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Maybe we're simply expecting too much?
The Red Sox fell to the Rangers 10-9 Wednesday afternoon thanks to disaster games from both Bobby Valentine and Josh Beckett.
In a game where he had to prove himself, Josh Beckett came out and did the exact opposite. Where much of the rest of the team seems to have overcome the first-inning issues that plagued them around the trade deadline, Beckett has clearly not. A nine-pitch walk to Ian Kinsler, a bunt single, and a Josh Hamilton triple to the triangle quickly put the Sox in a 2-0 hole before an Adrian Beltre sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
The Red Sox would respond quickly, however, picking up two in the bottom of the first with a two-out rally, the runs being driven in by an Adrian Gonzalez double to right and Cody Ross single up the middle off of Ian Kinsler's glove. Ross would pick up another big hit in the third, hitting his first homer in 16 games into the Monster seats to make it three-all.
Beckett, meanwhile, had gotten through the second on six pitches, and then escaped a major jam after putting runners on the corners with no outs in the third. The fourth proved almost as quick as the second, but then came the fifth, and everything unraveled. Mitch Moreland led off the inning with a homer to dead center, Elvis Andrus singled up the middle, and Josh Hamilton made it another three-run frame by launching another shot into the right field stands to make it 6-0.
Once again, the Sox were up to the task of responding, at least well enough to keep it close. A leadoff Carl Crawford triple would lead to one run after an Adrian Gonzalez double, and with a pair of walks being enough to both chase Matt Harrison from the game and move Gonzalez to third, a passed ball from Geovany Soto let the first baseman come in to score another, making it 6-5.
Unfortunately, for some reason Bobby Valentine decided to let Beckett come back out for the sixth, and it was just more of the same. A well-hit single from David Murphy, and a big homer from Geovany Soto left the Sox back down by three without an out in the sixth to show for it. Clayton Mortensen would settle the Rangers down in the sixth, but gave up a solo shot to Geovany Soto to make it 9-5 in the seventh.
For the third time, however, the Red Sox were not ready to give up on the game just yet. Dustin Pedroia led off the inning with a ground ball single, and then quickly scored on an Adrian Gonzalez double to cut the lead back down to three. Cody Ross drew a walk, and up came Will Middlebrooks. With two men on base, just like in his pinch-hitting appearance on Tuesday, Will Middlebrooks took a big swing and provided the Red Sox with three runs, launching a high Roy Oswalt fastball over the Monster and into the Sports Authority sign for his fifteenth homer of the season.
Mortensen would provide a solid eighth for the Sox, but with the bullpen in rough straits would be called on for one too many, and ultimately that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Elvis Andrus walked, Josh Hamilton singled, and just like that the go-ahead run was at third. An Adrian Beltre fly ball off Alfredo Aceves was all they needed to take the lead 10-9. The Sox would get a double out of Cody Ross in the bottom of the inning, but could not push across the run they needed to tie the game, falling to the Rangers once again.
|Final - 8.8.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R|
|Boston Red Sox||2||0||1||0||2||0||4||0||0||9|
The Red Sox are out for a series win as they take the Rangers on in a matinee rubber match. We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Rangers 9, Red Sox 9, End 8th -- The Sox go down in order in the eighth, but they'll have their big guns coming up in the ninth: Gonzalez - Ross - Middlebrooks.
Rangers 9, Red Sox 9, Mid 8th -- With Josh Hamilton nearing, a man on first, and one out, Clay Mortensen got a ground ball from Ian Kinsler, allowing the Sox to turn two and get out of the inning without any harm done. He's done more solid work, even with the one solo shot.
Rangers 9, Red Sox 9, End 7th -- Will Middlebrooks cannot be stopped. After a single from Dustin Pedroia, double from Adrian Gonzalez, and walk from Cody Ross brought in a sixth Red Sox run and put two men on for Middlebrooks, the third baseman got a high fast ball from Roy Oswalt and launched it. The only thing that kept the no-doubter from the Boston streets was the Sports Authority sign over the Monster. With three more runs scoring, the Sox tied it up at 9-9.
Rangers 9, Red Sox 5, Mid 7th -- Not even the usually-stingy Clayton Mortensen can escape the Rangers' wrath, offering up a shot to the deepest part of the Monster to Nelson Cruz.
Rangers 8, Red Sox 5, End 6th -- No response from the Sox this time, as the Rangers get a 1-2-3 frame from Oswalt against Ciriaco, Ellsbury, and Crawford.
