Desmond found the gap in right, doubling home two more.
Doubront's night would just get worse in the fourth, and this time Bryce Harper was the principal actor, smashing a two-run shot that nearly caught the Jordan's sign in the bleachers next to the triangle. With another run already having come in on a ground rule double, the Nationals had six total runs.
The Red Sox had actually managed to briefly take the lead before all of this, scoring two on a Mike Aviles double in the bottom of the second. Adrian Gonzalez just missed adding more against Strasburg when Xavier Nady leapt at the bullpen wall and brought back a home run ball. The real chance for the Sox, however, would come in the sixth, when they loaded the bases with one out. Jarrod Saltalamacchia would not manage to cash in, striking out on a curveball, but Youkilis would put up a battle, running the count full before being caught looking at a borderline strike low-and-away. The man known for his eye at the plate would disagree vehemently with the call, and find himself sent to the showers early by home plate umpire Doug Eddings.
The Nationals would give up a couple runs as the game went on, with Adrian Gonzalez hitting a very deep shot to center field to make up for the earlier robbery and Daniel Nava bringing home another in the ninth, but in the end it was simply too large a deficit to overcome.
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|Boston Red Sox||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||4||8||0|
|WP: Stephen Strasburg (7 - 1)
SV: Tyler Clippard (6)
LP: Felix Doubront (6 - 3)
The Red Sox and Nationals are set to resume interleague play Friday night, as Stephen Strasburg faces off against Felix Doubront.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down at Fenway
Nationals 7, Red Sox 4, Final -- The Sox add one in the ninth, and force Tyler Clippard to come in, but do no more. This game could have been different if a few moments had gone Boston's way, but there's no questioning what Washington's dynamic young duo pulled off tonight.
Nationals 7, Red Sox 3, Mid 9th -- Andrew Miller retires the heart of the order with relative ease in the ninth, though Will Middlebrooks has to make a great play charging onto the grass to record the final out on a swinging bunt. Hopefully he'll be doing that for years.
Nationals 7, Red Sox 3, End 8th -- If nothing else, the Sox will leave tonight with some hope for Adrian Gonzalez. After a 3-for-4 night on Thursday that could easily have been 4-for-4 but for a great grab at the wall, Gonzalez was robbed of a homer back in the third inning, and in the eighth decided not to give the Washington outfield a chance. A fastball near the inside corner was not enough to get past Adrian Gonzalez, who took a big swing and sent a fly ball about as far as one can go to center field, nearly hitting the wall behind the bleachers near the batting eye, giving the Sox their third run of the night.
Nationals 7, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th -- The Nationals grab another leadoff baserunner, this time on a single off of the bat of Xavier Nady, but can't get anything else against Scott Atchison.
Nationals 7, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- The Sox manage to put two more men on for Dustin Pedroia, but with a full count the second baseman fouls off what would have been ball four, and then lifts a fly ball to right field for the final out of the inning.
Nationals 7, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th -- A leadoff double from Ryan Zimmerman doesn't help the Nats to extend their lead any, as Rich Hill retires the next two batters before Scott Atchison enters to finish off the inning.
Nationals 7, Red Sox 2, End 6th -- The Sox push Strasburg to the absolute limit, but can't quite nudge him over. With Strasburg, often held to low pitch counts after his Tommy John Surgery, noticeably tiring, the Sox manage to put together a few baserunners. After starting the inning with yet another strikeout, Strasburg surrenders a single and a double to Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez respectively. David Ortiz manages to load the bases by drawing a walk, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia chases a 2-2 curveball for strike three. With Strasburg's pitch count approaching 120, Kevin Youkilis works the count full, and then takes what might be the definition of a low-outside borderline pitch. It's a called strike three--reasonably so, given Strasburg's reputation and performance on the night--and Kevin Youkilis is sent to the locker room as he argues the call.
Nationals 7, Red Sox 2, Mid 6th -- The Nationals build there lead to five runs off of Matt Albers and Rich HIll. Against the likes of Strasburg and the D.C. pen, that's not something you come back from.
Nationals 6, Red Sox 2, End 5th -- The Sox are taking baby steps now thanks to Scott Podsednik. His achievement? Not striking out swinging after Stephen Strasburg ups his streak to five in a row with Ks of Ryan Sweeney and Mike Aviles.
