|Connelly’s Top Ten: Who Cares About the Super Bowl||Surging Celtics To Clash With Cavaliers||Orlando Magic Snaps Boston’s 5-Game Winning Streak||Connelly’s Top Ten: Dog Day of Sports!|
The Red Sox just love finding new ways to lose. They’ve lost on terrible pitching and terrible hitting, and now in a 1-0 loss to the Indians, you can throw terrible base running and terrible umpiring into the mix. Both pitching staffs did quite well in the game, especially the starters, so scoring chances were few and far between. The Red Sox had a good chance in the 3rd with two on and one out, when Carl Crawford grounded to 1st and Jacoby Ellsbury was called out at 2nd on the force out. The problem was that the throw drew Asdrubral Cabrera off the bag, and Ellsbury clearly beat out the throw. The ensuing flyout to deep center right afterwards therefore should have scored a run, and Boston was left scoreless.
Cleveland had a good chance in the bottom of the 3rd, also with two on and one out. After a force at 2nd, Dustin Pedroia went to 3rd to attempt a double play, but Kevin Youkilis couldn’t handle the throw, and fortunately, Jon Lester got a strikeout to end the inning.
Umpiring reared its head again in the 4th, this time on the balls and strikes. Rather inconsistent calls called David Ortiz out on strikes on the exact same pitch placement which gave Carlos Santana a walk. Santa was caught stealing on a good throw from Saltalamacchia, though, who was himself called out on strikes in the 5th on the exact same pitch; that stretch between the two innings featured a strike zone which heavily favored the Indians.
In the 7th, Lester gave up a lead-off double, the games only extra base hit. Salty then made a huge dive to catch a foul bunt for the first out, which helped Lester escape the inning.
Boston had a huge chance themselves in the 8th, with two runners in scoring position and two out, when Pedroia appeared to strike out chasing a low ball, but in a rare break for Boston, it was ruled that he JUST got a piece of it. He grounded out anyway, so it really didn’t matter.
Cleveland finally struck in the 8th, after Lester was lifted for pitch count reasons in favor of Daniel Bard. Bard gave up a walk to start the inning. After a steal which caught Boston completely off guard, sacrifice and squeeze bunts brought in the run.
Boston grounded out twice in the 9th before Papi drew a walk and was substituted on the base path with Darnell McDonald. J.D. Drew then singled on a deflection off closer Chris Perez, but McDonald rounded 2nd base by at least 10 feet for no legitimate reason and slipped, which allowed Cleveland to go back to 2nd for the tag and the game.
In seven innings, Lester effectively scattered three hits and three walks while striking out nine.
How do you not get to a pitcher who gave up 10 runs, all earned, in three innings on opening day? How do you completely throw away the game on the final play by rounding a base when you quite clearly weren’t going to 3rd? How do you completely miss an obvious call, especially since Terry Francona was apparently told by the umpire that it was a force out when the throw was way off the bag?
“He went around 2nd aggressive like he’s supposed to and just slipped.” – Terry Francona on Darnell McDonald’s base running blunder. If Francona actually thinks you’re supposed to round 2nd and keep running when the 3rd baseman already has the ball, a lobotomy is in order.
W: Rafael Perez (2-0)
L: Daniel Bard (0-2)
S: Chris Perez (2)