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The Red Sox nearly pulled off an impressive ninth inning comeback after doing little offensively in their 3-0 loss on Friday afternoon in Chicago. With two outs in the ninth, they loaded the bases for Dustin Pedroia, who grounded into a force out to end the game. The lack of offense costed Boston a win as starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was roughed up early on in the contest. The game was the first played between the Red Sox and Cubs at Wrigley Field since 2005, and with the loss Boston is again two games below .500 at 31-33 on the year.
Dice-K was having a typical Dice-K inning at the start of the game, loading the bases on walks for Steve Clevenger, who blooped a double down the left field line to score two early runs. That was all Cubs ace Ryan Dempster would need over his seven innings of work to earn the victory, as he allowed just four hits and two walks in the outing. He himself contributed to the offense, collecting two hits including a triple on a base hit to right field misplayed by Adrian Gonzalez.
The Red Sox offense continues to be a disappointing theme, aside from the six runs they scored in the eighth inning against a bad Miami Marlins bullpen on Wednesday. Today in the typical Friday day game at Wrigley the Sox batters collected just five hits (all singles) with no runs to show for it. In the middle of the lineup, Pedroia, Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia combined to go 1-20 in the loss. Youkilis has just three hits in his last 30 at bats, his average sinking down to .212 rapidly.
Despite his rough start, Dice-K ended up being solid again for the Sox. He managed six innings after the lengthy first and didn’t allow another free pass. Yet while he was on the mound the Cubs also managed three stolen bases off of the righty, and he hit a batter. Again he earned a loss and is now 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts returning from Tommy John surgery this season.
One bright spot in the loss was another great game from Scott Podsednik. He had two hits and two stolen bases, and his .382 batting average is becoming less of a fluke everyday. The veteran is experiencing quite the renaissance for his career. The Cubs and Red Sox square off again tomorrow night as Jon Lester attempts to get his season back on track. The southpaw is only 3-4 this year with a strange 4.57 ERA. He’ll oppose Jeff Samardzija, a hard throwing righty who elected to play baseball after a success collegiate career as a wide receiver for Notre Dame.