5-6: Wang 2-hits Sox, 4-1


It was the first Red Sox-Yankees contest of the season, and New York came in a bit banged up. They are likely without Derek Jeter for this whole series. But last night, it didn’t matter, as Chien-Ming Wang (3-0) threw a complete game and completely throttled the Sox lineup all night. The wet, drizzly conditions didn’t make it any easier.

Uncharacteristically, the Sox were swinging aggressively, with 4 players swinging (and making outs) on the first or second pitch the first time through the order, and 5 doing it the second time through. I know Wang throws strikes, but I really don’t like it when the Sox decide to do this as a team. It rarely works out it seems, and it allows the opposing starter to go deep against them. Wang only needed 93 pitches to go the distance last night. Also distressing is that Boston couldn’t draw a single walk all night long.

Dustin Pedroia hit a hard grounder to third, and reached on an error with Alex Rodriguez‘ off-balance throw. The only Boston run came on a solo home run by J.D. Drew that barely cleared Bobby Abreu‘s glove into the bullpen in right. His hitting streak now stands at 8 games. Other Sox players hit the ball hard in the 5th, but nothing else fell in.

Francona decided to start Coco Crisp and bat him leadoff last night to “get him on some kind of roll”, which I wasn’t real happy with, but he did have one of the two Sox hits, a bunt single. He was 6 for 23 (.261) against Wang coming into last night, but I hardly think that’s any reason to play him over Jacoby Ellsbury or bat him leadoff. Is this a way of “protecting” Ellsbury from the Yankees rivalry thing? Maybe Francona was afraid that Jacoby would press too much in this one?

With the great outing from Wang, it might be easy to overlook the effort of Clay Buchholz, who went six innings and allowed just one run on four hits and three walks in his first start against the Yankees. He was able to stay within himself for most of the game, and the results showed it. He was helped out by another good defensive play by Sean Casey, who grabbed a line drive and stepped on first for a double play in the top of the 5th to end that inning. I think the Sox have to be pleased with the Buchholz pitched and appears to be learning.

Mike Timlin (0-1) struggled in his first outing, giving up a home run to Jason Giambi which gave New York the lead. He threw just nine pitches and got just one out while giving up two runs. Hideki Okajima came in and bailed him out of the inning.

Bryan Corey was also designated for assignment yesterday.

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4 Responses to 5-6: Wang 2-hits Sox, 4-1

  1. andy says:

    i don’t know about you but i’m not too pleased with Buchholz outing, he was lucky thay Casey made that play because that line from Melky would have cleared the bases, also, his fastball command so far has beeen shaky, if he really wants to be a dominant pitcher he must command that fastball because he wont always rely on that amazing curveball and that sick changeup

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    Andy, you’re completely right that Clay’s outing could have easily been a lot worse. If that ball is hit a little higher or harder, maybe Casey doesn’t make that play. But that’s baseball; Wang misses with a few pitches, and that game turns out very differently as well.

    Buchholz has great stuff, and so far, pretty good composure. No one’s claiming he’s there yet, but I think with some seasoning, he’ll be a very good pitcher for us. He’s still 22, and most pitchers don’t truly master their arsenal until about age 26-28, after which they’re smarter about hitting their spots and walks drop pretty dramatically.

  3. Pat says:

    http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2008/03/categorizing_pi_2.php

    The above article shows why I am a worried about Timlin’s effectiveness this year.

    I wish Tito wouldn’t put Youkilis in the five spot. I don’t think he hits well there, and I like him batting 1 or 2 more than Ellsbury at this point. I’ll keep an open mind, but I’m expecting Kevin to slump a little as long as he is down there.

  4. redsoxtalk says:

    Pat, I am familiar with the whole quadrant thing that the Baseball Analysts do, but there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Just look at the first two names (Eyre, Hoffman) on the SW quadrant list; they’re pretty darn good relievers. Don’t get carried away, I don’t think Timlin is still our 7th inning guy most days, but he is a valuable part of this bullpen. I wouldn’t lose faith in him yet because his first outing back was rough.

    I have to disagree about Youk batting #5, at least in the long run for this season. I know he’s been bad there in the past (.237/.337/.349 there last year), but he’s a much more mature hitter now than even one year ago. I’m seeing him turn on inside pitches for power, as well as slice outside stuff away for singles. I think once Ellsbury’s ready to take that #1 spot, you bat Pedey 2nd to give pitchers rough at-bats, then utilize Youk’s blossoming power in the 5 hole. I think he’s already more legitimate there than Mike Lowell, no offense to him.

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