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Bullpen Fails Red Sox Again, Royals Win 4-3

Tim Wakefield (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

For most of the night (except against Rick Ankiel), 43-year-old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield baffled the Kansas City Royals. Save for two home runs allowed in the sixth inning, Wake was pretty dominant. He went seven strong innings with those two runs allowed on six hits with six strikeouts.

Then, Terry Francona went to the bullpen. Big mistake.

Hideki Okajima allowed a double to David Dejesus to lead off the eighth inning and was then relieved for Daniel Bard. Bard walked Alberto Callaspo, struck out Billy Butler, and then allowed a go-ahead, two-run single to Ankiel. And just like that, the bullpen wasted good outing from a Sox starter and took the loss again in a 4-3 defeat on Friday night.

Ankiel finished 4-4 with a home run, a double, and three RBI, but things didn’t begin as planned. He made a stupid decision running the bases after his double in the fourth inning. Standing on second base, Ankiel took off running for third on a sharply hit ball to the shortstop…and was out by 10 feet. Come on Ankiel, little leaguers don’t even do that!

“He did enough good things for us tonight,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said of Ankiel.

Yes Trey, that would be accurate.

The Sox hitters, meanwhile, didn’t do “enough good things” to give their staff a little more breathing room. They collected all of their runs in the third inning on an Adrian Beltre RBI groundout and a two-run homer by J.D. Drew. That’s it.

Sox Stud of the Game: J.D. Drew

Sure, he only finished 1-3 with a walk, but his one hit was an absolute blast: a 440-foot shot over everything in center field. He was also caught stealing at second base after walking to start the seventh. Shame on you Drew!

Sox Dud(s) of the Game: Hideki Okajima and Daniel Bard

See above for details the rough outings for both.

The bullpen, in all, is killing the Sox. In four games this season, the bullpen is 0-3 with eight earned runs allowed over 13.1 innings. Yuck!

Game Notes

W: John Parrish (1-0)
L: Daniel Bard (0-1)
S: Joakim Soria (1)

  • As I mentioned, Drew was caught stealing for the first out in the seventh. Later in the inning, the Sox had men on second and third with two outs, and Dustin Pedroia struck out swinging to end the threat.
  • David Ortiz busted out of his slump with a double in the fourth inning (he scored on Drew’s homer), and was later tossed out of the game for arguing a check swing call.
  • Jeremy Hermida, and not Mike Lowell, pinch hit for Ortiz his next time up at bat. He singled.

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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