Rangers 8, Red Sox 5, Mid 6th -- The prosecution rests, both on Josh Beckett and Bobby Valentine. Bringing Beckett back out for the sixth after his awful fifth was bad enough, but after Beckett allowed a ringing single to start the inning, letting him face Geovany Soto was pretty much criminal. The catcher got an ugly, flat fastball, and crushed it over everything in left, immediately erasing the gains from the bottom of the fifth.
Rangers 6, Red Sox 5, End 5th -- The Red Sox respond in kind in the bottom half of the inning, chasing Matt Harrison from the game before Beckett, shockingly enough. Carl Crawford gets the Sox started off right with a line drive to right that gets into the corner, allowing Crawford to reach third base. While Dustin Pedroia can't get him in with a ground ball to the left side of the infield, Adrian Gonzalez plays wallball for an RBI double, and then moves to third as Harrison offers up walks to both Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Lavarnway. Roy Oswalt is brought in to get the Rangers out of the jam, and does so, but not before Geovany Soto lets a pitch deflect off his glove and get to the backstop, allowing Gonzalez to head home and bring the Sox right back within one.
Rangers 6, Red Sox 3, Mid 5th -- Josh Beckett lends more credence to the even-inning, odd-inning theory with a disaster fifth. Mitch Moreland leads things off with a monster blast that gets all the way to the camera well in dead center field, and after Will MIddlebrooks makes a great play on an Ian Kinsler bunt, Elvis Andrus singles to left and Josh Hamilton launches a two-run shot around Pesky's pole to make it 6-3 in favor of the Rangers.
Red Sox 3, Rangers 3, End 4th -- The Sox waste an opportunity to break the tie after a one-out double from Kelly Shoppach, as Pedro Ciriaco flew out to deep left and Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to second to end the threat.
Red Sox 3, Rangers 3, Mid 4th -- Odd-year Beckett, even-inning Beckett? After a rough-but-scoreless third, Beckett gets three quick outs--two through the air and one on the ground--to give the Sox a chance to go ahead in the bottom of the fourth.
Red Sox 3, Rangers 3, End 3rd -- It's been a while since Cody Ross went crazy with homers against the White Sox, but he's finally back in the long ball books with a two-out shot against Harrison in the third that ties the game at three-a-piece.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 3rd -- Things looked to be going south again for Josh Beckett in the third after surrendering a pair of baserunners by barely grazing Ian Kinsler with a curveball and allowing a single to Elvis Andrus. A fly ball to shallow center isn't enough to bring the runner in from third, however, and Will Middlebrooks handles both a soft line drive from Adrian Beltre and a Nelson Cruz grounder to keep the third scoreless for Beckett.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, End 2nd -- Like Beckett, Harrison settles down in the second. Though he allows a double down the left field line to Pedro Ciriaco, ground balls from Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford are enough to see him through to the third with just the two runs on the board.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 2nd -- In stark contrast to his lengthy first inning, Beckett needs just six pitches to retire the side in the second, getting a pair of quick ground balls and then a fly ball that goes high, but not terribly deep to right field, where Cody Ross is waiting to put it away for the out.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, End 1st -- This one has the makings of a barn burner early, as the Sox fire right back at the Rangers in the bottom half of the inning. All of the damage for the Sox comes with two outs in the inning, after Jacoby Ellsbury went down swinging and Carl Crawford was robbed of yet another double by a good leaping grab from David Murphy. Dustin Pedroia hit a sharp ground ball to short for an infield single, and then scored all the way from first when Adrian Gonzalez laced a double down the right field line. A hard shot up the middle from Cody Ross deflected off of Ian Kinsler's glove to allow Gonzalez to score, and while Will Middlebrooks was able to draw a walk, a hard ground ball from Ryan Lavarnway went right to Elvis Andrus to end the frame.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- Josh Beckett revives the tradition of rocky first innings for the Red Sox. The damage starts quickly, as Beckett coughs up a nine-pitch walk to Ian Kinsler. A bunt from Elvis Andrus puts two on without an out, and a long fly ball from Josh Hamilton dropped into the triangle to score both. Tack on an Adrian Beltre sacrifice fly, and you've got a three-run first for the Rangers--just about the last thing Beckett needed right now.
The Red Sox are out for a series win Wednesday afternoon as they finish up their series against the Texas Rangers with a matinee game in Fenway Park. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
After becoming a pinch-hit hero Tuesday, albeit in a loss, Will Middlebrooks will slot back in to the sixth spot in the lineup. He'll be followed by Ryan Lavarnway, getting the start in the DH spot, and Kelly Shoppach, taking over behind the plate.
