Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wakefield Denies #200 Again as Bullpen Melts Down in Toronto

AP/Darren Calabrese

Blue Jays 11 Red Sox 10
Winning Pitcher: Shawn Camp (4-3)
Losing Pitcher: Daniel Bard (2-6)
Save: Frank Francisco (13)

It wasn't a brilliant outing from Tim Wakefield by any stretch of the imagination, but he left the game with an 8-5 lead. However, because of a bullpen implosion, he was once again denied in his chance at 200 career wins. Wakefield has been searching for this milestone victory since July 24th, and once again pitched decently, but not well enough to get the win. In fact, in each of his last four starts, Wakefield has thrown between 90 and 97 pitches and has allowed 4 earned runs. He is in a kind of groove right now that makes him a very decent pitcher. Last night, his biggest issue was probably his control and efficiency, as he issued three walks for the first time since June 25th, and he averaged 18 pitches per inning (and 9 strikes).
Trouble started for the Red Sox bullpen in the 7th, with Boston holding onto a three run lead. Dan Wheeler was on the mound, having gotten out of a jam created by Franklin Morales the inning before. He started off the 7th with a double to Yunel Escobar, and eventually gave up a run on an RBI single from Edwin Encarnacion. Daniel Bard came in after the run scored with two outs and got out of the inning. Dan Wheeler has been struggling as of late after hitting a post-All Star break groove. In his past three appearances, Wheeler has thrown 3.2 innings with a 12.27 ERA (5 runs) and a 1.095 opponents OPS. In the 8th, Bard struggled from the get-go, loading the bases before recording a single out. After getting two big strikeouts, Bard walked two straight batters to tie the game. Francona then called upon Matt Albers to get Encarnacion and finish the inning, but he instead allowed a bases clearing double, giving the Jays an 11-8. It was Bard's worst outing of the season, even worse than his collapse on opening day. The Red Sox scored two more runs in the 9th, including one on an Adrian Gonzalez home run, but could not get one more across to tie the game.

Quick Hits
  • In the 3rd inning, Jose Bautista became the first player since Adam Dunn in 2004 to steal home in the midst of a 40-home run season.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury went 4-5 with 3 RBI on Wednesday night, making it the third time this year he's gotten four hits in a game, and the first one with four hits and three RBI.
  • In the past two nights, Marco Scutaro is 6-9 with 7 RBI and 3 R. Scutaro is heating up at the right time for a team entering the playoff stretch.
  • Adrian Gonzalez's home run in the 9th was his first outside of Texas since July 30th. He hit five in a series in Texas, his only home runs between these dates.

The Red Sox and Blue Jays finish up their four-game series tonight at 7:07 PM ET. Boston will send Andrew Miller (6-2 5.27) to the mound against Toronto's Ricky Romero (13-10 2.97).     

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