Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ellsbury's Walk Off Single Gives Boston the Win Over Cleveland

Sports Illustrated

Red Sox 3 Indians 2
Winning Pitcher: Jonathan Papelbon (3-0)
Losing Pitcher: Vinnie Pestano (1-1)

The Red Sox endured a a 95 minute rain delay before the game started, and used Jacoby Ellsbury's walk off single in the bottom of the ninth to take the game just before the clock struck midnight. Ellsbury came to the plate with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who pinch ran for Jason Varitek, on second. Ellsbury ripped a single up the middle, and Saltalamacchia ran around third and chugged his way down the line towards the plate. Indians center fielder Ezequiel Carrera's throw home was there in time, but was too far up the first base line and Saltalamacchia slid in safely for the win. Ellsbury has been very good in high leverage situations this year, with a triple-slash line of .319/.405/.431, including one of .317/.385/..476 in tie games. 
Josh Beckett also pitched very well, but once again didn't factor into the decision. For the sixth time in 21 starts for Beckett, he received the no-decision after allowing two or fewer runs in the game. He was somewhat lucky he only let up two runs, because it seemed he was throwing down the middle of the plate a little too much. He was made to pay for that by two rookies, as Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall each rocked solo home runs on first pitches right down the heart of the plate. Those would be the only two really damaging hits from Cleveland all day, though, as Beckett pitched very efficiently throughout. He lasted six innings, striking out seven batters without surrendering a walk. He was removed from the game after just 85 pitches (he had to warm up a bunch during the warmup, apparently, so that's why the pitch count was so low) and the sixth was the only inning in which he threw more than 15 pitches. Beckett's best pitch all day was his two-seam fastball, which he maxed out at 95.7 MPH. He threw the pitch for a strike over 90% of the time, including three for swinging strikes. He also threw the pitch for a linear weight -1.36. All total, Beckett induced 12 swinging strikes, 14% of his pitches. 

Quick Hits
  • Kevin Youkilis hit his 16th homer of the year to lead off the sixth inning to tie the game. In the 8th inning, he argued a check swing call that he was called out on and was thrown from the game. It was a close call (I think he went, but it was very close) and the next time Youkilis agrees with a called strike call against him will be the first. It was like the perfect storm
  • Indians starter David Huff pitched very well as well. His curveball was working especially well, as it was responsible for five of his six strikeouts. It came up particularly big in the second, when the Sox had the bases loaded and nobody out. Huff struck out the next three batters, all with curveballs breaking into the dirt.
  • Franklin Morales pitched as well as I've seen him throw this year. He was commanding his fastball and breaking ball, and only gave up one hit in two innings, without surrendering a walk. He also struck out three batters. 

The Red Sox and Indians continue their series tonight at 7:10 PM ET.  Boston will send Tim Wakefield (6-4 5.06) to the mound against Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco (8-9 4.67).

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