The one exception to the typical rule will be having Pedro Ciriaco bat ninth, playing shortstop in place of lefty-masher Mike Aviles.
Boston Red Sox (55-56)
Texas Rangers (64-45)
The Red Sox fell to the Texas Rangers 6-3 Tuesday night, ending their winning streak at just two games as Ryan Dempster outlasted Jon Lester.
It will be a difficult loss for Lester to take, because in many ways he was the better starter of the two. Getting through the first four innings facing just 12 batters thanks to a double play erasing a second-inning single, Lester looked nigh-untouchable headed into the second half of the game.
Dempster, meanwhile, had gotten tagged in the first four innings, allowing wall ball after wall ball without actually having any runs come around thanks to their staggered placement and one pickoff play in the first.
Then came the sixth, however, and everything started going south. The Rangers did not waste a leadoff double from David Murphy as the Red Sox had back in the second, but instead pushed their first run across with a wall ball from Ian Kinsler. A ground ball got Lester his second out, but Josh Hamilton singled into right to make it 2-0 before the third could be recorded.
The seventh wasn't much better for Lester, with a couple of walks and a single leaving him watching Mark Melancon allow an inherited runner to score, putting the Sox down 4-0 despite having produced just as many baserunners as the Rangers.
The Sox had their one really bright moment in the bottom of the inning, when some sketchy defense from the right side of the infield put two men on base for Nick Punto. Bobby Valentine finally turned to Will Middlebrooks, bringing the superior third baseman off the bench for a pinch-hitting appearance. A first-pitch hanging slider was all Middlebrooks needed to see, and after a video review to check on a fan reaching over, the umpires correctly awarded Middlebrooks with a home run into the Monster seats that made it 4-3.
The Rangers were quick to build their lead back up, however. The added one more run in the eighth off of Melancon, and then a sixth in the ninth when a leadoff runner hit by Craig Breslow both gave them the baserunner they needed to score again, and resulted in the ejection of Dustin Pedroia, who claimed the batter had swung at the pitch. Pedroia had gotten into it with first base umpire Paul Nauert the inning before when the man in black made an atrocious call on a check swing, ringing up Pedroia on what should have been ball one.
With the Red Sox unable to mount a rally in the ninth, the Rangers evened the series headed into tomorrow afternoon's game.
|Final - 8.7.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||3||8||0|
|WP: Ryan Dempster (1 - 0)
SV: Joe Nathan (22)
LP: Jon Lester (5 - 10)
The Red Sox are out to secure a series win Tuesday night as they send Jon Lester to the mound against Ryan Dempster and the Texas Rangers.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Rangers 5, Red Sox 3, End 8th -- The frustration is boiling over after Dustin Pedroia was run up on a terrible call from first base umpire Paul Nauert, who says Pedroia went around on what was clearly a checked swing. Another wall ball gives Adrian Gonzalez a double, but with Mike Adams striking out the side around him, the Sox are still down two.
Rangers 5, Red Sox 3, Mid 8th -- And the Rangers instantly grab an insurance run off of Mark Melancon on the strength of a leadoff walk and line drive single. The walk has been the real killer tonight for the Sox in the last two innings, with three walks contributing heavily to three runs scored.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 3, End 7th -- One of those big flies to left field finally ends up in the seats for the Red Sox, and it comes at a big time. With some dodgy fielding from the right side of the Texas infield letting both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Kalish reach base, Will Middlebrooks was called on to pinch hit for Nick Punto. Ryan Dempster hung a first-pitch slider, and Middlebrooks was all over it, crushing the ball to left and into the Monster seats. A fan reaching over the ledge to make the grab earned a review, but after a couple of minutes it was correctly ruled a homer and the Red Sox pulled within one.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 7th -- The Rangers double their lead in the top of the seventh, and send Lester off with a very disappointing finish after a great start. The damage comes largely thanks to walks--one with one out to Michael Young, and another with two down to Mike Olt, neither of which had Lester particularly happy with the strike zone. Olt came around to score on a single and a sacrifice fly, and with Lester chased from the game for Mark Melancon and Geovany Soto in scoring position after the second walk, a wall ball single from Ian Kinsler is enough to bring the fourth run of the game home.
Rangers 2, Red Sox 0, End 6th -- The Sox do not manage to back up their starter in the bottom half of the inning, with a Dustin Pedroia walk the only offense mustered. Adrian Gonzalez does manage sharp contact behind him, but the inning ends as his line drive ends up too close to Nelson Cruz to find the grass.
