56-39: Listless offense can’t overcome Dicey control

Daisuke Matsuzaka (11-6) pitched well overall, but suffered a couple of costly lapses which cost the Red Sox their third straight game at Fenway, 4-2. Chicago scored four runs on just six hits, thanks to spotty control by the Red Sox starter.

he first White Sox run came in the first inning when Matsuzaka walked Jim Thome and Paul Konerko back-to-back with two outs. An A.J. Pierzynski single to right brought home Thome from second. Dice-K had another case of walk-itis in the 6th inning, walking the bases loaded with nobody out. Again, it was Pierzynski who came through with a single to right to score two more runs to give the White Sox the lead. You can’t keep doing this to yourself, Dice man. You can’t try to overcome every hitter yourself, but trust your defense out there, they’re pretty good. In all, Matsuzaka threw 109 pitches and walked six men and struck out six in five innings.

Manny Delcarmen and Javier Lopez looked good out there last night, tossing one inning each.

The fourth White Sox run came in the eighth on a Konerko blast off of Hideki Okajima. Konerko golfed what looked like a low cut fastball over the Monster in left. It was only the second home run surrendered by Okajima all season (the first one was on his first pitch of the year), and raised(!) his ERA to 0.97 on the year.

The Red Sox offense continues to look for that spark to really get going. They left 14 men on base in this one, actually one less than their opponent, for once. It seems like every time something gets brewing, something happens to stop the rally. Boston had their chance in the bottom of the 7th. Dustin Pedroia singled, followed by a David Ortiz single off their lefty reliever, Matt Thornton, which brought Manny Ramirez up with one out and the go-ahead run aboard. With the count 1-1, Manny launched a shot to deep center, about 410 feet. The problem is that the Fenway triangle is 420 feet to the wall, and centerfielder Jerry Owens is pretty fast. He snared the drive on the run for the out, and Kevin Youkilis struck out to end the threat. That’s some bad luck (or bad aim) by Manny. That’s as far as you can hit it in Fenway and not get a home run out of it, or at least a hit.

Youkilis has been struggling of late. He’s hitting just .171/.293/.229 in July, and is hitting only .203 over the last 30 days, with 1 HR and 11 RBI. He had spoken in the spring of conditioning himself to avoid a second-half swoon like last year, when he was .297/.407/.467 before the ASB and .258/.347/.381 afterwards, but this seems all too familiar. Maybe we need to play Eric Hinske to spell him more often.


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