After compiling a 25-11 record over the Baltimore Orioles over the past two seasons, the Red Sox have started the 2011 season series in an 0-2 hole after dropping Wednesday night's game 5-4. Josh Beckett, who has been blistering hot this year coming into the game with a 1.93 ERA, got the ball for the Red Sox, and looked strong in his first few innings. After allowing just one inning in the first three innings, Beckett started to look a bit shaky in the fourth. Heading into the bottom of the inning, the game was knotted at zero after Boston failed to take advantage of a couple of opportunities in the first four innings. Beckett started the inning with a strikeout to Nick Markakis, but followed that up by allowing a double to Derrek Lee. After Vlad Guerrero lined out to Lowrie at short, Beckett allowed a two out, two run shot to right by Luke Scott. The very next batter, Adam Jones, put one in the left field seats, and just like that, the Orioles had a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Beckett let up a sac fly to Brian Roberts, and the Orioles had a 4-0 lead. Beckett ended up going 6 innings, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits while striking out 4. Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie on the other hand was successful in shutting down the Boston offense, pitching 6 shutout innings, during which he tip toed around 7 hits and a walk. The Red Sox offense finally showed some life in the 8th though. After a 1-2-3 inning from Tim Wakefield out of the 'pen, the Red Sox led off the eighth with a Jacoby Ellsbury single. After Pedroia walked, Alex Gonzalez hit an RBI single to start the Boston offense. Next up was Kevin Youkilis, and he hit a 3-run homer to left-center field and the game was tied at four. In this whole new ballgame, Daniel Bard came out to pitch the 8th for the Sox. He started the inning by giving up two straight singles. After a Varitek passed ball, Vlad Guerrero hit an RBI single to give the Orioles their decisive lead. Kevin Gregg came in for a 1-2-3 9th, and picked up the save, while Bard picked up the L.
News and Notes
- It was pretty much all struggles for the bottom three of the Red Sox lineup on Wednesday night. Jed Lowire, the man whose play thus far has inspired a Twitter page, went 1-4 with three big strikeouts. Up next was the guy I've basically been picking on for this whole year thus far, Carl Crawford. He continued his bad start with an 0-4 showing, including grounding into his first double play of this year, and third dating back to Opening Day of 2010. Finally, Jason Varitek, the man of .091 batting average, went 0-3 out of the nine hole. The top six batters accounted for 9 hits and a walk. However, the team can't score many runs if nobody from the bottom third is knocking any of them in.
- Don't panic about Josh Beckett because his ERA rose up to 2.65 after tonight. First of all, that's still a pretty damn good ERA. However, he did give up 10 hits tonight. It is only one start. I do not believe that Josh Beckett will continue on his Cy Young pace. I do believe, however, that he will usurp back the number two spot in this rotation from Clay Buchholz. Beckett's stuff this year has been better than it has been in recent memory. His fastball is reaching velocities he hasn't reached in years, and there is more break to his curveball. Obviously, injuries are always a big question with Josh. In my humble opinion, I believe that is the only thing stopping Beckett from being a very good number two pitcher in 2011.
The Red Sox will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow night 7 PM ET. They will be sending Jon Lester (2-1 2.59 ERA) to the mound against the Orioles' Brad Bergesen (0-3 5.40).