Rangers 2, Red Sox 0, Mid 6th -- The sixth proves the breakthrough inning for the Rangers against Jon Lester. Texas does not waste a leadoff double from David Murphy, despite Lester following it up with a strikeout of rookie Mike Olt. An Ian Kinsler fly ball that just misses being a homer to left is enough to David Murphy home from second, and after a Josh Hamilton single to right it's a 2-0 lead for the Rangers, as Kinsler comes in to score from second.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, End 5th -- No baserunners to strand this time for the Sox, as the bottom three go in order with Mike Aviles the only one to even make contact.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, Mid 5th -- A flared single breaks up Lester's minimum-faced run, but it comes with two outs and the lefty is up to the task of recording the last out before any real danger forms.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, End 4th -- Between the first, second, and third innings, the Sox have hit no fewer than four wall balls. They somehow still have zero runs, however, even after Ross' second in this last inning.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, Mid 4th -- Lester shows no signs of faltering, getting through the top of the Rangers lineup 1-2-3 on just 11 pitches with three straight ground balls.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, End 3rd -- Dempster gets his first 1-2-3 inning of the night, striking out Carl Crawford to end the third. Hopefully for the Sox this isn't a sign that he's settled in for the game--they certainly had their chances early.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, Mid 3rd -- Jon Lester keeps right on rolling through the third, staying at the minimum nine batters faced. Once again there's not even much in the way of contact for the Rangers to hang their hats on, as Lester gets a ground ball, a pop-up next to the Texas dugout, and a strikeout to end the frame.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, End 2nd -- Another double is wasted, and this time a leadoff one at that. Cody Ross puts a third ball off the wall for the Red Sox, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia strikes out, Mike Aviles can only move him to third, and Ryan Kalish grounds out to first to end the inning with Ross stranded at second.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, Mid 2nd -- Nelson Cruz picks up the first Rangers hit of the game, singling past Jon Lester's feet and into center field to give the Rangers a one-out baserunner. The next ground ball gets too close to Mike Aviles, however, who steps on second and fires to first to complete the double play that ends the inning.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, End 1st -- The Rangers should be down 1-0 right now, but a good bit of scouting and trickery leaves Carl Crawford out at second base after a one-out wall ball double. With Ryan Dempster resetting on the mound and the game in one of those lulls where nothing ever happens, Crawford began to take a routine walking lead at second and was caught completely off guard when Dempster spun back towards second and fired to Ian Kinsler, who had never left the bag, for the out. With Dustin Pedroia hitting a ball to the wall behind him, that would have been an opening run.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, Mid 1st -- Jon Lester is off to a hot start in the first--an inning which is becoming less-and-less frightening for Red Sox fans by the day, it seems. A strikeout to Ian Kinsler takes Lester just five pitches, and the hardest contact the lefty faces is a flair down the line in left from Josh Hamilton which Carl Crawford is able to easily track down for the third out.
The Red Sox will look to take the series win from the Texas Rangers Tuesday night as they send Jon Lester to the mound against Ryan Dempster. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, the MLB Network, and WEEI.
Will Middlebrooks will be missing from the Red Sox lineup for the second time in four games. The reasoning behind his last absence was that the organization didn't want to risk another hamstring injury by overworking him, but it's a bit concerning to see him missing again just a couple of days later.
Nick Punto will start in his place at third base, batting ninth as Mike Aviles moves up ahead of Ryan Kalish to seventh. Otherwise it's a pretty standard lineup for the Sox against the right-handed Ryan Dempster. That means the same top-four that went 11-for-18 against Yu Darvish last night. Hopefully that means more runs tonight.
Boston Red Sox (55-55)
Texas Rangers (63-45)
Then, they came to play on Monday night, dispatching the defending two-time American League champion Texas Rangers 9-2 at Fenway Park.
Aaron Cook certainly wasn't overwhelming, but he was very effective in his seven innings of work. The veteran was able to scatter six hits and three walks while allowing just one run.
Yu Darvish was very average. The Japanese import pitched 6.2 innings, but surrendered 11 hits and six earned runs. However, Darvish did strike out nine.
Nelson Cruz had the lone multi-hit game for Texas, going 3-for-4 with two doubles.
The Red Sox are broken. Can we fix them?
The Red Sox will need to bounce back from a disappointing series against the Twins in a hurry as they welcome the AL West leading Texas Rangers into Fenway Park for three games.
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