15-8: Short-staffed Sox come up short, 6-4
April 24, 2008 Leave a comment
The latest casualty on the long list of flu-ridden Red Sox is Daisuke Matsuzaka. He was a late scratch form yesterday’s start, and lefty Jon Lester had to make his first start ever on short rest. While it was not a pretty performance, it was enough to keep us in the game. Reliever Craig Hansen (0-1) was called up from Pawtucket, and pitched fairly well for 1 2/3 innings, but ultimately was pinned for the loss, as he gave up the go-ahead home run to Casey Kotchman in the 6th inning. Given the Sox’ recent track record, I was almost expecting another late-inning comeback, but the Los Angeles bullpen shut the door on this game, 6-4.
Lester had command of his fastball early, and was throwing 91-93 mph, mixing in his cutter at 87 mph. He gave up two home runs to Gary Matthews, Jr. on mistake fastballs right down the middle. He became a little more erratic as the game went on, and didn’t get some close strike calls in the second inning; I wonder if that didn’t make him try to get more of the plate than he normally would. A lot of the hits came off of good pitches, so give the Angels lineup some credit. They managed 9 hits and 2 walks over Lester’s five innings of work, which left it at 4-4 after 5 innings. Not bad, as he threw only 80 pitches. Lester knew he had to be economical, and he was.
Jon Garland (3-2) turned in a typical performance for him, going 6 innings and allowing four runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. He pitches to contact, and was able to get 11 ground balls, which helped him a lot. The Angels turned two double plays which stranded runners in the 5th and the 8th. David Ortiz went yard in the 5th, pulling one out of the park; hopefully that’s a sign that Papi’s getting his timing down. We could use some more offense out of him right now.
Hansen came in for the 6th and worked well, throwing a hard 97-98 mph fastball and 88-90 mph slider. He was pretty amped up, it looked like, and elevated his pitches quite a bit, which allowed Kotchman to take him out of the park with two outs. The home run came on a fastball right down the pipe. The key for him will be to keep the slider down and locate the fastball inside and out.