The Red Sox have fallen for a fifth time in six games, suffering a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Blue Jays as the Boston lineup showed nothing against Toronto ace Ricky Romero.
While the Sox would look threatening in the first inning, sending a pair of balls to the track, that threat would disappear for much of the rest of the game. Jon Lester, for his part, would largely match Romero's dominance, retiring the Blue Jays 1-2-3 in six of his eight innings.
The third inning proved the most difficult for both starters, with Lester surrendering a pair of runs on a single, triple, and sacrifice fly, and the Sox striking for a run on singles from Cody Ross, Mike Aviles, and Jacoby Ellsbury. After that, both pitchers returned to recording clean inning after clean inning, with the Sox not even making Romero work for it.
The Jays would end up getting to Lester again in the eighth, when Bobby Valentine made the curious choice to leave Lester on not only to start the inning with over 100 pitches on his arm, but also after he gave up a 2-out walk with 115. In fact, the Boston manager did not so much as have someone warming up in the bullpen.
The Sox mounted yet another ninth inning rally, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia each reaching base to lead the inning off, but the 3-4-5 hitters proved incapable of scoring even one of them, leaving the Sox still stuck at one run after the final out.
Kevin Youkilis' Slump Continues: An 0-for-4 night with a strikeout in the high-leverage ninth doesn't really tell the whole, terrible story. Through the first six games, Youkilis has hit one ball well, and that perhaps not as well as he should. He's taking pitches he shouldn't swinging at those he should take, and generally looking like a complete mess in every aspect of the game. With the lineup thin as is, and the Sox placing him fourth or fifth every time, it's costing the team.
Bobby V's Bullpen Issues: While the bullpen let the Sox down in the first few games, Bobby V hasn't exactly been doing all he can to get the most out of it these past few games. After his curious decision to use Justin Thomas in Tuesday's game, his failure to have someone ready to take over for Jon Lester in the eighth looks even worse. Mea Culpa will only work for so long to deflect these sorts of questions.
Making It Easy: If there's one thing that seems entirely foreign about these Red Sox, it's about how they handle individual at bats. While we're used to the Sox battling and driving up opposing pitchers' pitch counts, this ground doesn't seem terribly interested. Romero was in line for a complete game before losing control in the ninth, and it seems like every other inning requires fewer than ten pitches.
|Final - 4.11.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||3||0|
|Toronto Blue Jays||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||1||X||3||3||0|
|WP: Ricky Romero (1 - 0)
SV: Sergio Santos (1)
LP: Jon Lester (0 - 1)