Nationals 6, Red Sox 2, Mid 5th -- Matt Albers manages to keep the Nationals off the board in the fifth with the help of some solid defense from Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Nationals 6, Red Sox 2, End 4th -- Stephen Strasburg is not interested in letting the Sox back in this thing, striking out David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Kevin Youkilis swinging in the fourth. The second inning seems to be well in his rear-view mirror at this point.
Nationals 6, Red Sox 2, Mid 4th -- All good things must come to an end, and such is the case for Felix Doubront's run of strong starts, as the Nationals take three more off of him in the third thanks to some hanging curveballs and an absolute monster drive to center field that nearly catches the Jordan's sign.
Nationals 3, Red Sox 2, End 3rd -- Boston seems certain to tie the game up when Adrian Gonzalez gets ahold of an 0-1 fastball, sending it deep to right field. Xavier Nady, however, has other ideas, tracking backward and eventually throwing his arm over the bullpen wall to make the grab and rob the first baseman of a home run.
Nationals 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 3rd -- A lead against a pitcher like Stephen Strasburg is particularly precious, which makes the top of the third an especially difficult inning to take. After Ryan Sweeney goes to his knees to grab an initial fly ball, Danny Espinosa walks and Bryce Harper doubles to straightaway center to put the tying runs in scoring position. Ryan Zimmerman drops a softer line drive to center, scoring one of the two before another walk loads the bases. Ultimately it's Ian Desmond who puts the exclamation mark on the inning, hitting a line drive into the gap in right-center field, bringing two more runs in and giving the Nats the lead.
Red Sox 2, Nationals 0, End 2nd -- The Red Sox pick up some all-important runs off a guy who, after the first, did not seem like he was about to give any up anytime soon.
David Ortiz gets the inning started by working a nice at bat and drawing a five-pitch walk to give the Sox their first baserunner of the game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia almost ends up making it two-in-a-row, taking a pitch low-and-away and putting it on a line to left field, but Bryce Harper shows off his defensive aptitude by running the ball down nearly in left field. After a Kevin Youkilis strikeout, Ryan Sweeney did his best imitation of Saltalamacchia, but managed to put the ball on a lower line, letting it drop in for a hit and bringing Mike Aviles to the plate. Despite being in the midst of an 0-for-7 slump, Aviles gets a pitch he can hit, albeit a 97 MPH fastball, and sends it high off the wall in left to bring both runners in.
Red Sox 0, Nationals 0, Mid 2nd -- Doubront stays true to his first inning form by allowing a baserunner and striking out two in his second scoreless inning. The hit this time is not so impressive--a ground ball up the middle on a pitch low and away that Ian Desmond managed to get the bat on. While Desmond is able to move to third on a curveball that gets well away from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Doubront manages to strike out Xavier Nady swinging on three pitches, and then pulls the string against Tyler Moore for another K.
Red Sox 0, Nationals 0, End 1st -- Stephen Strasburg is here, and through one inning he's all he's cracked up to be. The first two men go down swinging, with Daniel Nava fooled by a changeup and Dustin Pedroia overpowered by a 99 MPH in the upper half of the zone. Adrian Gonzalez at least manages to get ahead 2-0 and make contact, but it's good for just a pop fly to third, ending the inning.
Red Sox 0, Nationals 0, Mid 1st -- The fourth pitch Felix Doubront throws is a fastball that tails too far over the plate to Danny Espinosa, who skies it into left-center field for a wall ball double. It's a start to the inning that belies what's to come. Bryce Harper manages to foul off a couple 0-2 pitches before chasing a curveball that breaks low and inside for the strikeout, Ryan Zimmerman hits a routine ground ball to third, and Michael Morse is frozen at home as Doubront picks up another strikeout via the curveball, this time dropping it in for a strike.
The Red Sox will kick off their three-game set against the Nationals by taking on the force of nature that is Stephen Strasburg Friday night. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
With the difficult Strasburg proving even tougher against right-handed hitters, the Sox will send Will Middlebrooks to the bench for the day effectively in order to squeeze Ryan Sweeney's bat into the lineup. It's been a couple of days since the big lefty has gotten a start for the Sox, but he's hitting a solid .326/.362/.455 against right-handed pitching so far while providing strong outfield defense.
Adrian Gonzalez, meanwhile, will move back up to third against the right-handed Strasburg. He nearly had a perfect day at the plate on Thursday, only being denied by a great catch at the wall from Ryan Flaherty.
Boston Red Sox (29-28)
Washington Nationals (32-23)
The Red Sox will come up against the best the MLB has to offer in terms of starting pitching as they take on the top-3 in the Nationals' tremendous rotation.
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