41-23: Rough night for Schilling, Sox

Curt Schilling (6-3), coming off a no-hit bid, must have felt confident going into this one, but the cold and windy conditions seemed to foretell doomsday in tonight’s game. It was 3-2 in the fifth inning, when Schilling allowed two leadoff singles. He got Todd Helton to fly out, then he struck out Garrett Atkins, but he left a changeup over the plate to Brad Hawpe, and he paid for it with a three-run HR that broke the game open.

The bullpen faltered pretty badly today, with Kyle Snyder falling apart and walking the bases full, and Joel Pineiro just throwing more wood on the fire. Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said after the game that he doesn’t think the Rockies have had many three-run innings this year. They had three against us tonight. I’m still in favor of jettisoning Pineiro soon. On the bright side, Mike Timlin threw a scoreless inning, and looked better than his first outing back.

I know it wasn’t the greatest of nights at Fenway, but couldn’t we put up a little more run support? C’mon, it’s Josh Fogg, for Pete’s sake! Fogg (2-5) pitched five strong innings, and the Colorado bullpen handled it from there. Maybe it had something to do with Coco Crisp (0-4 today) leading off, with Dustin Pedroia getting the day off. But the Sox lineup continues to struggle, averaging just 4.09 runs per game in June, more than a run short of their baseline output this year.

Mike Lowell hit his 12th HR of the season, another shot over the Monster, and had two hits on the night, continuing his stellar year at the plate.

I knew I shouldn’t have said anything about Todd Helton. As if to spite me on my last post, he had a three-run double off of Javier Lopez in this one. Schilling has said how he hates to face Helton, more than any other hitter, because the guy’s got no holes in his swing, period. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t saying that Kevin Youkilis is the same caliber of hitter, but for now his numbers are extremely similar to Helton’s. It was just a nice tidbit, that’s all. No offense, Todd.

Another interesting observation: I happened to glance at the Baseball Prospectus VORP numbers for this season, and Hideki Okajima is actually ahead of Jonathan Papelbon so far (16.6 versus 10.2). He’s second among rookie pitchers in this category, to Jeremy Guthrie of the Orioles. He’s just been an incredible pickup for us this season. One note though, he’s benefited from an unusually low BABIP of .200, suggesting he’s been very lucky thus far. Don’t be too surprised if his performance doesn’t keep up all year.

The Yankees have won eight in a row, and are now 8 1/2 games back in second place. I knew they would make their run sooner or later, so I’m not too worried yet. As long as our guys are winning two out of three, I’m happy.


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