ALDS Coverage: Maybe Boston Left Their Bats at Fenway

Jered Weaver and Josh Beckett started the game by not allowing anyone to reach base until two outs in the bottom of the third. A half inning later Victor Martinez drove in Jacoby Ellsbury and Boston claimed the lead while scoring for the first time in the series just like that. It didn’t last for long, as Kendry Morales hit a game-tying sac fly in the fourth. After that fourth inning the Sox wouldn’t have a runner reach second again until the ninth.

Beckett pitched fairly well, but the seventh inning killed him. Here’s the rundown of events:

Vladimir Guerrero walked.
Kendry Morales flied out to left.
Howie Kendrick advanced on a stolen base to 2B.
Juan Rivera grounded out to third.
Maicer Izturis singled to center; Kendrick scored.
Izturis advanced to 2B on a stolen base. 
Mike Napoli was hit by a pitch.
Erick Aybar tripled; Izturis and Napoli scored.
Billy Wagner enters to relieve Beckett.

All told: Boston is averaging less than a run per game. It takes at least one run to win a ballgame so you can see why this would be an inconvenience to any team. Here are the regulars’ wOBA thus far in this series:

Ellsbury .353
Pedroia .112
Martinez .200
Youkilis .157
Ortiz .000
Bay .329
Lowell .000
Drew .266
Gonzalez .223

No typos or miscalculations, two of Boston’s big bats literally have a zero wOBA. If this were an elementary school class the teacher would cancel recess because only one kid is doing his work. Youkilis is throwing spitballs at Pedroia, Drew is writing curse words on the sleeping Ortiz’ face, and Gonzalez is picking his nose in a corner. The post-season is usually the worst time for a prolonged slump, and here Boston has the makings of eight of them.

The major storyline of game three will be Scott Kazmir’s historical dominance over the Sox. For his career: 23 starts against, 130.3 innings, 138 strikeouts (9.5 per nine), 68 walks, and a 3.59 ERA.

Boston plans to counter “Kid K” with Kid Clay, or Clay Buchholz as he’s actually known.

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7 Responses to “ALDS Coverage: Maybe Boston Left Their Bats at Fenway”

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  1. walkoffblast says:

    Mike Napoli put his shoulder in front of a pitch.
    Terry Francona did his best Francoma impersonation (not really sure what the point of improving your bullpen is if you are not going to use it).
    Erick Aybar tripled; Izturis and Napoli scored.

    Although none of it really matters when you cannot string together two hits to save your life. I am almost glad the sox offense has performed so poorly this series. Otherwise the bad calls, bad luck, bad decisions etc would be even more maddening.

    Also, am I the only one confused by the aversion to giving Dice-K the baseball?

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    • Boggle says:

      No you’re not.

      Dice-K’s wins and ERA may have been inflated last year, but he still had a solid 4.03 FIP which is pretty good for a fourth starter. Since he came back this year, he has been right about the same level (4.12 FIP).

      Added to that he has as much big game experience as anyone going back to high school and including Japan, WBC and MLB playoffs. He has normally done well in those games.

      I really don’t see why you would be so determined to find a way to avoid using him.

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  2. Kampfer says:

    I think it was a blown call too. Napoli was turning himself to the pitch.

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  3. Aaron says:

    wOBA isn’t a very good way to judge how well a team has performed over such a short period of time (calling two games a “prolonged slump” seems pretty strange to me) because luck can play such a big role. Boston is carrying a BABIP of .166 in the ALDS so I would certainly say that bad luck has been a big part of their offensive struggles. That BABIP means that Boston should have about 14 more hits so far in the series, as shown by Troy Patterson at

    Anaheim is certainly pitching really well but part of the problem for Bean Town is simply balls in play that just aren’t finding holes. Far from engaging in childish pranks I’m willing to bet that the Red Sox are getting a pep talk about bad luck and keeping a steady approach at the plate.

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    • Tom Jakubowski says:

      It seems similarly weird to say that “Boston is averaging less than a run per game” when the sample is two games.

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  4. ineedanap says:

    ….poor Red Sox :(

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  5. Steve C says:

    CB Bucknor is making lots of new friends. Did Napoli knowingly lean into a big looping curveball being down in the count 0-2? I know I would. Was it a bad call? Yes. Did it have any effect on the outcome? No, take those late two runs off the board and the Angels still win.

    That Mauer “double”, now that is something to complain about. The ump was looking right at the play and somehow missed that the ball hit Melky’s glove and landed in fair territory. All he had to do was see one OR the other. Instead he decided to take a prolonged blink.

    He’ll he could have done a “shoe polish” investigation and looked in the area that the ball hit the ground for the indent.

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