Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Red Sox Fall in 14 to Royals

Sports Illustrated

Royals 3 Red Sox 1 F/14
Winning Pitcher: Louis Coleman (1-2)
Losing Pitcher: Randy Williams (0-1)

The Red Sox failed to continue their three game winning streak on Monday night, losing to Kansas City in 14 innings in a game where Boston had many chances to take the game. The game was tied at one in the 12th when the Red Sox had easily their best chance to win this game. With Josh Reddick on first after leading the inning off with a single, the Royals decided to turn into the Royals. Their pitcher, Louis Coleman, threw over to first for a pickoff attempt that got by the first baseman Eric Hosmer, allowing Reddick to get to third with just one out in the inning. Then, Terry Francona made an inexplicable decision, which went horribly, horribly wrong. With Marco Scutaro at the plate, Francona put on the squeeze play, except Scutaro didn't see the sign. So the pitch came in, Reddick broke for the plate, and Scutaro watched it go by for a ball. Royals catcher Brayan Pena threw down to third and easily got Reddick out as he tried to retreat back to the bag. Now, this play made no sense to me, as Marco Scutaro is number two in all of baseball in contact rate. There was a very good chance he'd put the ball in play, so you have to just let him do so, and hope that he is able find a hole for a hit, or get a fly ball deep enough to score Reddick. Just to make sure people wouldn't completely forget about him after the game, Scutaro rocked a single off the Monster, but got thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, ending the inning.
Randy Williams was on the mound for the Red Sox as the game was lost. He gave up a double to Hosmer and single to Jeff Francoeur to start off the inning to put two guys on with one out. The Royals, deciding they so badly wanted to emulate the Red Sox, went for a squeeze play of their own. According to Francoeur, it was supposed to be a safety play, but both runners went on the pitch. Mike Aviles squared to bunt, and popped one out that miraculously made it over Adrian Gonzalez's head and fell to the ground, scoring Hosmer and pushing Francoeur to third. If the ball was caught, it could have been a triple play, as each runner was far enough off the bag for the exciting play to come into fruition. Alcides Escobar put up an insurance run with a sac fly in the next at bat. Any time Randy Williams is pitching multiple innings for you, there is a pretty decent chance you'll end up in the L column.
The good news for the Red Sox in this one was the return of Jon Lester. In his first game since being placed on the DL early in July, Lester looked very good, striking out six guys while walking just two in 5 and a third. He was on a strict pitch count of 80-85 pitches in this one, but Tito again made a questionable decision. After throwing 73 pitches through the first five innings, he led off the 6th with an 8 pitch single to Melky Cabrera. That put him over the 80 pitch mark, and probably should have been the end of his day. Instead, he remained in and gave up the tying double to Billy Butler. Lester relied on mostly his fastball and cutter, throwing those two pitches 73% of the time, according to Pitch FX. He also got all six of his whiffs from those two pitches, and all six of his strikeouts. His velocity looked fine as well, topping out at 95.5 MPH, and his fastball averaging about 93. 

Quick Hits
  • Josh Reddick got Boston's only RBI when he came through with an RBI double to score Carl Crawford. This led to a possibly funny, definitely overdone Twitter meme, #joshreddickfacts.
  • Speaking of Carl Crawford, he was absolutely putrid last night. He finished the game 0-6 with four strikeouts and a nice, shiny golden sombrero. In the 11th, he had men on first and second, and struck out in one of the ugliest at bats you will ever see, with strike three being a swing and a miss at a pitch in the dirt.
  • Dustin Pedroia extended his career long hit streak to 22 games in the fourth with a single to right.
  • Kevin Youkilis left the game in the 7th inning. In the inning before, he almost beat out a grounder, but injured his hamstring lunging for the bag. It shouldn't be anything serious, but he probably won't be playing today. Yamaico Navarro took his place and went 1-3.
  • Matt Albers continued to pitch well. He took Lester's place and pitched 1.2 shutout innings. He now hasn't given up a run in 16 of his last 17 appearances. Seven of those have been more than one inning.

The Red Sox and Royals continue their series Tuesday night at 7:10 PM ET. Boston will send Andrew Miller (4-1 4.65) to the mound against Kansas City's Danny Duffy (2-4 4.58).

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