Athletics 15, Red Sox 5
The Red Sox suffered a beatdown at the hands of the Athletics Friday night, with Tim Wakefield's knuckleball once again proving the cure for a struggling lineup.
Boston actually got off to an early lead in the first, with Adrian Gonzalez driving Jacoby Ellsbury in after a leadoff double. But the trouble for Wakefield started not long after, with two runs scoring in the second. The fourth, however, is where it really fell apart.
The inning started off quietly, with just one of the first three baserunners reaching base. But needing just one more out, Wakefield gave up a Monster shot to Scott Sizemore, and after a passed ball cost Wakefield a strikeout, the knuckleballer came undone, walking Coco Crisp, giving up a double to Hideki Matsui, and then allowing a homer to Josh Willingham. By the time it was all said and done, The Sox trailed 8-1.
The lineup did its best job to get back into things over the next few innings. Back-to-back homers for Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz in the bottom of the fourth made it 8-3, and Jacoby Ellsbury scored after a triple in the fifth to make it 8-4. But with two men on in the sixth, Darnell McDonald bailed out a wild Gio Gonzalez with a pop-up, and the A's turned to the bullpen which sealed the deal. A bad outing from Matt Albers and, understandably, Darnell McDonald on the mound allowed the A's to nearly double their score before the night was over.
Friday's game is a pretty major letdown for the Sox after beating up on the Rangers for three games. The offense was still there, if not scoring as much, but allowing the Athletics to score like they did is a tough pill to swallow. After the Athletics had just been through a heartbreaker against the Yankees, the Sox may have missed a chance to step on their throats. We'll have to see if they feed off Friday's win come Saturday.
Three For The Road
Tim Wakefield And 200
Tim Wakefield has now taken as long as any other pitcher in history to record win number 200 after recording 199. And while he still likely has a month left to manage it, it's worth considering that with six tries already in the books and a six-man rotation, Wakefield has probably used up more than half his opportunities this year--and it's hardly a sure thing that he'll come back in 2012. What's worse, the last two losses have been Wakefield's fault. If he can't keep the runs off the board, then who knows if he'll even be given many more opportunities?
Mike Aviles And Versatility
Mike Aviles is versatile much in the same way Bill Hall was last year, which is to say he's not. Terry Francona has tried playing Aviles in the outfield a good few times, but it's pretty clear he's not really capable of holding down the fort out there. Francona should stick Aviles in the infield, and keep him there. If he doesn't have enough outfield depth, then it's time to make a roster change, because faking it with Aviles is going to cost the Sox runs.
The Weirdest Cheers
There's something about a position player taking the mound that makes fans go nuts. Even one who leaves with an 18.00 ERA. Every strike from Darnell McDonald earned a cheer, every close pitch called a ball derisive boos for the umpire. Just goes to show you that even in a blowout there's a reason to watch.
Red Sox MVP -- Dustin Pedroia
It's not a night with much to be happy about, but Dustin Pedroia was a big bright spot, matching his career high in homers with number 17, and adding another hit and two walks, reaching base four times. Unfortunately, the only time he managed to score is when he drove himself in.
Up Next -- 12:00 p.m. Saturday | Jon Lester (13-6, 3.16 ERA) vs. Guillermo Moscoso (6-7, 3.28 ERA)
The half of the doubleheader they're most likely to get in will feature Jon Lester, who has given up two earned runs in his last two outings. He wasn't exactly "dominant" against Kansas City, but that was mostly thanks to a questionable strike zone, and he avoided damage all the same. Moscoso, meanwhile, is due for some serious regression to his bad peripherals. A .229 BABIP won't live forever, especially in Fenway with the lefty-heavy Sox.