Monday, April 4, 2011

Red Sox Game 3: Pitching Improves, But the Offense Drops Off

Well, the Red Sox have officially opened the season on their worst opening since 1996 when they started the season 0-5.  After the big moves that were made in the off season and all the hype on this team, I'd say a clean sweep by the Texas Rangers is the last thing anyone expected.  But let's look to the final game of the series in particular.  Once again, the pitching wasn't great, but four of the five Texas runs were scored on solo home runs.  So with the exception of 4 bad pitches, all by Clay Buchholz, the pitching was reasonable.  But those pitches still happened, so the pitching staff has to figure out why so many home runs are being hit.  And Papelbon still looked shaky.  Allowing 1 run, loading the bases as well.  The upside is he still struck out 3, but his control just wasn't there.  I still want to see a game with Jason Varitek catching.  I know the blame cannot be put on Saltalamachia, but I want to see how a pitcher's catcher the caliber of Varitek does behind the plate.  If he succeeds, we might realize what's going on.  If the Sox still fail, there's clearly a bigger problem that needs to be addressed.  Because as I said for the past two games, offense only helps the pitching, and it's the pitching that wins the games.  So the Sox starters need to come out and pitch the way they can.  But, the offense is not without some blame for this last loss.

I realize that it's difficult for the offense to produce runs when you're already down so much, but with the offense that the Sox have, there should never be a game where they only have 1 run.  Hell, there shouldn't be a game where this team doesn't score at least three runs.  With a healthy line up, with the names on this team, scoring only 1 run is unaccepted.  Runs need to be scored to support the pitching.  Bucholz would feel much more confident in the game if there were runs on the board for the Sox.  For a pitcher to go out there, look at the scoreboard and see a goose egg on the board, it's got to be discouraging.  So this game saw weaknesses in all facets of the game, and not just the pitching.  And now the Sox have a day to think about the sweep.  I'm hoping that this will get the blood boiling and get them to go out and play the way they can. 

Now tomorrow, Boston sends out the work horse.  The man who I have said for almost a month now should be the ace of the staff.  Josh Beckett.  I am looking forward to seeing him go out and hopefully dominate the way he did in his final pre season start.  If he does that, and I am willing to guarantee right now that he will, maybe Terry Francona will finally realize the mistake he has made and fix his starting rotation.  Also, the Sox are going against a pitcher tomorrow who has only ever pitched in 12 games, and while he is 6-4 in those 12 games, his ERA is 4.56, a high enough ERA that the Red Sox should be able to take advantage of him for their first win of the season.  But if Beckett goes out and struggles, people are going to start questioning the rotation.  Fans will look to someone to blame.  And the finger cannot be pointed at the whole rotation.  The blame will be put on the new pitching coach, Curt Young.  But I really do not see Beckett struggling, and I see Boston coming out with a huge win in this one.  So, until tomorrow when I will hopefully have a winning blog to write, stay right where you belong: Out of Bounds!

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