Sunday, August 27, 2006

Battered & bruised, Sox swept in Seattle

Seattle rookie shuts down bats, Sox miscues contribute to 6-3 loss.

The size of the Boston injury report is starting to coincide with the extent of their slump- both are very lengthy. Add Belli (ankle), Willy Mo (wrist) and tomorrow night's intended starter Jon Lester (back) to the list of walking wounded which still includes ManRam, who missed the game with his lingering hamstring/knee issue. All of that added up to a hurting performance on a beautiful day in the glorious Pacific Northwest.

Rookie righty Cha Seung Baek took a no-hit bid into the 7th before Papi hit his ML-leading 47th HR off him to make the score 6-2. Even when Lowell hit his 15th later in the inning to send Baek to the showers, the damage had been done earlier. It was a day of futility all around for Boston, especially in the field.

The team that was the best defensive squad in the majors beginning this trip has started to play like a Little League squad lately. Actually, judging by ESPN's Baseball Tonight Top 10 Plays of the Week, which were all from the LLWS, that is insulting to the Little guys. Boston was charged with 2 errors on the day, by Javy & Pedroia, but misplayed numerous others, including a horrible sequence in the 3rd when newly installed LF Youk misplayed one ball over his head for a double and allowed another one to fall in front of him as he lost it in the blinding SafeCo sun.
Throw in gaffes by Cora on a ball that should have been a force out at third, and another baserunning mistake that quelled an inning as Pedroia got caught napping rounding 2B on a play that scored Boston's first run and it was just an ugly day all around for the normally sure-handed Sox. But when you're mired in a slump as prolific as this, everything goes bad- hitting, pitching, fielding, baserunning, even
managing, although Tito can't be blamed for fielding this squad today.
Bronson Arroyo double Kyle Snyder kept Boston in the game for- 4 innings. But as the Sox hitters were being baffled by Baek's breaker Snyder couldn't hold off the awesome powerhouse that is Seattle's offense (25th in ML in runs scored) any longer. The Mariners loaded the bases in the 5th on a single, double and a walk with no outs, and then the hot-hitting Raul Ibanez stepped up and grooved a Snyder pitch into the leftfield porch for a killer slam and a 5-1 Seattle lead. It was all over but the stat padding after that, with Lowell and Papi adding to their numbers, but not much else to look at in terms of positives to take out of this crushing loss.

So it's on to Oakland tomorrow night, where Jon Lester was supposed to take the mound but now it will be youngster Kasson Gabbard. At least it's another 24 hours away. Plenty of time for them to lick their wounds, and see whose wounds have healed enough to take the field in the Colisueum.

Oh, and RSN can take some joy out of the fact that E-Rod just completed his swing through Seattle & Anaheim with a 2-20, 14k monstrosity.

GB: 6 1/2 East, 5 1/2 WC
Next game: Tomorrow @ OAK, 10PM EST

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