4-5: Lester, bullpen falter in loss to Detroit, 7-2

The Detroit Tigers finally got their first win today, holding on to a 4-2 lead through seven before running away with it in the 8th inning. Boston lost Mike Lowell very early, after he sprained his thumb on his glove hand diving for a grounder toward the bag in the top of the 2nd. That necessitated Kevin Youkilis moving across the diamond to third, and Sean Casey filling in at first. Lowell should be day-to-day.

Jon Lester (1-2) cruised for three innings, then suffered a breakdown in the fourth, allowing four runs on two consecutive walks, a double by Edgar Renteria and a two-run shot to Marcus Thames. That was a very long inning, and got his pitch count up high early. He was knocked out by Renteria’s second double of the night off him in the 6th, and finished with 5 1/3 IP, 4 runs, 5 hits, 4 walks and no strikeouts. That alone should tell you that he didn’t have his best stuff working tonight.

The bullpen continued to bleed runs tonight. David Aardsma came on and worked a very strong scoreless 1 2/3 IP, though he did walk two batters. But then Bryan Corey failed miserably the 8th, and needed Julian Tavarez to bail him out of the inning. Corey’s ERA now sits at 14.54 on the season, and methinks his roster spot is in jeopardy, and soon.

Jeremy Bonderman (1-1) picked up the victory, going five innings and pitching far worse than his line might show. He allowed five hits and walked four, and the Tigers made two errors, but Boston scored only twice off of him. The Tigers bullpen, especially Bobby Seay, did a good job finishing out the game; I thought we were supposed to be the ones with the strong bullpen?

The Sox offense failed to take advantage (once again) of getting runners on in almost every early inning. The Tigers made two errors and surrendered 9 hits and 5 walks, but it resulted in only two runs. Before this game, the Sox were hitting .257/.333/.363 with runners on, and have scored only 17 RBI in 96 AB in those situations, 27th out of 30 MLB teams this season. We absolutely have to convert better in those situations, or we are going to be facing a very long season. The good news is that we are a better hitting team than that, and this should rebound and progress back to the mean (i.e. get ready for some fireworks!).

Casey went 2-4 off the bench, and Manny Ramirez got two hits and nearly crushed one off Bonderman in the 6th. His drive ended up being a loud foul ball down the third base line. J.D. Drew went 1-3 with a walk and is now hitting .364 on the year and owns a 6-game hitting streak.

Some observations: The Red Sox hit into 4 double plays tonight, a little concerning. They had already hit into nine this season, 5th most in the Majors before this game. No wonder the offense is struggling to score, even with lots of guys on base… The book is definitely out on Jason Varitek. With his bat speed what it is now, the Tigers (and the Blue Jays before them) have given him nothing but a steady diet of hard fastballs. He’s still hitting .300 thus far.

Just a very disappointing and frustrating game.

And now the good news: Mike Timlin had another solid outing at Pawtucket tonight, throwing just 10 pitches and getting three ground outs.


One Response to 4-5: Lester, bullpen falter in loss to Detroit, 7-2

  1. Pat says:

    I wasn’t too discourage by this game. A lot of line drives were unfortunately hit right at fielders. Dustin and Youk come to mind.

    Ortiz isn’t locked in yet, and when he comes around we should really be cashing in on more runs.

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