Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sox Lose After Bard Gives Out 3 in the 8th

AP/Charles Krupa

Blue Jays 5 Red Sox 4
Winning Pitcher: Ricky Romero (15-10)
Losing Pitcher: Daniel Bard (2-8)
Save: Frank Francisco (15)

The Red Sox were on their way to a two game sweep over the Blue Jays in the midst of a tight Wild Card race, but Daniel Bard stumbled in the 8th and the Red Sox dropped their September record to 3-10. He entered the inning with a 4-2 lead, and started off by walking the first two batters. The next batter, Mark Teahan, laid down a sacrifice bunt, but was able to reach on a throwing error by Bard. It was the first error he has committed in 2011. After the Jays scored on a ground out to third, which was bobbled by Kevin Youkilis, Adam Loewen hit a single up the middle to score two runs and give the Blue Jays the 5-4 lead. The inning would end on a double play in the next at bat. Looking at his Pitch FX for the night, I noticed two problems, both relating to his fastball. First of all, he left too many pitches in the middle of the zone, all of which were fastballs. Secondly, his release point for the hard stuff was extremely inconsistent. His slider did not share these problems to nearly the extent. You can see his location here and his release point here. Bard has now allowed 10 runs in his last 4.2 innings with a 1:1 K/BB ratio.
John Lackey wasn't bad on the mound today. He lasted 5.1 innings allowing two runs on seven hits, a walk and four strikeouts and threw 115 pitches. Lackey allowed both of his runs in the first inning, in which he allowed three hits and a walk and threw 31 pitches. He also struggled in the fifth, in which he threw 25 pitches, but got out of a first and third jam unscathed. Lackey was best with his slider and cutter today, both holding linear weights in the -0.4 range. He threw his cutter the most, 56 times, and it went for a strike 69.6% of the time. Today was the first time Lackey allowed two or less runs in a start since July 22nd, and just the seventh time in 26 starts this year. It was also the fifth time he has exceeded the 115 pitch mark, although not in an overly efficient manner today.

Quick Hits
  • No Red Sox player had multiple hits, as the team managed just six hits. Ricky Romero lasted 8 innings for the Jays in a very good start. 
  • Adrian Gonzalez gave the Red Sox some insurance with a solo blast in the 6th. It was his 26th of the season, and his first at Fenway since July 7th.
  • David Ortiz didn't play for the second consecutive day because of back spasms. Also, Adrian Gonzalez left the game with calf tightness.
  • The Red Sox avoided allowing the Rays to gain any ground as they fell to Baltimore tonight. The two teams will begin a four game series this weekend with a four games seperating them.

The Red Sox and Rays begin a crucial four game series at Fenway tomorrow night at 7:10 PM ET. Boston will send Kyle Weiland (0-1 6.75) to the mound against Tampa's Jeremy Hellickson (12-10 2.96).       

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