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Fans of fireworks on the Fourth of July were dissapointed this holiday. At Fenway Park at least. The Boston Red Sox managed only three hits on Independence Day this year, as they were shut down by Brian Matusz and the most-awful Baltimore Orioles 6-1 in Boston on Sunday in the oppressive afternoon heat. The Red Sox hold a record over .500 in their last ten Independence Day games, but failed to complete the sweep of the basement-dwellers in their division and officially start the second half of the season a remarkable 1 1/2 games out of first place. How many would have possibly thought, with the list of names on the D.L. being added to almost daily, that this team would be on pace for 98 wins?
On a day where they found out that six of their own would represent their team for the A.L. squad in this year’s all-star game (only half of them will actually participate), the Sox had little else to celebrate on this day at the offense sputtered against Matusz. The lefties in the line-up, namely J.D. Drew and David Ortiz, who each struck out three times, struggled mightily against Matusz and his breaking ball, not even mustering up one hit.
“It was a hard day to see the ball out there,” summed up Ortiz, “I don’t know why.”
John Lackey was solid-but-not-stellar once again, as he scattered eight hits over 7 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out seven. While his offense certainly did not spark any confidence into the big right-hander, Lackey still did his best (as he’s done all season) to work through the struggles and keep his team in the game despite giving up a number of base hits. Two wild pitches added to his tough day, which marked the first time that Lackey and Gustavo Molina teamed up as a battery.
The true highlight of this day was the All-Star squad announcements, and now Sox fans will wait and see if Jon Lester will be named the starter of the American League squad, and whether or not Kevin Youkilis will nab a selection as the final vote for the last player on the squad is underway. He is most deserving of a spot on the team, as he’s battled through injuries to establish an average that will be close to .300 heading into the All-Star Break. But the Sox certainly won’t have the All-Star festivities high on the their list of priorities as they head into a key three-game series down in Tampa Bay, with Sox-torturer Matt Garza on the docket for tomorrow night’s game.
Huge congratulations to this years’ Red Sox players elected to the team today: C Victor Martinez, 2B Dustin Pedroia, 3B Adrian Beltre, DH David Ortiz, SP Jon Lester, SP Clay Buchholz.
While Evan Longoria is another deserving player of a spot, and the out-right leader of the team down in Tampa, he did not deserve the starting nod over Beltre. Longoria is obviously more popular and marketable (see here), but Beltre’s first All-Star appearance should have been a start. While they are tied in home run total and Longoria has a slight edge in RBI’s, Beltre is sporting a .341 average to Longoria’s .298.
W: Brian Matusz (3-9)
L: John Lackey (9-4)
It looks as though Clay Buchholz will be added to the ever-growing Red Sox disabled list. While the hope was he could make his scheduled start on Tuesday, Buchholz will likely be shut down and unable to pitch in the All-Star Game. It’s possible Felix Doubront, who impressed in his first start with the Sox and last went five innings on June 30, could be called up to make the spot-start.
Tags: Adrian Beltre, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Brian Matusz, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Felix Doubront, Fenway Park, Gustavo Molina, J.D. Drew, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Kevin Youkilis, Victor Martinez