A frustrating night in the fens
In the course of a 162 game season, you're going to get some frustrating evenings. Last night was one of them. With Bronson Arroyo out-pitching Roy Halladay over 7 innings, with Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz both hitting mammoth home runs, the Red Sox went to the bullpen with 6 outs to get and a 2-run lead to protect. The lead lasted 2 batters, as Alan Embree came in and served up single-HR to tie the game. The bottom of the 8th featured a single-pitch out to Jay Payton with 2 on and 2 out. Payton came into the game for defensive purposes in the top of the 8th, replacing Manny, who may have had a better chance of getting the go-ahead run in. Keith Foulke struggled again in the 9th, giving up 1 run, and the Red Sox ended up falling 4-3, the last out coming off the bat of Ramon Vazquez with a runner at 3rd.
One of frustrating aspects of the evening was that the Red Sox approach at the plate wasn't the typical Red Sox approach. Halladay faced the Red Sox in Toronto last week and threw 95 pitches through 6 innings. Last night, he entered the 7th having thrown only 66. The Red Sox went down on 3 pitches in the 4th. Now, it's true that two of them were a single, followed by a hard-hit ball that resulted in a spectacular double-play, but 3 pitch innings are rare against anyone, and virtually unheard of against the Red Sox.
There were several "second-guessable" moves, most of which I had no problem with.
So they "wasted" an excellent start from Arroyo, and finished the home stand at 6-2 instead of 7-1. Baltimore and Toronto both moved back ahead of them in the East, but the Yankees, playing at home, with Randy Johnson on the mound, fell to Tampa Bay, so the Sox are still 3 games ahead of them.
UPDATE: According to the Red Sox notebook in the Globe, Manny's got tightness in his quad.
"I would love to leave Manny in," said Francona, who replaced Ramirez with Jay Payton in the top of the eighth inning of last night's 4-3 loss to Toronto. "His quad is bothering him. It was bothering him [Monday]. When he said he needs to go ice it, that's the thing to do. We didn't take him out for defense. That was health-related."
Which gets Terry off the hook for the one "bad" managerial move of the night...